Working as a freelancer is something that has grown and grown in recent years. With the rise of social media channels, blogs, technology, and websites, it has made it easier than ever to work for yourself and work wherever the work takes you. Many work from home; others will travel around and work remotely. The flexibility is one of the biggest selling points for freelancers. And there are many jobs that can be considered freelance; from virtual assistants, to photographers, designers, and marketing experts. So if you are considering working as a freelancer, then there are plenty of ways to do it.
The stats also show that freelance work isn’t going to be going anywhere, anytime soon. In fact, it is reported that half of millennial workers are working freelance. And with more and more small businesses getting up and going, their need for freelance work has increased, as it can be a way for small businesses to save money, rather than hire employees. All of this is good news if you are a freelancer or want to be become a freelancer. It shows that there is work for you, and that looks set to keep increasing. It also shows how many people are using freelancers by choice, meaning that as long as you are good at what you do, you are likely to have regular work.
Of course, when it comes to freelance work, there is still work to do. It isn’t all glamourous just working from home or from a coffee shop and taking long lunches. As with anything, there are really great positives, but there are also downsides to freelance life. If this sounds like something that you want to know more about, then read on; do you think that freelancing is for you?
Being Your Own Boss
When you are working for yourself, then you are literally doing just that. You will have clients, but you are able to choose the work you take on, the rates that you set, the times that you work, and so on. You report only to yourself. You will have deadlines and so on from the people you do work for, but you can decide if you want to work more hours one day and less the next; there is no one checking when you punch in and out on the clock.
In an employed job, you are likely to have a small range of things to do. But really, you are only employed to do specific things. There are other people in the company that will do other aspects of things. But when you work as a freelancer, you will get a variety of work. The bulk of your work can be really varied, as you will have a variety of clients looking for completely different things. Plus, you have the roles of many people when you work for yourself; you can be the admin, the assistant, the accountant, and the PR team all in one.
Better Work Life Balance
It can be easier to get a better work life balance or quality of life when you are working as a freelancer. If you currently commute an hour each way to work at the moment, then that time is going to be given back to you, which can really add up over a week. You can take more regular breaks, and have more time for things like exercise or family commitments. You do need to learn to switch off as a freelancer, for sure. But when you learn to do that and leave the laptop alone at the weekend, then you can create a batter balance for yourself.
One of the downsides of freelance life is that you have to do a lot of things that someone else would normally do for you if you are formally employed. It can add variety, but can be tricky if you don’t really know what to be doing. You will get paid from clients, but you can’t just bank it all. There will be a portion of it that you’ll have to set aside for tax purposes. If you don’t know what to do, then you could hire an accountant to talk you through the process. But there are more and more ways of making tax digital, by using specific software, so that could help you going forward too. Just remember to seek help when you need it, and not put it off.
The flexibility of working when you want to does come with a price. It can mean that some months you will earn less when you take some time off or have a vacation. The same goes for simply getting paid; there is no regular pay day as you would have had normally. Some clients will pay pretty instantly, whereas others will pay pretty irregularly, or take a month to do so. From a budgeting and cashflow point of view this can be tricky, so it is worth keeping a close eye on your finances to check what you are or are not owed and when the payments are due.
Motivation is a tricky thing when you are a freelancer. In many ways, you can be more motivated as it is your business and you can feel inspired to get out and get things done. But there will be days when you’re really not feeling up to it; that can be tricky. And when you’re alone at home, it can be easy to procrastinate. In an office environment, even on your bad days you have others around to motivate you and check up on you. So this is something that does need to be considered; are you good at working as an individual? Or do you work much better when you are part of a team?
This list is not exhaustive, and what one freelancer classes as a ‘down’ could be what other classes as an ‘up.’ So just things to be thinking about. It would be great to hear what you think.