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I engage with a lot of freelancers on Twitter and it strikes me how extreme people’s feelings are about freelancing.
Some love it. They tweet something like, “Freelancing – this is the life!” Or how much they enjoy being able to go to the gym anytime they feel like it, or work at the coffee shop instead of a boring cubicle.
On the other extreme are those who can’t wait to find a regular job so they could stop freelancing. Some never seem to find good clients. Others are getting stiffed by clients, or having a really tough time just making ends meet as a freelancer.
As a savvy freelancer, you know that both views are correct. Freelancing can be heaven or it can be hell. If you’re considering freelancing, you need to go into it with open eyes, seeing both the positive and the negative sides of freelancing.
In this post, let’s focus on the plusses of freelancing first.
The Benefits of Freelancing
1. You’re your own boss.
Sure, you work FOR clients, but ultimately you decide whom you work with, what work you will do, for how much, and when and where you will work. Your client may drop you, but you can never fire yourself. And, while you can’t fire your boss, you can fire your clients.
This benefit is particularly important for people who have difficulty handling authority figures, or people who just don’t like having to kiss up.
2. Your work day is flexible.
As long as you meet your deadlines, you can pretty much work as you please. Wear pajamas? Check. Stay up all night and wake up at noon? Check. Do an hour of cardio first before checking your email? Check. Work only 3 days a week? Check. As long as you meet your obligations to your clients, anything goes.
This is the number one reason I feel that freelancing is an ideal work arrangement for parents. You’re there for your children, while at the same time providing for them. While I was still an employee, I often felt miserable about having to sit in the office for 8 hours a day when I could often finish my work in much less time. Or having to be at work when my brain at its most productive. As a freelancer, I respect my own rhythms and work when I’m at my peak.
3. Your overhead costs are small.
Freelancing from home is cheaper than putting up another home business. It’s even cheaper than working in the corporate world. You don’t need to buy a work wardrobe, no spending on gas or commuting, no need for lunches outside the home, and fewer temptations to get that expensive cup of latte on your break.
I began my freelancing business with nothing more than a laptop (which I already owned) and a PayPal account.
4. You’re forced to keep growing.
As a freelancer, you need to keep developing your skills to keep ahead of the competition. In contrast, as an employee, it’s easy to get complacent and just do the minimum required to keep your job. You’re also more likely to rely on your employer to determine which skills you need to improve or develop, and when your training should happen. That’s not necessarily good for your professional growth.
I’m always asking myself, “What do I need to get good at in order to give more value to my clients?” I enjoy learning and studying, so I frequently ask this question.
5. You earn as much – or as little – as you please. This may not be true if you’re just starting out, but as soon as you become an established freelancer – which can take as little as a few weeks to a few months – then you pretty much control your income. You decide how much you want to earn in how many hours and then find the combination of clients and services that will help you achieve your desired income.
Recently, I decided to cut down on my working hours. I knew my income would dip a little, but the personal time I gained has been worth with. Fortunately, I’m not a bread winner, but I know that if I needed or wanted to earn more, I can. If, like me, it doesn’t take a lot of money to make you happy – but the things that bring you joy do take up time – then you’ll love freelancing, too.
Why Do You Love Freelancing?
What do you love about freelancing? Please share by posting a comment below.
photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³