Why Freelancing Is a Great Option for Caregivers

Becoming a caregiver for an ill or elderly loved one probably wasn’t in your long-term career plans, yet that’s exactly where you’ve found yourself.
First things first, it shouldn’t go without saying that what you’re doing is selfless and admirable. Caregiving is a difficult (and oftentimes thankless) job—and it’s that much tougher when you’re tasked with providing for someone you love. Yes, you’re saddled with additional responsibilities, but you’re also dealing with the pain of watching them deal with hardship or suffering.
Being a caregiver places a lot of demands on your time, energy, and attitude, and it’s easy to think that means you aren’t cut out for a career on top of it all. But, make no mistake, freelancing can be a great option for caregivers—whether you want to commit to it full-time or start a side hustle to bring in some extra cash.

Here are four reasons why freelancing is a great choice for caregivers:

1. You have greater flexibility with your schedule.

Let’s face it—being a caregiver doesn’t necessarily grant you with a predictable schedule. Your days quickly fill up with appointments and other obligations, not to mention that you feel pressure to be available if and when an emergency arises.
That can make traditional, full-time employment tough. While many employers are understanding about family matters, your schedule can still become challenging to plan and juggle.
That’s one of the many benefits of freelancing: you’re able to build your work around your life, rather than the other way around.

2. You have control over your workload.

Caregiving can be tough work, and sometimes you might not have enough time or bandwidth for a full workload. According to the report, “Adult Caregiving: Generational Considerations for America’s Workforce” sponsored by Unum, 60% of respondents spend up to 20 hours per week on caregiving tasks and 18% spent more than 30 hours per week on caregiving responsibilities.
In a standard, full-time role, those time and energy constraints don’t really carry a lot of weight. You just need to do the best you can and get as much done as possible.
But, as a freelancer, you have way more say in the amount of work you pile onto your plate. If it’s a time when you know your loved one is going to require more of a commitment, you have the flexibility to turn down projects. If things are relatively quiet? You can hustle and crank through more work at that time.

3. You can work from anywhere.

Ask any caregiver who’s also employed full-time what their daily life is like, and it’s certain that they’ll mention they feel like they’re frantically running from one place to another. They use their lunch breaks to check on their loved ones, before booking it back to the office for the afternoon, for example.
Freelancing cuts down on a lot of that back and forth, as you’re able to work from anywhere. While that location flexibility quickly inspires visions of sandy beaches for a lot of people, when you’re a caregiver, it’s reassuring to know that you don’t need to be tied to the office—you can get just as much done from a doctor’s office waiting room or the kitchen table in your loved one’s home.
As a result, you spend less time constantly moving from point A to point B and spend more time where you really want to be—right by your loved one’s side.

4. You can have an identity outside of caregiving.

Being a caregiver is a huge responsibility, and the work you do is nothing short of admirable. But, this is an important thing to note: wanting to do something else outside of caring for your loved one doesn’t make you selfish—it makes you human.
That’s one of the many wonderful things about freelancing. You can still fit it in without sacrificing any of your caregiving responsibilities, and it gives you something to work toward and feel passionate about outside of only caring for your loved one.
Trust me, you deserve something that’s just for you. And, if the idea of freelancing makes you feel excited, fulfilled, and proud, then it’s more than worth pursuing.