Freelancing Pros and ConsAre you considering leaving a secure corporate job to work without a net as a freelancer? This decision will have long-term impact on your personal and professional life, so consider it from every angle. To assist you, here are three important pros and cons to consider and weigh.

1. Freedom: This One Cuts Both Ways

Freedom Pro: You call your own shots, work when you want, work where you want, wear a three-piece suit in your home office or nothing at all.

Freedom Con: You waste time, lose clients by acting unreasonably, create horribly misguided strategic plans or dispense with them altogether.

Do you need the discipline and structure of a company to thrive, or do you get your best results pushing yourself and being a jack-of-all-trades?

2. Cash Flow: Living on the Edge

Having a steady paycheck is a blessing and a luxury many people don’t appreciate until it’s gone. As a freelancer, having no work means having no income. If you lose a client that represents 60 percent of your business, well, your home budget blows up. And no matter what happens on the income side, expenses keep rolling in, and there are a lot more of them than freelancers realize when they hang out the shingle, believe me.

Does this scenario scare you, or will financial pressure make you all the more effective and successful? Do you have an adequate financial cushion and/or other sources of income and/or the ability to obtain loans as your business ramps up?

3. External Factors: Autonomy Is Not Control

Assuming you have a freelancer mentality — ready, willing and able to work with unfettered freedom under the dark cloud of financial uncertainty — many factors beyond your control may determine whether freelancing is the route to go. So consider:

  • Supply and demand. Are there a lot of people who do what you do? Do you have a competitive edge or specialized skill that sets you apart from the crowd? Do you work in a niche that is underserved? In short, do you have a compelling value proposition?
  • A business base. Do you have a client or group of clients lined up to do business with you? Starting from scratch with no clients is extremely difficult, even if you have a strong competitive edge.
  • The economy. There are good times and bad times to take the freelancing plunge. A strong economy brings more freelancing opportunities and higher fees — but not necessarily higher expenses. On the other hand, a weak economy reduces freelancing opportunities and fees — but expenses may remain high or even go up if inflation (remember inflation?) kicks in.

Are You a Problem Solver?

This post asks more questions than it answers. If this bothers you, get used to it! As a freelancer you will experience the same thing every day, in spades: questions with no apparent answers and questions with scores of possible answers. If you enjoy grappling with problems, and thrive in a gray world without the black-and-white definition provided by a corporate entity, you have the makings of a successful freelancer.

Over to You

What freelancing pros and cons are you weighing, or did you weigh? What are the key things to consider?