Be it a one-job-for-life, a part-time work, either corporate employment or a startup job - they all come with both advantages and drawbacks. The type of work you ultimately choose depends on your lifestyle, priorities, capabilities, and goals.
If you’re fed up to the teeth with the current nine-to-five and you’re considering jumping on the freelancing train, but you’re not so sure what comes with it, we invite you to read further.
Freelance jobs are in a growing demand for basically just any computer-based sector – along with design, writing, and marketing, freelance projects mostly demand web, software, and app development engineers.
If you’re thinking about adding your name to the list, dive into the perks and challenges that come with the work-for-yourself lifestyle.
First off, the perks of freelancing.
#1 - Own the work you do
Your projects and gigs are literally your clients, and you are the owner of your work.
Freelancing platforms or job listing websites allow you to gain access to clients beyond geographic barriers, so you get to choose the projects that reward your skills best and, of course, reap all the (financial) benefits that come with it. In a steady job where you could be paid the same doing the bare minimum or working extra hours daily, apart from an occasional bonus, your average long-term flat rate would not improve much, while your employer would end up collecting the fruits of your work.
If you go and pursue a freelance career, on the other hand, you get to decide what projects to accept and which are better to be left behind. Surely, this goes in a proportionate direction with your monthly income, so you should be out on the market during the months when the gigs don’t find you. But in general, being your own boss provides you with all the power in the world to say yes to the projects you enjoy building, or no to those that are bound to drain the soul out of you.
This usually gives freelancers a stronger motivation to work harder, leading to better productivity, and ultimately more substantial financial advantages.
#2 - Flexibility is the name of the game
Are you a night owl who works best when the rest of the world sleeps? Maybe you produce better results when you interact with other freelancers in a coworking space? Or perhaps, your creativity and problem-solving strength get a boost when working on multiple (different) projects simultaneously?
By working remotely, you set your own rules.
This enormous and potentially life-changing flexibility instilled by freelance jobs ranges from cherry-picking the clients and planning your monthly workload (aka income), choosing the working hours and environment that suits you best, down to pampering your hard-working self with a spontaneous day off, mid-day run or a meditation session whenever you feel like.
Your work attire can be PJs or a shirt, you can work in a busy coworking space or swinging in a hammock in your backyard. Since all you need is a computer, you can cut down the unnecessary commute and save both time and money. As long as the work is done well and your private life doesn’t impede it, you are free to do you.
Obviously, the autonomy to tailor the working conditions to your liking brings a much more positive life-work balance, allowing you to juggle your family and friends time more effectively, which is one of the determining factors of a quality lifestyle and stress reduction.
#3 – Boost your portfolio, skillset, and social network
If your current nine-to-five provides you only with monotonous tasks and every day feels like another round on a hamster wheel, working online or remote jobs as a freelancer could change that overnight.
For a start, working on a variety of projects and gigs could make for an enviable list of references that would take years (or decades) at a steady job to compile. What’s even more vital for you as a freelancer, is the potential to continuously improve your communication, time management, and problem-solving strengths by accepting jobs that challenge and expand your current knowledge, and thus remain competitive in this highly demanding market.
Through a multi-faceted exposure, your freelance work is bound to get more opportunities for faster growth, which leads to a more diverse social network and incomparably wider reach. Since it’s you who takes full credit for your work and builds a broader portfolio, international exposure, and the ability to adapt to new tasks, you inevitably receive higher respect within the community. All this provides you with a better chance to choose only quality projects and well-paying clients, to increase your rates and to expand your business.
What about the cons?
#1 – Unreliable workload and monthly budgeting
Being your own boss is a much more complex job than it might sound. Responding to no-one but your clients sure is appealing, but it also comes with the need to make your freelance career run as a business.
The first, most existential issue many freelancers struggle with, particularly at the beginning of their career path, is to ensure a steady monthly income and continuous workload. Applying for projects yourself can make you feel like a fresh graduate pushing your CV to everybody’s face just to get a chance for an introductory call, and sometimes this can indeed be the case. In the months with no guaranteed jobs, you therefore need to be comfortable with marketing yourself, applying for gigs, and convincing potential clients that you’re the right fit for them. Your monthly financial obligations won’t accept excuses, and it’s up to you to budget your funds accordingly.
