In recent years, freelancing has become more popular than ever, with more than one-third of people pursuing it. Moreover, people aren’t freelancing out of necessity. The majority deliberately choose the freelance lifestyle. This isn’t surprising when you consider the benefits and freedom of being your own boss.
If you’re considering breaking into the world of freelancing, whether as a side hustle, a part-time job, or a full-time job starting a freelance business, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we review the advantages of being a freelancer at this time.
Many who consider venturing into freelancing worry if it’s a wise choice. Perhaps you are only looking into freelancing for side income, or maybe you’re wondering if it’s possible to make enough money to leave behind your day job and co-workers for self-employment. If so, you’d be joining the 36% of freelancers who’ve made it a full-time career path.
While it may take a lot of time and hard work to get started, becoming a successful freelancer is achievable and comes with many benefits that continue to attract increasing numbers of people to this lifestyle.
One of the advantages of being a freelancer is that you have much more freedom than when you work for someone else. You’re essentially running your own business, and it’s up to you which new clients you take on, what your hourly rate is, and what hours you work.
For example, if a potential client comes to you with a job that seems complex and doesn’t pay well, you can turn them down. You are under no obligation to take on any projects you don’t want.
The ability to set your own hours can be particularly attractive. If you have kids, you might choose to do your work while they’re in school and after they’ve gone to bed. If you want to take off Wednesday because the weather is nice and work on a Saturday instead, it’s entirely up to you. In general, as long as the work for your clients is completed by the agreed-on deadlines, you have complete control over when and how you do it.
Again, as a freelancer, you’re your own boss. You choose your workload, your schedule, your dress code, and every other aspect of how you run things.
That said, freelancing isn’t a vacation. It’s up to you to make sure you keep your clients happy, keep track of budgeting, seek new clients, and negotiate rates. You may find that keeping on top of everything means you work double some weeks and very little others. However, it’s all under your ultimate authority.
Because you aren’t beholden to a single company or boss, you may be able to choose to live anywhere as a freelancer and even travel while working. While some freelance jobs may require you to be near your clients, it’s possible to find clients wherever you go.
A lot of freelance work is done digitally, which means you can be fully remote—with clients worldwide—and live and travel wherever you please while completing it.
Compensation and earnings control
As a freelancer, there’s no need to ask your boss for a raise. You set your rates. You also choose how much work you take on. To a certain degree, though, rates and amount of work are subject to market forces. You can’t ask for astronomical compensation without reducing your list of prospective clients.
However, many freelancers find that they can raise their rates over time as they do more work and gain a strong reputation.
Improved skill set
Freelancing means you take on various projects from multiple clients. Each project brings something new to the table and provides an opportunity to expand your skill set. You’ll likely find yourself learning new things as you go.
You may feel more stagnant in a traditional full-time job that may not always involve continual learning and development. Freelancing provides many more opportunities for growth as you tackle a wider variety of project types.
You may also wish to enhance your skill set on your own. As a freelancer, you can choose how and when you do this instead of waiting for annual corporate training. Many online courses and opportunities are out there, and you have the freedom to make time for these as you see fit.
Ability to test a startup or small business concept
Freelancing allows workers to build their client base and successfully grow their own businesses. As a freelancer, you can experiment and try different services and offerings to see which ones make you more money and bring in more clients than others.
Once you’ve gotten your feet wet freelancing and learning the landscape, you may turn to a freelance agency to expand your client base further.
Freelance worker FAQ
What are the disadvantages of working as a freelancer?
Being a freelancer can have its downsides, although many who find success do so because the benefits outweigh these drawbacks. Among the disadvantages is that you must pay taxes as a business would, meaning you pay the business portion of Social Security and Medicare that is generally covered by employers in a regular job.
There is also no health insurance or retirement benefits from an employer, and you must provide these for yourself. Freelancing is sometimes seen as less secure since you can’t count on a regular paycheck and must keep seeking new projects and clients.
How do you start freelancing?
There are many approaches to starting freelancing. Some people choose to do it on the side first while still working a full-time job, and then they slowly transition to full-time freelancing as they gain clients.
Getting started and established generally requires creating a personal website where you describe your services and skills and setting up social media accounts on sites like LinkedIn so that you can connect with businesses and clients. Setting up an account on Upwork is also an excellent way to attract clients.
What kind of freelance work can you do?
The answer to this question depends greatly on your background. Start by making a list of your skills and the types of work you’ve done before. Consider which items on the list you find most fulfilling and which ones are the most in-demand. At first, you might try seeking freelance work across the full spectrum of your skills and, over time, narrow your focus as you see which skills demand better pay and attract more clients.
Common freelance work includes software development, design and creative work, writing, sales and marketing, administrative support, customer service, data science, analytics, engineering, legal work, and more.
Let Upwork help you find freelance work today
If you’re ready to try freelancing, whether full time or part time, Upwork can help. Upwork connects businesses with independent professionals they need. Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer, software developer, or consultant, over 5 million businesses trust Upwork.
By creating a profile on our platform, you can begin connecting with prospective clients right away. Visit Upwork today to set up an account and get started.