Cowboy

Freelancing is a challenge that demands dedication, energy and a knack of being in the right place at the right time. But there are good and bad things about it. If you’re considering going freelance, have a read of this.

The good

You can broaden your horizons and make some extra money

Going freelance gives you room to learn new skills, broaden your range and – you never know – make some extra cash too. This guide to, for example, talks about how you can monetise your blog to make some extra pennies. Or you might want to see what social media could do for you?

Enjoy a work-life balance

Perhaps a common conception of the freelance life is that you can do what you want, when you want and on your own terms. Well, maybe. Freelance working is not without its deadlines, just like any job, but it’s certainly true that it gives you more room to breathe. If one of your main reasons for going freelance is to enjoy more you-time or spend more time with your family, it could well be worth it.

You can create your own working space

Not a fan of rigid corporate cultures? Freelance working gives you complete control over your working space. Ditch the dull office furniture and standard desktop for what you really want to work with. You’ve got free rein over more or less everything. Fancy playing Motorhead at full-blast in the middle of the afternoon? No problem! For freelancers’ take on the best and worst things about their working lives, check this Forbes post out.

Pick your projects

When working for a company, you might get lumped with a client or project you really don’t like. Difficult work projects and tricky clients can become stressful and, if leaving for another job isn’t an option, probably not very good for your health. Freelance working gives you greater control, allowing you to choose who you work with and even fire clients if they become toxic.

Control

If you’re sick of working for the Man, stick it to him and embrace the freelance lifestyle. With no boss telling you what to do, a freelance career offers you complete control over how you work and when you work. That of course means you’ll need to practice self-discipline, but if you crave this kind of freedom, go for it.

The ugly

You’ll probably be alone

Unless you opt to rent a desk in a shared working space, you’ll probably work alone as a freelancer. If you tend to feel isolated and unmotivated when working solo, freelancing might not be for you. The office might be the office, but it’s also a place of fun and comradeship at times. Interested in a coworking space though? This Lifehacker post lists the top 10.

You might enter uncharted waters

In a standard working environment, you’ve usually got someone to ask for help if you get stuck with something. When freelancing, this isn’t always the case. A client might ask you to do something that’s out of your skillset, which could catch you unawares. This is to be embraced though, as it’s an opportunity to add a string to your bow.

Security goes out the window

Working for a company does have some benefits. If you’re off ill in the UK, you’ll get statutory sick pay from your employer (up to a certain point). You get a regular monthly paycheck too, regardless of the peaks and troughs of workflow. If you’re ill as a freelancer, that’s a day earning zilch. If your work dries up, your monthly paycheck won’t look so buoyant. Working for an employer offers a consistency that freelance working doesn’t.

You need to put your business hat on

Going freelance is like running a business. Okay, so you might not have employees and rent to worry about, but what about your tax return? Client contract negotiations? Marketing? These are things you might not have had to give a moment’s thought as an employee but are now vital to your progress. Check out this resource which introduces you to some freelance business basics.

You need to network

A large part of making it as a successful freelancer is marketing yourself and making connections in your industry. This means investment in promotion, lots of research and time spent meeting industry folk at conferences and events. If ‘networking’ isn’t really your thing, you might start to find this a little tiresome.

Have you recently gone freelance? What’s your experience of it? Let us know.

 

By Hilton Freund, Wizzcash