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The pros and cons of being a freelancer

The pros and cons of being a freelancerCould you use your skills to enter the world of self-employment? Whether you can write, build, design, teach, or you’re an accountant, marketer, project manager, web developer, or one of many more freelance professions, being a freelancer means you can work on your own terms.

Freelancing can allow the flexibility to work when you want, decide which projects you take on, and choose where you work.

Of course, being a freelancer also comes with its challenges. Here we outline the main pros and cons of working this way.

 

Pros:

  • One of the biggest draws of freelancing is the flexibility to choose when to work: for example, you could choose to only work mornings; there are no set holiday limits and because you decide when you work, you can take charge of your work-life balance.
  • When you’re a freelancer, the world is your office. You could work from your sofa, a cool co-working space, a coffee shop, or even a beach in the Bahamas. Working from anywhere means you can choose the environment that works best for you, and has the added bonus of saving time and money on the commute.
  • Choosing your workspace means you can minimise the distractions that can make an office environment difficult, such as phones ringing, co-workers talking, overbearing food smells coming from the microwave – you get the idea.
  • Office politics can also become a thing of the past when you’re freelancing, whether it’s things like attending obligatory birthday drinks, cliques and gossiping, or power struggles, you’re likely to be away from many of these distractions
  • Freelancers also get to decide the projects they take on and which clients they work with – this can create more variety, or could allow the development of expertise in niche areas.

 

Cons:

  • One of the main challenges of freelancing is less job security. Projects, and therefore income, can be sporadic, and you will be constantly applying and pitching for new work. You may find yourself juggling lots of clients one month, to find that the next month you’re just making ends meet.
  • The world of freelancing can also be competitive, as lots of other freelancers want the same jobs. This may affect the fees you charge.
  • Setting your own rules means you don’t have the clear route of career progression that larger companies have. Any wins or successes are completely down to you winning clients, completing projects and building your reputation.
  • Freelancers have control over every aspect of their work, but unfortunately this also means you have to do your own admin and accounting – unless you hire someone to do it, which can create an additional cost.
  • Setting your own income means you don’t have the security blanket that working for a company affords, such as healthcare, bonuses, sick pay, holiday pay, etc.
  • You also have to manage your own productivity and discipline – working from home can be distracting, and no one is holding you accountable for turning up at work every day.
  • It can get lonely not being in a busy workplace – some freelancers start to feel like they’re missing out on support and camaraderie.

 

For some, the freedoms that come with being a freelancer far outweigh that challenges – it’s up to you to decide whether the hard work is worth it.

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