Work from home, yes please! Freelancing sounds great, and it is, but it's not for everyone. Before you decide to quit your job and start freelancing, make sure it's right for you.
Below is a list of the pros and cons of freelancing. While I'm sure it is a different experience for everyone, these are based on my experience and may offer some insight.
Let's get the cons out of the way first.
Cons of freelancing
- As a freelancer each client has some control over how your day will pan out, how much you earn and the final decision on projects. Some days, instead of having the one boss it can feel like you have many.
- Working alone can get lonely. Of course there are ways around this, like joining meet up groups, working from a co-working space, or joining online communities (like ours!).
- Your time is money. For most freelancers, your time plays a big role in how much income you earn. Every minute you're not working can leave you feeling guilty that you're not earning and this can make it harder to unwind and switch off.
- It can feel like you are always on call. You need to be available to respond to your clients so unless you have an assistant, you will usually always be 'on call'. This makes it harder to take vacation and you will often find yourself working during your vacations, on weekends and after hours, especially if you have clients in many different time zones. But, if you love your work, it's not always a bad thing. You can circumnavigate this by strategically managing your clients expectations, which we will discuss in a future post.
- You need to be good at motivating yourself. With freedom also comes distractions and consequently, procrastination. You don't have a supervisor breathing down your neck, pushing you to complete deadlines. You need to become good at motivating yourself in order to sell your services to new clients. This is when having a deeper drive, like inspiring or helping people, is good to focus on to push you through.
- Income isn't as steady and you no longer receive benefits. I was torn as to whether to list this as a con or pro. In my opinion, this is a con in the short-term but pro in the long run. Yes it can be scary at first not receiving a steady paycheck with benefits and you should have some money saved up before diving straight into freelancing, but in the long run, there is no limit to how much you can earn and staying in your job can be a very risky move as we discussed in a previous post.
And now for the pro's!
Pros of freelancing
- You can make your own schedule. Being your own boss provides you the freedom to make your own schedule. If you'd prefer to sleep in and stay up late or vice versa, you can. If you want to take Monday off but work Saturday instead, you can. It's up to you to determine how hard or how much you want to work.
- Depending on the line of work, a lot of freelancers have the freedom to work from anywhere. As you're not required to be in the office/workspace each day, all that is needed is an internet connection. (Case in point; I'm currently writing this sitting in a rental RV on the Californian coast.)
- Your income is directly impacted by your work and there is no limit to how much you can earn. No longer do you have to wait for your boss to notice your work, your next performance review or the next round of pay rises. If you are good at what you do and you are willing to work hard and smart, you will see the financial rewards. Your time may be limited but the more value you bring to your customers the more you will earn. Focus on value.
- You can work on projects that you love. You can pick and choose the projects that you want to work on and this means working on projects that you love. Work doesn't really feel like work when you love it!
While I've written more cons than pros, to me the pros by far outweigh the cons. Just being able to work on projects that I love was a big enough reason for me to leave the corporate world behind.
If you're a freelancer, we'd love to know what your experience has been like. Comment below and let us know what have been your pros and cons.