While not without its downsides, the gig economy has definitely opened up space for more freelance work than ever. Freelancing is bad news when it’s a necessity because the income from your full-time job is simply not enough to sustain you. However, for many people, developing a career as a freelancer, especially a freelance writer, has allowed them to live an unconventional lifestyle they have always dreamed of.
Still, there are two sides to every story. You should carefully weigh the costs and benefits of working as a freelance writer if you have developed an interest in this career path. Read on to see what experienced freelance writers have learned while finding their footing in the gig economy.
Opportunity to travel
Traveling is one of the main reasons why people decide to try their hand working as a freelance writer. This career allows them not to be tied down to one particular place. Having a full-time job has its perks beyond the stability of income. However, it also means not really being able to move around a lot. If you are young and still without kids, your idea of an adventurous life probably involves a lot of travel. Working as a freelance writer allows you to earn a living and pay your way while visiting exotic locations you have only dreamed of. Seeing so many different places can even turn into fodder for writing travel content you could make money on as well. You’d just need a bit of luck.
Many Europeans and Americans opt for exploring Asia while working as a freelance writer. Their plan is to usually have their base in an urban center and then travel around as much as they can. While this sounds like a flawless plan at first, people often disregard the complex bureaucracy that is often involved. Even the simplest applying for paperwork before moving to Hong Kong, say, can turn out to be a lot more than you bargained for. Furthermore, many countries you plan on just visiting, like Vietnam or Cambodia, also require you to have a visa in order to enter. This can all be circumvented by a bit of early planning. However, expect the bureaucracy to definitely put a damper on your plans to some extent.
1. Work/life balance
Another benefit of working as a freelance writer that is often highlighted is the ability to strike a work/life balance more easily than with a typical 9-to-5 job. In most cases, you are able to create your own schedule in a way that best fits your lifestyle. Additionally, you save a lot of time you would spend on a commute. You are then able to use it however you see fit. Even companies whose employees usually work 9 to 5 have noticed the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely. Not only do you get more done from home, but you are also happier because you regain control of your time.
However, there is another side of the coin to consider as well. Even though you decide when you are going to work and for how long, working as a freelance writer can actually result in working much more than at a regular job. This will in turn cause you to have very little time off.
The stability of a full-time job means knowing when your next paychecks are coming. This is what allows you to clock out every day at 5 and not spare another thought on it. If you are working as a freelancer, you can’t be entirely sure how much money you’ll end up making in a couple of months. For this reason, many freelance writers accept any available job opportunity. This then leads them to overwork themselves and forgo their personal lives.
Also, if most of your friends have full-time jobs, you will also be doing most of your activities at weekends when they are available.
2. Diverse work
Working as a freelance writer will provide you with very diverse job opportunities. Many people often stick to several areas of expertise. However, it is not unusual for them to venture into other topics as well. This means your work is never boring and you also never finish learning. This is great news for people who are naturally curious, hate getting into a routine, and not feeling stimulated by what they’re working on.
On the other hand, in this case, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Having varied topics to learn and write about can be stimulating and exciting at first. At some point, it can get tiring, though. Having a limited timeframe to produce compelling content on something you are only starting to learn about can quickly turn sour.
Whether you choose working as a freelance writer to supplement your income or as a full-time job, finances are probably one of the main reasons you decided to do it. The money you make as a freelancer can help you fund the kind of lifestyle you want. If you decide to move internationally, there’s a big chance that your expenses will be smaller than back home. This means you will be able to easily earn a living by working as a freelancer. In addition to this, you will be able to get additional work when you have big expenses looming. After all, you control the amount of work you do.
The downside of having a flexible income is that it can get pretty unstable. For whatever reason, there could be periods when you end up finding it very hard to find work or work that will pay off. Furthermore, it can be a risky business in other ways. Freelancers very rarely, if ever, get any benefits packages when they take on a project. Finally, you have to think about the future. How long will you be able to pull it off?
4. Costs and benefits
Most of the costs and benefits of working as a freelance writer come hand in hand. One the one hand, what being your own boss brings can be really positive. You can travel, live in different places, enjoy your personal life more, earn money doing what you like. At the same time, each of these benefits can turn into its negative counterpart. Carefully weigh the pros and cons and come up with a sustainable plan that will work for you.