Freelancing or full time

Freelancing or Full Time: What is the Right Choice for You?

What path will your career take? Will you take freelancing or full time work? There are pros and cons to both, so the answer is never the same for two people and the decision is ultimately yours. However, before you make it, you should look carefully at both sides and see what working as a freelancer or a contractor offers, versus what working full time or on a salary offers.

I’m going to take a look at both and hopefully, after reading this article you’ll be better able to choose between freelancing or full time.

How Does Flexibility Help You Choose Between Freelancing or Full Time?

Freelancing or full time which offers better balance

Freelancing is a good choice for those who require more flexibility that a 9-5 job can offer them. In other words, if you want to spend more time around your family or friends, or just want to be able to take a break whenever you want without someone objecting to it, you would pick freelancing. Of course, this doesn’t mean that as a freelancer you can neglect your work, watch YouTube or hang with friends all day.

Work still must be done and deadlines have to be met. As a freelancer, you’ll sometimes have to do an all-nighter to finish a project, just because you were too lazy to do it on time. Otherwise, you’re going to have one angry client, who after this, may not want to hire you again for another project. Congratulations, you have just lost a client and will likely have to spend another week or even a month chasing another gig.

As a full time employee, you have significantly less flexibility. Typically, you have to be at work at 9:00 AM, you can’t take a break whenever you want and you have to stay at work until the end of work hours, which is normally eight hours. That said, there are some companies, usually startups, that challenge the 9 to 5 way of working and allow  a more their employees to work on a more flexible time, but these are still rare and the 9-5 remains a norm and what you can expect for any full time job.

Does Job Security Impact Your Choice Between Freelancing or Full Time Significantly?

Whereas flexibility looks like a good reason to choose freelancing, with job security, it’s a very different story. As a freelancer, you will often spend a lot of your time on hunting new clients and projects. This may not be so much of a problem if you’re an established freelancer and can leverage client referrals and testimonials to your advantage and use them to seize new opportunities. But as a relatively new freelancer, with not much work behind you, it can be a bit harder to do so.

This is why it’s so important to make sure you stay on good terms with your clients, even the ones you are leaving and try not to burn any bridges behind you. You never know when you might need a good word from them, a referral to a new client or a testimonial. If you parted on good terms and you’ve done a good job while working with them, they’ll be more than happy to help.

On the other side, working full time generally offers more security. It’s a lot harder to get fired as a full time employee from a company, then as a freelancer. In fact, most clients hire freelancers for very short and quick projects, something they can use to complement their big projects. These others, however, they keep in-house most of the time and that means, they get done by their own, in-house people.

Of course, job security today isn’t what it used to be 10 or 20 years ago. Businesses close or get sold, and with them employees lose their jobs. When that happens, it can be difficult for them to find work elsewhere, depending on how much their profession is sought after. And, some jobs just offer more security than others. According to MarketWatch, in 2016, chiropractic offered the best job security of all in the US.

How Can Work Environment Influence Your Decision?

Who you work with matters

You decision and the choice between freelancing or full time can also be influenced by your work environment. This includes the people you may or may not have the opportunity to work with, such as your boss or colleagues, first and foremost. Why? Because it is the human relationship that determines whether a company will work well or not. There’s always some office politics and as a full timer, it can be nearly impossible to avoid such a toxic environment.

As a freelancer, you will often work alone in your room, or choose another place to write your article like a coffee shop. That’s usually one of the first reasons people choose freelancing over full time work. But there’s another side to this. If you’re a people person and like to be surrounded with other individuals, freelancing suddenly stops being such a good option and a good watercooler chat suddenly becomes very inviting (even if it’s only to gossip).

Working long hours alone can sometimes get depressing and tedious, but fortunately, you have a lot more ways to vent out as a freelancer than as a full time employee. For instance, at any time, if you’re stuck on a particular part of a project, you can simply get up, take a long walk, go running, visit a gym or play some hoops until you drive away that stress. Or, if you’re unhappy with a client, you can get rid of them. You just don’t have this freedom when working full time.

Are You In it for the Benefits?

If you are, then the choice is pretty clear between freelancing or full time job. When working on a salary, you have access to all sorts of benefits, such as health insurance, parental leave, paid vacation and finally a pension. Also, the company may offer training to its employees, or some other benefits such as memberships or discounts. You’ll get none of these benefits if you’re a freelancer and you’ll for the most part be on your own.

