If you’re considering freelancing or starting your own business, you may be wondering what’s better, a full time job or freelancing? Both have their pros and cons, but which one is better for you ultimately depends on your own circumstances.
Something interesting to think about is the growth of freelancers we’ve seen over the past couple of years. There are 59+ million freelancers in the United States alone, for instance.
I’ve been growing businesses for around 10+ years and hold a full time marketing job so I have a lot of experience with both. Here’s a look at some of the key differences between freelancing and careers to help you decide which one is right for you.
Pros and cons of freelancing and having a full time job
When deciding between freelancing and working a full-time job, consider the pros and cons of both scenarios. Freelancing offers the potential ability to have higher earnings and more flexibility with your daily schedule compared to a traditional job. On the downside, it can require more work and more time before seeing any real results.
Alternatively, a full-time job typically provides stability, benefits, workplace culture and structure within which you can grow and develop. However, you’ll also likely have less control over your salary or advancement rate than when freelancing.
Ultimately, it comes down to what aspects of each lifestyle matter most for you when making decisions about where to pursue your career.
Consider your financial situation and whether freelancing can provide stability
Freelancing can offer great financial stability if you plan it correctly and take the time to set yourself up for success with a solid foundation. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to whether taking the “freelance route” is the right choice for your life, but if you’re willing to put in the effort and create a strategy that works within your particular circumstances, freelancing can be an excellent way to ensure long-term success.
Consider that only 4% of freelancers charge $51-$100/hour. That means you need to be in an elite group if you want to make a very good living as a freelancer. It requires serious hustle and effort.
You’ll need to consider things like what type of work you want to do on a contract basis (like copywriting), learn how to manage your finances properly (incuding taxes!), develop marketable skills that people will pay you for, and figure out how to price your services so that you make a fair wage while still being competitive. All of these areas are key factors in determining the level of financial stability freelancing can give you.
I’ve mentored and coached hundreds of students, and it’s all about the work you put in. If you don’t take action, you won’t achieve a living as a freelancer. Take it seriously and approach it as a business, not a hobby.
Think about the work-life balance you want
As I mentioned earlier, I have a full time marketing job and run my business. It might sound like a lot, and it is to an extent, but I manage it well. Monday through Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm, I work my job. Early mornings, evenings, and weekends I spend working on my business.
I remember back when I was only self-employed. It was awesome. I would be in charge of my day and had tons of flexibility. I never slacked off but if I wanted to take a break to walk the dogs, see a friend, or do something else, I could do it at the drop of a hat. Of course, with a full time job, I can’t do that. I don’t mind but it is something I reminisce about.
Why am I telling you this? So you can reflect on whether or not giving up some of your time and freedom is worth it for a career. It is in my opinion. I’ve grown so much during my marketing career and it’s my main focus now professionally.
Decide whether you want a corporate office environment or not
Making the decision between working from home and being in an office environment can be tricky. I’m sure you’ve been thinking of the pros and cons ever since remote work started becoming more popular. In fact, 86% of freelancers work from home.
First off, working from home creates a much more flexible schedule around your life, allowing you to make time for other important things. But remote work also brings distractions and can lead to a lack of motivation when there’s no one else around styling or keeping you on task.
On the other hand, a structured office allows for collaboration and accountability with colleagues which helps keep your focus and lets ideas flow more freely. Plus interacting with others gives us an energy boost most days of the week! In short, it all comes down to what works best for you.
I worked out of a co-working office for a couple of years and absolutely loved it. It was great being around other entrepreneurs every day and having a separate place to work.
Try both freelancing and having a full time job to see what is better for you
Trying out different types of work can be an insightful experience, and it allows you to really understand your strengths better. Freelance work and a full-time job both have their own advantages, so for anyone who is stuck between the two options, I would recommend taking a balanced approach and trying out both to find out what suits them best.
You’ll see which one fits your lifestyle or career goals and then be able to make an informed decision about which one you should commit to. It also gives you an opportunity to develop a robust set of transferable skills that will be beneficial no matter what job you decide to focus on in the future.
Final thoughts on freelancing vs having a full time job
Making the decision to freelance or pursue a full time career is a big one. There are a lot of factors to consider before taking the plunge. Weighing the pros and cons of each option is crucial to making the best decision for you.
Finances, work/life balance, and long-term plans are all important things to think about before committing either way. What matters most to you? How do you want your career to look in five or ten years? Answering these questions honestly will help lead you to the right choice.
If you want to learn more about freelancing, check out my online courses.