Freelance or Being Employed: What’s the Difference?

I worked as a freelancer way back even when I was still studying in college. I didn’t earn that much since I was just only going for local projects in my area or in my school. When I graduated and got into my first company, I didn’t stop freelancing and I still had small projects to deal with. That’s when it got complicated.

Complicated in a way that I was always tired from my day job that I just wanted to sleep but couldn’t since I had to work on my part-time (that’s what I called freelancing while being employed) job during the night. I couldn’t just lie around and tell myself that I’d do it tomorrow or some other time because I had deadlines and my client was paying me to meet them. It got so bad that there was a point in time that I was doing 3-4 projects at the same time, that’s excluding my day job where I had sites that would go down and different requests to meet by the end of my shift.

Was it worth it?

Eventually I had to let go some of my projects because the burden was too much and it was affecting my health, performance, and job. You could earn a lot but it isn’t worth it if you’re always tired, pale, and your eye bags are halfway across your cheeks (that’s an exaggeration but you get the point). If you really need the money or if the projects aren’t that big and you can handle the stress, then go for it. But remember, health is wealth.

Comparison

I will list advantages and disadvantages of each based on my own experience which I believe some will agree. First as being solely a freelancer, then being an employee, and lastly as both. This may not apply to all since circumstances can differ for each person.

Freelance

Advantages

  • Time flexibility – Most freelancers are given a fixed number of hours to finish a project. For example, you can work for 6 hours today and make it up by working 10 hours tomorrow. You usually get to pick your own time to work as long as you meet your target.
  • Good and quick pay – This does not apply to all since some clients would pay you only when the project is complete or when the deadline of payment has arrived. For some, this is convenient if you need some quick cash especially if it’s just a small task or project.
  • Work from home – One big benefit is that you can simply turn on your laptop and start working while sitting down on your bed.
  • Tax-free – Oh yeah! But like I said, does not necessarily apply to everyone.

Disadvantages

  • You need a stable internet connection most of the time especially when working online. For countries like where I live in where the internet speed is sometimes really poor, this can be an issue because you will mostly be talking to your client via Skype or Hangouts. It’s not great talking to a pixelated face so a quality connection is a must.
  • Competition is fierce. With that said if you are looking for work online through sites like Odesk or Outsourcely, you will see that there are a lot of other freelancers applying for the same job too. But don’t let this discourage you, chances are you’ll eventually find something that fits your needs.
  • Mode of payment – This is for projects that have agreements that you will be paid only when the project is finished or after a fixed number of months. So until then, you will not earn so it’s good to have another job on the side to keep you fed.
  • Doubt of payment – Not really a disadvantage since it rarely happens and I know you will be careful, but there will always be that thought inside your head.
Employed

Advantages

  • Fixed pay based on hours/days rendered – No need to explain that further. You work and get paid every 15 days (or whatever it says in your contract) so there is always something for you to look forward to and get excited about.
  • Meeting and having coworkers – You need to socialize too and meeting new people is always great especially if you want to increase your circle of friends.
  • Bonuses – When you work for a company, odds are you will have bonuses and different company perks (I’m looking at you, 13th-month pay)

Disadvantages

  • Fixed pay – “What this is also a disadvantage?” Not quite but having a fixed income means you can’t earn more than what you signed unless you do overtime which not all companies allow.
  • Fixed time to work – Even if you are working during the day or night, you cannot be late. Being under-time will cost you deductions to your pay, or worse, your job.
  • Tax deductions – It hurts to see your hard-earned money go somewhere else but that’s just how it is.
Doing Both

Advantages

  • Earn more – This is no doubt the very reason why people push doing freelance and working for a full-time job at the same time.
  • Never boring – You must love working that you have so much time in your hands, working part-time for you is fun. You don’t mind the extra hassle and actually find it worthwhile.

Disadvantages

  • Can be stressful especially when you have deadlines both on your full-time job and freelance work.
  • Can affect your health – again, “HEALTH IS WEALTH”! It’s not worth it if it causes you sleepless nights or fatigue.

Conclusion

It all depends on you on what you want to do and why you want to do it. Need cash and fast? Go online and freelance. Like to sit in an office and chat with your coworkers during breaks? Find a job and get employed. You want to earn extra money and think that you can handle the stress? Do both. Just never forget to take care of yourself and remember that no job is worth more than your life.

Elmer Balbin

Web developer from Bacolod, Google Local Guide, and casual DotA 2 player.

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Peowdipa
Padawan
Peowdipa

well I guess I’ll just animate then 🙂 thanks for story telling.

Earl
Padawan
Earl

Hi Elmer,

I agree with you “Health is wealth”.! Nice blog very informative 🙂

Thanks,