After a year of working as a freelancer in South Africa, here are the pros and cons I experienced:
I believe that freelancing is feasible when the economy is doing great and companies can afford to outsource work.
When financial difficulty strikes, freelancers are the first to be let go of by companies.
Working at your own pace at your own time is great. The forced and tiring 8-hour work day, which requires you to wake up at almost at the crack of dawn to spend nearly 2 hours in traffic, falls away.
You have to take time management seriously because if you don’t meet deadline or deliver your work, you won’t get paid.
You can totally sit at a coffee shop with your cappuccino while doing your work.
It’s difficult to work from home. You can get easily distracted if you’re not disciplined, and if you don’t live alone, those you stay with will most likely distract you and not take your work seriously as you’re not going to a conventional office for work.
You can wear whatever you want to work.
It’s a myth that you can work from the comfort of your bed in your pyjamas. Freelancing is still work and you need to treat it as such by getting up and ready to start the day.
You do work that you love.
It’s still a lot of hard work with no set work hours. If you want to get paid, you need to put in the hours, include evenings and weekends.
You don’t necessarily have colleagues, and if you do, you don’t see them often. This is great if you enjoy working alone most of the time.
Freelancing means you work alone most of the time, and you do miss social interaction.
A full-time job means a steady income with benefits.
Be prepared to receive a haphazard income with zero benefits.
Freelancing is great if you already have a network of companies to work with because it’s easier to secure work.
It’s a lot harder to branch off into freelancing if you’re going to have to bid for jobs against other freelancers. Most of the time, people prefer to work with someone they know for peace of mind.
You’re technically a business entity.
Running a business is not easy, and not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur.
Freelancing is awesome in the sense that it allows you to have control over your time. However, the biggest difficulty is financial instability. It’s worth going for if you don’t have any dependents or big responsibilities such as mortgage repayments.
I would advise that you take on freelancing while having a full-time job because it’s better in terms of income and a lot more secure, but it’s a lot more work and time to sacrifice.
*image from Pexels.