Business

Pros And Cons Of Freelancing

Freelancing And Freelancers

In the twenty-first century, many people started working as individual contractors. Many of them became remote workers in industries that don’t require an employee to be physically present. The software developers take up a large part of the freelance market, along with designers, translators, and copywriters. The freelancer status comes with opportunities as well as setbacks compared to traditional employment.

Here we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing, compared to employment at a company. Note that this article compares an average freelancer with an average employer. This implies roughly the same body of work and responsibilities, as well as the living expenses. Think of the two people working in the same city, living in the same area, and buying their stuff in the same mall. Maybe they are friends and share their experiences every once in a while.

Pros Of Freelancing And How To Benefit From Them

Flexible Schedule

You work for yourself. Find a client, contact them, sell your service, and receive the payment. Do this when it’s convenient for you: no nine-to-five, no schedule, you make the rules. Start the work at six a.m. or finish late at night. This flexibility, however, is not the only advantage a freelancer gets over their employed counterpart. A person with a flexible schedule can avoid traffic, lines, and rush hours pretty much all the time. This is especially convenient for various appointments and leisure. Cinemas are always empty at 3 pm on Wednesdays.

No Commute

Freelancers usually work from home. This is self-explanatory and doesn’t need any clarification. The extra time saved from commuting can be used in many ways, sure, but it also contributes greatly to happiness. A psychological study found that there is a strong negative correlation between average commute time and happiness. It makes this seemingly small change a game-changer for many of those who switched to freelance from traditional employment.

No Coworkers

For many people dealing with multiple connections at once is difficult. Remembering names, birthdays and other details is not easy, and few people like the corporate culture. It is especially true for more introverted people who expend energy in social interactions and need solitude to replenish it. Freelancers are usually lone wolves, and for their work, it is only necessary to communicate with customers. This frees a lot of mental energy for social interactions and constructive activities.

Fewer Obligations

In general, freelancers have fewer obligations on them. No set time limit for work, no schedule other than the deadline and lunches at a certain time. It is well-known that the human brain is at its peak performance at the beginning of the day, and some people experience a “second breath” at night. The freedom in scheduling allows freelancers to use this productive time for work, not for commute or Netflix binges.

Scaling Up

Every freelancer is an entrepreneur, to some extent. There is marketing, keeping track of bills and taxes, a portfolio to manage, maybe even a personal website. This also creates a potential to scale up. It is easier to set up a business for an experienced freelancer, with inside knowledge, connections, and skills. The process usually starts with delegating and outsourcing parts of the projects and ends with the creation of a full-fledged enterprise.

Cons Of Freelancing And How To Offset Them

Higher Entry Cost

The freelancing market is very competitive. Especially after covid-19 that led to many people being fired. There are millions of people looking for side hustles or additional income, and getting an upper hand in this competition is difficult. Contrary to popular opinion, the relevant work experience is more important for freelancers than it is for employees, as an empty portfolio will often scare away the customer. There are also upfront investments related to purchasing the necessary equipment since there is no employer to provide it now.

Possible solutions. There are two ways to deal with this issue. The first one is to get some job experience. It will provide connections and relevant skills. As an alternative, it is possible to find a friend of a friend who needs your service and work for them. You’ll have to lower the price at first to compensate for the lack of experience. The second option is to make a few mock projects, but this is time-consuming and won’t cover the bills and equipment costs.

Lower Income

An average freelancer usually earns less than their employed counterpart, especially at the beginning of their career. It is related to the entry cost, as well as to the specifics of the market itself: customers are looking for a cheap bargain. There is not much you can do other than grind for experience and increase the price gradually. As mentioned before, every freelancer is an entrepreneur, and pricing is an important part of building a sustainable and profitable venture.

Lack Of Social Life

The absence of communication within work becomes surprisingly daunting for many people. Even introverted people tend to struggle with this issue, craving for a water cooler chat or a coffee with a colleague. Undoubtedly, communication with other humans is vital for mental health, and freelancers often sacrifice their social life in favor of work.

Possible solutions. Being conscious about social life is important. Joining a local club or some learning group is usually a good idea. Going out with friends is a good idea, and playing multiplayer games is a blast and creates a social environment as good as visiting the bar on weekends. These meetings should be regular: one or two times a week is usually enough to sustain sanity.

Lack Of External Motivation

In the office, there is a task list, a set time to work, and a manager who keeps track of your progress. These are nonexistent for a freelancer working from home, and many people find themselves unable to keep up with the work without these constraints. Indeed, our brains are unable to hold large amounts of information for a long time. Task lists, outlines, and other irritating parts of the corporate culture are essential for successful and productive work.

Possible solutions. Planning is one of the skills a freelancer has to learn to survive. Coming up with a schedule, a roadmap, and a task list is relatively easy. It is holding yourself accountable to these that proves to be the main challenge. Managers and working hours in the office provide extrinsic motivation, and the brain is primed to use it as a guideline to action. Intrinsic motivation, i.e. a person’s judgment, is much harder to abide by. It takes resources and skill.

There are ways to turn intrinsic motivation into extrinsic: making a schedule, setting up notifications, and planning. Outlining these will take another article or even a book, so we advise a curious reader to have a look at “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.

Burnout

Work-life balance is hard enough with set working hours. Carving time for family, friends, household chores, and a couple of gym sessions a week proves to be a challenge, and freelancing seems to be the way to free up some time. In reality, work expands to take up the time allocated to do it (Parkinson’s law), and many mew freelancers fall into this trap. This is especially true for people who love their job. At some point the work week exceeds forty hours, then fifty, then the Saturdays become workdays, then Sundays. This is dangerous and inevitably leads to burnout.

Possible solutions. Again, scheduling is the key here. Prioritizing health overwork, refusing contracts that are too time-constrained or demanding, making sure every project gets finished are important parts of it. It is usually a good idea to set a standard forty-hour work week for yourself at first. Follow this schedule until the workload stabilizes, build routines and workflow, automate what can be automated.

Afterword

The freelancing market is still growing and changing, and many nuisances to it cannot fit into one article. However, If you feel inspired by the idea of getting more freedom and space for professional growth, start your freelance job here. Find the vacancies that suit your experience and aspirations the most. Don’t forget about another crucial point. There is a resemblance between a freelancer and an entrepreneur. A good freelancer knows how to market their services, price them accordingly and even delegate parts of their work. It provides the actual freedom and most of the advantages of this lifestyle. 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button