In recent years, freelancing has become more and more common, and the popularity of the practice seems to increase by the day. As a result, you may have wondered if freelancing could be the right choice for you also – and hopefully, the considerations above will help you towards making a decision in future.
Is freelancing possible for you?
As popular as freelancing has become, it is not necessarily compatible with certain careers. For the most part, you will need to be in a job that involves a large amount of computer usage; where you can still achieve your day-to-day tasks, but from your home office rather than a business office.
However, if you work in a non-computer based role (for example, retail), you could still consider freelancing as an expert consultant within your industry. This is a less conventional route, but could be an option if you have a significant, proven history of success.
Have you considered the downsides?
The upsides tend to receive the most attention when it comes to freelancing: the ability to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and so on. However, freelancing has significant downsides that you will need to consider:
- Loss of employee benefits. As a freelancer, you won’t have a direct employer, which means you’ll lose employee benefits such as health insurance. You will, therefore, need to research and purchase self employed health insurance and similar matching benefits to ensure continuous coverage.
- Loss of paid time off. Freelancing means that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid – there are no sick days or vacation days, which can be extremely challenging. Most freelancers account for this by setting up specific savings accounts that they can call into action if they are unwell or need to take time off, so you will likely need to do the same in order to ensure your finances are protected.
- Lack of company. For most freelancers, loneliness is a real problem, especially for those who have been accustomed to working in bustling office environments. There are ways to handle freelancer loneliness, but it is something you need to be aware of if you are contemplating freelancing full-time in the future.
The above should not dissuade you from freelancing, but it is incredibly important to be aware that the change does have its challenges – just like any other way of working.
Are you prepared for the lifestyle change?
If you have always worked outside of your home, for an employer, then freelancing really can completely change your entire lifestyle. You won’t have to make time for a commute, work to a strict schedule, automatically be able to take time off on public holidays, and so on.
As a result of the above, it’s usually best to try freelancing before you commit full-time; for example, request a sabbatical from your current job or switch to part-time hours rather than leaving altogether. After six months, you will be well-equipped to decide if the freelancing lifestyle suits you.
Freelancing is not necessarily the best choice for everyone, even if it is often talked about as a “cure all” for all of the modern working world’s ills. However, becoming a freelancer can be wonderful – provided you are aware of the downsides and see these as a fair exchange for greater working freedom.