In today’s economy, with the gas prices being as high as they are, having to get up and commute 20+ minutes to work sucks. What can be even worse is working underneath someone who either mismanages you or who doesn’t pay you what you’re really worth. Needless to say, few people are truly “happy” with their jobs. This is part of what makes freelancing so appealing. But when we look at some of the pros and cons of freelancing, is it really worth it?
5 Pros of Freelancing
1. Sleep In! One of the main draws of freelancing work is the fact that you get to create your own schedule. You are your own boss!
2. Cut Back on the Drive Time! If we could all avoid having to drain our bank accounts just to make it to and from work each day, we would. I recently researched my own “gas spending” and was shocked to find out that I spend $345/month just for driving to and from work. And that doesn’t even include any other miscellaneous trips!
3. Take Your Office With You! When you are a freelancer, you can take your work with you (if you have a laptop) and enjoy different settings to work in. For instance, many places offer WiFi connections such as: McDonald’s, Panera Bread and many local coffee shops.
4. Let the Creativity Flow! Sometimes when we are working in an office environment, we are forced to deal with things that are out of our control such as phones ringing, co-workers talking, doors opening and closing, meetings, etc.; but when you are your own boss, you can better control your surroundings by turning off phone ringers, etc.
5. Time of Day! Let’s face it, some of us just DO NOT function in the mornings. But then, there are those of us who roll out of bed first thing and are ready to start our day. If you think better at night, you have the freedom to work at night. This leaves your day wide open to go and play golf or catch a movie and relax before settling in to do some work in the evening…Now, how nice does that sound?
5 Cons of Freelancing
1. When Do I Get Paid? Unlike having a “normal” job, sometimes freelancers have to be a bit savvier when it comes to financial stuff. You really have to be extra careful when accepting a freelance job or gig. Find out up front how much you are supposed to get paid as well as the method of payment. Too often people get caught doing the work but never seeing the paycheck, or receiving their paycheck late.
2. Benefits Anyone? Many employers who work office jobs are offered some sort of compensation in the way of health benefits, 401k, etc. Most people who freelance will have to go it alone when it comes to these things. Or, if you’re in a relationship, you may just rely on your spouse’s benefits. Either way, it is unlikely that you will land a freelancing gig in which the person employing you is willing to offer you health benefits.
3. Distractions, Distractions! While working in an office can be excruciatingly distracting, so can working from the comfort of your own home. The result? You’re not as productive as you could be, which translates to the quality of your work sometimes suffering. When you are freelancing, you need to be really disciplined. For some people who have children or who live with others, this may mean letting others in your household know what times of day you are going to be working (so that they are considerate). If you’re the kind of person who is easily distracted by your own surroundings (ie. refrigerator, television, etc.), you may just need to pack up your stuff and head to the nearest library or coffee shoppe.
4. Are You Writing for Yourself? If you’re an entrepreneur, great! However, most freelancers write for someone else. For some, this isn’t a huge deal; but for others, it can make life somewhat mundane. Like any other job or career, you need to ask yourself whether or not you’re happy doing what you’re doing. Once you’ve figured out the answer, then you can make the changes you need.
5. How Long Will This Last? A huge thing on every freelancers mind is, “How long is this job going to last?” If you write for someone, it can sometimes put some pressure on you. After all, many freelancers don’t meet their employers face-to-face. Job security is a huge issue nowadays as well. What are you charging the person to do work for them? If you responded to an ad, what are they charging you? Freelancing is competitive because there are now increasing numbers of people who want the benefit of working from home and earning a decent salary. However, you need to remember that as a freelancer, you are almost always the employee, which means that if it’s costing the employer more money than he or she thinks it’s worth to do a particular job, they won’t hesitate to find a replacement!
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Have any tips, advice or stories about freelancing that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Michael Rasmussen