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Confessions of a Professional Blogger

5 Pros and 5 Cons of Running a Freelance Business

One of the interesting questions I was asked at FinCon was what I disliked about freelance writing. It made me think.

To some of the people I talked to at FinCon this year, I might have come across as whiny. And, indeed, my closest blogging friends know that sometimes I have a few complaints about my freelance business.

Overall, I really enjoy writing and I enjoy freelancing. However, one of the first questions I was asked at FinCon (after I had time to catch my breath following the Plutus Awards rehearsal) was this:

What do you dislike most about freelancing?

This question sparked my thinking through the rest of the conference. What do I dislike about freelancing? Some of the bloggers out there, like Carrie from Careful Cents, probably got a bigger blast of some of the negativity than I had intended. In order to combat that negativity, I began thinking of what I like about freelancing as well.

5 Pros of Owning a Freelance Business

First of all, I want to encourage a positive mindset, so I’ll start with the things I like about my freelance business:

  1. Set My Own Hours: For the most part, I set my own hours. I work when I want, and I can choose what days I work. Sometimes, I even work a couple hours on Saturday because I’ve begun developing the habit of being done by lunchtime. I’d rather work on Saturday for a little bit than in the afternoon during the week. It’s about flexibility, and doing what I want.
  2. Location Independent: It doesn’t matter where I live, I can write and make money. If my husband lands a full-time professor gig in another state, I don’t have to worry about leaving my job and finding new employment. I’m set.
  3. Choose How Much I Earn: I choose how much money I make. I set my own rates. But it’s about more than just setting my rates. I also decide how much work I want. If I want more money, I do more work. If I don’t care about making more money, I send jobs elsewhere. It’s very flexible, allowing me to experience a little more financial freedom than many have access to.
  4. Available for MyFamily: My freelancing schedule allows me to help at my son’s school, be here when he gets home, and engage in a number of great activities. I can also have lunch with my husband when he wants to go out, and we can go on family outings whenever. My work allows me to be there for my family.
  5. I Love to Write: Ever since I was a little girl, I have enjoyed writing. I love to write. So freelancing allows me to make money doing what I love every single day. I am blessed to be one of those people who can follow a passion and receive good compensation for it.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time.

5 Cons of Owning a Freelance Business

On the other hand, there are some downsides to having a freelance business.

  1. Am I Really My Own Boss?: Freelancers like to say that they’re self-employed, but sometimes it doesn’t really feel like it. While I say I’m my own boss, sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes, it feels like my clients are my boss, or that I’m a slave to deadlines. There are times when I’m just frazzled, and I feel like I have a dozen bosses, and I just want it to quit.
  2. Stale Topics: Want to know the worst thing about tax season? It’s not paying the taxes. It’s writing several articles about the same thing. As a freelance staff writer there are times when I write about the same topic multiple times for several blogs. While the infinite variety of the English language helps, it still gets old sometimes.
  3. It’s Hard to Raise My Rates: While I can set higher rates for new clients, it can be hard to raise rates on existing clients. And sometimes I just feel like I’m not paid enough. Especially when I talk to other freelancers and find out what their rates are. Honestly, I had a couple of embarrassing conversations with other freelancers that involved them saying, “Really? You’re working for that little?” I like my clients, and what I do, but sometimes there’s that discontent.
  4. What Happens When You Say No?: Another fear is turning down work. As a freelancer, you never know when a major client will drop you, or where you will find the next gig when a project ends. As a result, it’s hard to say no — even when you feel overwhelmed.
  5. Sometimes I’m Just Not Motivated: When you’re a freelancer, you’re responsible for your own success. As a result, you have to try to be motivated. When I’m not motivated, I flake out, and become less reliable. And that can be a problem. I feel bad, and my clients wonder what the hell happened. I have to power through the feelings sometimes, and that’s not always fun.

Do you have a freelance business, or want to start one? What do you think are the pros and cons of a freelance business?

Image sources: NotFromUtrect via Wikimedia Commons and DavidMartynHunt via Flickr

2 Responses to 5 Pros and 5 Cons of Running a Freelance Business

    • You really do need that discipline to stay on top of things sometimes. No calling in sick when you have your own business, or side venture.

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