A Freelancer’s Guide to the Pros and Cons of Freelance

Apr 19, 2010 | designingLULA

Freelancing is a fine balance of variables that can create success if juggled correctly or spell disaster if not juggled well.

I’m often asked “What’s it like to be freelance?” Well, ladies and gents, it can be amazingly hard and stressful but at the same time as equally rewarding. Like anything in life, it takes patience, attention, some elbow grease and tender loving care.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned to ride the ebb and flow of the tricky waters of freelance. Here’s a quick list of pros and cons for those of you thinking about jumping in:

PROs
1. You’re on your own clock—it’s great to be on your own schedule. I’m flexible enough to be able to be spontaneous with my days and can work at any hour of the day instead of clocking in and out for someone else.

2. You’re your own boss—it’s all about me and no one to tell me differently.

3. Being fed—following your dream to be your own boss and doing what you love leaves your spirit and soul completely fed.

4. It’s on you—when in an office full of talented people, it’s sometimes hard to get recognized leading you to feel under appreciated. When it’s just you then all of the glory is put forth upon you and you get to beam with pride when your client falls in love with you and your work.

5. Fundage—when the juggling act is going smoothly cash flow can be excellent.

6. Uncle Sam—there are loads of organizations and municipal and governmental programs who love giving money and resources to small businesses.

7. Renaissance Woman or Man—when you’re out on your own you tend to become educated in a plethora of other subjects that have nothing to do with your actual trade but are vital to running a business. This education challenges your boundaries and ultimately helps you grow as a person and business owner.

CONs
1. You’re on your own clock—when all of your time is YOUR time, it’s hard to manage it effectively. You have to be really disciplined with your time. It can be really tough on those lazy summer days but it must be done.

2. You’re your own boss—when you’re the one making the rules it’s easy to give yourself a lot of leeway to do what you want and not what you need to be doing.

3. Being fed—the paychecks don’t come in a nice bi-monthly pattern so budgeting gets difficult at times and sometimes you might not be fed.

4. It’s on you—usually in a work place when something goes wrong the blame can fall in a variable of ways; however, as a freelancer, that blame sits solely on top of your shoulders when things go awry. Disclaimer: Murphy’s Law—things will, at some point, go awry.

5. Fundage—when the juggling act is not going smoothly cash flow can be non-existent.

6. Uncle Sam—if you thought taxes were high when you were employed by someone else, brace yourself for the beating you’ll get being a freelancer.

7. Renaissance Woman or Man—when you’re out on your own, you’re really out on your own including  auxiliary tasks that you might not know how to do like accounting, billing, networking or even customer service. So you either have to get yourself schooled or you have to shell out money to have someone do it for you.

So there it is. My pros and cons to freelancing. If your a little confused as to why the pros are the same as the cons, just from a different perspective, well that was on purpose. That little paradox is the essence of freelance. It can be absolutely rewarding in every way and it can also be the bane of your existence.

My best advice to those of you thinking about taking the plunge is to really look into your heart and be honest with yourself. You have to know your potential as well as your limits. Going freelance is the best thing I’ve ever done spiritually but I have to be honest and say that it isn’t the best thing I’ve ever done financially.

You have to be willing to work twice as hard for twice as long to get to where you want to be. It’s much easier said than done especially since Life likes to throw curve balls. However, if you can ride out those rough waters then I would have to attest that going freelance is just awesome. Even the cons aren’t so bad because really it just comes with the territory.

So my vote is, DO IT but do it with a plan to avoid as many cons as you can. You might regret it or you might not but at least if you try, you’ll never look back and say “What if?”

1 Comment

  1. Paul Galbraith

    I have to agree with you there Lula, all the positives of freelancing can be the negatives too. I’ve only been freelancing for a short time, but already I can see how self discipline can be a major issue, it’s so easy to get side tracked when dealing with so many different tasks each day.

    Reply

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