One of the many things I love about freelancing is that I get to choose who I work with; this means I no longer have to work with A-holes. I'm by no means suggesting that everyone's an A-hole, but we can't deny that they do exist.
I don't know about you, but I've found when I've had to work with difficult people because they're my boss or a colleague, it's had a significant impact on my overall wellbeing, and our work lives shouldn't impact on us in this way.
My life is so much easier, simpler, and just more stress-free now that I can choose who I work with.
Ups and downs
There are loads of things that I love about freelancing and suit me personally such as having the freedom to work from anywhere and also deciding my timetable, in general, I'm so much happier and feel a sense of freedom that I've never had before.
But, there are cons also, this kind of work wouldn't suit everyone.
So without further ado here's a list of some (there are many more on both sides) of the pros and cons of freelance work.
You’re the boss
Nobody is telling you what to do, asking what your objectives are, or how you are going to grow and develop this year? You also don't need to apologise to John in HR for being too assertive. You can do whatever you like and take your business in any direction you want - how exciting!
Choose the times that you work:
Fancy a lie-in? No problem.
Need to visit the dentist? Go whenever you like.
Want to go to your daughter’s assembly? Off you go - have fun!
It makes life so much easier.
If it takes you ½ an hour to get to work every day that’s five hours a week that you'll save and can be spent doing other things. If it’s 1 hour each way that’s 10 hours a week - so over one month that’s 40 hours, the equivalent of a whole week at work.
How you spend that spare time is up to you: Going to the gym, seeing friends, reading, spending more time with your family etc., the choice is yours - you don't need me to suggest how you could spend more free time, but you get the gist.
And don’t forget the cost of the commute - probably enough per year to pay for a holiday somewhere in paradise, or that yoga retreat you’ve had your eye on for ages.
While you may have a specialism, when you’re working with different clients, no job is ever going to be the same, and this keeps the work interesting. You’ll always be learning new things.
You’re going to meet so many new and exciting cool people, not just the clients who you are working for but other freelancers who you’ll end up partnering up with or going to for advice.
Us freelancers are an interesting, creative bunch who are always happy to share our knowledge with colleagues — no more chatting to Janet from accounts about what to have for lunch or how you haven’t filled out your timesheet correctly.
And also, as it states in the title of the post: No more working with A-holes.
Work from anywhere
This year I have worked from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, and that’s just up until now.
Even if you build a client base in the UK, you can do the work remotely.
When I left the UK, I told all of my clients I was going, and they were okay about it, we do everything via Skype now - oh the pleasure of a modern world.
You are in control of the amount that you charge so there is no ceiling on what you can earn - no more 1% pay rises for you.
The best bit?
No office bullshit, no Christmas do, and best of all, you don’t have to attend the annual team building day at the nearest chain hotel.
You’re the boss
You are the boss of your own freelancing business. Working as a freelancer is a business, and as you are the boss, you are responsible for managing and growing it. Every single role that one might typically find in business is now your responsibility, even if you don’t know how to do it, yet.
You’re not going to have anyone to say hello to when you ‘arrive’ at work, nobody to ask how you are, nobody to ask what you did last night? If you choose to work from a co-working space, you’ll have more options, but there might not always be one available if you choose a location independent lifestyle.
If you work from home, you might not see another human being for days, depending on your schedule. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can be. We can overcome this in various ways, but it’s something to be mindful of if you’re a social person and enjoy the social aspect of work.
You need to have a lot of willpower, a lot. You need to decide on a routine and stick to it, if you don’t you are not going to make the best use of your time, you’re not going to get the work done, and you’re not going to have a happy time. I know because I’ve been there.
I'm not saying what kind of routine you should have. Only you will know when and under what conditions you work best, but you must have set times when you will work and when you will rest. This also really helps with avoiding getting burnt out.
No sick pay
I can’t speak for everyone but I’ve found that I’m far healthier than I used to be since I’ve been freelancing, I put this down to the work-life balance aspect, I exercise more, get outside more, eat healthily, and don’t suffer from work-related stress or anxiety in the same way.
No holiday pay
BUT, if you’re living a location-dependent lifestyle, you won’t feel the need to have regular holidays - because life is one big holiday - kind of.
At first, the work is going to be bitty, some here, some there. Sometimes you might not get any work for a while - this is why it’s imperative that you do not quit your day job before you have a decent regular income.
At other times you’ll get so much work that you don’t know what you’re going to do, but you won't want to turn down a well-paid job from an interesting client, so you'll have to work overtime.
It is going to take time for you to build a sustainable freelance business in a career of your choosing; it doesn’t happen overnight. Most freelancers start with a usual day job and start building their portfolio on the side, in their free time.
Your freelancing will likely have to be like a hobby initially, and therefore you will need to spend most of your free time doing it.
Hopefully, you’ll be incredibly excited and passionate about your new business and the freedom that it will bring so you’ll be highly motivated and you’ll enjoy it.
A big downside of freelancing work is that if someone chooses not to pay you, it’s a massive pain in the arse trying to get the money they owe. Luckily not everyone is an A-hole, but non-payment does happen.
We can combat this in many ways such as getting payment upfront or asking for at least 50% upfront, which is my standard practice now.
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Hannah Anstee is a former British Wellness Journalist turned Women’s Midlife & Wellbeing Coach.
You may know her from her work as Beauty Editor at YOGA Magazine or her contributions to The Independent or Psychologies Magazine.
Hannah uses a kind and candid approach to help women rewrite their stories.