And even once you get and do the job, chances are, your client doesn’t cultivate strong paying ethics - for that reason, it’s advisable you check your client’s reviews, or better, choose a freelance platform that provides payment security. Even when you’re bound with a contract, a client can avoid their responsibilities claiming the work wasn’t done as agreed.
#2 – Extra legwork for the bare functional minimum
If you want to be extra careful when starting a new freelance job because you’re worried that the client might take advantage of you, or just want your business to work without any issues along the way, you should prepare accordingly and in advance. From setting up a legal base in the form of contracts and agreements, communicating the details of the work, to checking the client’s fulfilment of their financial obligations, and building your portfolio for the clients to come – if you’re a one-man-band, it’s no walk on the beach.
Just building the ground for your freelance or remote work takes a substantial amount of time, administrative, and accounting skills. Then, you should let the world know about what you provide and past references, plus – you should commit time to land jobs, one after another. But you’re best at development or design, and all these arduous tasks are something you didn’t ask for.
The need to deal with the legal, formal, and marketing side of freelancing is a brain-drain for many niche professionals, and many opt for outsourcing it rather than touching it with a stick, which then adds up in their monthly expense sheets.
#3 - Constant connectivity eating into private time
When your work environment of choice is a lap office, it’s much harder to switch between work time and private time. Usually, it’s the project demands and constant drive for optimal performance that bite into the portion of the day we should have reserved for stress-reducing personal activities. Yet digital communication and almost constant wi-fi accessibility make it even harder for freelance pros to ignore the clients’ messages after working hours, during time off, and within a last-minute timeframe.
Ideally, both the client and the freelancer should know their obligations and responsibilities and work accordingly. But it happens too often that a client imagines your private time comes with the package free of charge.
It goes without saying that freelance and remote workers need to stay agile and adaptive to specifics of each project since their business survival depends on it. But it’s also equally essential that they know how to set the boundaries, nurture their work-life balance and make the most of their free time without worrying about having to jump when the client says so.
Is there a way to tackle the cons and be left with the best of freelancing?
There must be.
Ultimately, the nature, scope, and growth of a personal freelance business depend on each freelancer and their priorities.
However, aligned with the ever-growing demand for remote workers and the increasing trend of hiring freelancers, platforms that take care of common interests are starting to have a vital role in the healthy growth of remote jobs.
We believe that engineers and designers represent such a specific niche that they work best when they focus on their job alone. Nurturing leads, landing clients, and managing finances are a crucial aspect in every business, but we aim at lifting this weight off the freelancers’ shoulders. This way, developers and designers should only worry about producing excellent and bug-free code and fabulous designs for the project to work as planned.
The Povio platform, therefore, works as a bridge between projects in need of an extra pair of coding or designing hands and freelancers that fit the requirements perfectly. Whenever a new project appears – and they do weekly – the best candidates for the job get notified and respond to the demand. Everything else is taken care of inside the platform, enabling the freelancers to focus only on doing what they know best.
What’s more, a dedicated project manager acts as the go-to communication person for both sides of the equation, helping with quality audits, project planning, and enhanced workflow. This way, our freelancers don’t have to worry about responding to client’s last-minute demands at midnight, which leads to a clearer distinction between work and private time and thus lower stress.
And the best thing – the Povio platform ensures guaranteed payments for every accomplished job, even in cases when a client tries to ignore or walk away from their obligations. This brings higher financial security for the Povio freelancers, leading to stronger motivation, and faster business growth.
To date, Povio has provided work for over 200 pre-vetted engineers through over 1.000 projects by 400 clients worldwide, mostly from the USA and Europe.
If you’re thinking about joining the freelance community and enjoying the perks of building your own brand, check how we can help you position and scale with the hundreds of projects to come.