Finding Your Driving Force with Freelancer Melissa

“A rooftop sunset in Madrid, my former home and the city where my freelancing career started.”

“A rooftop sunset in Madrid, my former home and the city where my freelancing career started.”

Before jumping into freelancing Melissa Haun knew she wanted to travel and have a more flexible schedule. Armed with her writing and translating skills, she dove head first into a life as a digital nomad, spending time everywhere from Madrid, Lisbon, and Budapest.

Hi Melissa! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m originally from Asheville, North Carolina, and I moved to Madrid in 2016 right after graduating college. I was working as a language assistant at first, but looking for other opportunities that would allow me to stay abroad longer. Soon I found work at VeraContent as a translator and writer, and later as an editor and project manager. But after two and a half years in Madrid, I wanted a new challenge—so I switched to full-time freelancing

What was your key driving force to become a freelancer?

The main thing was that I wanted more flexibility in my schedule, and to be able to travel as much as possible. I had the necessary experience in writing and translation, and I had built up a small portfolio of clients during my time in Madrid. So in June of this year, I moved out of my apartment and headed to Portugal. Since then I’ve been traveling around the country, volunteering at hostels, learning Portuguese and surfing almost every day: my dream come true!

Tell us a bit about your day-to-day life as a freelancer. 

When I’m volunteering at a hostel, I usually work on my own freelance projects in my spare time whenever I don’t have any other work to do. For example, I might help make breakfast, then write for an hour or two, then do some cleaning, then complete a small translation assignment in the afternoon, then go surfing and hang out on the beach for the rest of the day. 

When I’m not volunteering, I alternate freelance work with exploring wherever I am—and I always try to check out a new coworking space if there’s one nearby. This is why Croissant is such a useful app for me, since I’m always moving around. Of course, sometimes I get a new, unexpected assignment and I have to change my plans to make it work. Recently I even stayed up almost all night to get a last-minute translation done!

What was the biggest challenge you had to face throughout your freelancing journey?

Probably knowing the worth of my own work, and standing up for it. It’s been hard for me to figure out how much to charge my clients, and I think at the beginning I undervalued myself a lot. This is an ongoing challenge for me, but I’m getting more confident when it comes to asking for the rates that I deserve. It might not come naturally, but I think it’s super important for every freelancer to have that kind of self-confidence.

What do you enjoy most about coworking spaces? What is the most important aspect to you about a coworking space?

“A photo from my recent travels around the Azores islands!”

“A photo from my recent travels around the Azores islands!”

I love how each coworking space is like a little oasis, where you can escape the chaos of hostels and cities and just focus on whatever you need to get done. For me that’s the most important thing: that they provide a comfortable and quiet environment that’s conducive to productivity. It’s also nice when the spaces themselves are really unique and interesting, but all I really need is good WiFi, a comfy chair, and—in the summer in Portugal, at least—air conditioning!

Tell us about your favorite Croissant Coworking Space! 

I’ve been to so many, but I think my favorite so far has been Avila Spaces in Lisbon. They have a really cool space with interesting decor and an outdoor terrace. It’s the kind of place I would want to hang out even if I wasn’t working. I also love that they offer free coffee, fruit, and even cake. Snacks are important, because if I’m hungry then there’s no way I can get anything done!

Where to find me:

Where to find my work:

“Exploring London in between freelance assignments.”

“Exploring London in between freelance assignments.”