The choice to freelance is a highly subjective and personal decision. Not everyone can benefit from the freelance lifestyle. While there are many benefits associated with freelance work, there are also many difficulties. Depending on your goals in life, the type of work that you do, and your education, freelance work may be the right choice, or it could be a complete disaster. If you are considering freelance work, examine the pros and cons thoroughly before jumping into the lifestyle.
The pros of the freelance life
When most people think about freelance work, they mainly think about the benefits. Freelance workers get to choose when they work, how much they work, and who they work for. Freelance professionals also get to choose where to work, and some work entirely out of their homes. Freelance work has the potential for unlimited income as well, which is highly attractive to many workers stuck in dead-end jobs.
Another huge advantage to freelance work is educational choice. A freelance worker does not have to stick to normal office hours, which can free up time for furthering education. A freelance worker can get a completely new degree, or take a variety of short courses or even government funded courses in various fields to expand his or her skill set. This is especially useful in evolving fields, like design and technology.
The cons of the freelance life
Of course, as with any job, freelance work also has many downsides. One of the biggest downsides is that the work is highly unstable. Many freelance jobs are temporary assignments that no longer pay once the project is completed. This means that many freelancers go through periods of extremely busy work, then periods with no work or income at all. A freelancer is also accountable for finding his or her own jobs. A freelancer is constantly in job-seeking mode looking for the next job to take over when the current job ends.
A freelancer also has to work long hours of the day. Many freelancers work 16 hour days. Some freelance workers also make less than a traditional office worker. Periods of lean times mean that extreme budgeting is a necessity. Most freelancers also have to keep track of their own accounts and financing.
Making the best of the freelance life
If you choose the freelance life, there are ways that make the style of living easier. Keeping careful records of business expenses, income, and other important information will make tax time easier. Try to set distinct office hours to prevent work burnout. Set up a savings account to provide income during times of reduced work or no work at all. Make education a priority so that you remain competitive in the freelance market.
The freelance life is easy in some ways, and incredibly difficult in others. Generally, individuals who are self-motivated adapt better to the freelance life. With careful planning and accounting, many of the disadvantages of the freelance life are reduced. If you are interested in freelance work, start out small with part-time freelance work and gradually work your way into full-time freelance once you build up a client base.
This is a guest post by Claire Wilson, an occasional guest-blogger and a freelance writer. Currently attending government funded courses. When not blogging, Claire likes to travel and read a lot, especially about education and technology.