While a lot of employees yearn to be their own boss and to work to their own schedule, many freelancers envy the stability and security of a full-time salaried employee.
The grass may look greener on the other side of the creek for both, but when it comes to deciding what is best for you, you will have to consider your priorities and circumstances. Both fields have their own pros and cons, and what is right for you solely depends on how you want to work.
In this article, we are going to compare freelancing with full-time employment in different areas to help you make a better choice.
Stability vs Flexibility
Full-time employees have the security of an employment contract, a predictable working schedule, and a predictable income, that helps them to plan for the future by budgeting.
Freelancers will not get paid for a single day that they don’t work and often there will be no guarantee of next week’s or next day’s work. Their income keeps fluctuating unpredictably. But they do have the freedom to work whenever and wherever they like at their comfort – at night, in bed or a cafe. They determine the hours they work. They can also offer services to multiple businesses simultaneously and earn more if they can meet the agreed deadlines.
Benefits vs Struggle
Here come a few of the big advantages of full-time employees. They can access benefits like health insurance, paid vacations, sick leaves, parental leave, PF and a retirement scheme. Companies also often organize training that helps you to develop your skills for free.
Freelancers are on their own. They arrange their own health insurance, do not get any kind of paid leaves while taking time off, and must plan for their retirement themselves. Training also is their own responsibility.
Security vs instability
Full-time employees are more secure than freelancers as they get a regular paycheck each month that they can rely on. Even if you get fired, you will receive a notice a few months earlier or will be provided with some compensation.
Freelancing work can be unstable. It could also be like “feast and famine,” where one month you will have lots of work and the next month you struggle to get a single assignment. This very thing makes it hard to plan and manage financial affairs. They might also lose their regular clients in a moment’s notice. But also, they have multiple clients that they can rely on for income until replacements are found.
Control vs Freedom
Full-time employees have a boss who tells them what to do. Also, they must work within the rules of the organization that can be quite extensive. They have less control over their work and always must report to their senior.
Freelancers have total control. They can choose what to work on and what not on. How long to work and when not to. If an assignment doesn’t interest them, they are free to reject it. They do have a different boss for each assignment, who gives them instructions, but they can always opt out of it.
Full-time employees get a ready-made social network. Since they work with the same people every day, they are likely to become friends with most or at least few of them. Companies also organize social events and trips often for their employees.
Freelancers are often alone as they work from their personal space most of the time. Even if they work on-site for a company, they are there only temporarily and will leave soon. So it’s more difficult for them to make friends and form stronger bonds.
Whereas, full-time employment offers you much less time to spend with your family, friends and life partner due to regular office times. You might miss up on a lot given your strict work hours. But freelancers can always re-schedule their work for later and spend ample of time with their friends, family and life partner. They can always be there for the people who need their time.
Not every workplace has office politics, but in a lot of organizations, there will certainly be some sort of power or personality clashes to deal with.
Freelancers don’t have to deal with the office politics as they are not tied to a company. They have multiple bosses in various organizations, which usually helps in being detached from the office politics.
Working for a single company provides you motivation in very structured ways. At the end of each year, you get performance reviews that determine whether you will earn more next year, get a bonus, an incentive or promotion.
Freelancers must motivate themselves. They must find their own clients, do their own marketing, negotiate their own contracts, etc. They always should keep putting themselves out there and organize their own time to make sure that they stay on top of things.
What is best for you?
The answer lies in what is more important for you: security or freedom?
It totally depends on your personality. And now since you have seen both the sides of the choices, their goods, and bads, it entirely depends on your personality, your choices and what you want from your professional life. There is nothing like one path is better than the other. They are just different with their own pros and cons.
If you are highly self-motivated, like variety, like being your own boss, want to choose the projects you want to work on personally and if find the daily office life stressful, then freelancing is a better option for you.
Also remember, choosing either of them will not bind you with it forever. You can always move back and forth between freelancing and full-time employment if your preferences change with time.
Engage in some self-analysis, understand what you want from your career and decide which career path is perfect or at least right for you.