I work part time for a property company, and have been there for 9 years. It’s not a bad job, I enjoy the work, and most days I don’t particularly mind going into the office. However it’s working and making money for someone else’s benefit.
Like most working mums find, working and having kids is so difficult to juggle, and I’m increasingly thinking about just going it alone and freelancing. I do a bit of freelance work at the moment and it’s great, but doing a bit in your ‘spare time’ is very different to only doing freelance work.
I am quite a sensible and cautious person, and tend to be ruled by my head (although sometimes I do wish that this wasn’t the case!) so I’ve been making a mental list of the pros and cons of freelancing before I make my decision.
I thought this list might be helpful to other mums in the same situation, so here are my thoughts so far…
The Pros of Freelancing
- You can be your own boss – This is what most people want right? No one to answer to and no one to tell you what to do. You don’t have to ask if you can go on lunch, or take a day off, or leave early.
- You can choose your own work – Sometimes when working for someone else you can find yourself not particularly interested in a job, especially if you’ve been there for a while. As a freelancer you can pick the projects and clients that interest you.
- Setting your own hours – If you want to work half days, or take Mondays off you can when you’re a freelancer. If you’d rather do more work in the evening than during the day then that’s up to you.
- Freedom to attend school events – You won’t have to beg your boss for an hour off every time the school have an assembly or sports day, or promise to forgo lunch breaks for the next week to make up the time.
- Earning more money – Usually you can charge a much higher hourly rate for freelance work than you will get paid by an employer. Plus every penny you earn goes in your own pocket, not someone else’s.
- No office politics – Working in a big office, this is something that I would love to avoid! No bitching, or departments blaming each other. No arguing over who parked in who’s space, or who didn’t replace the milk.
The Cons Of Freelancing
- Chasing money – I’ve been lucky so far and most of my freelance clients pay on time, but I know people who have to chase for payment of their invoices every month which I can imagine is a bit stressful when you have bills to pay!
- Finding work – One of the biggest things that worries me about being a full time freelancer is finding enough work. You have to be very pro-active as a freelancer, pitch yourself to get clients, and I currently spend a lot of time on sites like People Per Hour and Freelancer. If you lose a client you have to be confident that you can find a replacement.
- No one to bounce ideas off – When you’re working by yourself you don’t have your colleagues to run your ideas past, brainstorm with, or ask questions.
- No one to motivate you – Will I be motivated enough to get on with my work when I can just sit on the sofa and watch daytime TV instead? And what about when the sun’s shining and I could just head down the beach…
- Accounting and taxes – Unless you can afford to hire an accountant you need to be able to keep on top of invoicing, admin and paying tax bills, as well as getting your freelance work done. This is something you probably won’t have ever had to do in your day job.
- Loss of benefits – If you have good benefits at work such as healthcare, insurance or pensions then you have to consider whether you are prepared to give up these extras or pay for them yourself.
So as you can see, there’s quite a bit to think about! Have you left a permanent job to go freelance? If so, I’d love to hear how you have found it compares! What would be on your pros and cons of freelancing list?