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Working Freelance: The Pros and Cons

January 16, 2020
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into working freelance, these pros and cons will help you make an informed decision about your career.

The major pros and cons of working freelance

If you’re thinking about quitting full-time employment, then you might be trying to weigh up the pros and cons of working freelance. From making a lot more money, to setting your own working hours - there are a number of hugely-appealing pros that come with freelancing. However, it’s also important to weigh up the cons in order to make an informed decision. Although the positives might be attractive, loneliness and stress that come with freelance work might put you off a change in career path and convince you to stick with your full-time job.

The pros of working freelance 

You can make more money 

When it comes to working freelance, there’s a lot of money to be made. Whether you charge by the day or the hour - offering people your expertise can come with a huge financial reward. 

Additionally, because you can set your own working hours, there’s almost an unlimited earning potential - especially if you opt to work six or seven days a week. 

However, it’s also important to bear in mind that freelancers don’t get paid for any days off they may have, so they have to keep some of their earnings back to cover any annual leave or sick days. 

You can choose your own work schedule 

Gone are the days when you were forced to work 9-5, Monday-Friday - when it comes to freelancing, you’re the one who’s in control of your work hours. 

Whether you work better in the evenings, or you’re an early riser who prefers to get up early and finish in the afternoon - the flexibility of freelancing is one of the most attractive perks of the job, allowing you to fit your work schedule around you. 

Although this can be difficult for those who lack motivation or like some structure in their day, many freelancers actually opt to adhere to ‘normal’ working hours to make sure they get their work done and maintain a good work-life balance.

You can work wherever you want 

One of the biggest pros of working freelance is that you can work from wherever you want. Whether you fancy having a duvet day whilst you complete your work, head to your favourite cafe, or even jet off somewhere for a bit of sun - there’s no limit to where you can work from when you’re freelance. 

One of the most popular working spaces for freelancers is a coworking space. Coworking spaces provide freelancers, small businesses and start-ups with somewhere to base themselves from - often with some amazing benefits, such as unlimited tea and coffee and Friday beers. 

But that’s not all - coworking spaces are great for networking, allowing freelancers to make new connections, gain potential new clients and build a rapport with fellow coworkers - helping to alleviate any feelings of loneliness that often come with working freelance. 

Although a coworking space in a rainy city might not be as attractive as sitting by the beach in an exotic country - they’re certainly a very popular - and sustainable  - way of working. 

You can miss that rush hour traffic

If your morning commute fills you with dread, then working freelance might just be the perfect solution for you. 

Not only is there the option to work from the comfort of your own sofa when you’re freelance - allowing you to skip that rush-hour traffic,  but even if you choose to work from a coworking space, you can choose to go in a little earlier or later in order to avoid that infuriating commute. 

Not only will this save you money on trains, petrol or taxis, but it’ll also save you a lot of stress and time too! 

The cons of working freelance 

It can be lonely 

One of the biggest complaints from freelancers is the loneliness that comes with the job. Unlike full-time employees, freelancers spend a lot of time on their own, with many of them saying they miss being in a busy office environment.

This is what leads many freelancers to go coffee shop hopping, moving from one coffee shop to another throughout the day. However, not only can this be an incredibly expensive way of working, it can also be less productive - leading to longer working days. 

Additionally, although coffee shops can make freelancers feel like they’re with people, they’re still not communicating with others, meaning the feeling of loneliness is merely masked. 

Aside from working in coffee shops, many freelancers choose to work in a coworking space to alleviate their loneliness. A large proportion of people who work in coworking spaces are members on a rolling contract, meaning they’ll see the same faces day after day, helping them to network, build connections and make their job a little less lonely. 

You have to know how to run a business 

Whether you’re a graphic designer, makeup artist, or marketing expert - once you take the plunge to go freelance, you have to become an all-round business expert too! 

From marketing your company to doing your annual accounts and tax returns, freelancers have a lot more to think about than those in full-time employment and suddenly have to become skilled in a number of different areas.

Although many freelancers choose to work with experts in each area, such as an accountant to help with the business accounts, this comes at an extra cost which many freelancers struggle to cover - especially in the first year of trading.

So if you’re thinking about going freelance, it’s worth evaluating whether or not you’d be happy to run - or pay for - all aspects of your business in order to make it successful.

The work isn’t always guaranteed 

One of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing aspects of working freelance is the fact that the work isn’t always guaranteed. 

One month, you might be working with five high-paying clients, but be dropped by three of them within the following months once your services are no longer required, meaning you’ll have to source some new clients in order to make ends meet. 

Although there are plenty of ways to find new clients, such as outreach, cold-calling and even online platforms - the work is competitive and you could end up reaching out to a huge number of companies before you even get a response. 

Not only can this be incredibly disheartening, but it’s also very time consuming, too, forcing many freelancers to scope out potential new clients in their free time. 

You don’t get paid for sick or annual leave

Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of being freelance is the fact that you don’t get paid for sick leave or holidays, which leads to many freelancers refusing to take time off if they’re ill, or even working all over the Christmas period to ensure they keep making money. 

However, this is an unhealthy work ethic and can often cause a burnout, leading to exhaustion, resentment towards their job and incredible stress. 

As a freelancer, it’s important to closely manage your annual finances, allowing for any sick leave and ensuring that a sufficient amount of annual leave is planned in. Although that might mean your monthly wage is a little lower, it’ll be much more beneficial in the long run and ensure both your physical and mental health is looked after. 

Work hours can be erratic 

Unlike a 9-5 job, working freelance can be difficult as you can often find yourself working erratic hours in order to meet the needs of your clients. Although you might attempt to get all your work in by the first of the month sToo that you can organise your workload, your clients might have other ideas! 

Freelancers often complain about disorganised clients who don’t send work through on time, leaving them with only two weeks to complete the months work, leading to longer, erratic work hours in order to meet deadlines. 

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for clients to email at the last minute and expect a quick turnaround, leaving you working all night to get the work to them on time. Although it might be tempting to push back on clients when they’re asking you to bend over backwards for them, it can be difficult if you want to make sure they keep coming to you for work - leading to more and more difficult deadlines!

Additional Resources

Taken some inspiration from our post, and want to further your reading? Check out what our friends have written below.

Toptal - The Ultimate Freelancing Guide -

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