In recent years, it can be observed that there are many employees who consider leaving corporate employment to branch out on their own as freelancers for various reasons, of which much can be attributed to the following:
- Increased freedom as to why, how, when and where they want to work
- Increased flexibility to work on the projects that they want
- Almost full autonomy with no direct supervision except themselves
- Increased possibility of spending times with their love ones as and when they want to
- Work-life balance (assuming that they are disciplined and focus)
- No upper income ceiling, since they do not received a fixed monthly pay
Of course, having said that, one can’t deny the fact that corporate work provides income stability, medical and dental coverage, annual leave, opportunities for increased collaboration within the departments and the like.
Nevertheless, there will almost always exists certain personalities who will sacrifice such corporate perks for the benefits as listed above. To such individuals, nothing beats having the freedom to work on what they want and when they want it, and relishing the satisfaction of making and closing deals (something which corporate work usually doesn’t provide unless one is in the sales department).
There also exists another group of individuals who need to find meaning in their work. Such individuals are also usually the ones who seek a higher purpose in life, as in bettering the welfare of humanity. They are usually more suited for freelance work since they usually get bogged down by administrative workloads that are commonly seen in corporate work.
There is lots to learn in freelancing work. One is a director, sales manager, copywriter, image designer, blogger, publicity manager, public relations practitioner, photographer, negotiator, presenter, telemarketer, self-appraising supervisor, networking professional all at the same time. Corporate work usually doesn’t permit this.
While the work can be tough, challenging, arduous and demanding, it is not hard for one to realise that the skill sets learnt enables one to set up a partnership with others or even become an entrepreneur in their later years. Freelancers are doing the same things as entrepreneurs on a much smaller scale, but the former is handling it with lesser risk since there is lesser capital involved.
There seems to exist a social stigma when it comes to freelancing, as can be seen from what some perceived about freelancing. Consider the following conversation at a social event:
Mr X: So, what is your profession?
Freelancer: I specialist in translation. I translate English text into Chinese, and vice versa.
Mr X: Hm.. is that so? So, you earn by “per page”?
Freelancer: Yes. My clients pay me according to the number of pages I translate. However, I usually translate textbooks and complete novels. So, the income is pretty substantial.
Mr X: I understand. So, projects come in intermittently? So, your income is not very stable?
Freelancer: You can say that. Nevertheless, I have some regular contracts with publishing firms, so instability is minimised.
As can be observed from the conversation above, people still have concerns over income instability of freelancers. This has always been a concern through the years. Corporate work has always been viewed as something that possesses a higher level of stability and prestige over freelancing.
Nevertheless, with the speed and amount of retrenchments occurring in organisations due to recessions and economic downturns in recent years, corporate work is no longer as stable as before. This writer has personally known an engineer who has been retrenched in his early thirties. He secured a second employment, only to be let off on a few weeks’ unpaid leave due to recessions.
These factors are what propel and thrust corporate employees to carve out a career of their own. Such individuals can be seen in papers and magazines in recent years.
There are many authors who are proposing more flexible lifestyles. Consider the following:
Admittedly, freelancing is not for everyone. Much time and effort are required to sustain a successful career as a freelancer on a ongoing basis.
But if you find yourself attracted by the benefits listed above, why not do a SWOT analysis on yourself and see if the advantages outweigh the cons?
If you are screaming for independence rather than conformity, why not consider freelancing?