It’s no secret that being a freelancer has its up’s and down’s. But how do you know if it’s a lifestyle for you? What are the pro’s and con’s? Here are my thoughts on the subject (partly taken from my book being released in winter/spring next year).
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you’re picturing a freelancer? Someone doing creative work from their bed or living room? Maybe even while wearing a PJ? There are many conceptions about freelancers, their careers and how we actually make a living out of what we love. Not surprisingly, more and more employees around the world commit to a full-time freelance career to 1) become their own boss and 2) work with what they love EVERY day. According to Forbes Magazine, freelancers now make up 35% of the workforce in the U.S. and this number is still rising. Still, it’s not a bed of roses being a freelancer – something most people only realize when giving up all safety in order to start a brand new chapter. It’s never too late, though. Too late for trying or too late for quitting because this world just wasn’t for you. But before you jump to any conclusions, here are a few advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer.
1. Work from wherever you want
The initial reason I became a freelancer can be boiled down to one single word: freedom. With freedom comes responsibility, but if you manage it right, you can work from anywhere in the world. As long as you have a laptop and a decent WiFi connection – and a few dollars for coffee, cause that’s surely a friend in need when you’re facing heavy deadlines! 🙂
2. Be your own boss
Obviously, working from anywhere you want and having ultimate freedom while working is most often connected to being your own boss. While more and more companies on a global scale outsource their work force, nothing compares to being the captain of your own ship. Yes, it’s scary at times and yes, there will (most likely) be times where you’re dreaming of a fixed salary and a friendly boss telling you what to do, but it’s also very rewarding. You’re the one in charge of the assignments you take in (if you’re lucky and work well, this means you never again have to work with stuff you don’t like) and you alone decide who you’d like to work for and with. If you have a hard time with authorities, this is certainly a big plus!
3. Increased income potential
Have you ever worked on a project for someone who was charging the customer ten times the amount you were getting paid (for doing all the work?!) Being a freelancer means you’re in full control of charging whatever you feel your work is worth and you alone can keep the money after expenses are paid. The best part? The more effort you put into finding clients and work, the more income potential you get. What a glorious feeling!
4. Work when you want
By now, most employers know that keeping an employee fixed to his desk for 8-9 straight hours a day, rarely increases productivity and the general well-being of the worker. There’s simply too much downtime. Productivity hits for 3-4 hours per day (in general) and as a freelancer, you can take advantage of this by planning your day according to when you feel most productive and when your client expects the tasks to be done. Personally, I’m most productive in the morning and early afternoon, so if someone would force me to work (and expecting great results) at 5PM, I’d be in trouble. Don’t misunderstand me; being a freelancer demands a lot of work and structure, but then again, you have the flexibility to adjust your schedule, which in the end grants you more time to enjoy life the way you want to. I’m also quite fond of being able to schedule meetings, medical appointments and coffee dates with friends during weekdays as opposed to having to ask permission from a boss.
1. Work harder to earn more
This probably makes sense, but it’s a common mistake to assume that you can easily earn the same salary being a freelancer as when you were employed. Being paid-per-hour or on a project-basis, you often have to find more work to survive and this means working harder. You also have to say goodbye to a handful of employee benefits like paid sick leave, paid vacation time and health insurance. These are all things you need to take into consideration before deciding if this lifestyle is for you. I usually say that freelancing gives you freedom, but it also take it back somehow. It’s up to you to plan it and get comfortable with a lifestyle that’s certainly easier in some ways, but also harder in others.
2. Wear a lot of different hats
Once you get your business going, you’ll realize that it’s not only about getting a client and delivering work on time. What about all the administrative work? The book keeping? The marketing and advertising? Some freelancers hire other freelancers or VA’s to be able to focus on their core work, but if you want to save money (which you most probably want to in the beginning), chances are you’ll use 5-10 hours per week on all these other tasks that are needed to make your business run smoothly.
3. You’re responsible for…everything
If you deliver unsatisfying work, your laptop breaks down or your phone bill explodes after endless phone conversations with clients, well, there’s only one go-to-person, and that’s yourself. One of the luxuries of being an employee is that you’re rarely alone with a task or a client. Being a freelancer means that you have to deal with difficult clients, missing payments, broken laptops and general frustrations on your own, but that’s part of the package – and when you overcome these things, it feels like a small victory!
Becoming a freelancer will undoubtedly change your life! Are you unsure if it’s for you? Or do you want to learn more about freelancing in general? Then I’d love to hear from you! 🙂 Send me an email to schedule a meeting.