Congratulations, you’ve decided to join the freelance economy. You’re taking your first step into joining the 53+ million Americans (and millions more worldwide) who have chosen to eschew traditional work, take control of your professional direction, and forge a new path into the world of freelance.
This decision should not be taken lightly. There is a lot of hard work ahead of you and many ups and downs. However, if you play your cards right, you may find yourself in a much better position both personally and professionally within 12 months.
There are downsides to any major life decision, and joining the ranks of the freelancers is no different. However, we’ll save the bad news for another day and focus instead on the positive. Here are the top 5 benefits of joining the freelance economy.
Personal and Professional Freedom
Congratulations, you are your own boss now. You alone will decide what projects you work on, what your rates are, and how much or how little work you’re going to do today. It requires a certain amount of organization, time management, and personal accountability; however, nothing beats having the freedom to work and earn on your own terms.
Kiss The Commute Goodbye
Unless you plan on working from somewhere other than a home office (i.e. the kitchen table), you can wave goodbye to long commutes, traffic, tolls, and all the other delightful trappings of the normal workday commute. The freelance economy frequently turns on the stay-at-home worker. You’l save on time, tolls, and gas.
Then again, you may choose to spend your workday at the park, or in that delightful coffee shop down the street. The choice is yours. Bottom line: you’ve kicked the cubicle.
Better Work / Life Balance
While this also falls under the personal and professional freedom category, it can not be overstated how freeing and empowering it can be to have control of your work / life balance. No more late nights at the office or grinding out morning meetings you’d rather not be in anyway.
Again, you need to be able to set and manage a schedule. Remember, this is still a job. However, you can more easily make time for exercise, family vacations, birthdays, relationships, and more. One of the greatest benefits of joining the freelance economy is setting your own hours and working at a time and pace that works best for you.
Do the kids need to be driven to school in the morning? Now you can be there instead of stuck in a car yourself on the way to work. Dance recital at 4pm? You’re no longer stuck at the office. Wedding to go to this Saturday? Now there’s no excuse to miss it because you have to go into the office this weekend.
Okay, maybe that last one isn’t so great.
We Have a Union
Believe it or not, there IS a freelancers union with 350,000+ members and going strong. For reference purposes, the freelancers union has more than twice the membership of the American Nurses Association (152,294) and slightly fewer than the International Union of Operating Engineers (392,584).
In addition to political advocacy, the freelancers union provides membership benefits such as discounted rates on everything from health insurance and gym memberships to accounting software and rental cars.
You’ll Earn More Money
One of the biggest perks of the freelance economy is this: you’ll earn more. When you have the freedom to directly impact your earnings by choosing what you charge and how often you work; you benefit. Not only is this great in theory, but the numbers back it up.
“….Among respondents, 46% raised rates in the past year. Among those who quit a traditional job to freelance, more than half are earning more than they did getting a steady paycheck. And, perhaps reflecting their improved financial situations, 53% of freelancers believe that having a diverse portfolio of clients is more economically secure than having one employer.”
“….78 percent of freelancers say that within a year they earned more than they did in a traditional job. Writers on average get $58 to $82 per blog post written. Programmers on average get $63 to $180 per hour range. Most report that it’s more than they were making 12 months ago.”
Bottom line: you control your income. If you want to earn more, you can.
What Do You Have To Lose?
There are numerous benefits to joining the freelance economy and the above list is only a small taste of the world waiting for you. Are there drawbacks and downsides? Absolutely there are, and well cover them in another article. However, to tease the lead: if you have the skill, the ambition, and the drive, the benefits far outweigh the downsides.