What You Can Learn from 2 of History’s Greatest Freelancers

Throughout history, there have been plenty of successful freelancers who have changed the course of mankind with their work. 

From inventors to philosophers, to engineers and entrepreneurs—some of the world’s greatest figures did more than one thing to make ends meet. And nowadays, someone who dabbles in many different trades—and does them well—is basically a freelancer, right? I think that’s the sense of freedom and discovery that creative minds before us were able to figure out: you don’t need a typical 9-to-5 structure to be a success. Instead, you can be good at a multitude of things, and use your range of talents to pursue your dreams. 

If you don’t agree with me on this, then take a look at 2 “freelancers” from the past—maybe they can teach you something:

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

You may know this name as the automaker run by Elon Musk, but Nikola Tesla is the true keeper of this namesake, and of good reason.

During his lifetime, Tesla worked as a physicist, an engineer, an inventor, and a philosopher. Ultimately, he designed and launched several technologies that the world still relies on today. For instance, he is best known for inventing the world’s first alternating current (AC) motor, as well as creating the technology for AC generation and transmission. In fact, Tesla had a long-standing feud with another famous inventor, Thomas Edison, over the viability of AC motors and direct current (DC) motors, and overall, Tesla’s invention proved to be much more sustainable. However, Edison still received financial gain from his inferior product. 

Despite having battles with Edison, Tesla continued to use his gifts to create more amazing inventions, such as electric oscillators and high-voltage transformers. Tesla even developed the world’s first X-ray images and short-range radio communications before their noted inventors, which in 1943, Tesla was awarded the original inventor of such inventions by the Supreme Court

It’s sad that Tesla never earned widespread recognition or financial wealth during his career, but he continued to grow and expand his creativity in several different fields. Today, his AC system remains the global standard for transmitting power, and I think the lesson here is that what you devote your time to now—no matter how much acknowledgment you gain from it—has a much larger impact on the future. 

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

He painted the Mona Lisa, one of the most famous artworks of all-time, but did you know that Leonardo da Vinci was also a sculptor, an architect, an engineer, and a draftsman? He epitomizes what it means to be a freelancer—a jack-of-all-trades. 

Born during the Renaissance period throughout the late 1500s, da Vinci was primarily an artist who used his genius to create a vast body of work that he accredited to his ability to see. For him, the simple act of sight was his ultimate tool to take in the world around him and develop new ways of thinking about design and expression. He was a master drawer, and was often commissioned by city officials, and he also was hired as a sculptor and designer at royal festivals.

Something else to consider is that da Vinci spent a lot of his time as an adviser to military groups in Milan, as well as serving as a mechanical engineer who would help draw up plans and blueprints for various buildings and military fortresses. I mean, this is a guy who painted The Last Supper, he drew schematics for submarines and helicopters, and eventually died as an official painter, architect, and engineer to Kind Francis in France. 

In every sense of the word, da Vinci was a freelancer who never limited his bounds of accomplishments. Rather than sticking to one thing and hoping success would come from that profession, he used his creativity to dive head-first into lots of different fields that he loved, and as a result, he flourished in a variety of areas that helped him achieve a happy, fulfilling life. 

Expand Your Horizons with Fiverr

As a freelancer yourself, you can learn from these two examples to expand your horizons as a creator, and Fiverr is a great place to start building the kind of life you want. 

With the ability to create unique gig packages under a diverse range of categories, whatever skills you have to offer the world, feel free to turn them into a reality. Whether it’s painting, coding, voiceover work, or writing blog posts, Fiverr is a global network that’s here to help cultivate your freelance lifestyle. 

If you’re feeling bogged down by your structured job, then sign up to become a seller today! Who knows, over time, your hard work may go on to change the world!