Is Freelancing Really For You? - The Pros and Cons

Derek Abram
CEO of Prio
5 min read

Whether it is as an extra source of income or a full-time career choice, there are currently an estimated 1.57 billion people working as freelancers globally. Experts predict that in the years ahead, more and more people will choose the freedom and sense of control that comes with freelancing over regular employment.

If you’re considering making the jump yourself, or even thinking about freelancing as a side gig, we’d advise you to make an educated decision, instead of diving headfirst into a world that’s new to you and may be fraught with uncertainty. 

What are the pros and cons of freelancing? Is it really for you? Let’s weigh out our options and find out.

The pros of being a freelancer

Let’s begin with the premise that certain jobs are more in demand than others when it comes to being a freelancer, so the degree of success may vary. But if there are a billion and a half people choosing to freelance, it must be beneficial. 

Let’s take a look at the advantages of freelancing. 

Flexible working hours

One of the perks of freelancing is that you define your working hours. This means that you get to decide which hours of the day you’d like to spend working, and for how many hours you’d like to work. 

Of course, keep in mind that you’ll still need to be available for your clients during their working hours, even if it’s just to answer queries, and that your time management skills will need to be on point.

You’re your own boss

Being a freelancer is akin to being an entrepreneur, and you’re essentially your own boss. You get to decide your schedule, define your work-life balance and even choose when you feel like taking some time off. Who wouldn’t like to have that kind of control over their lives?

You pick your clients

One of the downsides to a conventional full-time job is that you get stuck in a rut, working for the same people and doing the same things repeatedly. As a freelancer, you have the luxury of choosing the clients you want to work with, and depending on your unique skills, can service multiple business verticals at the same time.

Flexible workloads

A regular job can often wear a person down, considering you often do not have any choice about the amount of work you need to take out. This has been known to lead to severe stress and burnout. 

As a freelancer, you get to choose how much of a workload you want to take on. When you have the drive and energy, you can choose to work 12-14 hours a day. When you feel you need a break, you can turn down offers and choose to scale down your workload, or even take a vacation. 

Freedom of location

This is another one of those advantages of freelancing that has people enamored, and justifiably so. Unless you have clients visiting you, you could choose to work from anywhere in the world, just as long as you stick to the timelines you have committed to.

Simply put, you could work off a cruise ship, on a beach, or from a park bench, because like we said earlier, you’re the boss!

Plenty of learning opportunities

With the opportunities to work with different industries and business verticals, you also get to hone your skills to the next level while also picking up life skills you may not have paid attention to earlier.

These skills include budgeting, time management, and effective communication, all of which will contribute to making your freelancing career more successful. 

The cons of being a freelancer

Just like every coin has two sides to it, the seemingly idyllic world of freelancing has its pitfalls as well. Here are some of the most prominent freelance disadvantages.

Job security

One of the advantages of a conventional job is that once you get used to the routine and do your job fairly well, you can rest easy knowing that your paycheck will come to you at the end of the month, and unless there is a major calamity, you will still have your job the following month.

As a freelancer, you will be responsible for networking and bringing in constant work to keep yourself occupied and your bills paid. 

Working alone

Another downside to freelancing is that you no longer have the camaraderie you’d share with your colleagues over a cuppa or during your lunch breaks. Now, you’re a one-man team, and that can get lonely after a while.

Tax structure

Paying taxes as a freelancer can get complicated, considering some of the factors that define how much you will need to pay including your income, the state you live in, and more. 

Unlike regular salaried people who get paychecks after state and federal taxes, 401K and other deductions have already been done, your clients will pay you in full, and you will be held responsible for declaring your income when the time comes and paying taxes on it. 

If you are a freelancer in the US, there’s an additional 15.3% self-employment tax that you will need to pay. 

Lack of employee benefits

Unlike regular employees who get retirement benefits (401K) and health insurance, you will need to take on the responsibility of paying your own insurance premiums and putting aside money for rainy days. 

No paid time off

Another benefit that you will have no access to is paid vacations. Every job offers employees a certain number of paid vacation days, sick leave, and maternity/paternity leave. As a freelancer, any time you decide to take off from work will mean you’re not making any money on those days.

Sole responsibility

When you’re part of a team, you can share responsibilities with team members, and even delegate work if you’re overburdened. However, once you become a freelancer, that’s another luxury you do not have. 

You will need to bear that extra burden, and in many cases, upskill yourself to be able to deliver projects on time. 

Inconsistent work

If there had to be one major drawback to freelancing we had to highlight, it would be this: not knowing when you’re going to be hit by a dry spell.

Freelancing can often be a mixed bag. There will be weeks when you have absolutely no breathing space, thanks to the amount of work you have. And then, there will be weeks, or even months, without a single project coming your way. 

This unpredictability makes it difficult to plan finances, making it all the more important to put aside money for rainy days when the going is good. 

Make your life as a freelancer easier with Prio

Freelancing can be a risky proposition, but with the right amount of preparation and perseverance, you could find yourself earning more than you did as an employee while enjoying a work-life balance like never before.

Choosing the right tools could help you make the experience even more productive and easier. For example, Prio’s time tracker will not only help you with your time management, but it will also help you calculate the number of hours of effort each of your projects take, and see if the man hours justify the income. 

Our invoice generator will help you create professional invoices in the blink of an eye. In fact, you can create templates for your regular billing and schedule invoices to be made. The tool will automatically keep your invoices ready for your approval on time.

The icing on the cake is that all of our freelancer services are absolutely free! Sign up for Prio today, and streamline your freelancing career. 

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