Working professionals these days want freedom and flexibility. The 9-to-5 job caters to an old-fashioned status quo of conditional mobility and a lack of adventure. Hence, the trend of Freelancing is blooming across all sections of work domains. Over 53 million Americans freelance, accounting for a third of the U.S. workforce alone. The freelance workforce is already adding $715 billion annually to the economy. By 2020, this number is expected to increase to 50% of the labor force. But like any other trends, even freelancing has its pros and cons.
You set your priorities – you find and complete jobs when it’s most convenient for you
With freelancing comes the flexibility. One is no more constraint to a 9 to 5 schedule and work gets done as per individual priorities. You get all the liberty in the world to choose the time and place to compile the deliverable(s). You are your own boss and you get to make your own rules about when and job gets done. Liberating and yet very challenging.
Location independence – you can work from anywhere. It’s a great way to travel and see the world
The major advantage of freelancing is that it helps the working professional in saving a good amount of time and money which otherwise gets wasted in commuting to work. According to a report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, freelancers save up to US$ 4000 p.a. on commuting and other related costs. The new economy jobs give liberty to the working professionals to work from their comfort zones. Boring boardroom meetings have turned into Skype calls, making work more enticing.
Income potential is limitless – the demand for your skills and the amount of work you are willing to do decides your income
If you are not one of those who has a 9 to 5 job then you are also not one of those who gets a fixed amount of salary in the first week of every month. A freelancer works on a project or assignment basis and gets paid on successfully completing the job. The smarted you are as a worker, the more efficiently you can get jobs done and earn more with every assignment. Freelancers are not only more focused and productive but also have an incentive to work efficiently.
You can claim additional tax deductions – earnings are further enhanced when most of your routine expenses can be used for professional deductions
You can expense almost every expenditure and claim a tax deduction. As per studies, over the last decade, the productivity of freelancers has been on the rise. Many large organizations have data to show that productivity of their freelancers is up to 15% higher than the regular office-based employees. Increased productivity leads to better growth in their jobs, leading to financial gains. This allows such professionals to save or invest the spare funds or use it for discretionary spends.
Multitasking and having to wear a lot more hats
You no longer have a boss. You are your own boss and all decisions need to be taken by you. You have to handle many roles, which you never thought about as a salaried employee. These can be- cash flow management, travel arrangements, preparing yearly accounts and doing taxes for your business etc. You are also in charge of finding potential clients and getting projects for yourself and you no longer work in a traditional office and get handed readymade project opportunities. Multitasking and micromanaging everything can be stressful and may lead to anxiety issues.
Inconsistent inflow of money and jobs
Though the major advantage of freelancing is saving a fortune of money but it also means you need to get a job first in order to save that money. You no longer have a fixed salary getting credited to your account every month. There’s no such thing as “Month End”. Either the entire month would look like a month end or you won’t feel it for months at a stretch. It’s a jungle out there and as the saying goes “you hunt. you eat”. Jobs may be few and far apart, cash flows may be inconsistent and this sometimes leads to a loss of morale.
Lack of intellectual exchanges with colleagues
Working from your comfort zone or while sitting in a coffee shop all by yourself does sound alluring but this also means you don’t have anyone around to ask for assistance when stuck at work. What more freelancers miss the most are those thought-provoking discussions with colleagues, peers and even bosses. It’s lonely out there and you need to provide for your own intellectual stimulation.