What’s So Great (And Not) About Freelancing

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What’s there to hate about freelancing? You get to follow where your passion lies, there’s unmatchable flexibility on how you get to manage your own time and work, and most importantly – no boss breathing down your neck all day long! You are your own boss! You wouldn’t want to have it any other way, would you?

freelancer
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Well, the fact is, as with most things in this world, there are two sides of the coin, even for freelancing. Undoubtedly, the greatest attraction of a freelancing career is the freedom it offers. Ironically though, that freedom comes with a price, that is being your own boss, you have to be self-disciplined so well that you won’t be burning your adrenaline just to rush to beat the deadline in the midnight.

Looking forward to freelance life? There are more aspects than just freedom to think and consider carefully. Don’t jump in it too quick, have a read on this post, then you should be good to go.

Ultimate Flexibility of Time

When it comes to freelancing, people generally have the idea that freelancers get to do what they want, whenever they want it. With nobody to monitor them, it’s understandable why people think of freelancing that way. In fact, it is in all likelihood that this is the idea that leads most people to take up freelancing.

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Other than deadlines to follow, there are usually no other time limitation as to how you wish to get your work done. Instead of following a rigid 8-to-5 working schedule, you can now work during any time of the day. What this means is that late sleepers who function best during the wee hours of the night can finally avoid the drag-yourself-out-of-bed syndrome. And what does this translate to? Greater job satisfaction and higher productivity.

Besides, what’s really benefit is no more calls and complicated sick leave application to do while you’re really sick. You no longer need to suffer from your bad cold under the office temperature which is strictly 18 degrees Celsius. You won’t get scolded or looked down by cold-blooded manager simply because you are ill. You’ll thank yourself for being freelancer while resting on the bed.

Your Own Working Environment

How’s the world without co-workers? You can customize your working environment to any style you like (heck, we even got showcase for you to refer)! You can do any entertainment you like, says, playing rock music with the volume turn way up or stop for a break any time to catch your favourite sitcom. You have the entire house for yourself instead of a cramped cubicle! No other office work can afford such control over your working condition.

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(Image Source: garrettmurray)

The other goodness is you can avoid the damned office politics. When there are workers around you competing for promotions, it’s inevitable that we will get ourselves tangled with politics. But if you’re working alone, the only one you’re competing with is yourself and the market for freelancers. As the proximity of competition for the latter is too far to be felt directly, such stress would somehow affect you to a lesser extent.

Better Income Control

You can save a lot of income by working from home, can’t you? Commuting time and cost for work are no longer applicable to you, except those times when you might need to meet clients. You can also cut back on child care services since you are now able to stay home with your children.

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Instead of depending on work appraisals by your superiors for promotions and increments of pay, your income is now only at the mercy of your own efforts. How hard you work will determine how much you can earn. Rather than having your advancement being encumbered in office politics, you can now determine your own income. You’re your own boss, don’t you remember it?

The Price of Freedom: Self-discipline

Nothing is absolutely good in this world, so it’s not surprising that such freedom comes with a price. Setting income expectations is an essential initial step, but getting it is another thing. You’ll need higher than average level of self-discipline and motivation to keep your business going, and more if you want it to flourish.

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A lack of supervision by a boss can result in such circumstances when you just take your freedom for granted. After you got used to the idea of being free and powerful over your work, you get complacent. This is when you start getting sloppy in your work and miss deadlines. As this is indeed a recurring issue with most freelancers, I talked about it the other time on how to make yourself more productive.

Solitude & Independence

When you’re running a one-man show, you need to be proactive and resourceful. Sometimes the client might require you to do beyond what you’re familiar with, which means you have to know where and how to acquire the necessary skills. The problem is that you don’t have co-workers or an experienced mentor to consult with, but the issue can be possibly solved by online forum.

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Another issue with going solo as a freelancer is that you feel isolated if you’re working alone day in, day out. This is also why motivation is hard to sustain as a freelancer, unless you look forward to working quietly by yourself every day. It will be good to maintain good social support outside of your work.

A short-term alternative is you can do a self review and appreciate the advantages of freelancing when you are feeling very alone. You have to be serious in tackling the issue of loneliness as it is mostly the root of depression that drags down your life satisfaction like there’s no tomorrow.

Unity of Work & Life

Confucius once said that “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” With all due respect to his wisdom, I still think it might be a bad idea to combine work with life. Even if you have the passion for what you’re doing, there will still be trying times when you feel dreadful about certain aspects of your work.

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Well, the bad news is freelancer’s life is mostly a mix of work and personal life. With your home as your office, and your office as your home, any problem you face in either your personal life or work life might affect another significantly. Just imagine that the moment you wake up, you’re already at work! Either you get your work and personal life balanced, or you ensure that the satisfaction from work can boost your personal life or vice versa.

Ready for Freelancing?

As we have explored the two sides of the coin of freelancing, you have to decide if freelancing is right for you based on what you assess yourself to be. A freelancer‘s life is not as rosy as one would assume. Take the above pointers as a reference for you to weigh the pros and cons in relation to what you’re comfortable with. If you’re interested about what your future will be if you take up the freelance path, here’s a quite accurate prediction for you.

I would like to hear from you your views on freelancing, feel free to share some comments!

Author:

Michael is a freelance blogger and regular contributor for Hongkiat.com. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a double major in Psychology and Communications & New Media in 2011.He believes in the power of the written word to influence and inspire. An enthusiastic video gamer, Michael is also actively engaged in various physical activities in his spare time.

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