What are Your Freelancing Pros and Cons?

For this week's short share, I have an infographic for freelancers. This one looks at some of the pros and cons of freelancing, and it was presented by GraphicDesignDegreeHub.com.

While this was published back in 2013, I'm curious if you see if your own freelance careers are reflected in the data. Which side do you fall on? Did you get into freelance writing because you wanted to? Or did you start freelancing because you had to for some reason? Do you see more pros or cons in your case?

What surprises me the most here is the salary information. This is the first time I've seen surveyed freelancers report income that high -- 75% reporting that they earn $65k per year or more. I suspect the data includes more designers and other technical freelancers given how different the data is from what I've seen reported solely about writers (not that $65k isn't achievable for most freelance writers).

Check out the rest of the data and the pros and cons mentioned. Then leave a comment and tell me what you think about it.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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4 thoughts on “What are Your Freelancing Pros and Cons?”

  1. I’m a freelancer by choice, although I’ll also admit to not working well for someone else in their offices… I chafe at unnecessary rules and hours etc.

    • … and meetings! I don’t know how people deal with constant meetings. I hear about my husband’s meeting schedule in his day job and my eyes glaze over at the mere thought of it. How do people in offices like that get any actual work done?

  2. I started freelancing as a “side gig,” but I chose to do it full-time by choice. Realistically, I don’t know if I’d be able to do it if I didn’t have my husband’s benefits (like health insurance) to back me up. I don’t think this infographic takes that into account. So while the average worker may make $46,800 per year, they get benefits on top of that. Freelancers may bring in $68,000 per year, but how much are they putting into things like retirement and health care that a normal worker would get on top of wage?

    That being said, I still love freelancing. I’m so happy doing it, and I think it fits my personality well.

    • That’s one of the big things that jumped out at me with the earnings reported here. On top of the numbers looking generally skewed, there’s the claim that freelancers earn more than “normal” workers with no accounting for the fact that the two salary types aren’t comparable. So great observation!

      I’ll repeat something here I’ve blogged about before, for those who haven’t seen the past posts.

      I’ve looked into the freelance vs employee salary discrepancy several times in recent years. And I always find the same thing. A freelancer has to tack on another 30-40% to truly earn as much as a full-time employee in a similar position. And that was based not just on my local area but also national numbers.

      You can figure it out for your own local area (if that matters to you) by using a site like Salary.com to look at not just the salary of an employee in a comparable position, but that employee’s total COST to their employer.

      That includes typical bonuses, the employer’s portion of taxes, vacation time, personal days, sick time, health insurance, retirement savings contributions from the employer, etc. An employee’s take-home salary isn’t representative of what they actually earn.

      As a freelancer we’re both the employer and the employee, and therefore we have to account for those things if we want to claim anything else is equal. So, for example, if an employee typically earns $50k in their job and you want to earn the same with all other things equal, you need to earn 30-40% more than that as a freelancer, which comes to $65-70k. It’s a big difference. But don’t just take those numbers and run with them. Make sure you look at the closest job title and experience level to your own, and if you work mostly with local clients, check the numbers specifically for your area too.


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