Freelancing for work projects has become very popular over the years among individuals. Here is a quick look at freelancers as well as the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing.
WHO IS A FREELANCER?
A freelancer is an individual who is self-employed and who earns money on a job-to-job basis. What this means is that freelancers usually take up short-term work projects and don’t really have a permanent workplace or firm. Some take up freelancing projects as side projects to supplement their full-time work commitments while some do this full-time. Sectors like entertainment, design, art, copywriting, film, etc. are popular sectors for freelancers.
THE CONCEPT OF FREELANCING
Let’s first start with understanding what the gig economy is. The gig economy is where companies hire independent contractors and freelancers for temporary and flexible jobs based on the immediate needs of the company. For example, Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, etc. are some gig economy companies. So there are a large number of people out there with temporary or part-time jobs making work adaptable to the needs of now. Companies like Fiverr is another example dedicated to providing freelancing services.
ADVANTAGES OF FREELANCING
Flexible Work Hours
The biggest advantage of freelancing is that you have flexible working hours. Especially if it is a short-term project, you have the flexibility to set your own work hours. No more rigid 9 to 5 work timings. You can choose a project on the basis of what timings work for you. And if you are paid by the hour, you can always field more work in lesser time because time is money.
Work From Home
Freelancing literally has the word “free” in it. So a freelancer has the freedom to do what they want. And one of the many perks attached to this employment situation is that it is possible to work from wherever they want. Of course, if you are working part-time at a company where you need to physically be there, this is not an option. But most freelancing jobs are portable and have the option of working from home. Many take up travel writing or blogging where they move around and take up projects on the go. So one gets to work as well as travel.
Can Choose Which Projects to Take Up
A freelancer has the choice of picking what projects they want to work on. One is not tied to an employer permanently and hence, they have the freedom to take on projects that will benefit them the most. This also means avoiding difficult clients and work that does not align with their ethos, among other things.
All the above-mentioned advantages ensure a work-life balance. When you have control over what and how you do the work, it helps the freelancer prioritize their professional as well as personal life seemingly. And especially with the bargaining power on the side of the freelancers, they get paid their worth. As a result, there is higher job satisfaction.
A freelancer has the unique opportunity to work on diverse projects and topics. They may work on a number of short-term projects with different companies. These include big corporate companies, start-ups, NGOs, etc. All of these organizations have a different way of functioning. Therefore, it can help in opening up new and exciting avenues for them.
Easier to Find Work
Companies and organizations are always looking for their convenience and ease while hiring individuals. And this is always met when freelancers are hired. They are hired for a shorter time period, so there is no long term investment required by these organizations. And as for the freelancers themselves, it is a great opportunity to jump into another career path by taking up different projects and responsibilities.
As a freelancer, one gets to explore different topics for work. The advantage of doing many jobs and taking up varied responsibilities is that you end up with diverse skills. It helps in increasing experience in the preferred field and even builds enough skills to move into a different field of work.
DISADVANTAGES OF FREELANCING
No Job Security
The biggest drawback of freelancing is that there is no job security. Since freelancers take up short-term projects or temporary job positions, they can avail of opportunities when companies require them. Therefore, they might go through sporadic work at a stretch. Usually, most freelance workers have a day job or a permanent job and the freelance projects are to facilitate the same.
Because there is no guarantee of constant workflow, freelancing also means uncertain finance. One gets paid only on a job-to-job basis. So, the chances of getting a salary wholly depend on what projects you land. Sometimes, projects get terminated abruptly, there are uncooperating clients, or a remuneration issue, etc. Hence, it is a risky business when you look at it from a long-term perspective.
Lack of Benefits
When an individual works with an organization permanently, they usually get benefits like paid leaves, insurance, office retreats, retirement plans, etc. These office perks are not afforded to freelancers. They are only for employees.
Constant Job Hunting
Sporadic work, short term projects, and uncertain salary mean that freelancers are constantly looking for jobs and opportunities. While this means a diverse job portfolio, it also means that one has to always be on the lookout. And landing a job is not only a difficult task but also stress-inducing for some. Therefore, there is always the risk of not knowing when your next paycheck will be coming.
Another disadvantage of freelancing is that most of the freelancers work remotely. They are separated from their team members or company. And many of them even work independently. This can be isolating and hinder their progress. Unless they are comfortable with working by themselves, this can have an adverse effect on the job.
Responsibility of Getting Paid
This is a constant concern for freelance workers. When it comes to paying employees, the company or organization is responsible for paying them on time. But with freelancing, the general practice is that the freelancer has to follow up on their payments and receipts. It is the responsibility of the freelancers to get paid. And this is a tedious task because of innumerable procedures, company policies, and sometimes, unapproachable clients.
Freelancers usually run their business. So they end up doing everything along with their job. They are their own manager, assistant, clerk, boss, CEO – everything. As a result, they are responsible for all the administrative work as well. This can be strenuous and take away from the time that could be devoted to doing their actual work.