Freelance Jobs: Pros and Cons

So you’re sick of bosses, meetings, and clueless co-workers. You’re sure you can do a better job as one of lone wolves of the working world: the freelancer. What could go wrong? You can wake up at three in the afternoon, cherry pick your projects, and work while drinking beer and in your underwear. Well before you take the plunge, take some time to think about the pros and cons:

 

Slob working from home with beer and in underwear

At MoneySmart, we don't conceal anything from our clients.

 

The Upside

The upsides of freelancing appeal most to loners, lateral thinkers, and opportunists. It’s entirely coincidental that criminals fit that profile. The benefits can be summarized as:

  • Freedom to work in your own time
  • Make full use of talent and potential
  • Flexibility that companies can’t match
  • Accelerated learning
  • Build a wider base of contacts

 

Freedom to Work in Your Own Time

The main upside to freelancing. If you have special needs to attend to (e.g. medical conditions with children or parents, or you are a single parent) this is invaluable. Freelancing means you can stop in the middle of work any time. And your work day can start at four in the morning or seven in the evening, so long as you get the job done.

 

TV remote pointed at screen, with feet up

"Yeah, I'm uh, researching for that article right now."

 

As a side benefit, you rarely have to wait in queues any more. Visit the supermarket at 9 am on a Monday, and be amazed at how fast grocery shopping becomes. If you’re a jerk like me, you can call people and say “Eh, going to work is it? I’m going to catch a movie and start work at three! Haha!”

 

Make Full Use of Talent and Potential

Because these tend to be stifled in a corporate environment. In a big company, your ideas are often quashed by layers of management. Even if you succeed, your boss may insist on giving credit to “the team” instead of you. Even if said team consists of you and 10 lazy morons who watch YouTube videos all week.

When you’re freelance, you take full credit for any successful project.

 

Woman smoking boss's cigar, with boss yelling in the background

"For the last time, you CANNOT call a staff meeting to celebrate yourself."

 

Flexibility that Companies Can’t Match

Being freelance makes you more adaptable at work. When a client wants something different, there’s no need to seek approval at a board meeting. You can change procedures or methods in an instant. Compared to you, companies seem to have all the flexibility of a pregnant yak.

 

Accelerated Learning

When working freelance, you’ll interact with companies of different sizes. You’ll set foot in different industries, work alongside various experts, and see how different companies get things done. Because you don’t settle into a routine, every job gives you a new perspective on your chosen industry. It’s a learning experience corporate drones would kill for.

 

Stack of books

"I don't know anything about emerging markets either. Just learn everything about it on the bus ride home."

 

Build a Wider Base of Contacts

Because you aren’t stuck with one firm, and your time is flexible, networking becomes easy. Even two or three years of freelancing will build you a huge base of contacts. You’ll know who to call in a variety of situations. Even better, you can sometimes hook people up, thus building your presence and value in the market.

 

The Downside

There are some drawbacks to freelancing, which can be managed with experience. But if you’re new to it, brace for some of the following:

  • Late payment
  • Taking all the blame
  • Bearing all overheads and requirements alone
  • Constant job seeking

 

Late Payment

There is a difference between a contract of service and a contract for service. The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) is very specific about this. When you have a contract of service, you’re an employee. You have to be paid within seven days of a specific date, or you can complain.

But freelancers have a contract for service. Which means if the client decides not to pay you, the only recourse is the small claims court. This means burning bridges, since the next time the client wants a freelancer, it won’t be you. Because, you know, you dragged them to court.

 

Masked mugger

Freelancers on pay day.

 

So your alternatives are (1) wait for the money to arrive, a little after the next ice age, or (2) go to court, get the money, and lose that client forever. Oh, and have them bad mouth you to other companies.

 

Taking All the Blame

When something goes wrong, the freelancer is playing musical chairs with zero chairs. There is no chance of winning the blame game. Even if you have a good reason as to why the project failed, your client doesn’t care. It’s easier to blame you than find issues with their employees.

 

Bearing All Overheads and Requirements Alone

If you’re an interior designer, you’d better sell bone marrow so you can afford AutoCAD. If you’re a musician, you’d better have top of the line equipment. All the little things that companies pay for, from Windows Office down to printer ink, will now have to be borne by you.

 

Printer ink next to France travel guide

Let's see: buy printer ink, or vacation in France? They cost about the same these days.

 

And if anything goes wrong, there’s no department to turn to. Your PC crashed? There’s no IT department to call. Your bank transfer didn’t coming through? There’s no accounts department to harass. And remember: your client doesn’t care. The project deadline remains.

 

Constant Job Seeking

Successful freelancers fill their calendars two months in advance. There shouldn’t be blank spaces where there’s no project. A freelancer’s job seeking is perpetual: every time you’re working on a project, you need to be scouting for the next two.

Remember that payment might come after a project, and tends to be late. So one month without a project might translate to three months without income.

 

Conclusion

Freelancing requires a lot of self-motivation and versatility. It’s not for someone who isn’t a creative problem solver. Every project will present radically different challenges, and the tolerance for failure is low. If you’re looking for stability and routine, look elsewhere.

But if you’ve got real talent, and a real drive to make it work, then give freelancing a shot.

Image Credits

PJMorseBill SelvitelleSun DazedMatt BaranCometstarmoonBitterjug

Are you a freelancer? Comment and let us know what it’s like!

Get more Personal Finance tips and tricks on www.MoneySmart.sg

Click to Compare Singapore Home Loans, Car Insurance and Credit Cards on our other sites.



More From MoneySmart
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options