To All the People That Want To Freelance But Are Afraid To Get Started
Freelancing is a great way to make money and have more control over your schedule, but it’s not for everyone. There are pros and cons of freelancing that you should be aware of before making the decision.
The reason that you’re reading this is that you want to know if freelancing is right for you or not. You may be asking yourself questions like – do I have what it takes? What are the benefits? What does a typical day look like? And what should I expect as far as income goes?
Freelancing is not a lifestyle for the faint of heart. It can be incredibly rewarding, but it takes a lot of work and dedication to make it profitable.
Not only do you have to find clients, get past their initial screening processes, and then dedicate your time to them every day – but certain factors come with being self-employed: taxes, overhead costs (like office space), and managing cash flow.
There are plenty of pros too though! Topping the list would be flexibility in hours and location; getting paid more per hour than an employee at a traditional company would make; having autonomy over your business decisions; working with interesting people who share similar interests or passions as you do; learning new skills. I’ll be discussing them in a bit more detail so turn the volume up if you’re afraid to get started or if it’s something you’re curious about.
Ultimately there are some things you should know before diving into the freelance life head first so let me break them down for you right now…
The pros of freelancing
You have more control over your schedule and how much work you take on.
You can decide what work hours you want (provided they’re during normal business hours), and set your own schedule. The projects aren’t assigned. Since you’re bringing in the clients and projects, you’re at liberty to schedule as many (or few) as you’d like to. Only want to work 3 days a week? Go for it! (Provided you’re transparent with your clients and aren’t overpromising.)
Freelancers often make more money per hour than they would at a traditional job.
According to this and studies from Upwork skilled freelancers are well paid. The overhead costs are lower. You don’t have to pay for office space or business attire. And the added bonus is not worrying about workplace politics.
You can work anywhere.
When you have the freedom to work from home, your morning commute is a few steps to the kitchen. You can work on your laptop at night when you want or on Friday afternoons with your kids right next to you if they need help finishing their homework. You can work from anywhere in the world. Anywhere with an internet connection that is.
You get to choose who you want to work with and can focus on the work you love.
Another benefit to freelancing is YOU get to decide. You’re at liberty to focus on the projects that interest YOU and turn down the ones that don’t. You also get to pick the type of clients that you want to work with. You don’t even have to live near your clients if you choose not to!
There are no set hours, which means more flexibility in your schedule.
You can work as much or as little as you want. Or you can let it vary taking less when life calls for it, or more when you need to. There is not a typical 9-5 employee schedule; rather it is up to you to determine the scheduling details that work for you.
The cons of freelancing
It can be difficult to find a steady work/cash flow.
Finding a steady work/cash flow can be difficult as you’re not always working for a company that provides you with ongoing work. If you have slow periods, you can’t just rely on being paid by your employer or from unemployment benefits since these don’t exist in a freelancer’s world. Most of us have heard of the feast or famine cycle and do what we can to avoid it.
You have to be self-motivated and disciplined enough to keep working.
You need to motivate yourself and be disciplined to freelance. If you’re not, the freelance life is not for you. There’s no boss to tell you what to do or when to work. If you can’t get yourself going, your freelance business won’t go either.
Freelancers don’t get benefits like health insurance, 401k, or sick days
One of the biggest drawbacks to freelancing is the lack of benefits. Without guaranteed benefits, you may not be able to afford healthcare, save for retirement, or take time off when you need it most.
You wear all the hats
Freelancers wear all the hats-literally. You are the one responsible for making sure your taxes are done, your invoices are filled out, and any accounting is taken care of. This can be difficult if you’re not well-versed in these tasks.
You have to figure out how to market yourself. It’s up to you to find new clients and drum up business to keep freelancing in order to make ends meet. This means that you need to learn how to effectively market yourself or hire someone who does. If you’re not skilled in marketing this can mean that it will take much longer for you to find clients, revenue, and work than it would otherwise take when working for a company where marketing is the job of a different department.
Oh, and did I mention, you also have to produce the actual project work.
Freelancers often feel isolated without coworkers or a team
When you’re wearing all of those hats, and working from home, running the show, it’s easy to get caught up staring into a computer screen for far too long. Scheduling regular time outside of the office, and interacting with actual humans is important for your mental well-being.
Do you want to make the leap into self-employment, but are afraid it’s not for you? Freelancing has its perks, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. On the one hand, they enjoy a freedom that traditional employees don’t – being able to set their own schedules and being able to work from anywhere with an internet connection, for example. However, freelancing also comes with its share of challenges as we’ve discussed. The freelance life is not for everyone; you need to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding if freelancing is right for you!
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