Freelancing is one of the most rewarding things you could ever do. It brings a huge amount of freedom, independence and control over your own destiny. It's also incredibly challenging. But nothing beats running your own business.
If you're thinking about going freelance but something's holding you back, read these 20 great reasons to go freelance (and to encourage you to keep going) and you'll be wondering what's stopping you. If you're already a freelancer and you've forgotten why you went freelance in the first place, this list is also for you...
1. You're your own boss
That's right! No one is the boss of you anymore. No more appraisals. No more getting told off for being late. No more working for control freaks, strange managers or directors. You are in control of your working life and no one else.
2. No more Monday mornings
Monday mornings... aren't they a pain! Well, not if you're freelancing. Because whilst the rest of the world is taking part in the dreaded Monday morning commute, you can choose to be tucked up in bed instead. Hate Mondays? Take the day off! You're a freelancer and can choose your own working hours.
3. No more office politics
That's right! No more office politics, bitchy colleagues or annoying people to deal with. Just you, your slippers and a nice cup of tea – all cosy at home in your own home office. You don't have to worry about getting noticed and competing with colleagues. You are on your own and that's just great.
4. You make the decisions
Want to change the way your website looks? You can. Want to decide which clients to work with? You can. As a freelancer, you can make all the decisions. You're in control. No one else.
5. You're free to do what you want, any old time
Ok, so taking inspiration from the Stones here but it's true – we all love our freedom. And freelancing brings a wealth of freedom, if that's what's important to you. No one can tell you what to do and no one can stop you from doing anything. You're pretty much free to work as you like.
6. You choose your working hours
Want to finish work early on a Friday? Like the idea of taking every Wednesday off to go out on your bike? As a freelancer, you can choose your own hours. Just because everyone else is working 9-5, doesn't mean you have to. If you're worried about clients disapproving, just pretend you're 'in a meeting'. Who's going to check?
7. You can work from anywhere
Working from home is superb but it doesn't suit everyone. These days, technology allows us to work from pretty much anywhere. If it's sunny outside, you can go to your local park and soak up the rays. Or if you need to get out of the house on a rainy day, you can find a cosy cafe and take your laptop.
8. You can pick your clients
When you start working for yourself, you'll take every bit of work you can get. Once you're established, you'll be able to pick and choose who you work with. And in those early years, you'll soon learn to recognise the signs of who will and won't be good to work with. When you're your own boss, you can have the luxury of choosing your clients.
9. You have greater earning potential
Ok, so a salary might be safe and comforting. But when you work for someone else, your earning potential is never as good as when you freelance. As a business owner, you pretty much have an unlimited earning potential. It's down to you how much money you make.
10. You benefit from working longer hours
The great thing about freelancing is that the harder you work, the more money you earn. If you work for someone else, working longer hours won't necessarily bring more cash. It might help further your career, showing your boss how keen and committed you are. But it won't put more money in the bank. Freelancing allows you to earn as much as you like.
11. You're lining your own pockets
When you work for someone else, it's easy to become bitter about working all hours when it feels like you're lining your employer's pockets. That doesn't happen when you freelance because all money you make goes directly into your own wallet.
12. You have more security
It seems daft but freelancing definitely offers more security than a full-time job. This might seem like a ridiculous statement but no job is ever safe. Particularly in these difficult financial times. So what makes freelancing any different? At least when you're a freelancer you have control over your own destiny as it's really down to you whether you survive.
13. There's plenty of work to go around
There is loads of work out there, trust me. From agencies requiring freelance support to small businesses needing affordable services – there is plenty of work to go around. How you find it is down to you. No one else can win that work for you, so make sure you prioritise your marketing and get out and meet people.
14. You'll learn so much more
Freelancing brings many challenges, there's no doubt about that. But these always offer some invaluable lessons. When you work for yourself, you'll learn so much from the people you come across; the mistakes you make and the clients you work for. You'll also learn plenty by always striving to improve your own skills.
15. You'll build confidence
When you freelance, you only have yourself to rely on. You'll go to meetings on your own, you'll carry out work without any input from anyone else and you'll manage projects from start to finish. With so much responsibility your confidence will soar.
16. It's character building
Freelancing definitely puts you into more situations than working for someone else. You'll have weeks when you wish the earth would swallow you up, but you'll also have weeks when you're on top of the world. The whole freelancing experience will be the best thing that's ever happened to you.
17. Freelancing is something to be proud of
Not everyone can freelance. It takes a certain type of person to be able to do it. If you're running a business, you should pat yourself on the back for being brave, ambitious and having a 'can-do' attitude. It takes guts to be able to do it, so you'll get a wonderful sense of job satisfaction out of achieving something that many people would find too difficult.
18. You can take longer holidays
Ok, so you won't be earning money when you do go on holiday but you can always take your laptop with you. Freelancing allows you to have so much more freedom than a conventional job would ever offer. And that means you can go on holiday as much as you like. Or as much as you can afford to.
19. Freelancing could bring bigger things
When you freelance, you have the potential to grow from a sole trader into a limited company. It's entirely possible that you'll be employing your own staff one day. And why wouldn't you want to be a success and leave a legacy? When you freelance, there is a world of opportunity waiting for you. It's really down to you how far you go.
20. You can do the work you love
Finally, why else would you put yourself through the long working hours and difficulties of freelancing without doing what you love? Despite the obvious disadvantages of freelancing, the main fact is you're doing exactly what you want for a living. Now you can't get better than that!