I look through our output on NomadTalk to date and realize we often look at the downsides of remote work and freelance life; so today, we’re going to be all about the upside.
We’re going to see why people should go freelance and what the 24 best perks of being your own boss are, though we may have to look at the contrasting bits of those perks too. This is NomadTalk after all.
The 24 Best Perks Of Going Freelance
Oh yes! There are tons of really good things about going freelance. Let’s take a look at them now!
You Are Your Own Boss
This is definitely a perk. I haven’t worked for a boss in more than a decade now. This has, in turn, dramatically reduced my stress levels. Now, I work with clients and that means that while I do what they pay me to do – I don’t have to take any shit from them either, we’re equals. No more master-slave nonsense.
The downside of being your own boss is that the buck stops with you. When you succeed it’s all down to you but when you mess up? That’s on you too. You have to own your role if you want this to be a real perk.
Say Goodbye To Commuting
I hated commuting and I was quite lucky. In my last job a local taxi driver, who was a jolly nice chap, collected me at the front door of my compound in Saudi Arabia and drove me to work. It took about 40 minutes all told. Each-way.
That’s 80 minutes of my life each day wasted on being in a car looking at one of the world’s least attractive cities. (Sorry Riyadh, I have many good things to say about living in Saudi but as cities go – you’re not pretty).
Now, I get out of bed and work. Easy.
You Will Like Mondays
When you choose your working week, you can avoid all the things you used to hate about Monday morning. In fact, I know several freelancers who take Monday off just to thumb their nose at the conformity culture of the office.
Me? I never hated Mondays and I don’t really care which days I work. This is probably because most of my early jobs were based on shift work and I got used to working whenever.
You Can Save Money On Clothes
I haven’t owned a suit in over 10 years! It seems so weird to say that. I don’t mind wearing suits either and I can tie a mean Windsor knot. It’s just that it would be odd to wear one in my house while I work at home. So, I don’t.
Yes, freelancers don’t need to go broke buying work clothes. Life’s good to us like that.
You Can Save Money On Food Too
I make my lunches at home or I buy them from a store. It doesn’t matter, really. I’d spend $10 a day in Saudi buying lunch from one of the very few options nearby. This morning I spent 90 cents on a Banh Mi in Hanoi and it had pork in it. Yum.
If you can’t get your food costs down when working from home; you probably need to think about what you’re eating.
No More Office Politics
I’d skip all the other reasons on my list for this one. I hated office politics. I made it up the corporate ladder so fast that it was shocking. I started corporate life later than most, had no degree and still hit the top of my profession in my early 30s.
I just wasn’t prepared for all the mudslinging, backstabbing and senseless power plays. It made me miserable. I loved my job, I just hated the way my colleagues treated each other and me.
There’s no downside to this either. It’s all perk. No office politics. No stupid. Just me.
You’re Free To Digital Nomad
One of the key tests of freelance work according to tax authorities is that you must be able to work from where you choose and not where an “employer” (sorry “client”) says you should.
I’ve worked in more than 20 countries now. Lived in most of them too. Don’t work on a beach because that’s stupid but feel free to go wherever you want and work there.
But… word of warning: don’t let travel interfere with getting the job done or you’ll soon have no clients.
You Can Catch A Nap In The Working Day
I don’t know if it’s because I live in hot countries or because I am getting old but I like a siesta after lunch. Now, I can because I set my own schedule. Though, I note that in many Asian countries the staff just pass out on their desks at lunchtime – but back home this would have got me fired.
Don’t forget as a freelancer you’re paid for getting things done and rarely for hours put in.
You Don’t Need To Negotiate Small Things
Want to change the color scheme on your freelance website? Do it. You can always change it back. Fancy a new logo? Hit up Fiverr and get one made. Fancy a vacation? Don’t ask your boss, clear a space in your diary and make it happen.
The freedom to get things done without begging for permission over every last detail is a true blessing. Of course, you need to make sure that most of what you do is important and not frivolous but as long as you stick to that plan – you can make any changes you like, whenever you want to.
You Get Work-Life Balance
Well, sort of. First, you have to build your business but once you’ve done that – you can choose the hours you work and you don’t have to work 60, 70, or 80 hours a week. There’s no-one around to impress through your presenteeism.
Once you have clients who are paying a fair rate, you ought to be able to work 20-25 hours a week and still pay the bills and put some aside for a rainy day.
