Freelancing: What It Is, Advantages and Disadvantages

If you’ve heard the term “freelancer,” but you’re not quite sure what it means, then you’ve come to the right place. Although the term actually refers to a way of working, here, we’ll explain the advantages and disadvantages of being a freelancer in the digital age. Now that the internet is improving communication between people, there are more and more possibilities for new modalities to emerge, not only generating income, but also changing lifestyles in a positive way.

Are you ready? Read carefully!

What Is a Freelancer?

The concept is actually very simple and refers to the “independent worker.” Thus, a freelancer would be a person who offers specific services or jobs to other people, or to companies; and who can be either a temporary worker with a specific delivery date, or full-time.

In this way, it would be the independent workers, or freelancers, who would be responsible for finding their own clients with whom they’ll work. This, in turn, can be achieved in different ways, the internet being the most common. In addition to blogs and social networks that can promote a service, there are also freelancing marketplaces that specialize in connecting freelancers with employers. The “word of mouth” marketing strategy, however, will always be very helpful. So, basically any means of independently getting customers and work would be considered to be “freelancer” work.

In this order of ideas, the most common market niches you can find for freelancing online are related to writing, translating, and editing texts, as well as graphic design, marketing, advertising, web development, and a lot of other things. Basically, anything that doesn’t require your physical presence in order to be developed, and can even be done from home, would allow you to work as a freelancer.

If you have extensive knowledge about a specific topic, you could give virtual classes, teach languages, or perform tasks as a “virtual assistant” for other people, or for companies. Actually, there’s a wide demand in many areas, because freelancing can allow you to have customers from other parts of the world, so you’ll probably find excellent options for what you do best. Don’t worry! We’ll talk a little more about the types of jobs you can find as a freelancer in a future article.

Advantages of Freelancing

Like everything in life, being self-employed has its advantages and disadvantages, of course. This way of life will certainly not be the same for everyone, as we all have different methods of working. So read carefully, because, if the idea of becoming a freelancer has crossed your mind, you’ll be able to make a better decision after this.

1. Decide Your Own Salary!

Just like you heard! By working as a freelancer, you’ll be able to set exactly the rate you consider fair for your jobs. Usually, many of them will be counted by hours worked, so you can set a fixed, hourly rate. Here, you can even decide how many jobs you want to invest your time in and, thus, ensure a monthly amount of money according to your needs.

In fact, being a freelancer could allow for the globalization of your services, so you can contact clients from other parts of the world; your income could be represented in dollars (or other currencies) that, in some countries, such as some in Latin America, could be a real benefit because of the exchange rates. For example, it is not the same for a Colombian to receive an hourly rate of $8 USD, as it is for a person living in the United States.

2. Become Your Own Boss

This may easily be the most popular of all. It is quite common among freelancers to value the fact that they can work, not only from wherever they want, but also when they want. Of course, there will be times when you’ll need to log on to work as a team or to attend scheduled meetings, but usually, people working as freelancers set their exact working hours.

As there is the possibility of having simultaneous contracts, it is important to ensure good time management practices for each task in order to guarantee a timely delivery. Although your freelance contracts allow you to manage your own time, you should do so in an orderly manner.

3. Work on What You’re Passionate About:

This one’s funny, because that’s exactly what it is. If you’re a freelancer, you get to choose exactly which projects you want to work on, so that “doing it just for the money” will be a thing of the past. Here, you can use your passions and skills to enjoy every project you do and, eventually, you’ll have a better lifestyle, because it will be directly linked to what you like to do.

4. Start Your Own Business:

Yes! Freelancing gives you the foundation you need to start your own business. Think back to the skills that make you better than the rest of the professionals, then think about the possibility of dedicating yourself to that for the rest of your life, and even creating your own business that comes from the same idea. If you’re a writer, eventually you’ll be able to have your own blog where you can offer your services. Nothing can stop you!

5. Get More out of Life:

It’s not all work, is it? Life really is meant to be enjoyed, not spent working all the time. Always keep in mind that you shouldn’t live to work, but work to live. Did you get confused? We’ll make it simple for you: there is one life and it is full of happy moments. In your daily life, you must take time to enjoy it with your family and loved ones, and, at this point, work as a freelancer can bring you this and much more. Keep in mind that, if you work from home, you will not have to go to any establishment, meaning you’ll have more free time at the end of your working day.

