Many of us have fantasized about working at our own time at least once in our lives and why not? You get to work from home, save on transport fees, get things done at your own pace and time, and still have time for other aspects of your life.
It’s a dream for many but it comes with a price. If you think being a freelancer means being able to take it easy, think again.
Being one may not grant you the ease you were expecting.
1.Inconsistent working hours
Yes, you get to work from wherever you deem fit but you know what? You don’t get to choose the hours you work.
Also, there is no such thing as ending work at 6pm from Mondays to Fridays. Work can, and usually does, go past eight hours a day and sometimes, you may even have to work through the night to get things out by your clients’ request.
2. Pay is not constant
Freelancers get paid by the amount of work they do. Some clients pay per completed job, some by the week and some by the month. Whatever it is though, you only get paid for what you have done.
Basically, if you choose to not work on a few days for the month, you get paid a lesser amount.
3. You don’t get to enjoy company benefits
That’s right. Since you are working alone, there will not be any kind of medical benefits, dental compensation or gym memberships you can take advantage of. You can work your butt off and when you fall sick, you bear the consequences and costs.
4. No such thing as paid holidays
Your office job allows you to take up to 21 days of paid leave per year to do whatever you want to do. Being able to go off on a holiday while still being paid for it is only enjoyed by those who are employed full-time.
Working as a freelancer means the less you work, the lesser you get at the end of the week/ month. Because of this, many freelancers will opt to bring their laptops wherever they go to continue working while on holiday just to keep the jobs flowing and the money coming in.
5. No social life
When you work in a company, you tend to make friends with your colleagues and form a sort of camaraderie with them. Working alone means you are, well, alone.
You work alone, have lunch on your own, get through the day alone, finish work alone.
6. No distinction between personal and work life
A freelancer doesn’t have this benefit because work can take place at any time on any day via his or her laptop.
Even while you are out for a drink with friends, you still need to answer that call and get on your laptop in the middle of everything if your client calls for something urgent. Still fancy being one?
7. You need a lot of self-discipline
If you think being a freelancer means you get to skive as much as you want, think again.
Imagine all the distractions you have using your own laptop to work! So if you feel that you are someone who procrastinates or gets distracted easily, this probably isn’t a good option for you.
8. Don’t expect to be spoon-fed
You need to be independent and source for the information yourself and present them to your client in the way they requested. Not being able to do so or being too dependent on the client will cause you to lose that job.
9. Lacking passion in what you do
Some people take up any kinds of jobs just so they can be rid of the corporate world and be their own man, or woman.
But if you don’t love what you do as a freelancer, trust me, you won’t get very far.
Word gets around very easily in the circle and if you don’t produce good work for a couple of clients, you probably can expect to not get any more jobs from them and from anyone else for that matter.
10. No way can you be minimalistic in your work
Being a freelancer does not mean you can take it easy with your work. In fact, because you are up against so many other freelancers out there (yes there are plenty of them), you need to constantly be improving your craft to be one step ahead in the competition.
There’s no time for you to be sitting on your laurels and hoping more jobs will come your way if you remain stagnant.
And always remember, losing jobs means less money which also means you may have to put that Europe trip you have been planning for on hold for awhile.
So, do you still want to be a freelancer?
DPM Lawrence Wong has just spoken about his plan for Singapore in the next ten years and more. Here’s a summary of his first speech: