Freelancing isn’t a new term. It has been around as early as the 18th century, and yet it increasingly became a popular model with the introduction of the internet. Everyone might know a thing or two about freelancing, but to really know if freelancing is for you – you should know the pros and cons of freelancing.
In this post, I’ll take you through everything, right from the beginning and explanation of freelancing – and what it is that a freelancer does. To the lifestyle freelancing allows, disadvantages freelancing brings, and even my personal experience and thoughts on freelancing from my last 3 years of freelancing.
The truth is – freelancing isn’t for anyone.
On the other hand, freelancing isn’t as hard as everyone thinks it is.
Down below, you’ll find out everything you need to know before becoming a freelancer – so keep on reading!
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing is a way of working for yourself, without being employed by one company, and yet having the ability to work with multiple companies (or clients) at the same time.
Therefore, this is based on the contract work for anyone from individuals, organizations, and companies.
So every individual who freelances its skills is self-employed and it’s up to them to find contracts (work) through their marketing channels, fulfill the orders (complete contracts), and manage the books for themselves.
Even though freelancing can bring up a lot of uncertainties, it can be a very rewarding work-model with no cap on the earnings a person can make – so that’s something to consider before jumping into freelancing.
While this might seem a lot for some people, it’s a work-model that’s very liked by others. But to understand it better – let me compare it with a regular (9-5) job so you can notice the difference.
Why is Freelancing Different Than a 9-5 Job?
When you get a 9-5 job, you are employed by one company and you work on a contract. You have a fixed salary, fixed position, and fixed working hours.
While this might sound ideal – I’ve never heard someone say that they love their job. Why?
There are too many factors and aspects of a 9-5 job that can easily make people unhappy.
But what’s different about freelancing?
With freelancing, you can:
- Set your own working hours
- Work with clients/companies you want
- Have multiple contracts, instead of one
- Earn according to the rates you set
There are a couple of other things, but these are the most important differences between freelancing and a 9-5 job. To me, these differences look like Yin and Yang.
Freelancing might look like a solution to getting rid of the 9-5 job that’s making you unhappy – but let me stop you right there.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, freelancing has both pros and cons so let’s jump right into them. I believe that it’s the best way to try and help you understand what to expect if you plan on getting into freelancing.
Benefits of Freelancing
Freelancing is very easy to get into, but it can be a lot harder to do than most people think. Yes, it’s true that freelancing has a lot of benefits.
However, some of the benefits can have hidden cons for some people. Freelancing is a lifestyle and being a successful freelancer mostly depends on your personality and work habits.
As a freelancer, here are some of the benefits you can expect:
- Ability to set your rates and choose your clients
- Location independence (in most cases)
- No cap on the earnings you can make
- Chance to grow and improve your skills
- Set your own working hours
- Ability to diversify your income
“Be your own boss” is also a known thing that some freelancers call themselves. It’s true, you get to be your own boss, but you still shouldn’t forget that you still work with clients on various contracts.
Freelancing can allow you to create your own day, lead your own lifestyle, and definitely set achievable financial goals.
However, there are as many cons you will have to face down the freelancing road – so let’s get into them.
Disadvantages of Freelancing
Number one reason why some people won’t even consider freelancing is that it doesn’t have any job security.
It’s true that there isn’t any guaranteed work in freelancing – but it’s not impossible to find any work at all. However, with the sudden pandemic situation – we saw a huge economic hit that resulted in thousands if not millions of job losses.
This really got me to wonder whether any job out there is certain.
If we’re really thinking a job is certain because of a contract (that also can get voided at any time), are we really taking things for granted?
But when it comes down to the disadvantages of freelancing, here are some of the most common ones:
- It can be hard to keep a healthy work-life balance
- Unreasonable clients
- Having to pay taxes by yourself
- Having to pay your insurance and retirement contributes
- Finding steady work can be hard in the beginning
- Having to keep your own books and deal with invoices/finances
Of course, you might have also heard that freelancing can get lonely. Most of the time, it’ll be you and your laptop – no matter the location.
Even though freelancing offers flexibility, even some digital nomads who work online (freelance) and travel around the world have difficulties finding and keeping connections.
But is freelancing for you? Disadvantages weren’t enough to make you close this page? Keep on reading because I think that you might have all it takes in your to become a successful freelancer.
Can Anyone be a Successful Freelancer?
Freelancing can be very rewarding, but it also brings a lot of responsibilities. Unfortunately, for these reasons, not anyone can be a successful freelancer.
To be a successful freelancer, you need to be dedicated to overcoming obstacles, be self-disciplined, confident in yourself, and the most important one – be ready to do whatever it takes.
It’s not an easy road, especially in the beginning – but it’s a very rewarding road that can pay off in the long run.
Even if you have everything in you to be a successful freelancer – it still won’t be easy from the start. So being able to face problems and deal with, sometimes impossible situations, is a skill that’s important.
But again, not everyone is looking into freelancing as a way to replace their 9-5 job or start a successful online business.
Some people turn to freelance to supplement their income or practice and monetize a skill they haven’t used in a long time.
So no matter the reasons – the same rules still apply and if nothing else, staying persistent is really important.
