The other day I was counting my blessings and as my 18th anniversary of being a freelancer is approaching, I reminded myself, for a millionth time, how fortunate I am to be doing what I love, every day, my whole adult life.
I work as a freelancer, which means I am self-employed.
It’s hard at times. You have to be disciplined, you have to have good time management skills. You have to play many different roles – an expert in your field, an enterpreneur, a marketer, an event organizer, an accountant… sometimes there’s less work, the pay is not regular. But I wouldn’t change a thing.
AS A FREELANCER YOU ARE FREE.
Free to do what you love and do it often, whenever you want, whoever with you want.
You can do whatever you want and it doesn’t matter what it is as long as you love it. It feels pretty good to get up every morning and be happy about how you make a living. It motivates me to be innovative, take risks, to experiment, to play and have fun.
You can also work whenever you want. You don’t have to follow the 9-5 schedule. It’s your decision when to get up and when to go to bed, when to go for lunch with a friend and when to take 2 months off. Or 2 years off to be home with your baby like I did, while working part-time. That’s why so many women become freelancers when on maternity leave, they can adjust their work to the parenting.
But most importantly – you can choose who you work with. I hope you will agree with me when I say that life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them. I want to work with those who cherrish the same values, who understand me, who inspire me, who help me grow.
I asked my colleagues from our teachers’ club Klub úspěšných lektorek angličtiny why they became ELT (English language teaching) freelancers or are about to. Here are their answers.
KAROLÍNA RYBKOVÁ, https://www.rybkova.cz/
“Besides being able to balance my professional and personal life the way I want, what I enjoy most about freelancing is the freedom to choose who to work with; I am truly appreciative of my highly motivated clients who have managed to stop “attending courses” and have decided to really learn English. It is incredibly satisfying to work with people who are willing to immerse themselves in learning, surround themselves with English, change their mindset and enjoy the process, knowing that it is worth their time and effort.
Another not insignificant advantage is that my hands are not tied by inappropriate coursebooks or rigid lesson plans imposed by the school; I can design plans that reflect the needs of my students, take into account their learning styles, capabilities and interests and help them achieve their goals. This personalized approach allows me to focus on the actual struggles of a particular client and give them a helping hand in finding solutions that really work for them. And it doesn’t have to mean just teaching – during consultations we fine-tune their presentations, speeches or prepare for their job interview and also work on changing their mindset and boosting their language confidence.”
LENKA MÁLKOVÁ, https://cestakjazykum.cz/
“I have always been a highly sensitive and empathetic person. And I have always felt that I need more than just “go to work”. The everyday balance is crucial for my well-being, happiness and inner peace. And I have always loved languages. There has been this magical connection to the whole world and endless opportunities. However, my way to being an ELT freelancer wasn’t straightforward at all. It took years of searching my way and I am grateful for all of my previous experiences because they shaped me into the person I am today.
I love working with other people. I can feel them. I can understand their fears, mindset, habits and desire to change something in their lives. That’s why I love my job so much. It allows me to be part of these life-changing moments. Because by offering my guidance I can support the vision that everybody can achieve their goals. Yes, we can live our dreams. We only need to dare to believe that it is possible for us and then go for it.”
BARBORA IMRIŠKOVÁ, https://barboraimriskova.cz/
“What I’ve seen time and again as a teacher is that once you reach a certain point in your life, traditional language courses simply don’t work anymore. They don’t take into account your individuality, professional interests, and motivation to learn. Teaching individual English lessons is my way of opening the space for my students to become curious again, connect their English learning with personal and professional growth, and become independent of traditional courses, textbooks, and other outdated, ineffective methods.
My motto is that we learn best when we discuss topics that we feel passionate about. My students and I explore together – be it self-improvement, psychology, data analysis, project management, presentations, or small talk with your colleagues from abroad, we do it all in English to connect language learning with real, tangible outcomes. I believe English lessons can be truly transformational for our self-confidence, growth, knowledge, and careers.“
KATEŘINA VAŠKŮ, planning to start freelancing
“I believe that freelancing is a modern way of teaching in the 21st century. I am veering off the school teaching path and becoming my own boss, scheduling my own time and most importantly prioritising my mental well-being. I love the fact freelancers can pay attention to mental hygiene and to their further education. I am thankful for Nina’s determination to help the freelancers in the club, her willingness to stress the importance of personal growth, discussions based on money blocks and the support the ladies give each other. I feel ready to set out on this adventurous journey. I feel brave enough to not be protected by any institution anymore in the sense of absolute financial safety and school holidays. Last but not least, I hope that one day the Czech school system will cherish its teachers accordingly.”
And what about you? Why are you an ELT freelancer?
Share with us in the comments!