“The grass is always greener on the other side.”
This time-honored adage sits correct in this debate of Full-Time Job vs. Freelancing.
Full-time employees often think about the freedom freelance work offers, and freelancers always yearn for the stability of a corporate job.
However, in the end, it’s all about your own priorities.
You need to weigh your pros and cons judiciously to decide the path for your career. So, if you are standing at a crossroad where you have the luxury to pick either a full-time job or a freelance career, then keep on reading. We will help you gain some better clarity to make a more informed decision.
1. Job Stability
According to a survey conducted by PayPal, over 92 percent of Filipino freelancers feel that job stability is a significant concern.
And that’s a common concern in the freelance community.
This is one of the biggest worries because freelancers are under the constant pressure of finding new clients and work before their ongoing gig is over.
Apart from that, freelancers need to diversify their income streams by working for at least two or more projects at the same time to cut down the risk. In short, you always need to keep on developing and maintaining professional relationships to keep a steady stream of income.
Unlike freelancing, a corporate job makes you work under a set-system. You are not necessarily worried about winning clients until and unless you are in sales. Your flow of work stays pretty predictable, and you are expected to meet your daily KRAs (Key Result Area) in return for a fixed salary.
Despite the factors mentioned above, the gig economy is booming big time. As per the Harvard Business Review, freelancers have grown by over 3.7 million in the last five years in the USA. More than 1 in 3 professionals are willing to take the risk of job stability to do stuff of their choice and that too, on their terms.
If you have the risk appetite, you are welcome in the freelancing world. Otherwise, the corporate job is not that bad either.
Freelancing is not always associated with fat paychecks. If you have recently started or planning to start, then it might take some time to make the right contacts and find well-paying clients. The pay-structure also varies according to the industry. For instance, if you are a Digital marketing consultant, then you definitely have a better chance at scaling up your freelance pay-grade than say, a freelance virtual assistant.
Moreover, there is no definite timeline. You could be waiting for weeks or months before bagging your dream client.
Aside, the constant flow of timely payments also depends a lot on clients. Some clients are finicky about payments. Delayed payment, non-payment, and low bids are some of the problems every budding freelancer faces. A recent survey also published that over 58 percent do not even get paid for their work.
A full-time job will always pay your salary on time whether you have achieved your target or not.
If you are just getting started with your freelance career, then make sure to take your payments through freelance websites like UpWork. These websites safeguard the interests of both clients and freelancers for more transparent transactions. After only you know the client well, you can proceed without an intermediary.
9 to 5 jobs are arguably dull. You are expected to reach the same place and work on the same desk for 40 hours a week. In some offices, you are not even allowed to step out of the office during work hours for compliance purposes. Full-time workers wait for holidays to take a break from work and catch up on a short trip.
Freelance work, on the other hand, allows you to deliver from a couch in your pajamas or from a beautiful, quaint café. For instance, a writer could be traveling to a different country for weeks and can still deliver his work on time. That also means that you can work during holidays or make your job a holiday. If your work only requires a laptop and an internet connection, then freelance gigs can help you travel places without hampering your work.
However, now there are also several big corporations which offer work from home and other flexible options as a part of a full-time job. So, you can look for such tasks as well, especially if you want a stable job.
A regular full-time job helps you stay motivated during work hours because it provides a more regulated work culture. You also don’t have many options apart from taking a coffee break during work hours.
But the freedom of freelance work is a double-edged sword. Many freelancers complain about lack of motivation or concentration after some time. It usually happens due to lack of regulation and less accountability. Most of the times, you are distracted with the luxury of watching videos or procrastinating doing nothing. Also, you end up taking a lot more holidays, which eventually hampers earnings and costs clients.
Go for the freelancing path only when you believe you are highly motivated and can self-regulate your work efficiently.
The idea of a full-time 9 to 5 job might sound boring, but it comes with plenty of additional benefits. Some job positions offer free or subsidized health insurance. And almost all of them provide a full salary when you are on leaves or are not at your productive best. Life is pretty secured financially.
Freelancers need to hedge their every risk by themselves. There is no extra assistance from your client. You are usually paid by the number of hours or days you dedicate to a particular project. There are no paid sick leave or personal leave of absence. You will have to manage sans any full-time employee benefits. However, if you work hard to build up your freelance career, then you can make up for it easily.
Summing it all up
Above mentioned points broadly cover the positives and negatives of both career options objectively. However, career choice depends on several other factors, including family circumstances, risk-taking appetite, your personality, aspirations, and more.
If you want to build a business out of your profession or want to work independently, then freelancing could be the first step to test the waters. But if you feel more comfortable under a predictable environment with the constant inflow of cash, then there is nothing better than a full-time job.