When people talk about the benefits of working for themselves, they usually mention the flexibility, the variety of work, setting their own hours and being their own boss. But the perks of a freelance career don’t end there.
You can wear what you like
Unless you’re attending a high-profile meeting or are expecting a video conference call, you can wear what you like—saving you the aggravation and cost of buying work clothes that you may not be happy to be seen dead in anywhere else.
Jeans, a hoodie, a giant fluffy jumper or even pyjamas: you can wear them all when you work for yourself.
Office politics and unpleasant colleagues are a thing of the past
Unless you’ve led a charmed life, in some or all of your jobs you will have had an unpleasant colleague or two (more, if you’re unlucky), an unreasonable boss, a line manager who hates you, or stressful office politics. Cliques, bitching, undermining, slacking, scapegoating—your life is happier for being free of them!
Of course, you will have the odd difficult client; you can’t completely shut yourself off from the world if you want to work and there will always be people to deal with, not all of them communicative, reasonable or pleasant. But generally, working relationships are far easier for freelancers.
Secret Santa. Endless collections, cards to be signed and dinners to be attended for people’s birthdays, engagements, weddings, baby arrivals, special anniversaries, graduations, leaving dos and retirements.
You don’t have to be a stone-cold narcissist to find the constant pressure and cost a burden. Being part of a large team can be an expensive and time-consuming business and while it’s true that you will be receiving the attention and gifts too, it’s also true that these obligations often result in gifts that people don’t want, financial pressure on lower-paid workers and stress caused by trying to find the perfect Secret Santa gift for Steve in marketing. Which one even is he, anyway? The one who wears his scarf all day or the guy with the big glasses?
I can see you pulling back from the screen now, frowning, wondering whether I’ve lost my marbles. Surely a lack of job security is always in the top three downsides of being a freelancer? How can it be a benefit?
It’s true that when you freelance, long-term contracts and regular work can be hard (but not impossible) to find, and that it’s down to you to find that next job and next client. But how secure is your job when you work for one company? During his career, my husband has worked for both one of the richest financial companies in the world and a major online retailer – and was made redundant by both.
When you’re employed, your job is only as secure as the financial position of your company and the company-structuring ideas of the management. Reorganisation, liquidation, relocation and closing of branches can all see you out of work quicker than you can say ‘employment’.
A sensible freelancer will do their best to have multiple income streams and clients, so if one is lost, it’s not the end of the world or their income. In a way, you are in charge of your own job security, and less vulnerable than employees to the whims and success of others.
Can you think of any other perks of freelancing that are often missed? Please share your thoughts below.