People have a lot of assumptions about freelancers, both positive and negative. Many believe that being in a position where you can ‘be your own boss’ is living the dream. Although this is partially true, there are also some hardships that freelancers face. Being a freelancer usually means you work your own hours independently which brings forth struggles with isolation, balance between your work and personal life and burn out. In reality, as with most jobs, freelancing has equal pros and cons. But with planning and dedication, freelancing can definitely be a dream job.
What are the best parts about being a freelancer? The freedom, being able to create your own schedule, work from anywhere, to choose your clients, projects, and workload. Freelancers are fortunate to be able to build their own schedule. If they need to take a personal Monday, they can take a personal Monday, just as long as they meet their deadlines and reach their hourly goals. On top of that, most freelancers are home based with clients whom they communicate with on the phone or online, based out of various locations. This allows freelancers to virtually work from anywhere, as long as there is internet.
Along with the freedom of creating your own schedule from wherever, you can pick and choose your work. Freelancing allows you to work with who you want and take on projects that interest you. You can also regulate your workload for the week or month depending on your personal or work schedule. This could mean taking less projects one week to permit time for a personal event or taking on more projects when extra funds are needed. The ability to curate your work in this way is a huge win for freelancing and not an option in most employee positions.
Although there are many perks to being a freelancer, there are also some downsides. Freelancing is typically a solo position which unfortunately means isolation is a very real issue. To combat this, working in a coworking space, cafes or public places tend to help. It is also important to balance your work and social life to help resolve issues of solitude. However, this can prove to be difficult at times. With freelancing there is no ‘9-5’, there is the ability to start and end work whenever needed. This often results in a difficult time separating work and personal life as there is no technical ‘closing’ time when you can’t do business. However, balancing your work and personal life is crucial to keeping you inspired, motivated, and helping you avoid burnout which can be very detrimental to your health and well-being.
Some freelancers also struggle with the concept of having “multiple bosses”, working for multiple clients with many stakeholders from various establishments. It is important to recognize these separate clients and task-switch between projects, which requires remembering how far along you are with multiple, and sometimes very different, tasks. Project management and organization tools are essential to combat confusion or difficulty keeping different clients and projects separated. The idea of having to report back to multiple project leaders or bosses can also be frightening for some. Although you are technically your own boss in a freelance career, you still need to report back to project managers and clients for the work you are doing. For some, having one or a few nice bosses is great, but having a handful of micromanagers is enough to drive anyone insane.
Overall, freelancing is an incredible position to be in. It is a versatile way of work, with constant change and growth, as well as the ability to work from wherever, whenever and with whomever. However, there are a number of negatives that accompany the position, an enhanced struggle to balance work/life, facing isolation at times, and having a number of projects for diverse clients to juggle all at once. Having worked as a freelancer for a year and a half, the job definitely has its pros and cons. However, I could not imagine working a normal job after experiencing this type of work. The freedom is a huge benefit, but being a freelancer also provides one with many opportunities for personal growth as well as growth within your business. With patience and dedication to your craft, all the issues that arise are easy to overcome and manageable and definitely worth the initial struggle.
Keep these tips on hand with this useful infographic: Work Like A Freelance
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