Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Freelancing vs. Being an Employee

Let’s look at the benefits of being an employee versus being a freelancer.

As an employee:
On the plus side:
  • You have a fixed income, which gives you financial stability
  • You have colleagues to socialize with
  • You are paid regardless if there is not much to be done (e.g., during the summer)
  • You have a structured working week
  • You might look better on LinkenIn and among your peers as an employee at a company
  • You need to build your image as a reliable employee
  • You are at the whim of other people
On the down side:
  • You have no creative freedom
  • You have to deal with obnoxious colleagues/bosses
  • You are not in charge of your work schedule or working hours
  • You have to commute, which translates to wasting time in traffic
  • You worry about company politics (the company being bought up, lay-off, etc.)
  • You have a fixed income, so any additional effort or overtime is not paid for.
  • You must be careful on your social media; big brother is watching you!
As a freelancer:

On the plus side:
  • You can choose your customers and get easily get rid of “bad” ones
  • You meet a lot of companies (and managers) in various industries
  • Each customer opens a new world of knowledge and opportunities
  • You can hone your skills due to new challenges that you encounter with each new client
  • You can leverage your knowledge and experience to the maximum
  • You do not have to put up with obnoxious colleagues or bosses
  • You manage your own work, working schedule and working hours
  • No need to commute; unless you opt for an in-house project
  • You can use social media to your own advantage and that of your clients
On the down side:
  • Your income varies month to month (unless you are able to get retainers)
  • You need to hunt for project/customers
  • You need to track payments, which involves administration
  • You need to balance your input with what you are paid for: any additional efforts you make are freebies
  • Every hour you don’t work, is “loss of income”

Once thing that is often overlooked: you get a lot more respect as a freelancer than an employee and you also treated better. Clients are aware that as a freelancer, you can walk away from a project at any moment. As an employee, they can treat you anyway they like…they know you are not likely to quit!
Freelancing is great if you are organized and disciplined. If you are the kind of person that likes to be around people, chitchat and have coffee and lunch klatches – freelance is not the way for you to go.
But if you are a creative, organized, disciplined person that likes to juggle multiple projects and be in control of you own work and time – freelancing is the way to go!

(Debra Daumier is currently happily working as a freelance technical and marketing writer. Previously, she worked in various B2B companies. She is also a published fiction writer. She is a member of the Freelancer Union. Please feel free to connect via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.)

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