Are you tired of working for clients you don’t like? Want control of your time, location, and projects you work on? Then perhaps you should consider freelancing.
Freelancing is basically being self-employed and not committed to any one company or firm. You’ve heard those seemingly perfect freelance stories. Some designer quits his jobs and starts freelancing – and now he’s making more money than he was while at a firm. All the while travelling the world and working for himself. Not to mention he gets to choose what kind of work he does.
However, there is no such thing as perfect – and freelancing is no exception. While the above paragraph might make being a freelancer out to be an ideal gig, it has its drawbacks. And some of these can be deal-breakers for you.
So should you freelance? Let’s weigh-up the pros and cons:
Pros of Freelancing
1. Choose When You Work
When you don’t have to come into an office each day, you can really be in control of your time. You get to choose when you work. You’re working for yourself, after all. Are you a morning person that wants to stop working at lunchtime? That’s cool. Or are you a night owl that loves to sleep in? Go for it. As long as you get the work done, that’s all that matters. When you freelance, you get to choose when you work. Or at least be more flexible with your schedule (with the few exceptions that involve time-sensitive clients).
2. Choose Where You Work
Since you’re not reporting to a stationary office every day, you can choose where you do your freelancing work. Whether it’s at home, at various cafes throughout the cities, or traveling—or even moving—to different cities, it doesn’t matter. Like with being in control of your time, as long as you get the work done then it doesn’t matter where you’re located. When you freelance, you get to choose where you work. Or again, at least be more flexible with your location (if you have location-sensitive clients).
3. Choose What You Work On
The biggest drawback of working for a company or firm is you usually don’t get to choose what projects you work on. You design based on what clients are brought to you. But when you are a freelancer, you find your own clients. Thus, you get to choose what you work on. Notice the pattern? Freelancing is about choice – freedom.
4. Potentially Make More Money
If you have the drive in you, you can stand to make more money freelancing. You’re not throttled by working for someone else. You can take on more clients or more projects than if you were working for a company or firm. And more quality work equals making more money.
5. Fire Bad Clients
Similar to #3, if you get stuck with a bad client while working for someone else, you either suck it up or quit your job. And there goes all of your work and income. But with freelancing, each client is a separate source of income. So if you come across a bad client, you can freely fire them. Why waste your precious days working on something that’s annoying you? Drop that client like a bad habit.
Cons of Freelancing
1. Incoming Work Isn’t Guaranteed
At a company or firm, assuming it doesn’t go out of business, you’re pretty much guaranteed work. You come in, there is always work for you to do, and you’ll never be at a shortage. As a freelancer, since you’re finding your own work, it’s never guaranteed. Sometimes opportunities can be plentiful, and other times there could be less.
2. Inconsistent Monthly Income
With inconsistent incoming work comes inconsistent monthly income. Some months you can be rolling in a steady stream of quality work. Other months your clients might not need you, or you don’t find enough work. And your income suffers as a result.
3. Potentially Make Less Money
A continuation of #2. If you aren’t finding quality clients, you could potentially make less money than if you were at a company or firm. Ditto if you’re lazy. If you aren’t a self-motivating type and need someone else to kick you in the butt, then with freelancing you could potentially be making less money than at a company or firm.
4. You Have to Find New Work On Your Own
With freelancing, you don’t just spend time creating, you also need to spend time finding new clients and work. At a company or firm, the incoming work is taken care of for you. You just need to design and that’s it. (However, if you absolutely hate finding clients but still want to freelance, one remedy is partnering with someone that can find work for you – a designer manager of sorts.)
5. You Have to Do Your Own Accounting
Similar to #4. At a company or firm, you don’t need to worry about accounting. You design, you get paid, you pay yearly taxes, and that’s it. Not so with freelancing – since you are your own company, you need to handle your own accounting. (Again, if you hate accounting then you can use software to make it easier or hire/outsource to someone that can do it.)
So, Should You Freelance?
So is freelancing ultimately worth it? Yes. Yes it is. You won’t get a wishy-washy “it depends” answer here. If you’re considering it, then you should freelance.
Of course, you have to be driven, confident, and independent. You should be willing to take matters into your own hands. (So it really does depend, huh?)
But the benefits of being in control of your time, location, and work you do is worth it alone. That’s true freedom right there – something we all desire as human beings. Add to that the potential to make more money—totally up to your drive, of course—and the pros of freelancing outweigh the cons. Just make sure you aren’t lazy and find actual work for yourself.
So if you are already freelancing, even if just on the side, then let this be confirmation that you made the right choice. And if you haven’t been a freelancer yet, give it a try – you’ll be hooked by the freedom and control you gain.
To recap, here are the pros and cons of freelancing:
- Choose when you work
- Choose where you work
- Choose what you work on
- Potentially make more money
- Fire bad clients
- Incoming work isn’t guaranteed
- Inconsistent monthly income
- Potentially make less money
- You have to find new work on your own
- You have to do your own accounting
Do you freelance, even if just on the side? How are you liking it compared to working for a company or firm, and would you recommend it to others? Share your positive (and negative) experiences in the comments below.
- The Future of Freelancing with WordPress
- The Five Inconvenient Truths of Web Design
- Tips for Working with Web Design Technophobes
- How Being Uncomfortable Can Make You a Better Web Designer
- Is It Worth the Money? Making Wise Investments in Your Design Business
- Why You Should Explain Design Decisions to Your Clients
- Moving Up: Adjusting to Larger Web Projects
- Accepting Your Limitations as a Web Designer