Pariss 'Athena' Chandler and free to be

In search of freedom: Doing the hard stuff today to create a more inclusive, attainable, and passion-driven tomorrow.
Pariss 'Athena' Chandler and free to be

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At Hectic, we talk a lot about freedom. It is, after all, at the very core of freelancing.

Though we tend to focus on the freedoms our jobs offer now, however, this week’s podcast guest is instead driven by the promise of freedom in the future. Pariss Athena, founder and CEO of Black Tech Pipeline, is passionate about her work, but can’t wait for the day that she can just breathe, chill out, and live life for the people she cares about most.

I think a lot of us can relate to this goal. As much as we’ve reclaimed control over our time with freelancing, we all long for the day when we don’t have to make income a priority. In this season of grinding that so many of us are in, it’s easy to lose sight of the freedoms we have now. And when we don’t see what’s available to us, it’s easy to miss out on the benefits we can be enjoying.

So, if you feel like your life is slipping out of your hands while you toil away, here are some of the best ways to reclaim your freedom and realign your priorities.

Freelancing is…

Freedom from the fear of losing your job

Earlier this season, Satta Hightower shared why she loves the income security that freelancing offers. After experiencing two lay-offs early in her career, having multiple streams of income provides security against a similarly devastating loss. She determines what she makes, how much she works, and when/if she wants to make a change.

As your own boss, you also have this freedom and control. If you experience constant anxiety about your work and income, investigate why. Freelancing won’t ever be completely free of worry, but you do have the power to build the business you want by resolving the problems that are limiting you.

Freedom to put your family first

Kids grow up fast. Even if you’re working hard now to provide a more comfortable life and brighter future for your family, you can’t reclaim the time spent away from them. 

Freelancing doesn’t mean that you can abandon work every time your family wants your time, but it does give you more control over your schedule. You can, for example, choose to work when your kids are at school and then again when they go to bed. You can plan your work around your significant other’s shifts to make sure you spend quality time together. If you care for an elderly or sick family member, you can stay close for both comfort and assistance.

Independent work also gives you the freedom to nurture your personhood in the midst of supporting family. You can stay at home with the kids and work at the same time. You can pursue your dream without straining your resources. When you can fit work around your life rather than the other way around, you can prioritize the things that matter.

Freedom to do what you love

Jobs tend to be boxy. You have a title and everything you do (for the most part) falls under that role. 

I think we can all agree that people are too dynamic for that kind of compartmentalization.

As a freelancer or entrepreneur, you decide how to use your skills. You can focus on the things that excite, energize, and interest you, creating endless reasons to be excited about your work. When you see an area that you are lacking in, all you have to do is learn that skill or find someone who already excels in it. You define your work. From what you do to how you do it, you can create your dream job and make sure it stays that way.

The best way to recognize and appreciate the freedom you have is to intentionally use it. This week, I challenge you to find a freedom you have through freelancing and take advantage of it. Some ideas include:

  • Taking a day off spontaneously to spend with family, do something fun, or just relax
  • Thinking about the things you don’t like about work and finding ways to fix them
  • Finding a class or YouTube video that teaches a skill you want to learn

You chose to reject the 9-to-5 for a reason. Make the most of it!

Get the full story here to Pariss’ entrepreneurship journey, her experiences as a black woman in tech, and how she gets through the messy middle of running a company.

You can connect with Pariss on Twitter or Instagram. You can also join the Black Tech Pipeline community on Twitter and Instagram.

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Emily Finlay
Emily Finlay is a freelance copywriter who thrives working with a great team and moonlights as an amateur home baker. Throughout her career, she’s had the pleasure of working with clients of all sizes, from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Aunt to eight nieces and nephews, she loves freelancing for the time it allows her to spend with her family and friends. When she’s not puzzling over the perfect word, she enjoys taking long walks, geeking out over her many interests, and trying new decorating techniques for cakes and cookies.
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