Benefits and Drawbacks of Freelancing
Most content creators today wonder if they should start freelancing at some point in their career. While some tend to think of it as everything they ever wanted, a lot of people find doing everything themselves with no security pretty stressful. But freelancing can be very rewarding if done right.
If you are someone who is thinking of freelancing, you should research well and know what to expect before you get into it.
Here are the basic benefits and drawbacks of freelancing, according to my personal opinion.
Benefits of freelancing-
You are your own boss:
This is one of the biggest assets of freelancing. You have no one to report to but yourself. You can set your own tasks and work at your own pace. You also have no one relying on you except your client. No more staying late to complete a task unless you want to. No more stress of someone looming over your head.
Another helpful aspect is communication. Direct communication with the client helps you perform better at your task. You know exactly what needs to be done and this eliminates miscommunication.
Moreover, you can plan, organize and execute the entire project based on your understanding and style. It becomes more homogeneous and complete. You can even opt to partner with other freelancers if the need arises.
You get to keep all the profit:
The best thing about freelancing is that you get to keep all the money you toil for. It’s relative, the more effort you put in, the bore financial benefits you’re going to get out of it.
When you freelance initially, there are a few months when it seems like the effort isn’t worth the little money you get. But in these moments you need to remember that the return of investment at that time is profile building and growth. As a freelancer, growth is just as important as getting paid. The more you grow, the higher you can charge for the same effort.
It’s like this, think about it in terms of ROI instead of just financial benefits. Because while you do get higher monetary gains, you also grow a lot in your field of work. You create an identity for yourself and keep adding to it. Don’t go about doing free projects in the name of growth though, both can happen together!
Fewer meetings and bureaucracy:
When I shifted from a corporate job to freelancing, this was a big relief. No more getting up at 6:00 AM because you need to prepare for a meeting at 9:00 AM which could have just been an email. No more weekly stand-ups, no more dependencies which can only (for some reason) be solved by a ‘quick call’.
Furthermore, no more waiting for approvals for every small thing you need. You think you need a new tablet which will help you work better? You order it immediately instead of waiting for a month for the request to ‘process’.
Avoiding the ‘meetings and bureaucratic culture’ of corporates and agencies gives you more time to think about your project and the flexibility increases creativity. You have absolute control on your time and the only real meetings you need to attend is with the clients directly which is a huge plus.
Generally speaking, freelancers tend to work in areas they are passionate about. They can then deep dive in their own fields of interest and create a niche for themselves. More passion equals more interest to do the actual job. This equals better results.
You get to be a part of a community of like minded people in your field of interest. Online, these groups of people can also help you grow in that field.
As you are more passionate about what you are working on, you pour your heart and soul into every project building a great portfolio for yourself and growing and creating an identity as an expert in that field.
And if that passion changes over time, you can change your fields too, it’s your choice!
Actual flexible hours:
“You’d have flexible hours” they said, in my last organization. Well it was true, to an extent. I still had dependencies I needed to take care of in fixed hours and meetings I had to attend every SOD and EOD. This gave rise to me working for more actual hours than the people with ‘fixed hours’ in a corporate environment.
All of this melted away while freelancing, where I got actual flexible hours to work in. Now, I could travel and work, take days off if required without feeling guilty about it and just have time for myself from time to time.
Flexible hours also helped me work on myself, I spent 50% time on my clients and 50% time learning and developing myself to become an expert in my field.
Drawbacks of freelancing -
You are in charge of everything:
It can get a bit much at times. You are in charge of literally EVERYTHING. You need to create your portfolio, find clients, try to keep clients, decided on your quote, communicate with the clients, manage finances, advertise, grow your expertise, grow your business, market yourself, learn about topics around your field of knowledge, be an active member of a community and so much more.
All by yourself.
It does get a little stressful sometimes. What you need to do is spend at least some time in planning, organizing and take a break from it all time and again.
You have to fight hard for the profit:
While it’s great that you are in charge of everything, it makes it harder to fight for the profit. Even when you do get to keep it all. Some projects are easy, and some clients great who pay upfront or immediately. But there are instances where you struggle to get paid. Where the client demands more work for the same amount of money.
There are some months where you struggle to even make a profit of the projects you get.
I tend to create some savings especially for these months. You have to be very wise about your finances when you decide to freelance and think about all possibilities right from the start.
There is never any certainty about anything when you freelance. You don’t know if you can trust your clients. You don’t know if you will get any projects. You don’t know if you will get paid. You don’t know if what you saved will be enough. You don’t know whether you are going in the right direction. You don’t know if you are actually growing.
What you need to do, is trust your gut. Things happen sometimes which aren’t desirable. But if you keep working sincerely, good things are more than the bad ones. Even though there is less certainty in freelancing, it has more rewarding results.
Freelancing needs absolutely perfect planning and organization. And yet it’s still chaotic at times. Learn how to organize and be more efficient and focused at the tasks you do to avoid the chaotic aspect of freelancing as much as possible.
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