Recently, I came across a post by Jessica Stillman on the subject of stealth freelancers. The number of independent workers is rising, no doubt, but there’s a fog surrounding the self-employed these days and statistics might not really tell the full story. What’s intriguing is that 66% of freelancers hold full-time jobs and most don’t want to reveal the truth that they’re freelancing. But, for the rest of us who are planning to make a career shift and jump into the world of freelancing, we’re left with two options: To freelance full-time or part-time.
Freelancing Options: Making a Smart Choice
There’s no really right or wrong answer here, and the choice you make will depend on your priorities. Having done freelancing full time for more than three years, I’d say it’s not an easy road to take either. There have been many predictions what freelancing will look like this year and beyond, and yet, nothing is ever certain in a competitive world where everyone is bidding on a project. No wonder, a freelancer has to face the toughest decision of them all, of plunging into full-time or part-time work. Freelancing is being your own entrepreneur and it’s a major move to make. Just how can you ever choose?
1. Know that freelancing full-time takes a great deal of commitment, where you need to find that ‘joy’ in what you do. This means tackling road blocks like freelancing rut. You have to dedicate yourself to continuous improvement and constant search for gigs to ensure you of a steady income. Can you commit 100%?
2. Think of freelancing as buying a home. It’s a big decision. You have to do your research and ask yourself if this is really what you want. Why do you want to freelance? Can you do so without leaving your current job? Do you want to have flexibility when it comes to work? Do you hate your boss right now? There are 20 reasons why you shouldn’t be a freelancer so take all the time to think..
3. Do you have a business plan in place? When you freelance, you become your own boss running your freelancing biz. How do you see yourself in six months? In one year? Do you have the resources to put up a website? Where and how will you market your skills online?
Taking a Peek at Freelancing Part-Time
In these days when the job market is tumultuous and people are facing financial uncertainty, working independently is a risk and freelancing part-time can help minimize it – especially for starters. One of the downsides of freelancing full-time is not enjoying employee benefits like health insurance, sick/vacation leaves, retirement benefits and so on. Those who take on part-time gigs are doing so to have an extra income. While the perks can be great, there are downsides as well. Those who hold a day job while freelancing part-time can run up against time crunches. A part-time freelancer can experience stress when it comes to managing what limited time s/he has for the day. Most have been ranting about not having a social life and not having a chance to land bigger projects that demand more hours. When you’re doing freelancing on the side, it’s just tough to pitch in your skills and sell the idea that you’re committed to the cause. Clients also tend to label part-time freelancers as high-risk, where they can contribute to issues like missed deadlines and delays.
Freelancing Full-Time: The Other Side of the Story
If you’re tempted with the get-rich schemes that stories tell about freelancing, you need to know that success isn’t guaranteed overnight. One of the things I like about full-time freelancing is having the freedom to spend my time, whenever and however I wish. This meant I get a chance to have a work-life balance and spend quality time with my family, while I choose my own work hours. Plus, you don’t have to deal with daily commute and 1001 urban legends you hear about working in an office. You get to work in your pajamas without ever worrying about violating a dress code too. Freelancing full-time helps you learn about managing yourself, your finances and your business. What’s great is that you can show the world your expertise without having to spend lots in Ivy League colleges. As for the minus side, I’ll raise my glass ( or my pen ) to Mike Smith and agree with him on these 15 drawbacks on freelancing full-time.
It’s Really Up to You!
There’s always two sides to a story and no one has lived happily ever after in the freelancing world, but you can make things work! Whatever your decision will be, strive to do your best and be rational. There are pros and cons, for sure. Don’t let your excitement get you rushing head first into a wall. Take time to think about the reason why you want to freelance in the first place… and take baby steps from there.
Have you made up your mind yet?
p.s. For those who freelance full-time or part-time, what advice can you give to those who are planning to join our world?