There are definitely positives and negatives to consider when you are thinking about beginning to freelance. People who find working for themselves rewarding and enjoyable are usually people for whom the benefits feel much more significant to them personally and the struggles feel like things they can work with.
Here is a quick and simple list of the common pros and cons experienced by freelance professionals, so you can decide if the cons are things you can live with and the pros are things that really matter to you and would make your work time feel more fulfilling.
- Flexibility - You set your schedule, and choose the projects you want to work on.
- Autonomy - No one is checking in on your progress or monitoring your efficiency.
- Ownership - The success or the failure of each project is up to you, and you own the results.
- Higher Pay - Most freelance professionals can bill at higher rates because they don’t have to support the infrastructure of a company.
- Loneliness - Working independently can lead to a feeling of loneliness, as you begin to miss the natural social exchanges and collaboration that happens in an office environment.
- Lack of Benefits - Insurance and taxes are your sole responsibility and there are no paid days off, holidays or sick days. These hidden expenses can cut into your hourly rate more significantly than you might expect.
- Supplementing Your Weaknesses - As a freelance employee you have to focus not just on your particular skills but also on tasks that might not come as naturally to you, like sales, billing, accounting etc. These tasks can always be hired out, but they are factors you will have to consider and make a plan to accomplish.
Of course, if you can think creatively about the negative aspects of freelancing, you can find a way to mitigate the negatives while still enjoying the benefits of working for yourself.
For example, if you find you get lonely working from home you can work in more public places like coffee shops or libraries, or you can join a collaboration of other creative freelance employees, so you don’t just have people surrounding you, but you have people you can interact with, and get ideas and critique from.