Pros and Cons of Working as a Freelancer or Independent Consultant

A lot of people have a glorified idea of what their life would be like if they could quit their job and start working for themselves as a consultant or freelance professional; sleeping in, working in their pajamas, being able to take a day off whenever they want to, having more vacation time, being home to take care of the kids after school, a higher salary, and being able to focus on work that they’ll love.

Background

What many potential freelancers and consultants don’t understand, however, is that all of those ideals they have are not the reality at all for the majority of individuals who work for themselves. Let’s explore some of the real pros and cons of working for yourself, to help you better make a decision as to whether or not freelancing or consulting is right for you.

PROS

  • You don’t have to answer to a boss or supervisor.
  • You can choose your projects.
  • You can work from the comfort of your own home.
  • You get to set your own schedule.
  • You get to set you own rates and fees.
  • If you work from home, you can see your family more
  • You can dress casually.
  • You can choose what days and hours to work.
  • You can decide when to take your vacations and for how long.
  • You get to spend each day doing work in a field that you love.

CONS

  • You have to answer to your clients.
  • You may have slow times where you won’t have any projects at all.
  • It can be hard to separate your work from your home life.
  • It’s easy to put in more hours than planned, and overwork yourself, especially when you’re on deadlines. There’s no one to tell you to go home at 5:00.
  • The average freelancer or consultant only gets to bill 22-23 hours per week to their clients; not the 40 or more hours they actually work.
  • Seeing your family more can be a major work distraction, and your work may cause family tension.
  • You never know when a client will look up your address and stop by, so you always have to keep your home and/or office in top condition, and despite dressing casually, you still need to look professional.
  • You always have to be available during regular business hours if clients, or potential clients, try to contact you.
  • If you take a day off, or go on vacation, you could miss out on potential clients, because there’s no one to fill in for you.
  • You could spend less than half of your actual working time working on projects that you love. You’ll spend the rest on administrative and financial tasks, marketing and sales, and furthering your education by attending confereces, seminars, and / or classes.

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