Becoming a freelancer is turning into a popular job opportunity for workers in the creative or consulting fields. Freelancers are employees that are not hired by a single employer but offer their services to multiple clients on a contract basis. Freelancing can be a great side hustle for those who want more career independence and have prime business skills.
However, there are many misconceptions about what it means to be a freelancer. Plenty of myths about freelance work do not accurately reflect the unique pros and cons of being self-employed. Everyone deserves to know the reality of freelancing and have these myths debunked. These are six myths about freelance work that might be holding you back from career success:
- There’s not enough demand for freelancers
- Freelancing means you are your own boss
- Freelancers do whatever they want
- It’s easy money with low stress
- Freelancers don’t leave their houses
- No one can afford to freelance full-time
1. There’s not enough demand for freelancers
One reason people discourage joining the gig economy is because of the assumed high supply and low demand. But the reality is that businesses are more open than ever to hiring freelancers, especially after the pandemic. According to Upwork in 2019, the freelance industry makes up approximately 5% of the US GDP. And the number of freelancers in America has been on the rise. That’s because small companies unable to afford agencies or hire full-time employees hire freelancers when work expands beyond their scopes.
2. Freelancing means you are your own boss
Freelancing indeed provides more independence than a traditional full-time job. However, it’s misleading to say that freelancers have no boss. Freelancers do have someone they answer to: their clients. Each client may have their own needs, expectations, and deadlines for how a project is completed. According to Upwork in 2017, the average freelancer had 4.5 clients per month, or 4.5 different people to report to. Individuals also have to hold themselves accountable to do the work of other business employees including bookkeeping and customer service.
3. Freelancers do whatever they want
Other myths about freelance work hold that all freelancers can work in their pajamas and set their own hours. But the truth is that freelancers must be available to clients during business hours. They may not have fixed hours, but like any employee, freelancers have deadlines and meetings to keep up with. The most productive freelancers have their own workflows to establish discipline and structure in their work life. One distinction that freelancers make is that while they still have responsibilities and hours needed to work per day, it’s up to them how that time is spent.
4. It’s easy money with low stress
Many people feel compelled to offer their work freelance because they believe it will be less stressful. And some freelancers would agree that being self-employed comes with less stress. But there’s no doubt that it comes with more responsibility and discipline. Searching for clients when people have a limited clientele can be especially stressful. At the end of the day, the product freelancers provide to their clients is similar regardless of their type of employment. Thankfully, there are resources available to freelancers on project management, tracking finances, and managing stress.
5. Freelancers don’t leave their houses
Freelance jobs commonly offer remote availability, which is enticing for many people. And freelancing certainly is a fruitful home-based business for many freelancers. But since the majority of freelance work is done remotely, people get the impression that being self-employed is lonely work. These myths about freelance work portray freelancers as lazy and isolated, which is not true. Just like freelancing, working from home has its pros and cons. And working remotely doesn’t have to look like working from home. Coworking spaces are just as common work settings for freelancers and offer the perk of extra social interaction.
6. No one can afford to freelance full-time
One of the most common myths about freelance work is that it cannot provide a stable enough income to be done full-time. A lot of people believe that the only way to earn job security is to work an office job. But just because a person’s income isn’t coming from one company doesn’t mean freelancing isn’t reliable. According to a 2018 research poll, 44% of gig workers rely on their freelance work as their primary source of income. Despite these myths about freelance work, it can be financially and personally fulfilling for millions of people.
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