"Everyone is a genius at least once a year. A real genius has his original ideas closer together."
- Georg Lichtenberg
Getting up from sleep and going straight to work in your pajamas – sounds cool right?
Fought with your boss last night and perhaps you want to throw your resignation and start working independently?
How about working while vacationing at your favorite destination?
Yes, all these do make freelancing worth it. But what does a freelancer do? A freelancer is a person who works independently with organizations on contracts for a fixed period or a certain project.
They are more like consultants and do not enjoy the benefits of a full-time employee. Any professional who can work independently can work as a freelancer. Freelancing works best for content writers, designers, digital marketers, content marketers, developers, translators, voice-over artists, interior designers, etc. Freelancers can be hired by multiple companies at the same time to get a particular service done.
However, freelancing is not all rosy. It has its share of disadvantages too. Job security and uncertainty of meeting the bills every month are just a few of them.
So, if you are planning to give freelancing a shot, here are some pointers that will help you to think straight and make an informed decision.
Before we deep dive on the topic, look at some interesting stats:
Pros of Being A Freelancer
1. Create your own schedule and be your boss
“The free in freelancing stands for freedom. After working tirelessly for weeks, I can choose to take a break. I can grab a Coke and stream videos online if I don’t feel like working some day. That’s the greatest advantage I have felt as a freelancer.” — says Abhijeet Kumar, Freelance Content Writer and Marketer
The biggest advantage of being a freelancer is flexibility and freedom. You can choose your work time and work schedule. Depending on your availability, you can choose how much you want to work. This arrangement works great if you are a student or if you need to take care of any family member. You can work a certain hours a day, or a certain day a week. This is absolutely on you to decide. Further, freelancing gives you the convenience of choosing your work time. Do your creative genes become active at night? Or are you an early riser? Whatever works for you, you work at your own time!
Since freelancers work remotely, you can choose to work from anywhere on the earth if you have a laptop and internet connection.
2. Cut back on drive time and fuel expenses
Freelancing means you save a lot of time on your daily commute and of course your fuel expenses. You can work from your home or take work to your favorite place — be it McDonalds, a cozy neighborhood coffee shop, or to a local co-working space. Avoiding daily commuting can boost your productivity, help take care of your health, and manage your priorities in life better.
3. Better work-life balance
No, work-life balance is not a myth. Ask a freelancer and you will know. Since you save time from the daily commute and you have the flexibility of work, you are in a better position to manage your work-life balance than any of your peers working full-time. You don’t need to ask for a leave to take your dog out for a walk or attend your child’s school program.
And at any point of time if you feel stressed, just pack your bag and go for a vacation (Of course, keeping your clients informed!)
“I think the biggest benefit of freelancing and working remotely is that there are no geographical restrictions – I get to work on interesting projects with people across the globe and that’s a stimulating experience.” – says Simki Dutta, a Content Marketer.
That’s what most freelancers will tell you. If you are willing to learn and upskill yourself, you can find plenty of interesting projects to work on. Of course, you need to know how to market your services. But unlike a full-time job, where you are bound by your job roles, freelancing opens the door to a variety of projects across the globe.
But freelancing has its own demerits too.
Cons of Being A Freelancer
1. When do I get paid?
The biggest worry of freelancers is managing cash inflow. At times, you might have to wait for a longer period to get paid for the work. Many freelancers also have to deal with nasty clients where payment is delayed or denied.
Solution: Always have a contract in place before you jump into work. Ask for an upfront payment before you start work. Do a background verification checking on the client to validate its authenticity. With so much information available on the internet, doing a quick background verification is not so difficult a task.
2. Mental Health
As a freelancer, you are certainly going to miss all those water cooler chitchats and team dinners. Freelancers often work in solitude, with no coworkers or peers around. You need to manage your frustrations and cope up with all the ups and downs on your own. It is important that you take care of your mental health.
Solution: If you are missing human interactions, then network with people as much as you can. Leverage social media and professional sites like LinkedIn to keep yourself up-to-date with the industry trends. Visit local meetups, work from co-working spaces, or just walk up to your neighbor for a friendly chat. Taking a break from work and solidarity is equally important.
3. Keeping the work flow
Another biggest challenge that freelancers face, day in and day out — “how do I ensure I have enough on my plate.” Keeping the pipeline of work-ready is a real challenge. Remember, a client can withdraw work at any point in time.
Solution: As a freelancer, you need to don the hat of a marketer and keep marketing your work. Leverage social media platforms, share your work, network with your target audience, guest post on relevant blogs, send cold pitches, keep in touch with your old clients, show up in webinars, to ensure people recall you when they need the service.
4. How much is too much?
While you need to ensure that you have enough work to help you sustain, you cannot go overboard with work. “It’s important to draw boundaries, enjoy some downtime, and not get carried away with work,” adds Simki Dutta, Content Marketer.
“The freelance lifestyle messes up your daily life too. Even though I try to reduce my working hours, I end up working at odd hours to get more work done asap. And to prevent that from happening, you have to exercise self-control. I got the calculations in place and began to set more realistic deadlines for myself. And I stopped saying Yes to lucrative opportunities if my plate is already full. And now, I find time for myself too.” Says Abhijeet.
Solution: Draw your limits and take work that you are comfortable doing. Alternatively, you can take help from peers to share some workloads that you can oversee.
5. Is freelancing for you?
Freelancing has its own merits and demerits. And freelancing is certainly not for everyone. If you’re flexible, ready to take the risk, can manage to work alone, extremely focused, and motivated, then freelancing is certainly for you. However, it is strongly recommended to taste the water before you deep dive into it.