Is Freelancing for You?
- Friday February 14th, 2014
There has been much discussion over the last decade about the changing nature of work. For most people finding a job they will stay with for life is a faint hope at best. Our world is changing too rapidly, and sometimes in unpredictable ways, to be able to count on long term employment.
All we need to do is look at the loss of jobs in the entire newspaper industry or the impact of ATM machines on bank employees to see examples of how technology has made jobs once considered secure obsolete. Even jobs in education that used to be considered fairly secure are no longer that safe haven they used to be. Academic jobs and university employment in general are also subject to the same changing landscape.
In fact, in the future, employees will be required to reinvent themselves not once but a number of times over the course of a lifetime.
What that means for all employees is staying abreast of trends, and not being taken by surprise if they are working in a dying industry. Yet, it is not always apparent when a industry is incubating a potential demise due to the complexity of factors involving technology, society, globalization, etc.
One avenue many people have taken through the recent economic slowdown, and continue to take is to create their own jobs.
This could be anything from setting up a small business and initially working it from your basement while it grows, to becoming a freelancer on the internet.
There are many online sites now, that provide a forum for employers to post jobs in a wide variety of categories from computer skills, to graphic design, to administrative tasks to writing and translating. These jobs are usually project based not ongoing.. Universities tend to have their own share of part-time, temporary and contract work that are typically grant funded and require non-permanent specialists.
If you chose the route of freelancing your skills what are the advantages?
- You get to set your own hours. You can work when it’s convenient for you. You can work in the middle of the night if you want or after the kids are asleep.
- You can choose who you want to work with. Don’t like the sound of an online employer, then don’t work with them. Many of these jobs sites allow you to see other freelancers experience with the employer so you can determine what they are like to work with before committing.
- You can choose your own time off. If you want to work 7 days a week for a while and then take a week off, you can do that, because online jobs are available 24/7.
- You are drawing on global employers not just the companies in your area.
- You save money on transportation, clothing and lunches and coffee out.
What are the disadvantages of being a freelancer?
- It can be isolating. Working alone at home for a virtual client can be lonely. If you are the type of person who needs frequent social contact you would be best to look for a job at a company because working online will not give you that.
- You can become distracted working at home. Your family may interrupt you because you are available. You may avoid work by seeing something “important that needs to be done right then.
- You are always seeking new work. Because most freelance work is for one project at a time you will need to be constantly putting in proposals for work. However, many freelancers do aim for repeat customers which decreases the need to constantly find new contracts.
Being a freelancer is not for everyone; however it has tremendous advantages if you require the kind of flexible schedule you just can’t get in a 9 to 5 job.
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