When it comes to freelancing, there seems to be a big divide between the people who think that freelancing = freedom and those who feel it takes over your life, giving you multiple bosses and zero work-life balance. So which is the truth? Is freelancing really freeing? Having freelanced for over a decade, I’ll give you my honest view on whether freelancing really equals freedom.
While most freelancers don’t go around yelling about their freedom Braveheart-style, many of the freelancers I meet are quick to mention the joy of being free of the corporate, 9-5 world. These are some of the freedom-enhancing aspects of freelancing:
- Time: With the freelance lifestyle, you can do what you want with your time. From getting up when it suits you to managing your own hours, taking long lunches, taking random days off, and having as many days holiday as you like. Your time is yours to do with as you please.
- Working environment: Many freelancers work from home, where they can create their perfect working environment. From working in the garden or coffee shop to wearing what’s comfortable, getting the temperature right, being free of distractions, and freelancing on the road while travelling.
- Career: In a career sense, freelancers are their own boss, and this means they set their own direction, rely on themselves for success, grow their business as much as they want, and pursue their own dreams instead of someone else’s.
Of course, freelancing also has its constraints—and these aspects can make it feel less freeing at times, for example:
- Stability: In a basic sense, freelance work is unstable, meaning your earnings are irregular and uncertain. Because of this, your focus is often on earning enough to get by. You might worry about where your next job will come from or take on too much work to guarantee some earnings.
- Benefits: You don’t get employee benefits such as a pension, sick pay, holiday pay, etc. You’re responsible for all of these yourself, which means setting aside money to cover times when you’re not earning.
- Responsibilities: Another factor is that you’re not just doing your job. You’re wearing many hats—marketing yourself, finding clients, competing against other freelancers, choosing the best market, managing your finances, and developing a network. Basically, it’s all on you—every decision and every action is yours to make.
While freelancing does have its constraints—these generally mean it isn’t easy, rather than less freeing. What’s more, the freeing aspects generally carry more weight for freelancers than the difficulties do. It’s much easier to deal with many hats and a lack of stability when you experience the freedom that freelancing offers.
Freelancing gives you freedom in your time, working environment, career, and—importantly—pursuing your own dreams in life. But you have to set boundaries, plan downtime, and deal with multiple responsibilities. It’s true that freelancing can be challenging and really isn’t the lifestyle for everyone—but if it is for you, then freedom truly can await.
What’s your verdict? Is freelancing freeing or limiting? Comment below or get in touch.