It's easy to think of the positives when envisaging yourself as a Freelancer – and there are plenty of them, from setting your own schedule to choosing what work you do. But there are a number of downsides too – particularly during the long and arduous journey of establishing yourself as a Freelancer.
It's vital you know what you're getting yourself into before committing to that journey – it'll take years and setting your expectations correctly will help you get through the difficult periods of it.
ADVANTAGES OF GOING FREELANCER
You can do great work.
Rather than menial tasks or being a cog in a big corporate machine, you can choose to do amazing work that makes you come alive, that puts you in a flow state and provides a sense of pride.
You are your own boss.
Which means you can work when you want, where you want, how you want.
With a computer and internet connection, you can work from almost anywhere and for clients in any part of the world – fancy going "digital nomad" for a few months and living somewhere exotic? Done. Feel like working on the weekend and spending your week with your partner? Done. Feel like working from a coffee shop today, then from your bed tomorrow? Done!
You have the freedom to choose your clients and the type of projects to take up. If you want to work for a cause you believe in, you can do so... while at the same time working for a big corporate at a high paycheque. Or you could only choose to accept work from people in a certain demographic of an industry you love ... the more established you become, the more you control this one.
On that note – you can work for more than one client without breaching contractual arrangements. In most cases there is no revenue sharing too... you'll keep all the money that you've worked for.
You're only accountable to yourself.
If "being better than you were yesterday" and lifelong growth are values, there's no better route to that growth than through owning your own actions... whether things go wrong or right, it all pretty much comes down to your choices – something you can choose to learn from.
DISADVANTAGES OF GOING FREELANCER
Work availability can be erratic with seasons of too much and risk of burnout to times of no jobs, and the fear of not meeting your financial obligations.
You're not really your own boss once you have a client – they are. You'll have deadlines set by them, and become financially dependent on them for the work you're providing them (particularly if it's a big job).
You have to look, find and convince clients to hire you. Which takes huge amounts of time and effort, and eventually turns you into a machine that sees everything as a money-making opportunity.
You have to meet your own obligations such as insurance and retirement schemes. And you'll have to play many roles including prospecting, selling, marketing and advertising your business.... taking your focus away from the freelancing core work that you enjoy doing.
Chances of losing money you have worked for are reasonable. A client in another location under a different jurisdiction can easily refuse to pay you knowing very well that there isn’t much that you can do about it.
The boundary between your own time and "work time" will blur.... meaning there'll be moments when your work totally takes over every waking minute of your life.
A very good article to now read is this short piece by Tessa Palmer, on the cons of Freelance life and how she deals with them:
What are the three positives of going Freelancer that most resonate with you?
And what are the three negatives of going Freelancer that worry you most?
Write your answer in the comments below.