Freelancing: The Pros and Cons
The global work force is changing and with it comes the rise of the temporary worker, more commonly known as a Freelancer. Freelancers are part of a growing economy called the gig economy and in a recent EY Global Contingent Workforce Study, it found that by the year 2020 one in five workers will consider themselves a freelancer.
At Project T, we champion the freelance worker, through our flexible and convenient coworking spaces and virtual office solutions in the Philippines. In this blog post we want to look at the pros and cons of being a freelancer, to see if it is the right career choice for you.
First, let’s start with the Freelancing Cons:
Security and Stability
One of the biggest perks of being a freelancer is the flexibility (we will discuss this in detail later), but along with this perk comes the biggest risks, security and stability. When you are a freelancer projects will come and go, without your control and they are controlled by the company you are freelancing too. When companies look at their budgets, work allocated to freelancers is often reduced and brought in house to save money. All of this can be done quickly and with little notice to the freelancer.
We all have financial commitments that we have to meet each month. From mortgages and rent, through to groceries and mobile phones plans, and not to mention incidental and entertainment expenses. A permanent employee with a regular salary, can budget and plan accordingly, whilst a freelancer does not have the same luxury. Freelancers can go through periods of lower work which results in lower income and this can play havoc with your financial commitments.
When you are a freelancer, you complete work for other companies, but you work for yourself. What does this mean exactly? Well for a salaried employee, you might be provided benefits such a health insurance or coverage, sick leave, vacation leave, maternity leave, etc. When you are a freelancer, you need to dedicate your valuable time and resources to making sure you are covered. If you take time off work for a week, will you have enough income coming in to support the time off? If you want health insurance, do you have the time to spend researching which is the best coverage for you?
Running a Business
Like it or not, but when you are a freelancer, you are effectively running a business. Your own business. This means that your work reflects upon you only, and thus in turn your reputation. Miss a deadline, or not complete a project to the best of your ability, and this reflects on you and only you. It also means that you need to spend time on specifics of running a business (salary, taxes, etc.) and not just on the work output for your clients.
Now, let’s take a look at the Freelancing pros:
The biggest perk for a freelancer (as we highlighted earlier) is flexibility, and the empowerment that this brings to a freelance. Now of course, every freelancer has deadlines and timelines they have to meet, but how you go about getting this work done is up to you. If you are a night owl and work best while your clients are sleeping, being a freelance allows you the freedom to do this. Want to take a holiday, but have commitments to keep? Then combine the two and hit the beach whilst working on your deliverables.
Work Where You Want
Remember those days where you had to get up and commute to the office in time for your daily work schedule? As a freelancer you can say goodbye to that daily grind and choose to work at a venue more convenient to you. From your home, to a coffee shop, or perhaps you might rent out a serviced office space, you can choose where you work from. For those projects that require you to work on site at a client’s office, you have the flexibility on whether you accept or not.
Choose What You Do
Working as a freelance, the choice is yours when it comes to the work that you do. If you get offered projects that do not interest you, then you can politely decline the work to the client. On the flip side if you get swamped with work that interests you, you can reach out to your network and perhaps outsource some work for completion. Ultimately you have the power to build a pipeline of work that interests and motivate you.
Build Your Network
Be it from the number of clients you are working with, or from the people you meeting working in different locations, working as a freelancer can do wonders for you professional network. Your exposure to new people not only adds connections to your LinkedIn profile, but as a freelancer it can also provide you with a potential pipeline of new clients and referrals.
What are your thoughts on the life of a freelancer? Does this seem like the type of career path for you? Leave a comment in the box below.