While freelancers enjoy many perks, such as flexible schedules and the ability to work from home, there are some inherent disadvantages to working freelance jobs. If you are a freelance writer, web developer or artist, you are self-employed, which means you must obtain assignments to work. And even if you're an independent contractor with preassigned duties, you must still pay more in certain taxes than employed workers.
Soliciting for Business
You spend a significant amount of time soliciting for business as a freelancer. This can include placing ads, talking and meeting with business owners and selling your freelance services through presentations. There are also proposals that must be submitted if you are competing with other freelancers for jobs. Once you obtain a project, you must complete all the work yourself. Freelancers have limited budgets and don't usually hire employees to assist with the work.
Company employees can count on steady paychecks, as they usually get paid by the hour or earn an annual salary. This is a luxury you don't have as a freelancer because you only get paid when you obtain and complete assignments. Therefore, you can experience peaks and valleys in your earnings as a freelancer. For example, you might be extremely busy in the summer and fall but earn considerably less during the holiday season. You must be highly confident in your ability and frugal when dealing with fluctuations in pay.
Freelancers spend many hours working alone. Some may go days without contacting other people. If you enjoy working with people, you might have difficulty adjusting to the lonely life of a freelancer. There are no office or holiday parties. In that case, join some professional associations so you can go to occasional luncheons. Perhaps work at a coffee shop one or two days per week, and occasionally visit friends and clients.
No Benefits and Higher Social Security Taxes
Unlike employed workers, freelancers do not have benefits unless they pay for them. And medical and insurance benefits can be extremely expensive. Average benefit costs were 30.8 percent of employees' compensation in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your Social Security and medicare taxes are also double those of employed workers, regardless of where you live. For example, freelancers in Brooklyn, New York must pay 15 percent for social security and medicare taxes in 2013 -- versus 7 percent for employed workers, according to the "New York Daily News."
- Forbes: You Are All Alone: The Best And Worst Things About Freelancing
- MSMoney.com: The Pros and Cons
- Nolo: Being a Consultant, Freelancer, or Contractor: Pros and Cons
- Forbes: 4 Important 2013 Payroll Updates & Tax Changes For Small Business
- Forbes: When Your First Job Is Freelance
- New York Daily News: Dodging the Tax Nan: Self-Employed Brooklyn Freelancers Hide Out During Tax Season
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Economic News Release: Employer Costs for Employee Compensation
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