Trading in your nine-to-five for the perks of the freelance life has significantly become normalized in the past few years as more and more people are making the switch after Covid-19. Unfortunately, not every occupation offers the opportunity to choose between traditional employment or freelancing due to freelance work mainly being limited to digital services like tech, marketing, consulting, accounting, and others. Being in control of your projects, working from anywhere in the world, and not being confined to an office or company are only a handful of the advantages of freelancing. With all of this in mind, however, many popular myths exist about freelancing. Let’s debunk some of the most notable ones together to make your decision to switch to freelancing, or try it out, easier and more informed.
Myth: You work without a boss
Truth: It’s a common misconception that freelancers are exempt from the idea of having a “boss”. You may no longer have a direct boss or manager(s), but you still must maintain communication with your clients. It’s essential to keep in mind that your clients are often executives, project managers, or heads of departments in their own companies who have their expectations and requirements for projects. So, it will still be your duty as a freelancer to maintain efficient communication with them and meet their project requirements. Depending on the complexity and duration of your projects, you may undertake several at once, which means you’ll essentially have several “bosses” at once. With that in mind, it’s still necessary to find the balance between keeping your clients satisfied and not letting them take complete control of your work methods.
Myth: It gets lonely
Truth: Being a freelancer is often a lot like being in a one-person marching band, but it’s not all that bad regarding socialization. Sure, it’s not for everyone and may not be a great suit for extroverts who thrive off of socializing with coworkers, but freelancers can still get their source of socialization from many places. That includes, but is not limited to, other freelancers you can pass on clients to (and vice versa) if you don’t have availability now, other workers from coworking spaces, people from cafes, people you network with at events, and more!
Myth: Your schedule is absolutely flexible
Truth: While it is true that freelancers certainly have more flexibility in where and when they work, that doesn’t mean that every element of your work is constantly changing or inconsistent each day. For one, you will still have deadlines to meet. Thus, to complete a project in a set amount of time, you must decide how many days you can spend on it and how many hours a day. Additionally, you might need to schedule regular calls with your client, which may mean accommodating different people's calendars, thus, limiting your flexibility because your calls need to comply with your client’s timetable too. Didn’t have a chance to finish something during the week? You’ll need to work over the weekend to make your deadline. Especially if you want to freelance full-time, you can expect no shortage of being busy.
Myth: You get paid less
Truth: It’s important to differentiate unstable payment from insufficient payment — they are commonly confused with one another in the context of freelancing. It’s true that your finances will be unstable and inconsistent, depending on the number of active projects, duration of those projects, and varying price points of each project. However, that doesn’t mean that you will be making any less than a full-time office job. For example, when a client opts for digital marketing services from agencies, a percentage of the project proceeds go to the company and then a certain part to the employee on the project. With freelancing, you discuss the fee with the client directly for the budget, without cuts.
Myth: It’s less stressful than working in an office
Truth: Where there are projects, deadlines, calls, reports, and of course, work, there will be stress to some extent. Combine that with the fact that you primarily work independently and need to manage all your operations and processes — from organizing your day-to-day work to client calls, deadlines, and logistics like finances, vacations, taxes, etc. You have to be your own employee, boss, human resource manager, accountant, and so on! That can be stressful for someone who doesn’t like multitasking compared to having the majority of that handled for you in an in-house environment.