You Can Be As Productive As Possible
No colleagues sidling up to your desk to waste your day with stories of their children’s football team. No pointless meetings where people in suits play at being important without achieving anything of value. Just you and your work. This is why you ought to be able to out-earn and out-produce any employee – you’re distraction-free.
And yes, while some people miss the distractions of office life. It’s worth it.
You Can Train And Develop Yourself To Be What You Want
I remember the horrors of begging your boss to get them to send you on a training course which would benefit them and you but which cost money they didn’t want to spend. Getting employers to invest in training sucks.
Investing in yourself as a freelancer is great. You can choose what you want to do and how to do it AND if you make sensible choices, they will pay for themselves as you raise your rates. This is brilliant and lots of fun, too.
You Choose Your Clients
This is really important. They are clients, not employers. If you hate them. Fire them. If you’re unhappy. Fire them. If you’re bored. Guess what? Fire them. Life’s too short to waste it working for people that make you miserable. Just make sure your contract has an exit clause and then use it when you need to.
You Can Make More Cash
If you stop viewing yourself as an hourly rate commodity (some freelancers will argue this is essential, I will tell you that you will never earn $20,000 a month as a writer on an hourly rate – whereas you can easily make this if you charge for outputs) then the sky’s the limit on your earnings.
Learning to sell and market yourself may not sound much fun but it is the absolute determination of your future worth as a freelancer. If you fear selling yourself- you’re going to have a hard time of things.
You Can Choose Your Weekend
This sounds a little odd but it’s not. Saturday and Sunday are great weekend days for young families when everyone’s off together but if you’re, like us, an adult couple without offspring – a mid-week weekend makes more sense.
When the little blighters are in school, cinemas, zoos, public parks, etc. are emptier and much more fun to visit. Set your free time for when it works best for you. You’re not bound to work Tuesday and Wednesday – just make sure your clients are aware of this before you implement it.
Your Money Is Your Money
In my old life as a corporate trainer, one of my employers billed out my services for one year at a rate of over £1 million. I didn’t get £1 million. In fact, I didn’t get £50,000 even though it was nearly all profit for them.
Now, if I earn £1 million for my company – I will get £1 million. Which is much better, right?
You Have More Learning Opportunities
The variety of work you do as a freelancer means that there are plenty of new and natural opportunities to learn on the job. The time your former colleagues are wasting in meetings is time that you will be working in – you ought to grow faster and in many more ways when you work for yourself.
You Can Have Fun At Work
Now, not every office is a soul-sucking place of crap but many of them are. When I work at home, I can listen to music, sing along, I can listen to audiobooks, and I can do the jobs that I enjoy. Yes, it’s fun and that’s a very important thing to me as a freelancer and I give myself permission to have fun every day.
You Can Choose Your Own Job Title
It’s a small thing but it’s nice to be able to choose who you want to be. My own business cards just have my name on them – it’s easier that way for me but if you want to be CEO, Managing Director, Lead Designer, Head of Creative Services, etc. you can be. This is your business, be who you want to be. It’s an awesome feeling.
You Will Grow In Confidence
It’s fair to say you’ll take a few knocks as you pursue a life as a freelancer but each bump in the road contributes to your development and it makes you a better businessperson and freelancer. In the long run, this will make you more confident than your peers.
You Are Entitled To Professional Pride
Most people don’t want to freelance. They’re scared of stepping out from under the umbrella of an employer’s beneficence (even it’s somewhat one-sided care for most employees) and striking out on their own. Running your own business is a big deal and it’s fine to be proud of that and to be proud of what you do. I like teaching people things; it’s why I do what I do. I’m proud of that.
You Have More Free Time
Look at all the places in your working day where you can save time as an employee – if you were just free to do so. When you freelance, you are free to do so. The more time you recover from a working day, the more time is yours to spend as you like. In many ways, that time is much better than money.
You Can Take The Longest Vacations
You can combine work with vacations, in fact, to some extent that’s what a digital nomad does. Instead of taking a month off, go somewhere cheap and work half of the time and enjoy the other half as you see fit. Turn your month off into 3 months on vacation. Then smile knowing that you’ve earned it.
It’s fair to say that going freelance brings plenty of benefits. 24 of them off the top of our heads and probably many more. That’s not to say that it’s the right choice for everyone but if it’s the right choice for you – there’s a lot to look forward to.