Freelance working has become an increasing global trend. As the world becomes better connected through online channels, more people can choose to work in their dream industry and most importantly – work for themselves. On the surface, freelancing has many benefits – but is it right for everyone?
Freelancing: a growing trend
In 2016 it was reported that almost 55 million Americans made up the freelance economy, accounting for nearly 35% of the nation’s workforce. And it’s not just the US experiencing the trend, the rest of the world is also displaying similar figures. In fact, advances in technology and smarter use of online platforms make it possible for people to work for international companies, allowing for a greater number of freelancing opportunities.
What you need to know about freelancing
Freelancing may appear to be the perfect working career. Not only do you get to choose your own hours and clients but you get to pursue your own interests and avoid boredom in the workplace. This all sounds great, but when you delve deeper, there are actually many downsides to freelancing. The lack of a steady income (unless you’ve got some great contracts in place), benefits and questions of ethics can mean that the freedom you thought you were getting by working for yourself doesn’t translate in real life.
Some freelancers can work long hours and effectively be at the beck and call of clients 24/7, especially if you work in a different time zone. There are also factors of pay to consider, with many freelancers accepting lower than the recommended rate to secure work in a competitive arena.
There’s also the question of liability to consider, something which could end up costing you if you are faced with a bad client and legal action. You will need to seek out the best small business insurance to cover legal proceedings and any potential loss of earnings caused by illnesses or elements out of your control. While working for an employer might offer a less appealing work/life balance, they can offer you the protection and benefits that might be necessary for your circumstances.
Making freelancing work for you
There are upsides and downsides to all career avenues, and freelancing is no exception. Done right, freelancing can be a rewarding career – but you need to be able to make it work for you. Doing your research and having a plan B will stop you getting caught short and give you some added security. As more and more of the workforce, particularly the younger generations, it’s likely that freelancing will start becoming an important topic when it comes to employment rights.
There are many things you’ll need to consider before you take the plunge into freelancing, so make sure you’re prepared. Assess your finances and seek advice from others who’ve been there before and know exactly what you’re getting into. Be realistic with your goals and if you can’t commit 100%, it may not be the right path for you.