In today’s so-called “gig economy,” freelancing seems to be becoming the rule rather than the exception. No doubt, going solo has some clear benefits that have led many to adopt the self-employment lifestyle. Is it the direction you want to take in your employment situation?
Advantages of Freelancing
When you decide to become a solo-preneur, you can declare your independence from office politics and perhaps even extended commutes. No longer will you look to just one company for your entire paycheck – unless you find a cash cow and make it your sole client. Either way, the decision is yours.
When working for yourself, it is your privilege and responsibility to land your own customers and keep them happy, an exciting prospect for an extroverted go-getter. What’s more, freelancing provides the perfect environment for self-examination and growth as an artist, consultant, writer or whatever form your expertise takes.
A high level of organization is another character trait that freelancing can help you hone. The more systematic you make your operation, the more time you can spend on doing what you love and bringing new customers in. Speaking of qualities that working for yourself will enhance, the more you market yourself and network with colleagues and potential customers, the more your self-confidence will climb. Remember, this isn’t a quality you are either born with or not; it is a muscle that you can strengthen over time with practice.
Disadvantages of Freelancing
As with any work style, freelancing is not for everyone. If, for instance, you consider yourself to be so introverted and shy that you are paralyzed and cannot toot your own horn to potential customers, this type of work can quickly turn into a nightmare. By the same token, you can rapidly become overwhelmed if you lack the self-discipline to work regular hours, bill your clients on time and aggressively market yourself through social media and other advertising strategies.
Hand in hand with self-discipline goes organization. If you fail to stick to a system of filing and storing paperwork and receipts, for instance, tax time will become horrendously difficult. Similarly, you must be sure you have all of your ducks in a row when it comes to researching and obtaining business insurance. This coverage is vital, protecting you against liability if customers or other third parties are injured as well as theft, natural disaster and property damage. Failing to purchase coverage could, in the worst case scenario, mean that you find yourself at the business end of a lawsuit that could ultimately bankrupt you and rob you of your dream.
Freelancing may also not be right for you if you lack flexibility and a sense of adventure. This type of work is inconsistent by its very nature. When it rains, it will pour; then there will be weeks when you have little or nothing to do. If these vacillations make you so crazy that you can’t sleep at night and worry constantly, you might be happier in a traditional nine-to-five job.
Because working for yourself allows for a good deal of leeway and flexibility, you might want to consider giving it a trial run before you quit your current, stable employment. Doing so is a relatively risk-free way to get a feel for the freelance lifestyle without jeopardizing your paycheck. Who knows, it might be the first step on a very happy journey to self-discovery.