Why become a freelancer? Isn't it better to have a regular job?
More and more professionals all around the world are considering the possibility of becoming freelancers. But is it really a good option? Isn’t it better to have a regular job? Why become a freelancer?
This is the question that Hessam Shekhasany, a nature photographer from Iran, asked me in a video that he sent to me a couple of days ago.
Here’s the video, and next is my
Being a freelancer is not better nor worse than having your own job
It’s just different. Both options have their own pros and cons, it’s up to you to choose what suits you better.
I can point 2 big advantages of having a regular job.
- The certainty of a salary at the end of the month;
- An environment that allows you to focus on doing your job – and nothing else.
When you have a stable job, it’s much easier to make plans with your future money, because you know that you’re going to get paid the same amount of money every month.
This doesn’t happen when you are a freelancer, because your income depends on the deals your close. You have good months and bad months, good deals and bad deals, and sometimes you will have clients that won’t pay you on time – or won’t pay at all.
Not only that, but when you have a salary, you know that the money you get is 100% for your personal expenses. As a freelancer, you need to pay the expenses of the business first, before you can use any money on yourself.
So, in the end, even if you make more money as a freelance than the average employee, you will probably have less money available to spend with yourself.
Just like Gary Vaynerchuck, the serial entrepreneur and CEO of VaynerMedia. When he was working in his family business, Wine Library, the company made 4 to 66 millions of dollars in sales, but he was making only 35 to 55 thousands dollars a year for himself.
When you work for a company, they (usually) will provide all the tools that you need to get your job done: desk, chair, computer, internet, electricity, etc.
When you are a freelancer, you have to provide all of this yourself, and as we know, it costs money that you may or may not have.
Also, when you have a regular job, you have coworkers that do the work you’re not good at. So, if you are a web designer, for example, you will be able to focus on doing the actual design. The Marketing team will promote the company and get leads, the Sales team will talk to leads and close deals, the Project Managers will interact with the clients and manage the project, the Design team will design, the Development team will develop, and so on.
Now, of course that having a regular job is not only pros. Being a freelancer has some positive aspects, too.
First of all, being a freelancer gives you the freedom to work on your own terms. You can choose your working hours, your outfit, your location, and more importantly, you can choose the work you want to do.
People who have a regular job normally need to be there at a specific time (usually early in the morning), and they need to stay in the building even if there’s not much to do. Also, you have a boss (or bosses) who will define your tasks, and in many situations you’ll catch yourself being forced to do work you don’t really like. In many cases, this will make you feel like your job is meaningless.
Being a freelancer gives you freedom, but this freedom comes at a price
And the price is responsibility. You can do whatever you want, but if you choose to do only what pleases you, your business will never grow. As a freelancer you’ll be required to do a lot of stuff that you don’t like.
Just take a look at all the stuff that I have to do in my business:
- Social media marketing;
- Email marketing;
- Content marketing;
- Customer care;
- Server management;
- Tech support;
- Government shit/taxes.
Everything in this list is absolutely indispensable for me to keep and grow my business, but I don’t like doing all of it.
Also, I work more than when I had a regular job. Saturday, Sunday and holidays are just like any other day for me. The upside is that I can take breaks whenever I want, I just need to plan it in advance.
How to switch from a regular job to freelancing
When you are too desperate to make money, you end up acting in such a way that causes money to run away from you. You’ll attract bad customers and will work on shitty projects you don’t like. So, as a freelancer, you need to work like money doesn’t matter, and it will come to you naturally.
That’s why the best time to start freelancing is when you still live with your parents, because they will be paying most of your expenses and you will be able to do your work without feeling that you need to make money fast.
If you’re already living on your own, and have a regular job and want to switch to freelancing, start freelancing on your free time. Since you have your regular job, money will not be the problem, and you’ll be able to focus on doing quality work with quality clients only.
After some time, business will grow and you’ll start not to have enough time to handle both your regular job and your freelance career. If you decide that you enjoy the freelance way better, you can start making the switch, and this is a subject for another blog post.