Freelancing Vs. Full-Time Employment: An Objective Take
2020 has made us rethink a work culture that had otherwise been largely unchanged for the past decade or so. It has forced us to look beyond the paradigms of what we have come to accept as normal over the years. For most people, the natural thing to do every day, at least five times a week, is to get up in the morning and face that often-dreaded commute to work. Along came the Covid-19 pandemic and confined us to our homes. Sadly, it also brought in its wake a shaky and highly unstable business environment and the consequent downsizing and lay-offs.
More and more businesses are now hiring freelancers. At the same time, more and more people are also embracing freelancing for various reasons. It has been a win-win situation for both. Businesses have been able to realize significant financial savings and have also been able to contain their risk by working with independent contractors. People, on the other hand, have turned to freelancing to see them through the loss of employment owing to the pandemic or simply create an additional source of income in a trying economy. Some enjoy the flexibility it brings with it. Many people also look at freelancing as a great way to stay safe from the Covid-19 virus by working within the confines of their homes. However, should you consider hiring more freelancers? Should you consider leaving your day job to become a full-time freelancer? It’s a personal choice, really.
Taking the freelance route comes with its fair share of pros and cons- for both employers and employees. Let’s discuss some of the broader points of what freelancing could entail for both parties. Here’s what comes with the territory for employees:
- Enjoy Complete Freedom– Decide who you want to work with. Decide what kind of work you want to do. Work three hours a day. Work fifteen hours a day. Fix your own work schedule. Maybe even squeeze in an afternoon siesta in the middle of a workday. You get the drift?
- Limitless Earning Potential- Take on as much or as little as you can to meet your financial goals. No fixed salary payments. No annual increments. You can earn as much as you like depending on how much work you can handle. The sky is the limit!
- Mobility- Work from your home. Work from a beach. Skip bearing hours of commute in rush hour traffic. Set up your office anywhere you like.
- Isolation- Freelancing does not just mean no more bosses. It also means no more fellow co-workers. Freelancers often complain about how isolated it can get working from home and not having much of an opportunity to meet and interact with people on a daily basis.
- Erratic Cash Flow- While freelancing offers limitless earning potential, it also comes with its fair share of uncertainty. Delayed or worse, defaulted payments are part and parcel of the job. Work may not always come your way as easily. You must be prepared to go for weeks or even months without work.
Now, let’s talk about what hiring freelancers could bring to the table for employers-
- Richer Expertise- Freelancers are usually people who have taken years to master a skill- something you may not necessarily get with a full-time employee. They work with multiple clients which exposes them to the latest trends and technology in the market and are better positioned to cater to varied project requirements. You can cast your net far and wide and find people with the skills you need from any part of the world instead of restricting your search to a smaller territory.
- Lower Costs- You get what you pay for! No additional overheads, benefits and other such liabilities. You are only obligated to pay them for their services as and when you need them.
- Communication Issues- More often than not, freelancers are not located in the same city, or even country, like you. This may make them unavailable to you at times resulting in a delay in communications.
- Lack of Accountability and Ownership – Nobody can guarantee that freelancers will be available to you exactly when you need them. Also, you may not be able to monitor freelancers as often as you would your full-time employees.
There are many more points that can be added to both these lists. However, as you can see, in both cases, more or less, there are as many challenges as there are rewards when you choose to freelance or hire freelancers. It all boils down to personal choices, circumstances and the nature of the business.
What do you think? Have you been hiring more freelancers recently? Have you been freelancing full-time or part-time? Do you have a perspective to share? We’d love to know your experience!