The Pros and Cons of Freelance Writing

The pros and cons of freelance writing

Freelance writing is a dream job many aspire to.

The pros and cons of freelance writing
Freelance writing has many advantages, but there are also a few downsides. – Photo credit: Freepik

You set your own schedule, work from anywhere you want and decide how much work to take on. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder freelance writing is on the rise.

Yet, sometimes I get the feeling there’s this romanticized perception of what freelance writing really is. Yes, sure, there are plenty of advantages… but what about the “not so good” parts that no one tells you about?

If you’re considering starting a freelance writing career, there are some things you must know. In this article, I’ll list the pros and cons of freelance writing. Also, I’ll let you know how to overcome the challenges you’ll face. Hopefully, I’ll help you decide if this is the right job for you.

The Pros

Let’s start with the good part!

The benefits of freelancing I’m about to tell you are some of the reasons why many writers decide to transform this side hustle into a full-time job. I’m sure you’ll find some of them quite alluring too.

· Work-life balance

Worklife balance is the goal of many aspiring freelance writers. – Photo Credit: Freepik

The pandemic forced many people to work from home and find extra income by freelancing. This new reality seemed impossible in the beginning. However, it became quite popular among several businesses.

Full-time freelance writing allows you to work from home (or anywhere you want). Besides ditching the long commutes, you can also save some money on transportation. You will have more time to enjoy yourself and the ones you love.

· Decide your own schedule

This is one of the biggest benefits in freelancing. Since you’re the boss, you decide if you want to stick with the 9-to-5 office hours or enjoy flexible working hours. It’ll only depend on how many hours you want to work daily.

Do you want to complete as many tasks as possible? Perfect!

Do you want to work three to four hours a day? Not a problem!

Just remember to keep your word to your customers and guarantee you meet all deadlines.

· Unlimited earnings

Traditional employment offers the security of a fixed salary. Regardless of how much you work, you’ll always receive compensation.

However, in many companies, no matter how much effort you put in, at the end of the month, your salary will be the same. Off course, there’s always a chance for a promotion or getting paid for those extra hours. Yet, you’ll always depend on someone else to notice your performance.

With a freelance writing career, your earnings are potentially illimited. The more you work, the more you earn. This is one of the first benefits any independent freelancer will give you. Although it’s all true, it won’t happen overnight.

While you’re building a reputation and your online presence, you set your rates and choose the project you want to work on. Yet your success will always depend on how much your freelance clients are willing to pay.

· Choosing your clients

In most employment contracts, you’re told what to do and how to do it. Even if you have a different opinion or are more skilled at working on a different task.

In freelance writing jobs, no two days are the same. This means you will work with different clients and on different projects at a time. This will force you out of your comfort zone and face a new challenge every time you accept a new project.

As a result, there will come a day when you’ll be able to choose the projects you want to work on. You may choose the ones paying the highest sums or the most challenging ones. In the end, the decision is yours!

· Always learning something new

This is what I enjoy the most in the freelance writing business. Although I specialized in hospitality and organizational psychology, as a freelance writer, I’ve had the opportunity to explore other areas.

Throughout your freelance career, you’ll have to adjust and research if you want to provide what your clients need. This intellectual challenge means you’ll have to be curious and open-minded. And, of course, enjoy learning new stuff every day.

The Cons

So far, so good, right?

After what you just read, I’m sure you’re excited about freelance lifestyle. Now, let’s pause for a moment… I’m about to show you the disadvantages of freelancing.

· Irregular work

When you follow this career path, it means your workload will vary over time. Some days you’ll be overwhelmed, while others, you’ll be desperate to find your next gig. Even though this is normal in freelancing, it is definitely a challenge in freelance work.

This is especially true if for novice freelancers. No one knows your work and who you are, and you lack a consistent client database. So, you have to put in extra effort to find your next client. The good news is it will get better. Until then, your primary job will be marketing your services.

Solution: Apply to gigs on job boards, explore freelance platforms andcontent mills, or contact potential clients directly. Also, build a portfolio or start a blog. Blog writing it’s a great way to show off your skills and expertise.

· Inconsistent income

This is a major drawback when it comes to freelancing. Although you may earn more than in a 9-to-5 working day, it is also true the amount you earn won’t be the same each month. Short-term projects, irregular work and late payments will highly impact your income. Also, there are no sick days off, parental leave or health insurance. You’ll be responsible for all expenses.

Freelance writing's irregular income pushes away many writers willing to write full-time.
Freelance writing’s irregular income pushes away many writers willing to write full-time. Photo Credit: Freepik.

Solution: Build an emergency fund. Having some money aside is the best way to deal with the irregular income that freelancing provides, especially when you’re beginning. Experts on personal finances advise you to save up to 6 months’ worth of expenses. So, if you don’t have any spare money, analyse your spending habits and check how much money to need before exploring the freelance world.

· Full responsibility

When you’re a freelancer, you’re so much more than that. You’re a business owner, accountant, marketer, customer support… The list goes on!

Starting a freelance writing business means you have to learn how to run a business. This includes managing time effectively, doing your taxes, keeping close contact with your current clients, and marketing yourself to find your next project. And, of course, you’re also responsible for every expense you have, from software licenses to IT hardware and electricity and other utilities.

Solution: Before starting your freelance writing business, confirm with the tax authorities what you need to become a professional freelancer and what taxes you will need to pay.

If you don’t know how you can market your services, consider attending a digital marketing course. This will help you find your first clients and how to keep them.

To manage time effectively, consider writing in the quietest area in the house and unplugging all social media and unnecessary devices. It will help you focus on your craft.

· No employee benefits

Besides a fixed salary at the end of the month, traditional jobs usually include other perks, such as sick days off, parental leave, paid vacation, health insurance and so on. Working as a freelancer means you’ll have to secure these benefits yourself. As a result, you should always consider these expenses when setting rates.

Solution: Find out the best options to enjoy employee benefits. Talk to your bank manager about retirement plans or with your insurance company regarding affordable health insurance. There are plenty of options. All you need is to find out which suits your needs.

· Isolation

Some may argue this comes as a benefit. Others may see it as a drawback. In my opinion, we’re social beings. Although we may wish to work far from anyone, there will come a day when you’ll miss having someone to vent your frustrations or celebrate your achievements.

Freelance writing can feel lonely from time to time. Most days, the only human contact you’ll have are your clients. Do you think you’re a good fit for freelance writing?

Solution: Work outside the house. Working at a coffee shop or a shared co-working space will help you avoid feeling lonely.

Is freelance writing the right career for you?

The incredible tales of digital nomads who make a living writing often lack honesty.

Although they might tell you how great it is to work anywhere in the world and as much as you want, they often forget to tell you how hard you must work to build a career in freelance writing.

Hopefully, this article will help you decide if freelance writing is something you want to pursue full-time.