As a freelancer, you’ll often wait to take the necessary time-off until the last moment. Why? Well, because freelancers can’t afford to take prolonged breaks. In fact, one of the toughest decisions you have to make as a freelancer is to leave work and go on a vacation. Yes, you can do it any time you want and all you really have to do is send an email to the client informing them of your decision before hand. You won’t get fired for it or anything like that, but you also won’t get paid.

In addition, as a freelancer, you also have to pay for your own life and health insurance. plan your retirement and also arrange your own training. These can all take a long time for an individual to do, especially when you also have to worry about working on current projects, looking for new jobs, negotiating your terms with new clients, sending invoices and many, many other things. Fortunately, it gets easier if you use the right freelance tools.

What’s the Verdict? Freelancing or Full Time Work?

So where does this leave us and which is better, freelancing or full time working? There’s no clear winner and, as I said at the beginning, there are pros and cons to both and even these are not as clear-cut as you may think them to be. For instance, we saw that, while freelance offers more flexibility, but you still have to meet deadlines, or that full time work provides more security, but losing a job is still a very real possibility.

In general here are the pros and cons for both:

Freelancing pros:

  • Choose who you’ll work with
  • Flexibility
  • Choose your work hours
  • Often more opportunities for projects
  • Work on projects that interest you

Freelancing cons:

  • Less financial security
  • No benefits whatsoever
  • Has to wear multiple hats at the same time
  • Projects can often be very short and time between them long

Full time pros: 

  • More financial security
  • Job security is also greater
  • Health insurance, life insurance, paid vacation, pension and other benefits are available to you
  • You can always find someone to talk to

Full time cons:

  • Much harder to leave an employer
  • Balancing your personal life and work can be hard
  • You often have to stick to a schedule and not a lot of opportunities to change that

That said, the final say is yours and you have to pick between freelancing or full time job. Let me know in the comments below which one do your prefer and why.

Vladimir Covic
  • Priyanshi Mishra
    Posted at 07:25h, 01 November Reply

    Very much helpful… Solves my dilemma of juggling between full time & freelancing to a great extent

  • Tanyi Melvis Bechemnyo
    Posted at 16:32h, 28 April Reply

    Sometimes as a freelancer, you get to work more extra hours than you would work full time, If I’m given the opportunity to choose, I’ll choose to freelance all the time. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 17:36h, 28 April Reply

      You’re welcome Tanyi.

  • Sintija
    Posted at 12:15h, 28 April Reply

    Such a great post! Answered a lot of my questions. Thank you for sharing!

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 12:46h, 28 April Reply

      You’re welcome. Thank you for commenting Sintija.

  • daniella flores
    Posted at 18:09h, 25 April Reply

    Great post! I freelance on the side for extra cash. At one point freelancing 100% supported me and I would love to get back to that.

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 11:46h, 25 April Reply

    Great post, very informative. Thanks!

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 12:41h, 25 April Reply

      You’re welcome Carolyn.

  • Yuen Mi
    Posted at 19:59h, 24 April Reply

    Great article. Made some really good pointers that made me think about the choices I made.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 20:08h, 24 April Reply

      Thanks, Yuen Mi. Hope it will help you make some good choices.

  • Tina w
    Posted at 18:12h, 24 April Reply

    Thank you for the information!

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 18:35h, 24 April Reply

      You’re welcome Tina.

  • Touresar
    Posted at 17:32h, 24 April Reply

    Interesting post. Something worth being informed about!

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 18:35h, 24 April Reply

      Thank you for the comment Touresar.

  • Deepika Singhania
    Posted at 16:53h, 24 April Reply

    This is so well-written! I’ve done both freelance and full-time, and I can relate very well. Very true. 😀

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 18:34h, 24 April Reply

      Thank you Deepika. Glad you like the post.

  • Lady Chi
    Posted at 15:44h, 24 April Reply

    This is a good piece. In the country I live in I don’t think that freelancing is even an option lol. You have to be a such a darer to even try such. You always have to take the more stable option.I hope when I am financially comfortable I can focus on my passions…

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 18:34h, 24 April Reply

      I know. I also live in a country that doesn’t recognize freelancing officially yet. It’s in kind of a gray zone right now and everybody gawks at me when I say I’m a freelancer.

