I started freelancing very early, and I liked it a lot.
I started developing skills, acquiring knowledge, and growing genuinely interested in the business I was involved with. My employers basically educated me to both their successes and their failures.
Once I got all the aces covered: fully paid-out home, absolutely no debt, and a certain reputation in my field of work, I started my own thing.
The beauty of my approach was that I was in it on my own, without any pressure. I took only the work I genuinely believed would be lucrative (I never said - "the work I liked"). And, I grew steadily
I gladly employ other freelancers. The risks I am taking are minimal. I am happy to work for days at a time to see a specific project through. And I am happy to lean back for months, too, and just enjoy my life.
I also branched out, and started acquiring skills and knowledge in another industry. This was a welcome change, and gave me a much greater degree of independence. As we all rode into the meltdown in 2008, one of my ventures took a very serious beating. I chose to sit it out, without losing a dime, simply because the other business was doing well, and I was able to afford a long wait.
In the meantime, the venture which took the beating has been growing up again. The other safety valve is good but stagnant. Nothing to worry about, though. I have all the time in the world.
The drawbacks: Sometimes very hectic days, weeks and months. Long working days. Huge amounts of pressure. Nothing for the faint-hearted.
The two major pluses:
I get to call the shots. When all is said and done, I decide.
Income rocks. No one would be as generous to me as I am to myself