Deciding whether to work freelance or full-time can be a hard decision to make. Below are a list of the pros and cons you could consider before making that decision:
PROS OF FREELANCING
Working as a freelancer allows you to choose and take on a range of projects for a variety of employers, and can help you figure out what it is you like to do best, or what you would like to focus on and specialise in.
Exposure to a number of different agencies and challenges will push you to develop and improve creatively, more than if you were working with one agency or client where you might find yourself working on similar types of projects over and over again.
The diversity of clients and projects will also help you grow and build your portfolio, which can give you more opportunities in the future. Or you could choose to focus on working with a “variety of clients” and delivering similar natured projects, which will then help you specialize in your area of interest and pave the way to the next role you are looking for – whether this is freelance or perm.
When freelancing, in most cases, you'll have the ability to work around your own schedule and manage your own time with clients and projects. If you are organized, one of the greatest advantages is the flexibility to fit your work in with your lifestyle.
This could include working on passion projects, raising a young family, traveling, or studying to improve your skills further as a specialized designer or developer or creative.
Essentially, you are your own boss, and it is up to you to run your business as you see fit, and if finances allow — you can take time off as and when you need it.
On average, freelancers do earn a much greater hourly rate than full-time employees, however, this does depend on your level of expertise. If you keep up a good rate of work and build a loyal client base, the opportunity for earning is awesome.
CONS OF FREELANCING
JOB SECURITY / FINANCIAL STABILITY
Freelancers might be paid at a higher rate, but work can come in ebbs and flows. This higher pay usually compensates for the use of your own tools and not having other permanent salary benefits like leave entitlements, super and taxes – if you are an independent contractor.
It is also worth noting that if you intend to get a mortgage, the banks will usually be more inclined to loan to permanently employed candidates.
There are also the inevitable quiet periods to consider, when little work is forthcoming, and sometimes this can create some stress and does mean it is important that you are constantly networking, on the hustle for your next gig, especially when you are first trying to establish yourself as a freelancer.
LESS OF A SAY IN THE DIRECTION OF WORK
Depending on the client and role, you may have less creative freedom, as you might be coming in at the end of a project to assist delivery, and will need to work with what has already been started. This can create limitations in creativity at times. You might feeling like the hired help; which is essentially what you are.
But remember, it is your goal to keep the agency and client happy as you want to build rapport and get repeat bookings with them. As a result, you will generally find yourself doing as the client asks. In saying that, this all really depends on your relationship with the client, as well as your maturity as a freelancer. Once you specialize in an area, and if you are hired as a lead, this situation will be less likely.
At times being a freelancer can feel a little isolating, especially if you are set up to work from home, and are looking to feel part of a team or gain mentorship.
Depending on the client and the deadlines you have been hired to meet, you may be working irregular hours which you might not have any other options for, as that is the only job you have on at the moment. This could mean working late nights and weekends may be the only option, until you are more established and can set your own boundaries as a full-time freelancer.
If you're not working with a recruiter like Vitamin T, who will pay you on a weekly basis based on your hours, you could find managing and chasing invoices with your clients quite frustrating, and financially straining.
You may work on a job where the client says they will not be able to pay you for 2- 3 weeks, even though you need the money.
As a wrap up!
It’s never an easy choice, as both options have their fair share of benefits and drawbacks. So what should you do? It's all based on what you’re looking for in the next steps of your career, as well as suitability around your lifestyle.
As you can see, there are quite a few positives and negatives to consider for freelancing, and ultimately it is great to have the option that suits your lifestyle best.
If you're in a pickle and not sure what to go with, remember that freelancing could be a great filler in between ending a dissatisfying full-time role to finding the next right one.
By freelancing you can test and feel what dynamics you like to work in and what works best for you, and then make a choice based on your preference which could then ultimately lead you to the perfect full-time role. The world is your oyster!