Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pros and Cons of being a Post Grad Freelancer

One of my career dreams was to be a freelance writer when I graduated, but I thought it would be just that, merely a dream. Yet, here I am, a recent post grad working the freelance gig with several "mini-jobs". If freelancing is your dream also, here are some pros and cons you'll need to know before diving in.

1. You set your own schedule. Working from home doing freelance work on your computer is a giant pro. I do a lot of my work when I first get up in my pajamas. I can take breaks to get lunch with a friend or run some errands. You can work in a cafe or Starbucks. If you plan to move somewhere, you won't have to quit your take it with you!
2. You'll never get bored. I like the notion of having a plethora of small jobs instead of a 9-to-5 I go to every day. It makes the work day different and always changing.
3. You can actually make a lot of money. Freelancers can get paid a good amount per hour or per project and if you line up enough, you'll be rolling in the dough!
4. If you're motivated to keep finding jobs, the possibilities are endless. You can take on as many projects as you feel you can handle - you don't have to take projects your boss gives you that you hate. You are able to pick and choose which types of jobs and projects you'd like to focus on.

1. The all-important money issue. When you freelance, you're basically self-employed. Which means you have to pay your own taxes and figure out money issues without the help of a company. There's no one to chip in for taxes like a business you work for would, so you end up paying more. While I haven't had to deal with self-employed tax time yet, I know I will need extra guidance to get things right. And say goodbye to tax returns, you'll always pay since you haven't been all year.
2. Another money issue is the sporadic pay. I'm lucky enough to have a few gigs that pay every week and every other week, but most freelance gigs don't allow you to get your money when you really need it. You'll also need several good paying freelance jobs to make any real cash.
3. Unlike starting at a new company as a post grad, working freelance jobs at home leaves no room for new co-workers or new friends. It can be a lonely job if you're looking to meet new people or simply like the company of others while you work.
4. You have to be very organized and good with time management, otherwise you'll fall behind, especially if you have many different projects you're working on. College is actually a good practice for this. Think of each job or project as a class you have to pass and know you have to organize your time to finish each one on deadline.

Before you dive in, get all the facts. If this is something you're really passionate about or crave a freeing schedule, then go for it! If you end up getting a regular full-time job after all, you didn't fail: you tried. If you try your hand at freelance and realize that it isn't the gig you want as a post grad, that is the beauty of being a newbie in the career world. You choose for yourself and shouldn't feel stuck in the one position if you feel it isn't for you. Keep going!

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