Written by guest blogger Laura Yie
Having recently started out as a freelancer in the translation industry, I am quickly becoming acquainted with the realities of being a freelancer. In this post, I’ll be talking through the pros and cons of freelancing.
Having never been a 9-5 or a morning person myself, freelancing has always seemed the perfect set-up for me. Whilst everyone else is stuck in the morning rush hour traffic, freelancers can peacefully enjoy some extra time in bed. What I had failed to take into account, were the hidden benefits of being forced to go out to work or lectures each day. As a freelancer working from home, the line between your work and home-life can become increasingly blurred, and it’s dangerously easy to spend whole days at home in your pyjamas. A good solution to these challenges can be to rent a desk in a shared office, or work from a local cafe. This way you can enjoy the best of both worlds: the flexibility of freelance work and the separation of work and home-environments. Either way, for freelancers who spend a lot of time sat behind a computer, it’s important to find time to go out and do something active!
Freelancing helps and forces you to develop a whole range of new skills, both professionally and personally. You will have to learn how to manage your time and finances, how to market your skills, and you’ll learn new skills as you work in new areas of your field. In some cases, these skills are learnt and perfected gradually throughout a freelancer’s career, but in other, more stressful cases, you’ll be thrown in at the deep end, perhaps encountering a technical problem for the first time a few hours before a project is due.
This leads on to my next point: you are your own boss. You can take time off when you want, and work from where you want, which is priceless for anyone who loves to travel or wants to live in a smaller rural area with no in-house positions in their field. However, this freedom comes with responsibility. Freelancers are fully responsible for their work and often won’t have colleagues to turn to when problems arise. You have to be on top of your deadlines, and finances: setting aside money for taxes, keeping up-to-date with invoices, paying for your own softwares or equipment, and managing without the security a set monthly salary.
All in all, there are some great aspects and some difficult aspects to freelancing, and it will suit some more them others. When deciding if freelancing is for you, the autonomy and flexibility from freelancing has to be weighed up against a lack of routine, increased responsibility and a lack of financial security.