For many people, freelancing presents a very different way of working—and with it comes many benefits and pitfalls. When you’re deciding whether to pursue or persevere with a freelance career, it can be difficult to weigh those up. However, there’s one stand-out pro and one noticeable con of the freelance lifestyle, and these might help to make your mind up.
#1 Pro: Freedom
Undoubtedly, the biggest advantage for most freelancers is having complete freedom over their life. As a freelancer, you’re free to work from wherever you want, which could be anywhere in the world, and decide on your perfect working environment. You’re free to control and manage your time, choosing a working pattern that suits your body clock and lifestyle (which might be no pattern at all). You’re free to do the work you want to do, with the clients you want to work with, and in the way you want to do it. You’re free to make the decisions and solve the problems. You’re free to be yourself. And you’re free to pursue your own goals and dreams.
For me, this leads to many smaller benefits. On a day-to-day level, I can get up when I want to, work from the garden with my cat, wear comfortable clothes, take a long lunch to meet friends or family, and work when I feel motivated. On a bigger scale, it means I get to set my own income, take as many days holiday a year as I like, and choose which direction I take my business in.
#1 Con: Many hats
As with many things in life, the biggest strength is also the biggest weakness. So on the other side of the coin, the freedom you get as a freelancer also means you’re doing everything on your own, which can be overwhelming and challenging at times. As a freelancer, you’re the CEO, the marketer, the salesperson, the finance director, the relationship manager, the admin assistant, the accountant, and the doer. This not only requires learning a lot about various areas, but also being comfortable switching hats regularly.
For me, this creates many smaller disadvantages. On a day-to-day level, I don’t just have today’s tasks to do, but I also have to track my finances, work on business growth, keep my clients updated, and promote myself. On a bigger scale, it means I have to learn the art of business, sales, and marketing to take my company in the right direction.
So, freedom is an amazing benefit and wearing many hats is a major pitfall. Which tips the balance? Well, there are many ways to mitigate the latter, while it’s very difficult to achieve the former from a 9-5 or employed lifestyle. As a freelancer, you can take off a few hats (or pass them on) by subcontracting, outsourcing, building a team of professionals, or developing a strong freelance network. You can hire an accountant, a VA, a social media expert, and a business coach—and all of these people can help you in the areas you’re struggling with. For me, this tips the balance in favour of freelancing. But I would say that, wouldn’t I? 🙂
Stay tuned for more freelance tips and insights every week on A Freelance Life…