Fed up of the 9-5? You’re not alone. Many people are looking for alternative ways to be ‘financially free’ and find their own way of making a living. Whether you want to feel happier, more fulfilled or simply want to be able to spend more time doing the things you enjoy – many people are trying to carve a path that gets them away from living to work.

In the generation where a global social media phenomenon was started in a bedroom, and people make money broadcasting themselves talking about everything from beauty to gaming – it’s no wonder people are looking for other, more exciting ways to earn a living.

If financial freedom, a better work/life balance and the prospect of early retirement sounds like just what you’re looking for, then breaking away from the 9-5 is something to consider. But how can you really accomplish financial freedom in reality, and what does being financially free really mean?

What is financial freedom?

Financial freedom is quickly becoming a more desirable way of living, particularly for millennials. After seeing their parents work hard all their lives, only to be affected by events such as the recent recession, millennials want to be able to be financially free earlier in life. Financial freedom means living more and working less, whilst becoming less reliant on traditional working patterns in order to earn a living.

Alternatives to the 9-5

If the thought of ditching the 9-5 for an alternative way of working appeals to you, then take a look at some of the following alternatives that could help you improve your quality of life.

Freelancing

Freelancing is becoming more and more popular, and in the post-Brexit economy, freelancers could be the future. Being able to work anywhere and for anyone opens up a lot of opportunities, including being able to travel the world while still working and being able to choose your own projects while pocketing all the profits. Freelancers are able to use their skills to work to a schedule that suits them, and if you have a marketable skill – it’s well worth considering going freelance.

Many people get started with freelancing alongside their full-time job, as a way to build up some clients, gain experience and work out if it’s really for them. If this is a direction you want to pursue, a trial run is a great idea to help you get started and to help you decide if this is the way forward for you.

Start your own business

The world is full of inspiring stories about people who have started their own business and gone on to reap great success. Entrepreneurship is the trending career choice for young people, and if you’re serious about retiring early – this could be the way.

But make no mistake, starting your own business is tough. However, if you’ve got a great idea and the passion and commitment to see it through, you’ve got a great chance of one day writing your own success story.

Starting a side hustle

The term ‘side hustle’ is becoming a common word among millennials who are looking to boost their income without forcing themselves to work to the bone. There are a wealth of side hustle ideas that offer experience and easy money that could see you ditching your full-time job somewhere along the line.

Exploring side hustle opportunities can provide you with a way to achieve financial independence much sooner. It can also provide a stream of extra income that you could put towards experiences, travel or to simply pay the bills without stressing about what’s left.

Investing

Investing is another way to gain additional income and achieve financial freedom. Investing can also help you to become financially independent, providing you know what you’re doing and you have some money to start with. Getting started with investing can involve many elements, from investing in property to the stock market. While there are risks involved, it is one possible way of increasing your assets and could help you become less reliant on an income from a full-time job. If you’ve previously worked within the property or stock market, this could be well-worth pursuing as you’re already one step ahead of the game.

The benefits of financial freedom

The pressures of working are continuing to be felt by people throughout the UK. Work environments are more competitive, people are working much longer than they need to (or getting paid for). They’re also working while sick to avoid falling behind. As more and more people take ‘duvet days’ to cope with the stress of working, it’s safe to say that working in a stressful job is not good for your health.

By enjoying financial freedom, you’ll have the time and money to be able to do more of the things that you enjoy such as spending time with your family and friends, travelling, enjoying different experiences and pursuing hobbies and interests. Being able to save for your retirement is one thing, but being able to enjoy the ride along the way is becoming increasingly important for many.

Financial freedom – what are the risks?

To achieve financial freedom, there is an element of risk involved. In many cases, it means having to ditch your job and your regular source of income to enter a world with many unknowns. While it is possible to figure things out while working full-time, you might find that this leads to stress and even exhaustion, giving you less time to make a go of it because you’re still committed to a job.

If you’re serious about achieving financial freedom, you’re going to need a safety net to provide for you and your family if something were to happen. When you’re a sole trader or are self-employed, having insurance in place ensures that you’ll still have money coming in should you suffer an illness or injury that stops you from working. Sick Pay insurance makes for a good security blanket, and should be at the top of your list of considerations when making the leap towards pursuing financial freedom.

Escaping the 9-5 might seem like a dream, but many people are turning it into a reality. Will you?