In a fast-paced society, working a nine-to-five job can sometimes feel monotonous and less fulfilling as the days go by. Your lackadaisical performance has probably been called out by your boss numerous times already and you’ve never looked forward to breaks as much as you eagerly wait for the sequel of your favorite movie.
Perhaps it’s the crappy work environment or the annoying office politics, but whatever reasons led you to quit your day job and start thinking of working as a freelancer, more and more people have been choosing to leave the office daily grind behind.
Sometimes, stepping into a new kind of routine – one that’s a far cry from what you’re used to can seem overwhelming at first. You’re in the comforts of your own home and have traded in your daily OOTDs with sweatpants and pajamas. It can seem like a risky path to take, so you ask the million-dollar question: Is freelancing a viable alternative?
Freelancing in Numbers: What You Need to Know
Before we begin, you might find some comfort in knowing that you aren’t the only one who’s willing to turn your back on a regular job. If others ask why you’ve decided to go down the freelancer route, tell them about these figures. Maybe you’ll inspire them too. According to the official 2017 freelance statistics:
- Freelancers Union says 53 million Americans are doing freelance work.
- 80% of non-freelancers say they are willing to do work outside their day job to make more money.
- 65% said freelancing as a career path is more respected today than it was three years ago.
- 36% of moonlighters who have a primary job have thought about quitting to work freelance full-time.
- In the UK, about 1.4 million British freelancers are working across all sectors.
- 87% of students with first or second class degrees view freelancing as a highly attractive and lucrative career option.
We’re not asking you to jump ship immediately. But if you feel that you’ve had enough with the same old boring work routine and want to try being your own ‘boss’, we’ve rounded up a list of reasons why working freelance has some of the best perks anyone could ask for.
1. Say hello to freedom and flexibility
If you’ve literally felt chained to your job before, then working freelance is something that you’ll definitely enjoy. You may not have a boss who breathes down your neck, however, some clients will require you to install a time-tracking app to monitor your progress and productivity. This is also very useful whenever you have to send an invoice and if you’re paid by the hour.
Working at your own pace and having flexible schedules are huge perks for freelancers. This could mean finally having time for yoga or sessions at the gym. Although there are clients who also tend to be specific when it comes to preferred work hours, many allow you to work at any time you are most comfortable, so long as you get things done. This is often preferred by parents who opt to work from home so they can watch over their kids.
You get to work anywhere, too. Sometimes, being confined in an office sucks the creativity out of people. Whether it’s at the nearest coffee shop or by the beach, you get to decide your workplace for the day.
Also, freelancing is a great way to balance work and life. Just be careful, though, as freelancers have a tendency to work long hours with no time for personal interests. Learn how to manage your time wisely.
Are you tired of filing leave requests and waiting to have them approved? If you’re one who loves to constantly travel – no problem. All you need is a laptop (and internet connection) to stay connected to your job and you’re good to go.
2. Freelancing means fewer expenses
Having to travel all the way to your workplace can be costly. If you commute, you have to pay for public transportation and this can be a pain in the neck, especially when you live far. If you have a car, a mileage budget is necessary and it doesn’t come cheap.
But if you work from home, you don’t have to worry about travel expenses. From time to time, you can leave the house, but this helps you save as opposed to setting aside a daily allowance.
Eating out often or finding a place to hang out every weekend is also common in an office setting, among a closely knitted group of colleagues. We’re not saying that you should live like a hermit once you’ve started freelancing, but this gives you the liberty to control your budget more wisely as opposed to spur-of-the-moment decisions. Besides, who doesn’t love home cooked meals?
Working as a freelancer is a great way to bring in extra income for various needs. Some use it to slowly pay off debt, pay bills, splurge or just set aside cash for the future. With several opportunities to earn, it’s important that you have a plan for your freelance income. Frugal Rules suggests assigning a specific income stream for a specific goal. Not only will this encourage you to work hard, it will also prevent you from mindless and useless spending.
3. The ability to choose clients, negotiate rates, and have control over the projects you take
When applying for work, a plethora of choices await you on different websites. If you’ve got mad skills in writing or a creative eye for graphic designing, there’s always a position in various fields for everyone. You can freely choose a job or project that sounds appealing based on the client’s needs. Plus, you can juggle as many as you want (just don’t bite off more than you can chew).
Some employers will let you set your own rates so you have to be honest about your skills and capabilities. The best thing about freelancing is that you can take advantage of what you’re good at. You’re in charge of the assignments you accept and you build your own career.
Working in a regular job can be frustrating for those who feel like they can’t harness their potential. This can lead to unhappiness. But if you’re a freelancer, you can have control over your career path.
4. You can discover new passions
The pressures of a nine-to-five job can hinder one from being creative and spontaneous. More often than not, employees get stuck in their daily routines and there is no room for thinking outside the box. Freelancing on the other hand exposes you to new ideas all the time. It can be challenging to wear many hats, but it can also be fulfilling when you discover other things you actually excel at.
Perhaps you’ve always been good at dealing with people? If not for your client who needed help reaching out to business leads, you may never realize that you’ve got a hidden talent for sales. With freelance work, it’s possible to end up with new hobbies and life skills. You’re constantly learning and growing while taking on new tasks.
5. You gain independence (sometimes, new friends)
If office gossip and politics annoy you, working alone can be a treat. Freelancing teaches you initiative, especially when you’ve been used to relying on co-workers for everything. Since some clients don’t have enough budget to hire more than one freelancer, sometimes you’ll take on different roles in accounting, sales, marketing, and advertising. This way, you’ll eventually learn how to stand on your own and manage various tasks. It’s a lot of hard work, but imagine how good it’ll look on your portfolio.
Others can be put off by the idea of solitary work. They’ll probably try to dissuade you by saying it’s not as fun as being with a group of people who feel like family.
Are you worried about leading a boring, lonely lifestyle? Co-working spaces for freelancers have started popping up in many cities around the world. These hubs become habitats for people who want to have a change of work environment every now and then. You’ll get to meet interesting people, share insights and if you’re lucky, find new opportunities and even make connections.