The Pros and Cons of Freelancing
Not having to get out of your pyjamas while doing work, setting your own schedule and being your own boss are just a few of the reasons freelancing looks amazing at first glance. However there are several aspects of the freelancing business which can leave you with a sour tasted in your mouth.
Many idealistic people enter the freelancing world thinking it will be a doddle with no drawbacks. Their eyes are soon opened when they are chasing their first pay-cheque or the loneliness of being a lone-working-wolf sets in.
Don't get me wrong, freelancing can be a fantastic option for many, but before you make the jump you should know the details.
Here are a few of the pros and cons of the freelancing business.
You Keep All of the Profits
If you take the leap you'll no longer work for a flat rate. The bigger the project, the more money you make. And guess what? After taxes, that money is all yours to do whatever you want with. You work for you and you make money for you!
Work Wherever You Want
Whether you're on a plane flying over the Atlantic or sitting in your front room, it does not matter one little bit as long as you can consistently get your work done well. One of the most attractive aspects of working as a freelancer is that, for the majority of projects, you can work from anywhere.
You're the Top Dog
When you are an employee, you rarely get to chose who you'll work for. This is not a problem for freelancers. If you don't like a particular company's policy or any aspect of their business and you would prefer not to be associated with them, guess what? You don't have to be.
One of the biggest advantages of becoming a freelancer is that you get to work flexible hours. If you're not a morning person or if you have other personal obligations, it does not matter as long as you get the job done by deadline.
Use the Equipment you Want to Use
If that slow 1990's computer in your office is one of the reasons you don't like going to work in the morning, then freelancing may be for you. Freelancers can use their own personal equipment and nobody will mind. Once again, the most important thing in a freelancer's world is the end product, not how or where it gets done.
Not Getting Paid
The late American columnist Robert Benchley once said: “The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” This is the biggest problem the freelancing community face - payment. When a job is done you have to write up an invoice and bill your client. After which you will often have to chase payments, as most companies prioritise their regular staff's salary over payments to contractors.
Some weeks you'll have more work than you know what to do with and other weeks you'll be left twiddling your thumbs. This disparity in workloads will also lead to an inequity in pay-packets. If you expect your income to be regular and steady, then you are in for a shock when you enter the freelancing market.
Water cooler conversations and Monday morning catch-ups become a thing of the past once you make the jump to freelancer status. A lack of colleagues to interact with isn't for everyone and if you need company in the workplace then this aspect may be a deal-breaker for you.
Lack of Benefits
Pension, health insurance, capital, phone and energy bills will be all paid for by you if you decide to become an independent contractor. Holiday pay is another benefit which will disappear; although you can do your work while on holiday, but who wants to be working on their vacation.
The freelancing life is a great one if it suits you, but if you are considering making the jump you should weigh up all these advantages and disadvantages to see if it is what you really want.