Say the word freelancing and what comes to mind? For most people, the image that surfaces is most likely that of someone, comfortably clad in pajamas, sitting at home in front of a laptop with a steaming cup of tea conveniently at hand. It’s a relaxing picture, and, depending on your personality, may very well be the way you choose to work if you decide to take the freelancing plunge.
Freelancing is a great path for many, but before you take the plunge, you must know that there’s no such thing as perfect – and freelancing is no exception. It has its drawbacks as well.
Here are a few pros and cons of being a freelancer. Identify what works for you, and decide if you still want to go into it.
You work when you want
For many people, working nine-to-five simply doesn’t take advantage of their most productive and efficient hours. As a freelancer, if you work better in the early hours of the morning, or late into the night, you have the freedom of adjusting your work schedule to accommodate your best, most productive working times. You also have the flexibility to adjust your schedule so that you can live your life more fully.
You choose where you work
When you freelance, you get to choose where you work. Since you’re not reporting to a stationary office every day, you can choose where you do your freelancing work. Whether it’s at home, at a shared office space, at a friend’s house, or when you’re traveling, it doesn’t matter. As long as you get the work done then it doesn’t matter where you’re located.
Multiple streams of income
In previous generations, jobs were often ‘for life’. Nowadays, we’re lucky if a job lasts a number of years. Full-time roles no longer offer the kind of protection or security they used to. Freelancers usually have multiple income streams. If one client stops hiring them, they continue to maintain other sources of income. Also, if you have the drive, you can stand to make more money freelancing. You can take on more clients or more projects than if you were working for a company or firm.
You can fire bad clients
If you get stuck with a bad client while working for someone else, you either suck it up or quit your job. And there goes all of your work and income. But with freelancing, each client is a separate source of income. So if you come across a bad client, you can freely fire them. Why waste your precious days working on something that’s annoying you? Drop that client like a bad habit.
Inconsistent monthly income
At a company or firm, you come in, there is always work for you to do, and you’ll never be at a shortage. As a freelancer, since you’re finding your own work, it’s never guaranteed. Some months you can be rolling in a steady stream of quality work, other months your clients might not need you, or you don’t find enough work. With inconsistent incoming work comes inconsistent monthly income.
You are responsible for finding your own work
Many times with freelancing, you don’t just spend time creating, you also need to spend time finding new clients and work. When you’re employed, you come into work, and someone will give you work to do. As a freelancer, you won’t have this luxury. Occasionally, you’ll receive an email or a call from a prospective client who has heard of you through word of mouth, but for the most part, you’re the one who has to do the ‘legwork’ to get those jobs.
You have to manage yourself
Freelancers are one group of people that hardly survive without a ton of self-discipline, as they have a huge amount of responsibility resting on their shoulders. There’s nowhere to hide. You can’t blame office politics, bad bosses or co-workers. No longer will you have the luxury of passing on client problems or office mishaps to someone else. In addition to negotiating with the clients, you will also have to handle things like malfunctioning work tools and missed payments.
Freelancing is sometimes lonely. Many times, you’re on your own working on projects for clients, no one to talk, collaborate or network with. You are forced to fend for yourself. Co-working spaces have gone some way to helping the freelancer feel part of a community, but some people miss the life and support of a team.