Freelance vs. Full Time: Which is More Stable?
Since this is a freelance blog, and I’m a happy-as-hell freelancer, here’s my take on freelance vs full time:
Freelancing is LESS risky than a full time corporate job.
When you’re a freelancer, you actually become incredibly valuable and employable with every month and year that passes. So even though it may seem scary to take the leap from 9 to 5 to a freelance lifestyle, it’s actually not a crazy idea.
Here’s why freelancing is a smart thing to do for your career. My freelance vs. full time analysis below:
Your Skills Stay Current and On-Trend
When you work for one company in one industry, your experience is inherently limited.
While you may see digital trends explode and transform, if your full time company doesn’t embrace those trends, you won’t get a chance to gain exposure there.
I remember working at a big Fortune 500 company. I knew that there were so many social media campaign ideas that would be killer for them.
But the company was so large and so cautious, there was no way my edgy ideas would ever be implemented.
Now, as an independent digital marketer, I have much more of a voice on projects. When I bring ideas and recommendations to the table, my clients listen (because they chose me as the expert).
In my time as an independent consultant, I’ve gained more experience in cutting edge digital strategy than I did in my 10 year career in full time work.
Plus, the more cutting edge skills you learn, the more valuable you are – which means you can charge more for your work.
You Earn MORE Experience in Freelance vs Full Time Work
While staying in a job over the long-term is impressive (it shows loyalty and investment) – when you work as an independent freelancer, you get way more experience. It’s just the truth. In any given year I work on at least 30 different types of projects in different industries. Not only that, but I work with different people, learn new working styles, personalities, and project management systems.
I can’t tell you how happy potential clients are when I say “I am familiar with almost every project management system out there, I can adapt to your process.” or “I have done a similar project to this one, I learned several things that I can bring to the table that will help you get major results.”
Freelancing = insanely good experience.
You Get MORE Variety
One of the big reasons I job hopped throughout my twenties is because I craved variety. I am not the kind of person that enjoys doing the same thing over and over. (My husband on the other hand, loves stability and a schedule.
The point is, some people love routine, and others want sweet, sweet variety. When I finally realized there’s nothing wrong with craving excitement and new experiences, my life became way more manageable.
Being a freelancer allows me to have as much variety as I want. If I find that I am getting tired of a certain industry or project type? I can shift. If I find myself intrigued by a new marketing trend? I can move that direction.
You Build a Compete Portfolio
This one is HUGE. While an educational background and a solid resume help a person get in the door – there’s nothing more rich than legitimate examples of your work.
When you’re a freelancer, you are always building your portfolio. And you’re getting paid to do it. Freelancing forces you to constantly be building a fully illustrated history of your experience.
Having real-world portfolio examples that are published online makes you so valuable. It’s a way of telling future employers that you are legitimate. You have worked successfully with other businesses. This is an instant confidence boost to people considering whether to hire you.
You Can Collect Testimonials
Let’s face it, we’re in a word driven by reviews. Before you buy so much as a new toothbrush, you take a look at the Amazon reviews.
In today’s job market, references are just the tip of the iceberg. Employers now want to see LinkedIn Recommendations and testimonials.
When you’re a freelancer, you have a new opportunity every week to collect a testimonial about your work. If you work on several projects a month, for example, and after every project wraps you ask for a testimonial – that equals 36 testimonials per year.
I know you’re thinking, but what if it’s a BAD testimonial (believe me, it happens) But that’s even a positive thing. As you work, you get consistent information about what’s working and what’s not.
And if you get a not so stellar review? You don’t have to show it off. Just tuck it away in your files as a good learning.
You Learn How to Interview and Pitch Yourself
Think about those people who spent 15 years working for the same company (which is loyal and committed, by the way). But then, things happen, the company has to do rounds of layoffs to surive.
Suddenly this diligent professional is thurst into the workforce. The last time they searched for a job and polished a resume was 15 years ago.
So much has changed.
When you get into online business and freelancing, this is a promise: you’re going to hear the phrase “choose a niche”.
You’ll see this advice OVER and OVER.
Let me tell you, this advice? It really freaked me the hell out.
You see, I’d just jumped ship from the prison cell of corporate life. I was ready to spread my wings and do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.
So it’s no surprise that I resisted the advice to choose a specific industry or type of work. I wanted to be free to try things. I wanted to have the option to work on a financial blog post one day and an athleisure email campaign the next day (which I did, by the way).
Full Time vs. Freelance: The Path to Stability is Yours
I know not everyone has the risk tolerance that I have. I’ve never struggled with job hunting, freelancing pitching (but I struggle with plenty of other things – cleaning, impulsive spending, procrastination).
But the beauty of creating your own freelance or side hustle is that it’s ALL yours. The pace that you establish your online business is up to you. You can establish yourself over several years. You don’t have to leap until it feels right to you. And when you do finally have a business going – you maintain that freedom. Just last week I turned down a very lucrative project because the CEO I met with made me feel uncomfortable and small.
I believe your work life should feel as good as possible. So if becoming a frreelancer has you curious (Yes!) listen to that voice. Dip your toe in. Then when you’re ready take the swandive.