  • Mercy
    Posted at 15:11h, 24 April Reply

    When I decided to go freelance the main issue I had to deal with was job security, and you’ve covered it honestly in your post. I really appreciate your views on the two options. Job security and financial security is not as guaranteed today as it used to be some years ago. With time, I have realized that freelance work is not for everyone. Not everyone is a solitary soul like me. The irony is that I am working longer hours than I used to when I had a full-time job. My main struggle is time management when it comes to prioritizing the important things…I spend more time with my work than socializing. Thanks for the excellent perspective.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 18:32h, 24 April Reply

      Yes, time management was a big issue for me as well at first. As a freelancer you have to do several things, not just work on the project. Have you tried using some tools like Trello, Toggl or Evernote for this? I find them very useful.

  • Basundhara Ghosh
    Posted at 13:46h, 24 April Reply

    Helpful for beginners at freelancing. Good job 🙂

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 18:30h, 24 April Reply

      Thank you Basundhara.

  • Abhinav
    Posted at 13:06h, 24 April Reply

    Well explained and written. It is a difficult choice to make but many find the middle path.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 13:34h, 24 April Reply

      Thank you. Yes, I think many don’t want to commit fully to freelancing, which is okay course. You can always use it to get a little money on the side. Not what I’d recommend, but okay.

  • Anuj shukla
    Posted at 12:47h, 24 April Reply

    Nice post

  • Prachi- Bachelor of Roaming
    Posted at 16:48h, 23 April Reply

    Interesting Post! Your article gives good insight into both options.. 🙂

  • Melissa Jellie
    Posted at 15:32h, 23 April Reply

    I kind of fell into the freelancing life rather than choosing it. So as somebody now looking for full time, this was a good read.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 16:37h, 23 April Reply

      Same thing with me pretty much, but I stuck with freelancing. In any case, I’m glad both freelancers and full-timers can find this post useful.

  • Chaye & Biryani
    Posted at 18:41h, 22 April Reply

    Great Article! Answered so many questions I had in mind regarding this subject.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 18:48h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks, glad you found the article useful.

  • Phaytea
    Posted at 09:21h, 22 April Reply

    Interesting post…I currently enjoy my fulltime job….but I do a bit freelance during the weekend….I get a balance either way

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 09:27h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks Phaytea. I wanted to show both sides and basically let readers decide for themselves. Hope it worked.

  • Veera
    Posted at 09:18h, 22 April Reply

    Very interesting, you have some great information here 🙂 loved to read this !

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 09:25h, 22 April Reply

      Thanks for the comment Veera.

  • Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    Posted at 07:41h, 22 April Reply

    This was interesting as I have 3 part time jobs but also do freelancing blogging so I get the best of both worlds 🙂 and can balance them around my family life

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 08:29h, 22 April Reply

      That’s right. Being able to balance work and family effectively is the best selling point of freelancing probably.

  • Victoria Lola
    Posted at 04:14h, 22 April Reply

    This is so enlightening! I love this. I’d prefer freelance job….you’re satisfied with the little you get and learn more easily

  • Eboni Dixon
    Posted at 00:34h, 22 April Reply

    Juggling this question is so difficult. I prefer freelancing. I am on journey to freelance success!

    eb x

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 08:26h, 22 April Reply

      Same here Ebony. I too prefer freelancing, but still wanted to present the benefits of full time as well.

  • Nadica
    Posted at 00:11h, 22 April Reply

    Great post! Definitely freelancing.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 08:25h, 22 April Reply

      Yeah, I’m leaning towards it as well, but I wanted to present the other side as well.

  • Nicole Anderson
    Posted at 00:03h, 22 April Reply

    I enjoyed reading this post. You presented a very objective and balanced view of the subject. I guess the decision for each person will come down to their own personal circumstances, together with their personality, confidence and determination. We all need to do what will makes us the most content in the long run.

    • Vladimir
      Posted at 08:24h, 22 April Reply

      Exactly Nicole. I don’t think there’s a clear answer here, no matter what some say. It all boils down to what best fits you as a person.

  • Jack + Jenny
    Posted at 22:47h, 21 April Reply

    Something I’ve often thought about myself! Thanks for the pros and cons.


    • Vladimir
      Posted at 08:23h, 22 April Reply

      You’re welcome Jenny. Thanks for the comment.

  • Michelle Langi
    Posted at 20:57h, 21 April Reply

    If I was to work for another company again I woukd be a freelancer.

  • Klaudia
    Posted at 15:49h, 21 April Reply

    Great post! I prefer freelancing, it’s more challenging but I do what I love 😄

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