Full time vs Freelance – How to decide and when
There comes a time in most of our lives when we contemplate whether we should work full time or freelance. This shift in profession can happen for several reasons – if you’re a woman it could be marriage, kids, a relocation to another city, boredom or even a sabbatical. You’ll always have a debate in your mind as to which is a better proposition.
As a professional features an online writer for almost 15 years, here are some tips from my experience to help you decide whether freelancing or full time is the thing for you. Read on…
- Breaks the monotony - Freelancing helps to break the monotony. If you’re bored working in the same firm with the same set patterns and processes, maybe a freelancing assignment can help you get a different perspective.
- Creative space - Freelancing allows you to exercise your mind and talent in a creative space if it is something you’ve never done before. It allows you to enjoy the thrills of doing something different apart from the regular 9-5 job.
- Valid work experience - No experience goes waste, even in this case, your freelancing experience will always be acknowledged in the professional space as it will show that you have the eagerness to learn and work.
- Variety & Multitasking – Just as it breaks the monotony, freelancing also allows you to work on a variety of projects that opens up your mind to newer avenues and it also helps you multi-task your assignments which can be a good thing if you ever choose to go back to working full time.
- Networking – This also helps you to interact with more people other than your regular social circle at home or work. Networking always helps to bridge a gap in the professional field to help you take the next step higher in your job or career.
- Meagre Payments – Sometimes, the payments can be meagre if you’re a fresher in the world of freelancing or if the company policy only pays you an ‘x’ amount which is far less than the standard rate.
Tip - Always clarify if the company/client has a TDS on the payments made to you, in most cases they will, so make sure you get your Form 16 for filing your tax returns.
- Unprofessionalism – There are times, some clients/ companies you freelance for may give you the necessary exposure you’re seeking but, will come across very unprofessional in the way they deal with freelancers and it could be in the form of delay in payments, poor communication etc.
Tip - Whenever you start freelancing for a company, always ask for a point of contact in HR/ Finance departments so that you can clarify your doubts whenever required.
- Lack of proper Communication - Also lack of proper processes and poor communication skills on behalf of the client/ company can play a spoilsport. If instructions and processes are not clearly defined to you and you don’t meet their set standards and deadlines it can create a rift between you and them.
Tip – Before you start freelancing, get all the points clarified on email at the first go. Create a template/ list of the process (for deadlines, word count etc.) and get it approved on email from your editor/ point of contact before you begin to avoid any confusion.
- Extras – Freelancing is not all that easy as it may sound. Sometimes you may have to go out in the field, meet people, go to events to come up with a 500 word article for a newspaper/ magazine/ website and the payments received may not justify the travel and time taken for you to come up with the article.
Tip – Ask the company whether they can reimburse your travel bills if a certain amount of traveling is required within/ out of the city to cover events.
- Personal discipline – On the flipside, some freelancing assignments may not take you out of the house and it can get stifling in spite of the money coming in. More so, if you’re the kind who cannot work by themselves without setting personal deadlines, then freelancing is not for you.
Tip – Set aside 3hrs – 4hrs a day to work on your freelancing assignments. The rest of the day can be utilised for other household or personal chores. Personal discipline is a must if you want to work from home and freelance.
Before you embark on the freelancing journey, speak to a few friends, colleagues and family members who have worked as freelancers before in any field. Get to know as much as you can before you can make up your mind whether you’d like to freelance and for how long.
Maybe while you’re in college and you pick up a freelancing assignment based on what you’re studying is an excellent idea as it gives you real time work experience that gives you an edge over the others.
The world is your playground, pick the game you like…
Contributed by Tanya Munshi