These pros and cons of freelancing can guide you – so I decided to think about 5 of the most important pros and cons of my freelancing journey so far and share them with you.
I also wrote a post covering some of the most common mistakes made by freelancers – so I recommend giving it a read!
5 Personal Pros & Cons From My 3-Year Freelancing Experience (So Far)
When I got into freelancing – I was all about making the active income online and even taking things further and turning it into an online business.
Since I already had a lot of experience and knowledge in affiliate marketing, SEO, and a couple of other digital marketing aspects – I was able to immediately jump into freelance writing.
I’ve been freelance writing for about 3 years now and down below, I made a list of 5 pros and cons that helped me change my lifestyle and get out of a 9-5 job.
- Flexible schedule (working remotely)
- Ability to set my own rates
- No cap on the earnings (outsourcing is available)
- Improve my skills and learn more as I earn
- Meet people and business owners all around the world
- Having to constantly market my services and look for more work contracts
- Having to take care of my own benefits (freelancers don’t have access to many benefits)
- It’s a bit harder to turn freelancing into a passive business
- Meeting your financial goals requires learning, marketing, and finding specific-type of clients to fit your work & skills
- Growing a freelancing business can be tough at times
I believe that freelancing has more pros than cons and everything you put into it is very well worth it. Some days, you can spend hours marketing your services – but you don’t need hundreds of clients to be a successful freelancer.
I find it that up to 10 steady clients on a monthly retainer can be more than enough for most freelancers.
It’s all about finding the right balance between your life and freelance work, between marketing your services and working with your clients, and between spending time on improving your skills & business and working in the business.
Also, the important advice I’ve received when I first got into freelancing was to think of yourself as a business.
Even though you’re self-employed, you’re providing a service, you’re charging for a service, you’re dealing with clients, and you’re keeping your own books. You’re a business and no matter the type of transaction or service – you should think of yourself as business and get paid what you’re worth!
What if Freelancing Isn’t For You?
Everyone has that exciting yet fearful feeling before getting into freelancing. You should think about your current situation and see if freelancing fits your needs and lifestyle.
Freelancing can be a great way to generate active income, but if you put all your time in a day into freelancing – it could easily burn you.
Also, if you’ve dipped your toes into freelancing just barely last time and you feel like you can’t be successful – I’d recommend you reconsider your approach.
Registering to a freelancing platform such as UpWork, applying to some jobs, and then playing the waiting game won’t get you far.
It’s important to continue improving your skills, create a portfolio, find a niche, and find marketing channels that will work the best for you. In my case, I didn’t rely on freelancing platforms at all.
What I’m trying to say is that you really need to put time and effort into the process. The results will follow, but they won’t happen overnight.
But if freelancing isn’t for you – that’s okay. I have two other business models you could try out. It’s affiliate marketing or getting a remote job.
If you like the perks of freelancing, mostly flexibility, and location independence – there still might be a way to replace your standard 9-5 job with another full-time (or a part-time) job.
It is a remote job. It’s like any other job, yet it’s a job that you can do remotely with the help of your laptop.
A great place to find remote jobs is Dynamite Jobs. They have about 18 different categories and there is a high possibility you will be able to find a category or at least a couple of job ads that will fit your skillset.
This way, you will have the flexibility of working online, and yet you’d still work on one contract as you’ll be employed by a company.
Your experience will depend on the company, type of a job, and the working hours you will have to do – but overall, it’s a very popular option between freelancing and creating your own online business from scratch.
If you aren’t in a rush to create an active income stream, creating your own online business from scratch with the help of affiliate marketing can be a great way to get started.
I wrote many posts on affiliate marketing and how affiliate marketing works – but here’s a quick explanation.
Affiliate marketing is a process where you can join any company’s affiliate program and earn a commission in return for the promotion of their products (and helping the company make sales online).
Creating your own blog or a site around something you’re very passionate or knowledgable about is a great start. From there, you can learn how to acquire free organic traffic by optimizing your site for search engines, create helpful content, advertise your site through social channels, and eventually, monetize your website in the long run.
It’s a long process and it takes time, but affiliate marketing in combination with a couple of digital skills allows you to create your own online business from scratch, grow it, gain followers & grow audience, and monetize your site in various ways.
So if you’re not in a rush to creating a new income stream and you’re playing the long game – this could be a great way to create something yourself that might be able to generate passive income in the long run.
If that’s something that would interest you – I highly recommend checking out Wealthy Affiliate as it’s one of the best educational platforms that teaches about affiliate marketing and ways of creating an online business around it for free.
It’s definitely easy to get into freelancing and anyone can get into it – but it’s hard to get it going from the beginning.
These pros and cons of freelancing shouldn’t encourage or discourage you, but they’re there to let you know exactly what you can expect.
I tried painting a picture of the most important, both good & bad, sides of freelancing, and there you have it.
However, if you really feel that freelancing isn’t for you – you shouldn’t worry about it. There are many other ways you do something online and make money.
What is your favorite thing about freelancing? Did you ever freelance some of your skills?
If you have any questions or you’d need more help – feel free to leave a comment down below and I’ll help you out!