Going freelance and working from home offers plenty of opportunities, but also challenges. What are the main pluses and minuses?
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Ever dreamed of being your own boss? You’re not alone. According to the Professional Contractors Group, there are 1.4 million people working freelance in the UK, a number that’s grown by nearly 15% over the past decade.
Going freelance by launching a business from home gives you the freedom to do what you want, without ever having to answer to a boss. But freelancing also requires a tremendous degree of dedication and hard work if it’s to be a success.
Pleasures of freelancing
It gives you flexibility - going freelance means you can do the kind of work you want, when you want. Granted, it might mean some peaks and troughs in your paypacket, but you can genuinely be your own boss - something most other people dream of.
There is opportunity to develop your skills if you’re prepared to dip your toes in uncertain waters. Freelancing means you can work in different roles, for different companies and in different industries. The world’s your oyster, really.
You can enjoy a good work-life balance - going solo takes you straight out of the Monday to Friday 9-to-5 rut that many find stressful, unnecessary and a burden. You can set your own shifts, pick and choose your projects - giving you more time to spend with family, friends or pursuing other interests.
In theory, at least, freelancing offers you the chance of a work-life balance
There’s potential to earn good money. As a freelancer, you set your own rates and can charge what you think your work is worth. And after paying tax, all the money is yours - there’s no employer dipping their hand in.
Perils of freelancing
You’re on your own - out in the big wide world - freed from an employer, yes, but also without a safety net. If you go freelance, make sure you have a financial buffer to keep you going. You might not get all the work you want in the early days, so it’s a good idea to have some cash to fall back on.
Be prepared for inconsistent cash flow because freelancing can mean irregular income. You won’t earn the same each month, as you would working for an employer. Some months will be great, some okay, some terrible - particularly when you’re starting out.
You’ve got to put the work in - you’re responsible for finding your own business. You won’t have a development team pulling in leads for you, or a set of tasks waiting for you when you sit down. A lot of the hard work of freelancing revolves around finding, nurturing and keeping clients. You’ll need to invest a lot of time, effort and energy.
Downtime and late payment can impact cash-flow
There’s a lot of admin to take care of. Freelancing means setting yourself up as self-employed - and what comes with that is a lot of form-filling, box-ticking and other red tape. Not to mention chasing clients for payment…
You won’t enjoy employer benefits. Some employers offer their staff discounted gym membership, pension, private healthcare and lots more. A freelance lifestyle doesn’t offer any of these.