“Freelance” is a commonly used word these days. How is this different from a person who has a regular job? Although freelancing began in the medieval ages with mercenary soldiers, there are umpteen freelancers and freelancing opportunities on offer today. If you are a freelancer, you do not have a long-term commitment to a particular employer. As a freelancer you provide a particular service to your client and you can work from the luxury of your home at your own time.
You might ask your client to sign a written contract for the service you provide or else a verbal agreement will do. You can freelance as a filmmaker, actor, journalist, web designer, illustrator, editor … depending upon your skills, talent and experience. You can choose the project and the payment depending on the hours that you put in. There are two sides to freelancing as it can be a boon or a bane.
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You, as a free lancer, will not find your boss looking over your shoulder while you work. There are several reasons to be a freelancer.
• As a freelancer you build a successful business with a reputation and a list of clients which can give you an income if you decide to sell. This is really an asset that you have created which provides for your present and future income.
• The best part of being a freelancer is that you can decide your workplace – your home or a resort while you are holidaying. You are also a master of your time and can find a suitable time to work. You are also free to take on the amount of work that you can manage. Thus, freelancing takes care of work-life balance, leaving you to enjoy quality time with your loved ones.
• If you are looking for global exposure, freelancing is for you. You can get work from any part of the world which means a window of opportunities. There are no confining geographical boundaries in this business.
• With no office politics and red tape to handle, you can look forward to a trouble-free work atmosphere. You can work alone or build a team as your business grows.
• Your income depends on your own efforts. You needn’t fear about not getting your bonus or an increment. Since the amount of work you do varies, so does your income each month.
• You can be sure of tax exemptions since you work from the confines of your home.
• You can cut out all the unnecessary expenditures on your attire that a traditional job entails. Since you work mostly at home, you can be dressed casually rather than spending valuable time and money on your appearance.
• Freelancing brings you in touch with several people and increases your client base. Freelancing also gives you an opportunity to pick up new skills.
Although you know about the boons of freelancing, you should also know why it is a bane.
• As a freelancer, your pay depends on the number of hours of productive work that you put in. Since your income is not steady you must learn the art of budgeting.
• You can expect your clients to rouse you out of your bed at midnight with a project and you must adjust to different time zones. You also will find that you are working longer hours than a regular 9 to 5 job.
• Since you have decided to work on your own, your success and failure is your own business. You have to learn to work and survive alone and be your own guide or mentor.
• If you are looking for some time off for a holiday or a medical problem you will have to find a way of meeting deadlines. Since you work independently, you are not entitled to perks like vacation pay, health insurance and other benefits.
• It is your own business and you are responsible for all its aspects operations, management, accounts, marketing and client development. You must have enough knowledge about tax returns, accounting and licensing.
• Finding new clients is a constant challenge and you have to develop on your marketing and networking skills so that you always have work on hand.
• You may have to dodge numerous distractions while working in the comfort of your home.
Before you start on your own, think clearly if freelancing is a boon or a bane.