The freelance industry impacts many job opportunities. There are photographers, data entry specialists, writers, editors, virtual assistants, social media managers, graphic designers, call center agents, marketing experts, online tutors… you name it. And there’s one thing we know for sure: this global trend isn't getting any smaller anytime soon.
From what we do know, 50% of millennial workers are already freelancing. In 2017, 57.3 million people did freelance work in the U.S. The industry is growing so strong that it’s predicted that freelancers will make up the majority of the U.S. workforce by 2027. Those are the expectations outlined in the most comprehensive measure of the independent workforce in the U.S. – a report called Freelancing in America: 2017.
The good news is that people are increasingly relying on freelancing by choice. It’s not because they don’t have a “normal” job and they just take what the job market offers. It’s because of deliberate preference.
That changes everything. It means we’re getting into a new era of work, which is more independent and more project-focused than ever before. If you’re not the type of person who’s after a traditional 9-to-5 job, freelancing will be perfect for you. Or will it?
As with any other career choice, there are ups and downs with freelancing, too. You have to be aware of the realistic situation before you get into this. That’s why we are providing lists of the major pros and cons of starting a freelancing career. The choice will be easier to make once you review these two lists.
The Pros of Freelancing
1. You Are Your Own Boss
You get to apply to jobs you’d like to complete. You decide to get as much workload as you’re willing to complete. Of course, you’ll get deadlines for that work, but the way you organize your time is all on you.
Working with a flexible schedule is great, since you can plan all kinds of activities throughout the day. Parents, in particular, get a chance to spend a lot of time with their kids and do some work while they are napping.
The beauty of freelancing is that you can always make a change. You may search for other clients from the same niche. They will give you similar type of work, but there’s always something exciting to discover with each new client.
“We’re doing our best to keep things fun for our freelance writers. If you give them the same topic over and over again, they will quickly reach the burn-out point. That’s why we spice things up and push them to discover new interests. The variety keeps their work fun and engaging,” shares Natalie Stuart, a managing director at the freelance company AU Best Essays.
3. No Need to Dress Up
Most freelancers work from home. Some like office space solutions, so they can interact with other freelancers and get inspired along the way. Whatever the case is, there’s no dress code for this type of job.
If you don’t feel like getting out of your pajamas today, you don’t have to. If you don’t feel like spending money on anything but sportswear, you don’t have to. Just do your job. No one cares what you’re wearing.
4. You Can Stay Healthy
Healthy life is difficult to maintain with a traditional office job. You have to get ready early, so oftentimes, there’s no time for a run in the morning. You can eat fruit for breakfast, but you can’t really cook yourself a warm meal for lunch. People are bringing donuts and coffee into the office all the time. And you can’t avoid going out for a drink or two after work.
When you work from home, you’re the boss of your eating and drinking habits. You will have time to cook, and you can make yourself as many smoothies as you can drink. There’s time for exercise, too!
5. No Need for Commuting
When your office and home are a long distance from each other, it can be an exhausting experience that drains your energy twice a day. So, saving a couple of hours daily is a great advantage of going freelance. You are free to spend this time on whatever makes sense to you and adds value to your life. The point here is good prioritization which doesn’t let you waste these 6-10 extra hours every week.
6. It Saves Money
Not working a traditional job with a commute, etc. can deliver some real cost-savings. If you can wear your existing clothing you save hundreds annually not purchasing a separate professional wardrobe. That commute that robs you of hours each day also robs you of gas money, increased car maintenance costs, tolls and parking fees. In addition, the costs of purchasing food/coffee while at the office or after work hours can exceed hundreds of dollars each month.
The Cons of Freelancing
1. Irregular Payment Schedule
The grand flexibility comes at a price. You want to work less this month? That means you’ll be making less money. If you’re not committed enough to freelancing, it will hardly pay your bills. To turn this into a real career, you’ll have to make a clear plan and complete the minimum workload you need to for the month, even if you have to push yourself to complete the tasks.
2. You Have to Take Care of the Taxes
When you have a “normal” job, you get a fixed pay and that money is yours. The money you make with freelancing, however, is not all yours. Some of it will have to cover the taxes. It’s recommended to plan at least 30% of your full income to pay the income tax and self-employment tax.
That sounds like too much? Well, I guess you’ll have to work a bit more, so you’ll make more money!
Too much freedom to plan your time can lead to an extreme you’d like to avoid: procrastination. You know you have work today. But your friend comes by for a cup of coffee and the conversation goes on for hours. You start late and you’re already too tired to do the work, so you simply decide you’ll continue tomorrow.
If you’re not able to muster some self control and time management skills, you’ll procrastinate all the time.
4. The Competition Is Crazy!
Check that data from the beginning of the article once again. There are too many freelancers out there! Choose any niche; you can be sure that you’ll still have tons of competition. This makes it hard for beginner freelancers to get started. Once you complete that first job, you’ll have to compete to get the next one, and the next one… and the next one.
As any other career, freelancing comes with its pros and cons. When you’re committed enough to it, however, you’ll overcome the downsides and you’ll work your way up! Are you willing to make that effort?
About the Author: Sophia Anderson is a blogger and a freelance writer. She is passionate about covering topics on learning, writing, business, careers, self-improvement, motivation and others. She believes in the driving force of positive attitude and constant development.