Becoming an IT freelancer
Would you like to become a freelancer in IT? Free-Work has compiled a list of the advantages and disadvantages of IT freelancing, so that you can make an informed decision.
The advantages of being an IT freelancer
✅ Freedom to organise your own time
The key word when it comes to freelancing is freedom:
· the freedom to organise your schedule as you wish,
· the freedom to work from wherever you want (unless the client wants you to work on their premises),
· the freedom to use the working methods that suit you,
· the freedom to choose your assignments,
· the freedom not to work at certain times, etc.
✅ Getting started with little initial investment
One of the perks of going freelance in IT is that you require little investment. All you need is an office (which you can set up at home), a computer, some software, a Wi-Fi connection and a smartphone.
Your workforce is your brainpower. There’s no need to invest in premises, machines, a car, etc. There are virtually no barriers to entry.
✅ Being able to learn new languages
Would you like to learn a new programming language, a new technology, a new IT profession or a new way of working? You don’t need your client’s agreement to train you in a particular skill, it’s up to you to source and fund your own training.
By improving your skills, you may then be able to increase your ADR (Average Daily Rate).
✅ Earn more than you would as an employee
After a certain number of years’ experience and recognised expertise in your field, you can increase your rate. For example, if you’re 100% in charge, your rate can reach significant sums. You will be able to achieve levels of income that may well have been out of your reach as an employee.
✅ Pride in having created your own job
And then there’s the pride of having created your own job and not being dependent on a boss.
What’s more, you no longer run the risk of having your boss fire you, because you are your own boss!
The disadvantages of being an IT freelancer
Freedom has many faces. The life of an IT freelancer can sometimes prove difficult when assignments become scarce and billings dwindle. You don’t just get paid every month: no client, no pay.
It’s best to guard against lean times or unforeseen events (such as the COVID-19 health crisis) by saving when you have the chance.
Your income is bound to be irregular. If you don’t like insecurity and are naturally stressed, the freelance life may not be for you.
This often leads some freelancers to accept any work offered to them, including work that doesn’t interest them, for fear of running out of work one day. This is generally not a good plan, as it can lead them to turn down more interesting assignments because they are already busy with less interesting ones.
Having to prospect by yourself
The biggest difficulty when you’re self-employed is finding clients. Few assignments land on your lap all by themselves! You’re the salesperson. So you have to go out and find clients yourself, especially when you’re starting out.
You may be an expert in your field, but you will still need to convince your prospects, so that they accept your quote. Many people who are very competent in their field are not good salespeople. Freelancers need to find the right marketing positioning in order to facilitate customer communication and sales.
Working irregular hours
If you like to work regular hours every day and lead a well-ordered life, freelancing may not be your cup of tea either! Freelancing means alternating between crunch times because you need to respect a close deadline, and quieter periods, particularly between contracts.
Feeling isolated professionally
Working as a freelancer also means working alone, with no colleagues to chat to, to bond with as a team, to spark ideas and to share friendly moments with. The loneliness of working remotely can prove burdensome over time and have an impact on morale, motivation and the quality of your work. No boss also means you have no one behind your back to motivate you.
That’s why more and more freelancers are choosing to work in coworking spaces, rather than working alone from home.
No boundary between private and professional life
Being an entrepreneur means no longer having a boundary between your private and professional life. The two are closely intertwined, especially when you’re self-employed. If you are passionate about your work, then that might not seem like a problem to you. But if not, you’d better start setting some ground rules, particularly in terms of working hours, and to allow yourself breaks and holidays.
You are no longer an employee. So, you no longer enjoy the social benefits that come with that status:
· paid leave
· sick leave
· entitlement to unemployment benefit
· pension benefits.
Of course, you may earn a better living, but you’ll need to save before you take time off and to prepare for the possible loss of an important assignment that makes up a large part of your income, illness or unforeseen circumstances.
Now, it’s up to you to weigh up the pros and cons and think about what’s most important to you: freedom, or financial security? It also depends on your family situation.