Is freelancing worth it? No. There you have it! I’ll pad myself on the back for a job well done! Let’s wrap this up and get back to watching TV.
Do you remember when you were a kid and earned your very first few bucks?
I’m not talking about your allowance or birthday presents. Maybe you had a lemonade stand, a paper route, or perhaps you worked at the local supermarket.
Do you remember the feeling of getting the money in your hand? That feeling was amazing, right?
My friends and I went straight to the candy shop and spent everything… that’s until we discovered what video games were 😉
Freelancing is like that but for grown-ups.
When is freelancing worth it?
We are lucky that each of us is a little different. That also means that there is no one size fits all when it comes to freelancing. For some, it will be a great fit while others will hate it.
The simplest way to understand if freelancing is worth it for you is to look at your personal values.
If you enjoy gaming the corporate system and politics, freelancing probably isn’t worth it for you.
If you enjoy the flexibility and freedom to do things when you want and from where it can be a good fit. But you still have to get things done, so there is a certain aspect of discipline to it as well.
I’ve found that doing freelance work made me a better employee because I better understood what my former bosses were going through.
Another aspect to consider is money. Freelancing probably ranks the lowest in terms of what you can earn from owning your own business because you trade time for money.
But it helps you realize that there is another world out there and it’ll help you build the confidence that you can go there if you want to.
For example, if someone earns $50,000 per year at a job and work 40 hours per week on average, their hourly rate is $25/h. Here, I’m assuming two weeks of holiday per year ($50,000/50 weeks = $1,000 / 40 hours).
Say, someone charges $50/h offering the same skill as a freelance service and is able to fill up a full work week for the entire year. They then earn double: $100,000 per year before taxes, insurance, etc.
In comparison, you could also own an online webshop and earn.. well, in theory, your earnings would be unlimited but let’s keep it real.
You might sell a product of $50, 50 times per day on average for the entire year. That comes out to $912,500 in revenue, before cost, taxes, etc. (50*50*365).
There are plenty of businesses that earn more but you get the gist.
At a standard job, you’ll probably get a 5-10% raise every year. Top performers might earn a 20%-30% raise yearly but only for so long. At some point, it isn’t feasible for the company to keep increasing the salary by that much and they’ve hit a ceiling.
At that point, they can usually only earn more by taking on a job with more responsibility or build your own business.
For the majority of freelancers, a nice goal to aim for is $100,000 a year. It takes work and isn’t easy but with the right approach, it is doable.
To get a better understanding of if freelancing is worth it, let’s uncover some of the things that are often misunderstood.
Misconceptions about freelancing
Many people go into freelancing thinking they will avoid boring meetings and if they are a designer, only design logos all day long.
That isn’t exactly how it works in the real world. Ironically, you’ll only be working on whatever you like to do when you are good at offering your services to companies so they’ll want to work with you.
Until then, it’s all about pitching your services to businesses. It doesn’t have to be sleazy but it has to be done. If you never see yourself doing that, freelancing isn’t for you.
Some people think that it’s cool to have never had a job and only have been freelancing or working online since the beginning of their career.
In reality, it’s a downside for their freelance business because by working for a company, they’ll learn the nuances of how decisions are made, how office politics work, and how a company really runs. They might feel like they understand it without but chances are they don’t.
The more real jobs I’ve had, the better I’ve become at offering my freelance services and the more I’ve been earning.
Another common assumption is that freelancing is unstable. It often is, especially at the beginning, but it doesn’t have to be if you work to change it.
If we don’t consider the fact that you could get fired at a corporate job, there is nothing more stable than a job. I’m sure that’s why they were built back in the day and now it’s just the standard for everyone.
Some argue that freelancing is more stable because if you have, say four clients at a time, you’ll only lose 25% of your income if you lose one.
Another assumption is that you’ll be lonely. You might be if you don’t work to accommodate that. The good news is that if you are already aware of it, you can do something about it before it happens.
There are many coworking spaces and cafes where people work from. There are also meetups and online channels you can use to connect specifically with people on the same path as you.
I wanted to leave you with another way to look at freelancing.
A different approach to freelancing
You don’t have to be a “freelancer” like some people are a Youtuber or an Instagrammer. It doesn’t have to be a part of your personality or what you identify with.
Freelancing is just a tool that you can use to earn money. That’s it. When I first realized that, I felt relieved. We are so often sold that these things are a part of our identity and they can be if we want them to be.
To give you a few examples, I’m not a full-time freelancer and I don’t particularly want to be. I use it as a tool to earn some extra money for whatever is important to me at the time.
That might be an upcoming holiday that I want to make extra special, like when I invited my girlfriend on a surprise trip to visit the school she studied at when she was abroad.
One reader used freelancing to quit his job and start his own business in the food industry.
Others choose to become a full-time freelancer for the rest of their career. There are a million different options and you get to choose yours.
It is the best approach I know to get the confidence that you can do something different than the traditional approach to life.
Freelancing is the opposite of passive income and you can do it from anywhere, any time with just an email address and a Paypal or bank account.
It’s plug and play. It’s a great way to try having a business if you aren’t sure you can do it.
Perhaps the best thing about freelancing is that you get to work with people you respect.
I’ve met so many great people as clients, as other freelancers for clients, etc.
Freelancing is just a tool for you to earn money. You can decide what you want to do with that tool.
The money in freelancing can be good but the real trophy is the flexibility, freedom and the confidence that you can do more.