Living & Working in Great Places
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Becoming a freelance writer takes a lot of hard work, especially if you’re in full-time employment and building your portfolio in the evening. And while there’s a popular belief that freelancers spend their days lying on the sofa in their pajamas, the truth is that they have to work just as hard – if not harder – than a regular employee.
Freelancing has its perks of course, but it also comes with its own unique set of downsides. That’s why it’s important to take the time to weigh up the pros and cons before you get started to make sure that you know what you’re letting yourself in for.
Here are just a few of the most common pros and cons that I’ve seen while switching from full-time employment at the writing service to full-time self-employment as a freelance writer.
The biggest lure for a lot of people is the ability to pick and choose who they work for. You can limit yourself to only applying for jobs that you’re interested in and you have the power to ‘fire’ a client if it’s no longer profitable or enjoyable.
If you need to take time off, you can take time off. Likewise, if you fancy going for a stroll then you don’t have to seek permission, but the downside is that you’ll have to make up the hours at a later date if you want to stay ahead of your workload.
It’s true! Going freelance means that you can set your own prices, and if your rate is profitable and you fill up your hours then you can easily make more money than you would if you were doing the same job for someone else’s company. It takes a while to get there, but you’ll get there.
Most writers write because they love writing, and going freelance allows them to put their talents to use to earn a little money. Ultimately, the more time you spend writing, the better you’ll become at it – so freelance writing as like being paid to practice.
There’s always something to worry about. Seriously. Whether you have too much on and you’re not sure if you’ll meet your deadlines or whether you have too little and you’re worried that you won’t make ends meet, that fear will never fully go away. That’s why it’ll always be more stressful than working for an employer.
Clients can be fickle, and it’s difficult to establish a reliable income stream that will pay the same amount each month. Most freelance writers go through drought periods where the work dries up, so they need to make up for it when the work keeps coming by putting in extra hours.
From keeping track of your finances to filing tax returns, networking at events and marketing yourself through websites and social media, there’s always something else that needs doing. These admin tasks don’t pay the bills, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not important. In fact, if you don’t take the time to do the admin then you’re likely to find that your freelancing career is over as soon as it begins.
Working as a freelance writer is hugely rewarding, but it isn’t for everyone. What you gain in terms of freedom is lost when it comes to the late hours you’ll need to put in and the stress of doing your tax returns.
As with everything in life, it’s all about making a trade-off. It’s not a commitment to take lightly, but it’s better to give it a go and to change your mind than to spend the rest of your life wondering what might have been. The choice is yours.