After a long day at the office, you decide to stop by your local Barnes & Noble bookstore to pick up a copy of your favorite magazine. When you open it up to a story that you find fascinating, you look at the author’s name and see that in his biography it says that he is a professional freelance writer. Looking at the selected photographs, drawings and diagrams quickly makes you realize that all of the artwork for the story was also done by freelance photographers and graphic designers.
Returning home from the bookstore, you decide to start up your computer and log online to check out the news for the day that you might have missed. Topping the list on your favorite tech news website is a brand new program that looks like it could be a lot of use to you. Visiting the software programmer’s website shows that he is also a freelancer – and seems to be doing rather well at his chosen trade.
Realizing that so much is created by freelancers, you decide to dedicate the rest of your evening to researching the freelance databases to see if you have what it takes to join this growing world of self-employed individuals.
Before you begin your hunt to be a freelancer though, you need to know the benefits and the drawbacks of working for yourself on a per client basis. A lot of people will tell you that setting foot outside of the office was the best thing they ever could have done while others will tell you that they could not wait for each of their freelance projects to be over because they simply could not stand the stress of their assignments.
In order to be a successful freelancer you really have to weigh all of the pros and cons and be absolutely sure that the career path is right for you. So, without further ado, here are some of the most common benefits and drawbacks you will face as a freelancer.
The moment you decide to become a freelancer, everyone you talk to will probably tell you how cool it is to be your own boss. You are in control of your work and nobody else (except for your clients) can tell you what to do. If you don’t want to work on Fridays – you don’t have to. Take any days off that you want, but make sure that you finish your projects by the deadline. By being your own boss, you really have the freedom to steer your life where you want it to go.
You get to plan your own schedules, choose the projects that you find enjoyable, charge any rate you please, and be almost totally self-sufficient – a major bonus of being a freelancer for many people looking to escape the daily grind.
Another of the big benefits you will always hear people talking about when it comes to freelancing is that you can set your own dress code. If you find all of your freelance work online, who is to say that you don’t have to just hang around in your pajamas or underwear all day long? No sense in getting all dressed up when you can just get out of bed, enjoy a nice cup of hot coffee, watch the news for a few minutes and then plop yourself down at your computer to start your workday.
Freelancing gives you the ability to work in your own style and in total comfort no matter who or what you are doing work for. By working freelance you can also spend a lot more time with your family and friends. Because you do not have to go to work on a strict schedule, you can spend time with your children when they get home from school and with your friends and your spouse whenever they have off work.
The flexibility of having a freelance career is second to none and there is practically no other job in the world that gives you both the spare time and the financial freedom to do what you want to do when you want to do it.
Finally, with freelancing you have a near limitless income potential. Because you work for yourself, you get to keep all of what you earn. Not a penny goes to anyone else (aside from the government in the form of taxes). All of the profits belong to you so you get to spend it how you please. Furthermore, because you work on a per project basis, you can accept as many projects as you want to earn as much money as you see fit. You are not salaried, so the more work you do, the more you get paid.
As with anything in the world, there are drawbacks to becoming a freelancer in any field you choose. The predominant drawback is that you are not as financially stable as you are when you are working for someone else. You have to take care of all of your money management, you have to work on project after project if you want to have enough money to stay financially afloat, and you have to provide for your own healthcare. These three factors all add up to create a feeling of fiscal insecurity for many people, and because of the major financial risk involved, many people feel that freelancing is not for them.
There is also heavy competition in the world of freelancing. The internet has been both a blessing and a curse to freelancers from around the world. On one hand it has opened the doors to make the world of freelancing much more accessible to anyone who has ever thought about setting out on their own and becoming their own boss. On the other hand though, the internet makes it very easy for freelancers to get in touch with potential clients and possibly steal jobs right out from under you.
Because of the heavy competition as a result of the internet, you may have to start out with very low pay for each project you do as a novice freelancer. When your client list expands however, you will be able to make more in the long term.