Imagine your perfect work week. Do you work for one company or do you have different clients? Are you in an office or do you work from home? How much flexibility do you need in your daily routine? Deciding whether it’s better for you to work freelance or as a full-time employee depends on your own work style and what you want your week to look like.

Being a freelancer and being an employee both have good and bad sides. Freelancers work for themselves and offer their services directly to clients. They make their own schedules and can work full or part-time. Employees typically work full-time for one company and get benefits and a fixed salary.

Not sure which job is right for you? Find out more about the pros and cons of being a freelancer versus being an employee.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelancing

Being a freelancer comes with its own set of pros and cons. What might seem like a downside to some could be seen as a benefit to others. Whether freelancing suits you or not depends on your career ambitions and personal traits.

Freelancers run their own businesses and enjoy a lot of control over their careers, such as deciding their rates and picking which projects and clients to take on. However, freelancing can bring less stability, especially at the start, and your income might fluctuate week by week based on the projects you’re working on.

Advantages of Freelancing

Did you realize that in 2022, 39% of the U.S. workforce, which is about 60 million Americans, worked as freelancers? Lots of folks join the gig economy as freelancers because they like the flexibility of working from home and the liberty to select the projects they want to do.

Freelance tasks are typically based on results, so you can work whenever and wherever is most convenient for you, as long as you meet your deadlines. If freelancing catches your interest, here are some of the main benefits:

Create your own flexible timetable. Choose the hours that suit you best, from when you’ll be accessible to how much you want to work each week. Flexible schedules are especially attractive to caregivers, digital nomads, and college students.

Unlock unlimited earning potential. As a freelancer, you set your own price. As you gain more expertise and skills and become an authority, you can opt to charge more. Unlike an employee with a fixed salary who needs to request pay raises, freelancers can determine their rates based on the demand for their services, the market rate, and their own availability.

Drawbacks of Freelancing

Running your own show and working as an independent professional also comes with its downsides; for every advantage, there’s often a disadvantage. As a freelancer, you set the rules, and you’re the one who must follow them. Meeting deadlines and keeping up with your workload falls squarely on your shoulders.

You need to actively seek out new clients and projects, soliciting feedback and exploring if there are additional projects you can take on from existing clients. Initiative and patience are crucial when starting your own business, particularly in freelancing where your skills are the services you’re offering. When contemplating a career as a freelancer, here are some of the key drawbacks:

Building contacts and clients takes time. Often, your first project may not be your ideal one; you have to establish your career, promote yourself, expand your network, and connect with clients. On platforms like Fiverr, freelancers can explore the Talent Marketplace to find jobs that match their skills. Some new freelancers start with lower-paying jobs to boost their reputation.

Taxes can be tricky. Taxation for independent contractors is a major concern for some considering freelancing. Unlike regular employment where taxes are deducted from your pay, freelancers need to set aside money and pay taxes quarterly or settle them during tax season.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Full-time Employee

Similar to freelancing, working as an employee has its pros and cons. When you choose the stability of a fixed salary and commit your entire workweek to one employer, you sacrifice a degree of control and potentially faster career advancement that freelancing offers. Some individuals find reassurance in the reliability of a regular paycheck, knowing precisely how much they’ll earn each week and the hours they’re expected to work, while others might feel constrained. What one person perceives as security, another might view as constraining.

Advantages of Working as a Full-time Employee

Many companies reassessed their remote work policies during the early COVID-19 lockdowns and now offer increased flexibility. A popular approach is a hybrid policy, allowing employees to work from home part of the time while having set days in the office. Some employees prefer being in the office for the social aspect or because it facilitates their work using company resources.

Workers might appreciate the routine and security of being an employee, with benefits, a fixed schedule, salary, and paid leave. If you’re considering full-time employment, here are some key benefits:

Stable income and perks. A significant reason people opt for employment is the financial stability provided by a fixed salary and benefits. Depending on your location, these benefits may include health insurance, retirement plans, vacation time, paid leave, and wellness perks like commuter and meal allowances.

Structured career progression. When starting a job as an employee, you likely have goals for advancement. Many companies offer opportunities for professional growth, such as free training courses or internal development programs. Employees also have a clearer path to promotion and career advancement.

Drawbacks of Being a Full-time Employee

While full-time employment offers stability and financial security, it also comes with its downsides. The pandemic prompted a rapid shift to remote work for many companies during lockdowns. However, when it was time to return to the office, numerous workers opted out, contributing to what’s been dubbed the Great Resignation.

Some former full-time employees left their jobs and transitioned to the gig economy as they reassessed their priorities, seeking more schedule flexibility or the option to work from home without the commute to an office. When contemplating full-time employment, here are some key cons to consider:

Challenges with maintaining work-life balance. Many employees struggle to juggle work, social life, family, and personal well-being. When you spend 40 hours a week at work plus over 30 minutes commuting each way, along with daily tasks like preparing meals and caring for loved ones and pets, there’s little time left for exercise and personal activities. Fully remote workers can eliminate the commute and much of the preparation time.

Stale routines. Many full-time employees lack the flexibility to choose their work environment, whether it’s at home one day or in a coffee shop or co-working space the next. This can lead to monotonous routines that stifle creativity and become dull and uninspiring.

Summary

Think about what kind of work week you’d like. Do you want to work for yourself or for a company? Both have good and bad parts. Freelancers can choose when to work, but it’s hard to find clients and deal with taxes. Employees have a steady income and chances to grow, but it can be tough to balance work and life and you might feel stuck in a routine. Decide based on what’s best for you.