One objection to life as a freelancer is that the work isn’t stable, that you can’t count on a steady income the way you can from a regular job. This is true in some ways, for example the rhythm of ebb and flow in a payment cycle. Some months, I make very little. Others, I gross more than I ever saw working for “the man.”
For most people, though, it’s not this instability of income that’s the main objection. It’s the stability of employment. Without a job to go to, and an employer giving you a salary, there’s an illusion that a freelancer has less job security than somebody with a “real job.”
But that’s just not the case.
As an employee, you’re out of luck if your employer shuts down. Often with very little warning. You have to start looking for a new job right away. Even if you don’t lose your job entirely, you can suffer cut hours. Your benefits might erode, or you can lose potential income as salary caps try to deal with a bearish economy.
As a freelancer, you’re less exposed. I have 5 regular clients and a running string of one-off or occasional assignments. Two weeks ago, one went belly-up. No more assignments available, and no communication as to why or whether or not they’re done for good. If that had been my boss, I’d be out of luck.
Instead, I can increase my output for my other clients — and take other opportunities because I have a bit more time. Part of freelancing is consistently seeking new assignments. As those come in, they’ll replace the income hole from the one. Even better, I can work harder when work becomes available. My income is unlimited as long as I’m willing to work.
Freelancing still means getting paid slowly, and often in unreliable spurts. It means taking more responsibility for your own success. It means careful attention to budgeting and cash flow.
But it doesn’t mean instability or a lack of job security. In fact, it means the exact opposite.
Thanks for listening.