As a freelancer, you have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, set your own hours, and be your own boss.
On the plus side, when you’re a freelancer, you can enjoy a great deal of freedom with your work. You can set your own hours, work from home or anywhere else you please, and take on as much or as little work as you want.
Additionally, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of a daily commute or office politics.
On the downside, freelancers often have to deal with not having a guaranteed income or benefits can be a bit of a downer.
Ultimately, it depends on the kind of person you are and what you’re looking for in your career. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of freelancing so you can make the best choice for your life.
Benefits of freelancing
For me, there were so many pros of freelancing that I took the leap without even considering the downsides. There are many parts of that process that I would go back and do over if I could to have saved myself from the headaches.
Despite all of the setbacks, the freedom, joy, and opportunities that have come from freelancing far outweighed the downsides in my own life, it just took awhile for me to feel that.
Here are the top four benefits of being a freelancer:
1. Work from anywhere in the world
One of the most appealing benefits is the ability to work from anywhere in the world. With the internet, freelancers can connect with clients and complete work no matter where they are. This means you get to choose where you live, how you work, and what you get to experience in life.
For many people who want to freelance, the freedom and flexibility is a huge draw. You can work from anywhere in the world and be your own boss. What’s not to love?
2. Unlimited income potential
Another amazing plus of being a freelancer is the unlimited income potential.
When you freelance, you are in control of your own earnings and can make as much money as you want or need. This can be a great way to achieve financial freedom and live the lifestyle you want.
Compared to a normal 9-5 where your income is completely capped or only experiences an increase every few years, this can dramatically improve the lives of new freelancers. Of course, it takes hard work and dedication to succeed as a freelancer, but the rewards can be very worth it.
3. No set work schedule
In addition to those first two, not having a set work schedule can be a great addition to the lives of most freelancers.
You can choose when to work and how much to work, which gives you a lot of flexibility. This can be a great way to manage your time if you have other commitments, such as family or school. But it can also be a great way to procrastinate if you’re not careful!
Additionally, scheduling your projects flexibly can help you avoid burnout, since you can take time off when you need it or short out your workday if you get tired. Your projects can happen at a time that works best for all involved and that’s a beautiful thing.
4. Learn something new everyday
Arguably the most satisfying aspect of freelancing is the fact that you are almost forced to learn something new everyday. This is so beneficial because it keeps your brain active and it prevents you from getting bored with your work.
As a freelancer, you don’t have to stick to a single career path. You can switch between different types of jobs and eventually find one that you really enjoy.
While some people think that constantly switching careers is bad, others believe that it can lead to new career opportunities and a better fit with your skills and personal goals.
Downsides of freelancing
Now that we’ve got all of the good stuff out of the way, it’s time to get real. Freelancing isn’t for everyone and definitely isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, especially when you’re first starting out.
It’s important to assess the potential upsides and downsides for your own life situation prior to getting started or going all in. No matter what you read, watch, or hear (even from this blog post), you’re going to have to live with the choices so choose wisely my friends.
Here are the four biggest downsides to being a freelancer:
1. No guaranteed income or benefits
A major downside of freelance work is that you’re not guaranteed an income.
This can be a real problem when you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, and it’s something you need to be prepared for before you take the plunge into freelancing. This lack of consistent income is due to varying levels of client work which also might be project based rather than recurring. So there’s no way to predict future income reliably.
On the same note, you don’t get any paid time off, sick days, or medical benefits from freelancing. All of the responsibilities of running your own business fall on your shoulders, which can be a real shock to the system
2. Isolation and loneliness
On top of money issues, freelancing and being your own boss can be extremely lonely. You might not have anyone to talk to about your client work except for your own dog (or cat).
Even when you’re feeling unmotivated or isolated, you have to keep pushing forward with your projects anyway to keep your commitments or else you won’t get paid.
Part of the isolation comes from not having an office filled with coworkers who you’ll see everyday or a lack of a structured commute to see familiar faces each day. If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend one too many days, nights, and weekends alone in your house working non stop without any meaningful breaks and that’s when the deep despair and loneliness creeps in.
3. Lack of a supporting team
The isolation mentioned above is compounded by the fact that you don’t have a team, manager, or mentor right beside you whose job it is to help you navigate difficult situations.
As a freelancer, you are your own boss, manager, and mentor and that’s a LOT of responsibility to have when you’re still learning the ins and outs of running your own business.
It’s easy to get frustrated at unideal working environments, but being surrounded by like minded people at work is necessary for productivity and happiness. When you’re freelancing, you have to find ways to create that workplace culture all by yourself.
4. Crazy work schedule
Despite the ability to make your own schedule, in reality, the first few months of freelancing aren’t going to feel like you’re in complete control of that schedule.
There will be deadlines to meet, clients to pitch, and projects to start and finish within tight timeframes. When you’re starting out, it’s likely you’ll have to put in a lot of hours outside of the normal 9-5 that you’re used to in order to meet those deadlines and ensure that your clients are happy.
Yes, if you’re anything like me, you can say goodbye to a lot of your nights and weekends. It can be really rough.
So….is freelancing worth it?
In my completely biased opinion…
Yes. Freelancing is 100% worth it.
It’s benefited me in more ways than I can express and has completely transformed the quality of my life.
To be honest, I don’t think everyone was meant to be a freelancer or a business owner, but for those of you who want to make a few hundred extra bucks per month, break free from an abusive boss, or pursue a passion project on the side, freelancing can be a huge blessing.
If nothing else, you can give it a try on the weekends or a few hours a week to see if it works for you.