Whether you’re creating a career path for the first time, or changing the current one, you should always weigh the advantages and disadvantages of every choice. The same goes whether you’re going to work full-time as well as for freelancing. As someone who has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years, I have seen the good and the bad of it and therefore believe I can more closely present you the biggest freelancing pros and cons so that you make an educated choice. It definitely beats uncertainty.
So let’s take a look at the freelancing pros and cons and find out if being a freelancer is the right choice for you.
Freelancing Pros and Cons: The Good
When we’re talking about freelancing pros and cons, let’s first take a look at the good being freelancer has to offer you. As you will see, there are many reasons why you might want to consider boarding the freelancing train.
Freelancing offers you a ton of flexibility, much more than a full-time job ever could. This is reflected in the fact that you can set your own schedule and work at any time of day (or night) as you please. Not all of us are high raisers and some like to stay in bed until afternoon. Freelancing allows you to work when you are most productive.
Another example of the flexibility freelancing can offer is the ability to choose who you will work with and (for the most part) choose the projects you will work on. While picking a client can often be a hit-or-miss and the client you thought would be great to work with turns out to be a total douche, at least as a freelancer you can leave whenever you want if you don’t like them. Plus, you can focus on the projects you like, rather than on something a boss hands you down.
- Better work-life balance
If you’re are married, have kids, a girlfriend or a boyfriend, you likely want to spend as much time with your family as possible. Working 9-5 won’t allow you to see your family more than a few hours every day, not to mention that you also need time for your friends and for yourself. But as a freelancer, however, you you will be much more around and can spend valuable time with your family.
This is also a good news if you’re a college student. If you need to pay for school tuitions or the like, you’ll need to find a job. Freelancing will allow you not just to earn money to pay for your college, but you will also be able to study for the exams without hurting your work in any way. Plus, freelance clients are much more willing to give an inexperienced student a chance than full-time employers.
- More income streams
When working full-time for one employer, you’ll only have an income from that one source. But as a freelancer, you’ll rarely have just one client. Most freelancers are quite capable of handling three, four or sometimes even more clients. While handling these clients at the same time might prove to be a challenge, you can use some of the freelance tools to make it easier for you. Also, you can always rest easy knowing that, if one client leaves, or is not paying on time, you have others to keep you afloat.
- Work from anywhere you want
Most people choose to freelance from home, whether because they want to be around their family more, avoid traffic jams or simply like their chair that much. But you can also freelance from anywhere else you want. All you need is a laptop, a notebook or a tablet, good WiFi and you can freelance from a coffee shop, park, beach, you name it.
- Less distractions
I won’t say that freelancers don’t get distracted by a ton of things, including babies crying, kids screaming, dogs barking, phone calls from friends who want to hang out, social media notifications and so on. But that is often nothing compared to the distractions you would have to deal with in an office environment. Plus, you can always turn off your phone and WiFi and tell those around you not to disturb you at certain hours and solve your distraction problems.
Freelancing Pros and Cons: The Bad
Of course, we can’t discuss freelancing pros and cons properly without considering the disadvantages of it. Freelancing shouldn’t be sugar-coated, so here are its cons:
- It’s less secure
Remember everything I said about being able to leave a client if you don’t like them or want to work on other projects? Well, it turns out that the same freedom applies to clients as well. If the client no longer thinks you are a good fit for their project or think they can get the same for less money, they won’t hesitate to let you go if they think their business will be better off without you.
- There are no benefits
As a full-time employee, you’ll get lots of benefits along with your paycheck, including health insurance, pension and so on. Not so with freelancing. If you’re a freelancer, you’ll have to pay these for yourself if you want them (and you probably do). This means a good chunk of the money you earn will have to go away on benefits. The guys at the Freelance Union are, however, trying to make a change in this direction and bring health insurance closer to freelancers. Unfortunately, that’s only for US freelancers and as for us in the rest of the world, we’ll just have to wait a bit longer. At the same time, Simply Business offers insurance for freelancers, so that’s also something you should consider checking out.
- Surrounding tasks
Freelancing would be much easier if all you had to do work your magic on a project. But this is never the case. In addition to writing a blog post, designing a website, developing a mobile app or whatever your role as a freelancer requires you to do, you also have to deal with a myriad of other tasks surrounding the primary one.
You’ll have to do your own taxes, find new clients, negotiate with them, maintain their projects, send invoices, keep track of invoices, chase down clients who hare late paying you and so on. In other words, if you want to be a freelancer, be prepared for a lot of work.
One important thing that being a full-time worker has access to and a freelancer doesn’t are office chats. Freelancing can make you isolated, almost to a point of being a recluse. Yes, sometimes you’ll want to get away from other people, but on other days, you’ll want someone near you to talk to you. Of course, I’m not saying that you’ll be completely isolated from other people, there’s obviously your family and friends, but being a freelancer myself I know that we can sometimes lock ourselves in too much. This is why I strongly suggest finding a coworking space to work from time to time and meet some new people like you.
Of course, things are never as black or white in life and they are not regarding freelancing pros and cons either. There’s always a “but” to both the pros and the cons of freelancing. Besides, what one person finds to be a advantage, another might consider to be a disadvantage and vice versa.
The only sensible thing then would be to decide for yourself whether being a freelancer is something you’d want to commit to.
Do you know of any other freelancing pros and cons? What are your favourite things about being a freelancer and why you wouldn’t become one? Let me know in the comments below.