Ever thought about quitting your nine-to-five job? Did you feel at some point that you can’t take any more of your boss’s whines? It happens. As a freelancer myself, who has been in formal employment before, I will give you some insight on what to expect if you decide to go down that road.
Notable Pros of Being a Freelancer
i. High Potential to Earn More
Freelancing is great. You have the potential to earn so much more depending on your bargaining power. Unlike a salaried job where you expect a fixed amount of income, freelancing is different. Freelance income can quickly surpass your former salary or even be more. However, this depends on how much pitching and persuasion you do for you to get clients.
ii. A Reduction in Costs
Gas and formal clothes costs are a thing of the past. Ever since I started freelancing, all these costs have come down because I don’t have to drive all the way to the office or take the train/bus. Working from home (which I do 70% of the time) has been financially friendly, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
iii. Traveling off-season
Going on holiday is a great chance to relax and refresh the mind. What I love about freelancing is that my family and I can travel off-season. As such, this is a great way to minimize the costs as everything is cheaper: from accommodation to plane tickets. In the long run, I end up saving money.
iv. Healthy Living
How many people have the discipline to work out before heading to work? It calls for a lot to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ever since I quit my day job, I realized that I had enough time to work out. Hospital visits significantly reduced which helped me cut down on such expenses.
v. Home Expenses
We all know how formal employment can sometimes be tiring. You get home, and all you want to do is take a shower and go to bed. No bonding time with your family because all you can think of is the next day’s work. Ever since I left my job, I have been able to do basic home repairs which we would typically contract somebody which has had a significant difference on the finances.
One thing for sure that I love about being a freelancer is the flexibility. How do I mean? I have the freedom to work from anywhere, anytime I want. Freelancing gives you the chance to plan your time without any supervision.
Be Your Own Boss
Have you always wanted to be your own boss? This is the perfect channel to do so. You get to choose what type of work and clients you want to take. In case you have too much work, you are at liberty to drop low-paying or stressful clients.
Work and Life Balance
As a freelancer, you have a better work and life balance. Usually, you will be able to spend more time with your family, dog and so on. Your social side can also grow as you have the freedom to decide to go out on a Thursday or Friday night.
Learning Every Aspect of Running a Business
As a freelancer, you are the salesperson, project manager as well as the bookkeeper. As such, you get to understand almost all aspects of the business. You learn how to manage your money as well as the paperwork involved.
Cons of Freelancing
Not Getting Paid
Nothing is demotivating such as working on a project for a particular client, and they end up not paying you. The truth is, it happens, and you have to be ready. Here are a few tips to avoid scammers:
- Avoid doing unpaid tests. If a client wants to see if you are a good fit, ensure that they pay for any sample work they request you to do.
- Ensure to have full contact information of the client. The street address, phone number and company website address. Such a measure helps you know how to follow up in case of late payments.
- Ask for an advance. Only commence work after some bit of commitment fee as this will act as security for both sides. In case a client is not willing to pay, that’s already a red flag.
- Have a paper trail. Get a written contract so that the client has a legal obligation to pay you.
- Don’t be in a hurry to start working for a client with the excuse that they will send you a contract in a ‘short while.’
I must say, freelancing can be unstable sometimes. Your long-term client may all of a sudden decide to terminate the contract, or simply you don’t get any more clients onboard.
You need to have a savings account for savings for rainy days as well as some investments to keep you going.
Work and Personal Time
Sometimes, since most of the times you work from home, you may end up mixing work with personal time. You need a lot of discipline to ensure that there is time allocated for work and your personal time. This will ensure that your both work and personal time is available.
No Company Benefits
A huge advantage of formal employment is that you are entitled to company benefits such as health and the retirement plans available as well as sick offs. As a freelancer, any day not worked is money lost as you are only paid when you deliver tasks assigned by clients.
If you are an introvert, you may end up staying in the house and being anti-social. You find yourself staying indoors and end up becoming a workaholic. You become non-existent to the outside world.
My advice is if you are planning to become a freelancer, think critically about the above pros and cons. People often just jump in and risk before having a plan. I’d say this is a personal decision that only you can decide if you want to venture into. The benefits may outweigh the risks, and you may find that it’s something you are willing to take a shot at. Take your time and make the right decision.