In the past few weeks, I’ve been offered a few different full-time jobs, all of which I’ve turned down… the reason being, that right now, I am enjoying freelance life too much.
Long term readers (all three of you), may remember me moaning about freelance life a while back, so it’s about time I said some nice things about freelancing; and explain why I’m happy to keep at it.
Okay, let’s start with the one you’re all thinking of: money. If (and it’s a big if) a freelancer can stay booked-up on average for ~3-4 days a week, for a full year, then they can make a very decent living… Possibly more than they would make as a full-time employee performing the same role.
There’s no point lying, for me, money is a motivating factor but it’s nowhere as high up as you may assume. The following items mean far far more to me:
Anyone who knows me well, is aware that I am both easily bored and distracted. The thought of working in the same job, on the same project for six, twelve, or more months at a time fills me with absolute dread. I therefore choose to work firstly, in an agency environment which means lots of different projects then secondly, as an on-site freelancer which means different projects at lots of different agencies with lots of different offices, working cultures and people.
Have you ever worked somewhere and not been given a computer good enough to do your job properly? Whether that’s a monitor which is too small, a version of Photoshop that’s three versions behind or worse still, no Photoshop at all. Or, perhaps, you’ve suffered one of my biggest annoyances: an uncomfortable desk/chair combo. None of those issues apply to me anymore as a freelancer (well the desk/chair combo *sometimes* applies).
I work on-site at agencies but I use my own equipment and because I set my rate/prices it means I alone am responsible for purchasing new hardware, software and (for my own office) my own (comfortable) chair. I quite often won’t go back to work at an agency’s offices if they have bad chairs.
People in the industry
For the most part, I perform pretty much the same job as the full-time staff member sat next to me at whichever agency I’m working at; the difference is the level of respect that seems to be afforded. I am able to pick and choose projects and quite often (and I always find this weird) the Directors or high(ish)-up members of staff always seem to talk to me in a way that they never did when I was a full-time employee… as a peer almost.
However, the longer I work at an agency, the more I get treated like a normal employee and the less those important people want to chat with me. Which is fine, from a social point of view, but it means I learn less while I work there and when that happens it’s time to move on.
People in general
Personally the biggest perk is the reaction I get from people outside of this industry when I tell them that I work for myself. If I meet someone at a party and they ask what I do, my response of ‘I make websites’ or similar is very rarely met with anything other than complete disinterest. However, once I tell them that I work for myself they immediately become more interested. It seems a lot of people dream of going freelance (I sure did before I actually did it) and they think it’s complicated or difficult or impressive. I’ve been doing it for five years; I accidentally fell into it, and I am certainly not ‘impressed’ by myself, but from time to time it’s nice to meet people who are impressed when I tell them what I do and want to actually converse with me about it.
What about you?
Are you freelance? What are the key aspects about freelance-life that keep you from taking on a full-time job?