Is Freelancing Worth It?
Are you thinking about breaking into the world of self-employment but wondering to yourself is freelancing worth it?
Can you make it work? Can it pay the bills? Do the pros outweigh the cons?
In this post, we’ll answer some of the toughest questions that really determine whether or not freelancing is worth it for you.
TL;DR – Yes! Freelancing is worthwhile as long as you are willing to make it so.
Now let’s find out why…
Is Being a Freelancer Hard?
First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way. Yes, being a freelancer is hard work.
But that’s a good thing!
Generally, the most worthwhile things in life don’t come easy. The harder you have to work for them, the more they pay off in the end.
What makes freelancing hard? Here’s the short version:
- You don’t get paid just for showing up. You earn exactly what you’re worth.
- You don’t have an HR department to figure out your benefits, taxes, etc.
- Self-motivation and discipline are a must. Without them, you won’t eat.
- You’ve got to wear a lot of hats: marketing, customer service, finance officer. All on top of actually delivering client work.
- It’s much much harder to “leave work at work” when you are your own boss.
Is Freelancing a Good Idea?
We’re really making a hard sell here, aren’t we?
From that bulleted list you might have already decided that freelancing isn’t for you.
All of the greatest weaknesses of this profession are really just the seeds of the freelancer’s greatest strengths:
- When you only get paid what you’re worth, that means there is no limit to your earning potential.
- When you have to figure out your own benefits, you are taking active control over how your money is being spent.
- When your livelihood relies on your ability to motivate and discipline yourself, you are forced to cultivate two of the most important qualities of a happy, successful life.
- When you need to master every aspect of entrepreneurship, you are building a scalable business that could become so much more than a simple freelancing service.
- And when you are your own boss, you can develop a schedule that works for you rather than one that is forced upon you.
So, if all of those sound like the direction you want to take your life in, then yes! Freelancing is a good idea.
How Much Can a Freelancer Earn?
It’s not the only measurement, but earning potential is what a lot of people are wondering about when they ask Is freelancing worth it?
Well, Business News Daily found that in 2019, freelancers earned more on average than traditional employees around the globe. In the U.S., the average freelancer’s annual earning was just under $64,000.
Compared to the average of all full-time U.S. workers of about $49,000, freelancers are doing pretty darn well.
Averages are one measure of course. But we hope you are aiming for above average.
And that’s where the potential for freelancing really shows itself. Your earnings are limited only by your ability to deliver quality work and your ability to find the clients willing to pay for it.
In other words: the sky is the limit.
So if you want to be a six figure freelancer, you just need to put in the hard work to reach that goal.
It’s not easy, of course. But it is possible.
You couldn’t say the same about a lot of other professions. When you are working for someone else, there is often an earning ceiling which cannot be surpassed.
What Does It Take To Succeed as a Freelancer?
So we’ve seen that freelancing has its fair share of struggles, but that they are all countered by the benefits of freelancing.
But to determine if freelancing is worth it overall, you’ve got to understand the sacrifices you’ll need to make in order to overcome those struggles and enjoy those benefits.
A freelancer can’t settle for “okay”.
When a client pays you their hard-earned money to deliver quality work, you better deliver.
This isn’t the sort of job where you can just slink by on the bare minimum. Every client that you please is probably going to become repeat business. And that obviously means that every client you displease is a long term source of money flushed down the drain.
You might have bad days here and there. But you absolutely can’t settle into a mindset of mediocrity.
A freelancer must work long hours.
You’ve probably heard of the mythical four hour work week that comes with being your own boss.
While that might be a dream that is actually attainable somewhere down the road, you don’t get there without putting in serious hours. If you are still working a day job while you start freelancing, you are going to be sacrificing nights and weekends to build up your business until you are ready to cut the cord on your 9-to-5.
And if you are diving into freelancing full-time from the start, then you are going to be pulling some really long weeks to win clients, fulfill orders, and follow-up.
Eventually, things will slow down and you’ll be able to enjoy a lighter workload. But until it does, prepare to burn the midnight oil.
A freelancer needs to adapt.
As a freelancer, you can never settle.
The moment you get too comfortable with where you are at, your competition could pull the rug out from under you.
Clients come and go.
Be prepared to adapt to the changes—those you can predict and those that you can’t.
Stay close to where your clients are so that you can anticipate their needs. Keep close tabs on your competitors so they never surprise you. And integrate yourself into the community of freelancers so that you’ll always have a support system.
Is Freelancing Worth It For YOU?
Ultimately, the worth of freelancing is dependant on just one factor: you.
Some people are perfectly happy to work for someone else, stick to their assigned hours, and collect a standard paycheck.
If you are content with your present situation or just aren’t ready to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve your dream, then freelancing might not be the right choice.
But, if you long for more…
If you are ready to put in the hard work…
If you are ready to build up a business that will let you live the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of…
Then it sounds like freelancing is worth it for you.