Freelance vs. Corporate

Matthew Jordan, a freelance designer, explores the benefits of being a lone freelancer. Though I’m a freelance writer rather than a designer, both share many things in common. I started writing on the side as a part-time gig while holding a corporate job for the benefits and security.

I made the move to full-time freelancing when my husband settled in a job with better health benefits AND my freelance plate was full enough. Obviously, I have the benefit of being married — so I didn’t have to worry about health benefits as long as my husband had a solid job with such benefits.

Those wanting to go freelance should pay attention to the following key sentence, which happened in my case: “My best recommendation is to get involved in freelancing while you’ve still got the comfort of your full-time job. Now, for many people, this causes a conflict of interest with the current company, so be sure you aren’t violating any corporate rules by moonlighting.”

The Downside of Freelancing

  • No health benefits (although some freelancers find a deal — but I have kids and it would be pricey)
  • No paid holidays or vacation (This one is also a benefit. Taking vacation makes it tricky to one without guilt, but that may just be me. I know plenty who have no trouble taking regular vacations.)
  • No supplied supplies and support (software, hardware, PC, more powerful printer, etc.)
  • Do your own marketing to get clients. This was a bigger concern for me as I can’t make phone calls in the same way the average person does.
  • Do your own books/accounting (better to do it yourself to protect yourself and not be robbed blind — or at least stay on top of what comes in and what goes out). I’m not implying that you shouldn’t hire an accountant — in fact, experts recommend it — the key thing is to take steps to ensure no one steals from you.
  • No team to bounce ideas (unless you work with a project team that makes it possible — for example, I’m a newsletter editor for InternetVIZ — we’re all freelancers around the country and we make up a team). But someone I know hates her job because of this same issue and she works for a corporation.
  • You get paid whether it’s a slow day or not. In freelancing — most cases — you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

The Upside of the Freelance Life

  • Flexibility in terms of hours and location, and holidays (My holidays don’t match the traditional holidays, so I don’t have to deal with asking the boss for those off) and I’m available for contractors needing to do something in my house. This benefit is a biggie, especially as a mom.
  • Work in PJs or whatever.
  • Variety of assignments and clients. I bore easily doing one thing.
  • Lack of politics, red tape, and bad management. Sure I have to deal with politics from a client perspective, but still a far cry from the kind of politics in a corporate setting. If I don’t like a client or prospect — I can get out of the work. If you’ve got a bad boss… (like someone I know) you’re stuck unless you can switch jobs.
  • When I don’t feel well, I can easily lie down and even work in bed with a laptop.
  • Exercise anytime and not worry about getting dressed again for work.
    I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things. I’ll add them if they come to mind. Feel free to chime in with your experiences.

8 thoughts on “Freelance vs. Corporate”

  1. I believe teaming is also possible in freelancing if you outsource some of your tasks. In writing that’s tricky, but not impossible (you can outsource research etc)

    Reply
  2. Hey Meryl

    what about income
    *How much do u earn in comparison to a corporate worker.
    *How much of a variation do you face in your income on an average and min ,max variation .
    * How many hours a day do you work.
    *and how many days a week do you have to work.

    Reply

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