Disadvantages of Freelancing

Not everything is magic and joy. We must also tell you a little about what is not_-_so-positive about becoming a freelancer, because you can be sure of one thing: you will have to make sacrifices or, at least, invest time in taking the trouble to do things right.

1. You Must Find Your Own Clients

When you start working as a freelancer, it’ll be important to take care of finding your own clients with whom you’ll work. In the beginning, your time will mostly be spent looking for ways to find those customers, but, then, when the effort starts to pay off, satisfaction levels will be even higher. Here, the best thing to do would be to keep your normal job for a while while you make the transition. On the one hand, you’ll be able to keep your job while you figure out if this decision is right for you, and, on the other hand, you’ll be able to work as a freelancer in your free time.

Usually, freelancers move into one hundred percent self-employment when they have found their first clients and the pace has started to get fluid.

2. If You Don’t Work, There’s No Money

It sounds obvious, but it is true; when it comes to working as a freelancer, it is important to keep this in mind. Here, it’s very likely that you should be constantly agreeing to take on projects to work with, so you can be sure of the money. In addition, you won’t get paid holidays.

Not only that, but the social security and benefits you usually get when you work for a company must be paid for by you. That’s also what being “independent” is all about, right?

3. There Are No Guarantees

Just as you can find work very easily, it can also be difficult and depends a lot on supply and demand for each season of the year. There will be months when your income is higher than expected, but there will also be months when it’s lower. So, if you want some advice, you must learn to save money so that this doesn’t take you by surprise.

Here, there is another important point to consider and that is that you must be careful not to give away your work. Make sure you work through a channel that allows you to have security in terms of payment from your clients. Try to create virtual contracts, with them, that allow you to have a percentage of the payment in advance and to ensure payment at the end.

4. Reconciling Work and Personal Life

It is very normal that, if you work from home, you sometimes find yourself in situations that interfere with your work time or vice versa. Try to avoid working overtime and create a specific space for working at home. Make it your personal office and organize your time from there.

Generally, those who freelance have a specific work schedule and routine that helps them achieve this. Thus, they would be getting up early at the same time and getting ready in the same way, as if they were going to an office. This helps to put the brain into “work mode,” even when working from home.

5. You Must Know the Laws of Your Country

This part is important, because there are many cities around the world where you have to pay taxes according to the amount of income you generate per year. So, in order to be hired by a company, it’ll be very normal for them to ask for your approval and your recognition that you will pay the corresponding taxes, if necessary. The laws in every city are different, so the advice here is to investigate the rules that apply to freelancers in each case.

Why Would a Company Hire a Freelancer?

From the point of view of companies, it is not only cheaper, but also easier to hire freelancers for specific tasks. There are other cases in which the costs of maintaining the employee and the required facilities will be much lower if a person is directly linked to the company, but still works remotely.

Around the world, there are many companies that are willing to hire freelancers, because they have realized that they really deliver good results. Even in terms of worker-productivity levels, it has been shown to be much higher if the person is in a workspace that gives him or her peace of mind.

The main reason why a company would be willing to hire freelancers, however, is because of the low costs. Many companies even prefer to hire from South American countries, for example, because of the differences in rates. Additionally, when it comes to benefits and social security, these are things you’ll have to pay for yourself. This could certainly be a disadvantage for you, but, if you manage to have a lifestyle that allows you to successfully work virtually, it will not be a problem, because you will have enough income to pay for it on your own.

Thus, companies can engage in hiring freelancers from other parts of the world, who have specific skills and a good track record in that market niche. This is where you come in with what makes you stand out from the competition.

You Want to Be a Freelancer? It’s Time to Start!

Since you’ve come this far, let’s ask you something: How long are you going to wait?

We know that the process will be complex, especially if you have little experience in the subject, but we assure you that it will not be impossible. And we’re telling you this from personal experience.

Freelancing could be something that changes your lifestyle, your way of thinking, your methodology for working, and even your ideologies. So, the best advice we can give you at this point is that you should take control of your life and start, one step at a time, creating your new future. No one said the changes would be easy, so don’t worry, because here you’ll find a guide that will help you start working as a freelancer.

We assure you that, over time, you will be able to become that independent professional you want to be. Even if you think big, you will be able to build your own digital business, just because you’re a freelancer.

Welcome to virtual work! We know you’ll love it.

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