Full-Time Work Vs Freelance Gigs: Which is Best for Your Lifestyle?

By Guest Blogger - May 18th, 2020

workers in shared space

On your career journey, you’re likely to encounter forks in the road that will require you to consider not only what you want to do for a living, but the work-life structure you want to achieve.  Are you looking for a traditional, 9 – 5 office job? Or would freelancing in your field serve your needs best?

This can be an especially difficult choice to make during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many workers are struggling with a loss of work due to lay-offs, and freelancers have fewer gigs to take on as the economy slows down. This means that, with the shifting job market, there are extra considerations to take into account when making this decision.

To make this process as simple and easy to navigate as possible, we’ve created a helpful guide with insights into which work structure might be best for you, based on your lifestyle, as well as helpful tips for navigating these different types of careers.

For Freelancers

As opposed to working in a structured and supervised environment, a freelancer is self-employed and must be self-sufficient. This means they will set their own hours, work independently, and determine their own pay in the form of an hourly or project-based rate. For many, the biggest appeal is the freedom that can come with this type of job.

The biggest downside to this type of work is that there is a lack of structure, which can be costly for many people. For some, the consistency  that comes with having a full-time job is invaluable and can also keep people productive. Others find that, while the skill set they have in their field is strong, business management isn’t their forte, and they would rather just focus on the work they’re doing instead of spending extra time finding clients. Finally, as a freelancer, you must take on any costs associated with your work, such as equipment and your office space.

For those in the freelance industry, sales, project management, and financial management skills are a must-have. After all, you will be running your own micro-business. For the best results, utilize helpful technology and apps, such as a time-tracking system, which allows you to monitor the work you’re doing for billing purposes. You should also look into digital finance platforms, which can help you do things like create a budget for your business, track expenses, and even receive payment days in advance.

Depending on the type of industry you’re looking to freelance in, you may find that the number of gigs that are currently available are decreasing due to COVID-19. While freelancing gives you the benefit of being able to be completed from home in many cases, business spending has decreased over the past few months. Therefore, if you are looking to get into freelance work now, the best option is to use this time to focus on structuring your business model and finding leads that could mean potential work when business begins to pick up again.

For Full-Time Workers

Full-time work is a more traditional approach to a career. What it trades in flexibility, it makes up for in structure and stability. This can be especially appealing to those who find that a regular source of income provides them with the most comfort and reduces anxiety. You also have managers to work with, who can guide you through your work when needed, as opposed to going it alone in the freelance world. Finally, having a team to provide feedback and support can be an invaluable tool for many workers.

For many people who prefer a hands-off approach to management and a more stable career path, this can be incredibly beneficial. Instead of focusing on setting rates or managing projects and time, full-time workers spend their time on work, while management handles the rest. This gives them more time to put into their work instead of management. 

 If you are looking for a full-time job, you will need to be ready to go through the hiring process. This means brushing up on your interview skills, updating your resume, and getting ready to discuss your skills and how they relate to the job. Just as the freelancer must be good at selling their business, you must be able to sell your talents and abilities. Another valuable skill set for full-timers is the ability to work with a team, follow leadership, and work in a professional setting with others.

It is also important to be aware of the shifting job market that is occurring during the current health crisis. As business begins to slow down, many have halted their hiring process altogether. In addition to this, it’s important to note that all non-essential workforces are currently remote until further notice.

This means that your job search may be hindered by fewer openings, and the ones that are open may require you to have home office equipment prior to applying in order to fit with a remote workforce. In addition to this, you should also be prepared to conduct any interviews over the phone or on a face call, as opposed to in person.

At the end of the day, there’s no one who can decide which of these career paths will work best for you. The decision is yours to make, based on your personality type and skill set. With that in mind, remember that this decision is not set in stone. Some people find working a mix of both provides the best of both worlds, along with two sources of income. At the same time, if you find yourself in a career and realize that switching to freelance or full-time work is more your speed, there’s no harm in making the switch.

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