Freelancing - a term many people link to being at the beach in Bali and sipping your 3rd Mojito while doing some casual, enjoyable work from your laptop. Unfortunately, the reality is a bit different and although the following content might crush your dreams, you will at least be equipped with insights into the pros and cons of freelancing. If you are a complete newbie and would like to start looking for freelance jobs, check these sites: Freelancer, Sologig and Upwork. Also, make sure to join Slack Community for Growth-Minded Freelancers.
Freelancing undoubtedly gives you freedom, however good self-discipline, risk-taking, and persistence are necessary. Before suddenly quitting your full-time job and rushing into a freelance career, read the following pros and cons to find out whether it is really what you’re looking for.
You get the freedom everyone keeps talking about
Pros: Long gone are the days when you would find a company, get a desk, and stay at the same spot for the next 25 years. Nowadays, more than ever, young people are not afraid of job hopping and are regularly seeking new challenges, environments, and experiences. Some studies show that ‘45% of newly hired college grads remain with a company for under two years' and by the age of 35, about 25% of young employees have had five jobs.
Freelancing is becoming more popular every year: currently, 57.3 million Americans are doing freelance jobs. One of the main reasons people choose this lifestyle is that it gives them more freedom to organize themselves and set their schedule. Indeed, when working as a freelancer, you are the one setting the schedule of your work and you have much more flexibility. You don’t have to wake up and start working at a specific time, and if you prefer working overnight, you are completely free to do so.
Cons: Although you are your own boss, you still have to respect your client’s deadlines. To help you manage your time wisely, check this article to find out the 9 Rules for Successful Management.
You can work from your bed
Pros: How many times have you wished to stay in your pajama and work from bed? Being a freelancer, you can actually do so! The casual work attire indeed sounds great, not to mention saving money on fancy work clothes.
Although being a freelancer does not guarantee you a stable salary, it, however, helps cut some costs. One of the biggest expenses when working for a company is the cost of transport. Working as a freelancer, you can finally quit your daily, annoying commute and can move to the cozy spot in the coffee place around the corner. If you feel like talking to other people and exchanging your insights and ideas, joining a co-working shared space is also a good idea. Check these sites to find shared spaces and offices around the world: Sharedesk, Share My Space and LiquidSpace.
Cons: Working from home might be nice in the beginning, however, you can easily become lazy. If you work from home, you need to organize your schedule and stick to it, otherwise, you can lose both your time and motivation!
You can finally unleash your creativity
Pros: Being a freelancer, you can finally use your own approach to get work done! Although you have less guidance, you do have more creative freedom and can fully realize a project in your own way. As a freelancer, you can indeed reach your full potential and do stuff you actually love. If you mess up, you take responsibility and learn from it. And, you appreciate your effort more than someone else ever will.
Cons: Working by yourself is awesome in the beginning, but at one point, you might feel lonely and could lack ideas. Forming a community with other freelancers is a good idea, as you can help and support each other. If you lack inspiration, talking to people you don’t know very well always helps. They might be thinking in a different way than you are and can share their unique perspective with you.
It is a big risk
Working as a freelancer often means sitting in a corner of a coffee place, drinking your fifth coffee of the day while stressing out about the project’s deadlines and hoping that it will cover your monthly bills. It often happens that freelancers do a job but never see the paycheck or receive it late. Check these cool apps to help you keep track of your finances: FreeAgent, Anna, and QuickBooks. When working as a freelancer, you should always know when, and how much you’re going to get paid. Signing a contract with the company is a good idea as it gives you more security. A good platform which enables you and your network to get documents signed is SignRequest. They make the process quick, easy and legally binding for both parties, maintaining the highest standards of security.
When it comes to offering the price for your work, keep in mind that there is an increasing number of freelancers and the industry is becoming quite competitive. If it is costing the employer more money than she thinks it’s worth to do a particular job, she indeed can easily find a replacement.
However, the good news is that when companies hire freelancers, they are usually not making as much of a commitment as for when hiring a full-time employee, so they might be willing to hire someone with a less impressive resume for a one-time job. This means it might be easier to find a job!
Finally, keep in mind that as a freelancer, you are considered as self-employed, so you must file your taxes as a business owner. You can find more info here: How To Pay Taxes as a Freelancer and Freelancers and Taxes.
You are now familiar with the pros and cons of freelancing, but how can you know if this career is actually for you? According to experts, a good freelancer has these personality traits: good time management, high sociability, patience and adaptability, little need for sleep, a head full of ideas, and the ability to multi-task! How many of these traits describe you? If you’re still uncertain whether a freelance career is for you or not, do these quizzes!
Finally, no matter what you go for, the most important question you have to ask yourself is whether the job will make you happy or not! After that, everything else will fit in place! Good luck!