Written by Cathy Dao
So you want to freelance?
Freelancing is arguably a new way of working. The independence, flexibility, and unlimited financial potential are all appealing, especially for someone who is tired of commitments to mundane work environments. But, there’s still some mystery that needs to be unveiled regarding this dynamic career choice.
A freelance job is one where a person works for themselves, rather than for a company. While freelancers do take on contract work for companies and organizations, they are ultimately self-employed. These independent workers are not considered “employees” by the companies they work for, but rather “contractors.”
To become a full-time freelancer, you need to raise some questions to access your career goals and your personal needs. Do you have the contacts you need to get a steady stream of assignments? How much money can you reasonably expect to make? Do you need health insurance? These are all questions someone needs to address before they can start a full-time freelance job.
Freelancing: The good
Well, why take a chance on freelance? Honestly, there are lots of perks.
Arguably, the greatest advantage of working as a self-employer begins with the freedom that it affords you. In fact, a freelancer can work flexibly around the hours that suit them, provided that they meet the deadline expectations. Independent contractors are free to find the right situation for themselves. They can access more opportunities for career development, new experiences and creative stimulation.
Freelancers can also work remotely, which saves both time and money on commuting back and forth. Whether it’s picking which clients to work with or managing their workload, they have their own sort of autonomy.
Freelancing: The not-so good
At the same time, however; despite the flexibility and independence afforded by freelance work, independent contract work does have some drawbacks.
A downside of working as a freelancer is the lack of financial stability and income. Self-employment may not result in a steady workload; hence, your ability to generate income is directly tied to your ability to attract clients. If you struggle to professionally network effectively, you may have difficulty attracting and retaining clients, which will in turn influence your income.
Freelancing does not afford the benefits of workplace health coverage as you are your own boss.
Freelancing can also be tough because most independent contractors don’t receive health coverage, a benefit that is typically afforded to full-time employees. When a freelancer is ill or otherwise needs to take time off, they do so without pay.
Independent work also results in some ultimate responsibility and financial costs involved. Freelancers have to be a brand themselves; hence, many of them should be aware of the hidden costs of websites, subscription platforms, and business cards. Understanding some of the hidden costs of freelancing can keep freelancers financially fit.
There will be stumbling blocks along the way, but it’s all part of the learning process — and the learning process can be exhilarating. Take the time to learn the ropes!