What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Freelancer or Gig Worker?
The freelance economy has grown over the past decade. Freelancers are workers who operate their own businesses, and they usually provide services to their clients for an agreed-upon fee.
The benefits of freelancing include better work-life balance, the flexibility to choose your work hours and larger income potential. If you are considering freelancing, you should be aware of its pros and cons.
The pros of freelancing
One of the benefits of freelancing is the flexibility and freedom to organise your own schedule. You decide when and where to work. A flexible schedule promotes work-life balance. Organisation is key and you will still need to put in an adequate number of hours to become a successful freelancer or gig worker.
A freelancer could expect greater job opportunity and higher income. Freelancers who establish themselves as experts in their fields can expect to make more money. When they work more and accept larger projects, their incomes will also increase.
A freelancer is his or her own boss. They make all decisions – from the hours worked to the projects they choose to accept – and handle client relations, sales, and meetings on their own. The freelancer will need to learn continuously when running a business. Self-employed people who are engaged in their work generally have a greater sense of job satisfaction.
Freelancers can become creative and pivot more easily in terms of how they market themselves and the services they provide. Diversifying their portfolios will help to hone their skills. Freelancers need to build on their skills, expand their abilities and enhance their expertise so as to command higher rates for their work.
The cons of freelancing
Freelancers may feel financially insecure when their income is irregular. Freelancers will have to plan and actively engage with potential clients to get work. A freelancer who has regular clients will feel less strain of always having to source for new projects. Setting a realistic budget can help freelancers manage their finances wisely.
Lack of employee benefits
Freelancers do not receive employer-provided benefits such as annual leave, medical leave and other employment perks. They generally have limited legal rights as far as employment and work injury are concerned. Freelancers should ensure they have savings to fall back on as well as back-up plans for when they are unable to work.
Freelancers are essentially running a business on their own. Besides the actual work, they must manage the tasks of operating a business such as marketing, client development, office administration, and billing.
Freelancers may feel isolated when working alone without any team members. Freelancers should build their own network and support system. It is useful to stay in touch with fellow freelancers who could provide advice and support in your network.
Freelance UK. “The Pros and Cons of Freelancing.” Accessed 2 May 2022, https://www.freelanceuk.com/become/pros-and-cons-freelancing.shtml
Walrack, Jessica. “The Disadvantages of Freelancing.” The Balance Careers. Last updated 1 September 2022, https://www.thebalancecareers.com/disadvantages-of-freelancing-2164223
Kendrick, Cori. “The Future of Work is Here: Freelance Economy Offers Unparalleled Opportunity for Growth.” Businesswire. Published 5 February 2020, https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200205005129/en/The-Future-of-Work-Is-Here-Freelance-Economy-Offers-Unparalleled-Opportunity-for-Growth-Moves-to-Close-the-Gender-Pay-Gap
Wimbledon, Jade. “11 Pros and Cons of Working as a Freelancer”. Simply Business. Published 28 June 2018, https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2016/06/pros-and-cons-of-being-a-freelancer/