For those considering freelancing work opportunities, there are several questions you will need to ask yourself in order to best determine if Freelancing is appropriate. This is important because there are several pros and cons to freelance work. One of the biggest factors to consider is personality- you need to ask yourself, are you a determined and ambitious person? In order to be successful with freelancing you will need to be a go-getter as you are responsible for pursuing your own work opportunities. You will have to build a client base and seek temporary gigs in order to be a successful free agent, and create a steady income from freelancing.
Another important factor is how good you are with time management and managing multiple projects at once. Except for large projects and commissions, you are most likely going to have to work on several small projects on a consistent basis. Finally, you need to have a personality and work ethic that loves to help people succeed in their projects and business! A successful freelancer doesn’t just complete the task, they also have a vested interest in the task. As a freelancer, you choose the projects and assignments you work on, so naturally you should choose assignments that reflect your own personal interest, passions, and skills!
The Benefits of Working as a Freelancer
There are several benefits to working as a free agent. Perhaps the most obvious is that as a freelancer, you become your own boss! For many people this is a satisfying feeling that provides a lot of confidence and helps boost the ego and self-esteem. Being your own boss gives you a sense of appreciation and allows you to self-actualize your dreams and goals.
Another great benefit of working as a freelancer is that you create your own working schedule. You are free to work in the mornings, during the day, or all night if you feel inclined to. As a freelancer, you can work from home or remotely from your favorite library, coffeeshop, or other public facility. Working free agent opens you up to plenty of opportunities as you are not confined to specific job roles or assignments, but can actually engage your skills and knowledge to the fullest potential. Working as a freelancer gives you a lot of freedom in how you pursue your income and develop your career.
The Struggles and Challenges of Freelance Work
Even though there are several perks to working as a freelancer, there are equally just as many challenges, especially for those who may be seeking freelancing as a full-time employment option. Perhaps the single greatest challenge as a freelancer is time management and project management. If you’re like me, then you are like most people and fall victim to procrastination and laziness occasionally. It is incredibly important that as a freelancer, you maintain a steadfast motivated attitude. Having this type of attitude will help you in maintaining consistent work and productivity. Being consistent is so important, because if you are to keep long-term client relationships and actively pursue projects for steady income you will have to meet deadlines, be readily available at any time for your client’s needs, and be able to work on different projects at the same time.
Another huge challenge is that as a free agent, you may potentially work as an independent contractor, filing a Form 1099 with the IRS. Sometimes you may be just working under the table! Whichever the case, the important issue of paying taxes needs to be considered. Most employees for a company get their taxes deducted from their paychecks including Federal, State, and local taxes. As a freelancer, you are paid per assignment, and a client generally will not deduct the taxes for you from the amount paid. This leaves freelance workers in the condition of having to deduct the appropriate amount of taxes from every time they are paid for an assignment and make the tax payments then. If that’s too much of a hassle, the alternative is to make tax payments (an “estimated amount” in tax jargon) based on total earnings quarterly. Either way the IRS will be expecting you to pay your taxes, and you shouldn’t avoid this obligation, as there can be serious legal consequences including jail time and fines.
As mentioned before working as a freelancer usually means you are not employed by a company, so you won’t receive the benefits that generally come with employment with large corporations such as healthcare, dental, and a 401k.This may be the biggest drawback from pursuing freelancing work, as many people rely on employment benefits to help supplement the cost of health care! There are of course several options to work around this and several services exist specifically geared towards free-lance workers.
Depending on the type of work you do, generating a steady income as a free agent can be a challenging task, at least in the beginning as you build your client base and work portfolio. Generating a reliable and steady income from freelance work is hard and takes time and patience. Many freelancers sometimes find part-time work to help supplement their income until they have a reasonable client base that can provide them a steady flow of work. Just remember to be persistent, determined, patient, and motivated and you will surely succeed!