CREDIT: Amanda Moore
I’ve been working freelance as a creative for almost 3 years now and some obvious pros and cons have become apparent:
Pro: Making your own Decisions
You can decide which projects to work on, when to programme them in and set up your own terms. You might have to take on projects you don’t want to in the beginning but then as you get a bigger client base you can start to choose. For example, if you’re an architect you might not want to design houses, or you might only want to design houses. You can also choose to work with nicer people, and people who pay on time.
Con: Finding work
You have to find your own work and schedule it in so that you have an even workload. Clients will sometimes hold on projects because of funding when you were banking on that project to pay your bills. You might be too busy at times if too much comes in at the same time. It might be best to start working a consistent number of days for your previous employer on a freelance basis, adding in the one-off projects on top. As an artist you may have to apply for 10 times the number of competitions you want to win and you have to remember if not selected that your work isn’t bad, they were just looking for something different.
Pro: Making your own Routine
No 9-5 may be the main reason people want to work freelance. You can take your kid out on a Monday and work on a Sunday, you can eat your lunch when you want, you can fit your hobbies in, and chores. You can work where you want, if your kid is sick you can have them at home with you.
Con: Having no Routine
You need discipline and a calendar to get your tasks done which is hard. You will need to impose a routine. I like to start with an hour of my hobby first thing before my kid is up so that each day starts with some kind of routine. Meetings can be all over the place, and people will think that you are sitting in an office all day and cancel a meeting about to start online when you’ve geared your whole day around it and you could have done something else.
Pro: Becoming Entrepreneurial
You will be more self-sufficient because you will have multiple clients and hence income streams. You will look out for opportunities but you have to stay in contact with people to hear about them.
No work friends, no work friends, no work friends. I used to hate being in an open plan office, (25 people asking you every Monday whether you had a nice weekend), but no contact can be depressing, even during COVID times there were a lot of online meetings. You could do some work in a work hub with others in similar fields to have some contact, or work for a client in their office once a week for contact. Listening to podcasts while working or having a lunch break out can help if you work at home.
Pro: No cap to your earnings
If you work harder you make more money, in theory, rather than working harder hoping someone will give you more of the money they are making.
Con: No guaranteed earnings - or benefits.
You will need a reasonable emergency fund, ie, an amount of money you can live off until you can find a job if needed which may be 3-6 months. You will need to pay your tax, national insurance, set up a pension or long-term savings. You will need to take care of your own sick pay, holiday pay, software costs, training and a decent chair to sit in. Don’t use a wonky IKEA stool.
Calculate a day rate of your previous gross PAYE salary x 30% to cover other benefits like pension, then divide by 220 days.
What am I doing here? I'm collecting sea water to fill 1,000 bottles and hang them from a scaffold inside an old ruin. Why? Why not?