project continually relate that proximity and face time are critical to their personal and
professional success. As many of the project participants have mentioned they are skilled
at having real-time relational negotiations and moments with collaborators. They are also
comfortable being able to retreat and work; and then sharing the process and project via a
virtual platform. What works is that all these participants are equally adept at integrating
relational and virtual moments with their clients or collaborators.
The Takeaway: Freelancers’ Sustainability Includes
Rethinking Their Work Style
The project participants involved with this dissertation are extremely resourceful, adaptive,
and have the kind of over-the-horizon radar that’s allows them to remain viable. They are
literally migrant creatives as they have entered multiple work relationships and have
adapted with ease.
It is interesting to see people who were invested in freelancing for over a decade starting to
reconsider their own work style options as the big payoff of freelance – quality of life – is
being challenged by time compression, eroding rates, increased healthcare, and inflation.
The allure of freelance is still there but new work options are emerging as companies are
starting to embrace quality of life issues and court creative talent. There was a time when
these innovative individuals would not be challenged enough to seek full-time employment
because their high-octane brains and energy would be seen as suspect and therefore
potentially marginalized. The more evolved enterprises have finally grasped the importance
of having talented, challenging and creative individuals at the helm. All the individuals
involved with this project are precisely what an innovative organization needs: project-
focused individuals who have been successful at coloring inside and outside the lines;
collaborators who understand concept-to-completion tasks; and respectful, responsible
leaders who demonstrate relational connectedness; and most importantly these folks can
be trusted to keep their word.
As more people migrate to freelance work, the media freelancers are again leading the
pack and are thinking about new options; this includes entertaining the idea of a full-time
situation, starting a business, investing in their own project creation, and maybe combining
multiple options. What we can learn about sustainability from freelancers is that it is all
about collaboration, taking the time to foster relational connections, improvising, embracing
not knowing, and having conversations that invite possibility in order to make a difference