Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Home office

As an Economics major, I’m a super risk adverse individual, so freelancing/contract work has never been my choice when it comes to employment. But I’ve always dreamt to be an entrepreneur, and risk is always associated with owning a business. I find myself at this crossroad far too many times.

When it comes down to giving up something just to get some work-life balance, it’s either my day job or freelancing.

The Pros and Cons of Freelancing

Pro: Flexible schedule; I can work as much or as little as I want

Pro: No supervision or pressure from my boss; I can choose my projects, and manage my own time

Pro: I can take more than 2 weeks of vacation every year; visit my family in Hong Kong more often

Pro: I can work from anywhere on my laptop

Pro: Not being tied to a chair means I can find inspiration elsewhere (important for a graphic designer)

Pro: With a flexible schedule, I can take classes to keep up with technology

Pro: I like to jump from one project to another; some ideas need time to grow and perfect; so when I’m on my own time, I am much more efficient, and not a single minute is wasted

Pro: No resentment about not being recognized at work (no office politics to deal with)

Con: Unstable income; hard to budget or save up; feast or famine (something I absolutely hate)

Con: No rest; got to get my own clients, win contracts, come up with ideas, and keep a steady workflow

Con: Covered under a less fabulous benefit plan (my spouse’s)

Con: Difficult to predict/prep for the future; after spending a year at a corporate job, you get the gist of the workflow, but when you freelance, you never know what you’re going to get, there’s no “low” or “high” season

Con: Have to do your own bookkeeping (can get horrendous)

Con: At a corporate job, I get paid even when it’s slow; when I freelance, I get paid per hour, and when I estimate my projects poorly, I run the risk of being underpaid

Con: No coworkers mean less collaboration, no one to learn from or bounce ideas off of

This post is really an exercise for me to see the bigger picture. Writing these lists reaffirms my goal to freelance full-time in the long run, just exactly when to take that leap is still very blurry. The pros always outweigh the cons—I just need to learn to live adventurously.