I have now been freelancing for more than 3 years. My work involves fulltime blogging and Instagramming apart from managing a couple of social media accounts for clients. I’m my own boss and I don’t think I can have it any other way. The five years I worked in a corporate set up, I was surprised that I was constantly told how to dress up so that I don’t attract too much attention and senior women in HR would put me down just because they had the authority to but no reason to. I acknowledged that maybe I’m too sensitive to work in a set up like that so doing my own thing was the only choice I’m left with. While freelancing comes with a lot of good things, it has a lot of disadvantages too specially if you don’t have any intern or team.
I would like to mention, that it takes a lot of time to understand what works and what doesn’t work for you. What made me write this article? I fell very sick for the first time in the last 3 years. I came down with typhoid and a relapse too and I was in bed with high fever and stomach cramps for almost 2-3 weeks. It’s been more than a month and I still haven’t recovered. And that’s why I thought of listing down the good and the bad of freelancing –
1) Once you establish credibility in the market, you can choose who you want to work with and how much work you want to take up but it takes time to build that credibility sometime years. Having said that, it’s still the best part about freelancing.
2) I love to travel so I’m doing a lot of it but then I have to finish all the pending deliverables before I leave for my travels. In the first two years, the max I took off was for 3 days and now it’s about 7 days. But since I don’t have any back up and if there is an emergency, I have to work from wherever I am. There is no switching off from work really. Never.
3) A lot of my time is spent in marketing myself, administration, negotiation, invoicing and following up for payments. On certain days, it potentially eats up my entire time and I end up with zero productivity.
4) There is a lot of uncertainty at the start of every month. Once you get used to a minimum billing every month, you want to get work worth that much. Sometimes, it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Also, there is no medical benefits and insurance that usually come along with a full-time corporate job. And that has given me many sleepless nights.
5) Since I have chosen to work from home, I save a lot of time which I would have wasted on the road. I also club my meetings with other chores. I don’t even need to dress up every day 🙂 I can play with my pet cat whenever I’m too stressed. And I eat better since I’m home.
6) Since I don’t have a team, it was tough to manage my work when I was unwell. I couldn’t delegate my work to anyone and was constantly on the phone apologizing to the clients. Most of them were understanding but some weren’t. And those are the ones I would choose to not work with in the future 🙂 so the point one makes more sense now. I don’t see a point of hiring an intern as of now but yes there has to be a back up plan.
7) When I was working with American Express, I got to attend a lot of motivational talks and training programmes while as a freelancer I need to spend to attend any such programme.
8) There were days when I lack motivation entirely and I had no one to go to. It felt very lonely and can be very frustrating. But over time I have managed to build a support system around me. I have friends who are freelancers too and understand my problems. And we pep talk each other when things aren’t going exactly right.
Having said that, in case you are planning to go this route, like everything else in life be ready to persevere and work hard.