I joined the workforce in 2005, so technically I should have 11 years of work experience but that is not the case. I took many breaks in my careers for various reasons, one of it was to give freelancing a chance. So today I will speak out of experience when I draw an honest comparison between freelancing projects and a full-time job. Hope it helps you make a decision that suits you, your current situation and a future you wish to have.
ANALYZE YOUR CURRENT SITUATION AND DETERMINE YOUR END:
If you are standing at the crossroads of your life and you need to pick one path to go – Freelancing or Full-time job, then you must first analyze the current situation you are in and where you want to be at the end of your career. If working for you is to just keep yourself occupied, then freelancing is the best way to go. But if you thrive on getting out, meeting people and having a full-fledged career, then a full-time job is your calling.
Let us look at an unprejudiced and unbiased comparison of advantages and disadvantages of a Freelancing project v/s a Full-time job:
STRUCTURE V/S AGILITY:
A full-time job provides a structure for our work. Our work is well defined, organized and pretty much chalked out for us. Such is not the case in freelancing. One can compare freelancing to hunting, where one has to go out in the wild, search and hunt for its own meal to sustain themselves.
Freelancing is not for the faint-hearted. So if you are one who likes structure in life and is not up for a rollercoaster ride, it may not be your cup of tea.
STABLE INCOME V/S IRREGULAR INCOME:
Income is a major deciding factor for all of our career choices and decisions. Full-time job assures you a stable and regular income which is lacking in freelancing work. In freelancing one runs the risk of earning well on one project and then waiting before another good project comes along. Also, payment for some kind of freelancing work (like writers or designers or artists), if not well renowned, may not be so good. There are irregularity and instability in earnings as freelancers, which in turn results in anxiety and lack of confidence at times.
Having said that, there are many software developers, block chain enthusiast, UI/UX developers who get paid very well through freelancing projects. So if you possess niche skills, then freelancing can help you earn more than your regular salary along with more flexibility.
If you have financial commitments like home loans, large family, ailing parents etc. then maybe freelancing is not the route you should take at the moment. Maybe once things settle down for you personally, you may like to explore it as an experiment along with your full-time job and take a more informed decision to switch.
LOW RISKS V/S HIGH RISKS:
A full-time job comes with lower risks. For example, your job is cut out for you, you know how much you will earn each month, you don’t have any personal liability on the project, you have a team and team leads to direct and cushion the blow of the client if any. These comforts lack in a freelancing project. You are solely and fully responsible for the project you have undertaken and in direct line of fire with the client. Hence, the risks are higher in the case of the later. While risks are higher the reward is somewhat the same.
If you are someone who thrives on new challenges, high risks, and high visibility roles, then freelancing maybe thrilling for you. But if you afraid to be ahead of the pack and like a less challenging environment, then a full-time job is a safer bet for you.
LIMITED SCOPE TO EXPLORE NEW OPPORTUNITIES V/S DIFFERENT AVENUES TO EXPLORE:
A full-time job gives you little to no choice of projects, assignments, and work handed down to you. You have to take what is given and do your best to complete the task at hand. While freelancing projects gives you the flexibility to choose and select the projects that you want to work on. It allows you to explore new opportunities, avenues and push yourself to try something new.
If you are someone who likes uncertainty, pushes oneself to explore areas you have not worked on before and not afraid to try new things, then freelancing will give a sense of fulfillment and excitement.
ANSWERABLE TO SOMEONE ELSE V/S ANSWERABLE TO YOURSELF:
In a full-time job, you are continually answerable to someone else. To a higher authority and at times you need to do that which is told rather than that which you feel most comfortable to do. You have little autonomy and are working in a more controlled environment. On the other hand, freelancing allows you to be your own boss. You are responsible for all success and failure and are your own critic. You have the final say in how you want to accomplish a task and have complete autonomy.
If you are someone who finds it difficult to work under someone’s guidance or authority and like the freedom to work on your own terms and conditions, then you must consider freelancing as a more serious option.
MONOTONY V/S VARIETY:
A full-time job along with stability also brings in monotony. Each day you go to the same workstation, same work environment, same tasks, and the same people. Your vacation times are limited and restricted by others plans and approvals. Freelancing gives you the flexibility to chalk out your work. It gives you a variety of projects and people to work with. You can explore opportunities outside your country and the interactions are not limited to your own circle. You can network, get time to learn a new skill, attend a conference in a different city, take a holiday when you like, as long as you plan your projects well.
If you are someone who yearns for variety in life and cannot be chained down to one place for a long time, I encourage you to explore freelancing, especially if you have a niche skill at hand.
While every choice has a consequence, so will your choice to consider a full-time job or a freelancing project. You first need to know yourself well. Freelancing requires immense discipline, a heart for adventure and a realization that finances will be irregular. While a full-time job has its benefits, it can be a less fulfilling and satisfying experience. And on the other spectrum, freelancing will give you the flexibility and freedom, but involves high risk and low pay.
I have explored both a full-time job and many a freelancing project and I must say I like the stability a full-time job offers but the flexibility of freelancing is very alluring and addictive. So I have found a middle ground, for now, taking up short term contract jobs that will give the flexibility as well as a fixed income for that time period. A win-win I must say. However, that is a topic to explore for another day. In the meantime, get to know yourself better, what your priorities from life are and make a decision that you are happy to live with.
You may also want to read other article written by the same author ‘Be aware of your emotions and its effects on you‘ , ‘How to be your own goal keeper‘ , ‘What is the best way to say No to Office House Work‘ , ‘ Finding your work life balance‘ , ‘Six top challenges women leaders face at work‘ ‘ How to master the Art of Assertive Communication‘ , ‘ How can you make your resume standout ‘ .
About the author:
The first time Susan Kutar (Tamang) realized that words could touch lives, she wanted to be a writer and blogger. She has 9 years of experience in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. She likes to write about topics that impact people, which is educational and leaves the reader with something to mull over.
(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)
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