What is freelancing?

Freelancing is doing specific work for clients without committing to full-time employment. Freelancers often take on multiple projects with different clients simultaneously. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers freelancers to be self-employed individuals Freelancers handle contract work on a part-time or full-time basis and often sign agreements before starting projects. With freelancing, the client pays per project, per task, or per hour, depending on the agreement. Freelance projects typically involve short-term assignments, although satisfied clients often request follow-on work. Most freelance jobs are available in the skills, service, and creative sectors, such as copywriting, programming, engineering, and marketing.

Benefits of freelancing

Being your own boss as a freelancer comes with many potential perks, including: Flexibility. As a freelancer, you are able to choose your own hours and decide when and where to work. For example, you can work from home or when you’re at the beach. Freelancing flexibility helps promote a better work-life balance. Choice of clients and projects. Working as a freelancer allows you to select the projects that match your skills and interests. You can also pick clients who fit particular criteria. Setting your own rates. You may enjoy greater control of your earnings potential since you generally set your own rates as a freelancer. The amount of work you’re able to handle daily or weekly is another factor that is likely to determine your earnings. Improved skill set. As a freelancer, you may have the opportunity to work on more specialized projects, giving you greater experience with niche subject areas. Exposure to global brands. Because you can choose your clients and projects, you have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with businesses from around the world.

Disadvantages of freelancing

While being a freelancer offers many advantages, you’ll also want to consider potential downside concerns. Isolation. Unlike a part-time or full-time job, having a freelance business may get lonely, especially if you’re working remotely. If you thrive on day-to-day interactions with colleagues in a work environment, you may find freelancing isolating. Uncertain job security. Freelance work is likely to be erratic—you might have more work than you know what to do with at some points but struggle to land projects at other times. You may need to continue working in your regular job to maintain a steady income in the early stages of your freelancing career. Administrative responsibilities. As your own boss, you’ll need to handle legal paperwork, invoicing, marketing, and other relevant administrative duties. These responsibilities may require considerable knowledge of bookkeeping, tax regulations, and office technology and take time from your area of focus. No employer-funded benefits. As a self-employed person, you don’t have an employer who contributes to health insurance, 401(k) retirement offerings, and other benefits associated with a full-time job .

Main differences between freelancing and a full-time job

The ideal choice between freelancing and full-time employment depends on individual considerations of what is important. Compare these main differences to help you make the best decision for your personal situation.

Freelancing VS Full-Time Job
Freelancing Full-time job
Flexibility You have the freedom to work from anywhere at any time, depending on your preferences or circumstances. And you get to pick your clients and projects. Having a full-time job means you perform specific duties during set working hours. You also typically have set responsibilities.
Stability Unlike full-time employment, freelance work can be a bit unpredictable, making it harder to plan for the future. Full-time workers generally have a stable, predictable income and work schedule, making it easier to plan for future expenses.
Benefits Independent workers typically don’t have access to employer-funded benefits like paid vacation time, retirement plans, health insurance, and sick leave. Benefits are a significant upside of full-time employment, like paid vacation, health insurance, and retirement plans.
Motivation As a freelancer, you operate as your own boss, making self-motivation a necessity. As a full-time employee, you’re expected to meet specific performance standards to earn raises or promotions.