There is a ton of focus placed (and rightfully so) on how much you can earn with freelancing. It's true that you have a lot of control over your income with freelancing, and the sky can truly be the limit. But in this post, I wanted to focus on other benefits of freelancing that can sometimes be overlooked.
#1 - Flexibility in your workload
Sometimes new freelancers get so caught up in how to start freelancing, that they overlook how to design their freelance business! One of the major benefits of freelancing is your ability to decide how much work you want to take on. There's no hard and fast rule that states that you have to work 40 hours a week for 50 weeks out of the year. When you're setting up your freelance career, you decide how much to take on in order to fit your lifestyle.
Early on, when I started traveling in South America, I decided that it made sense to scale way back on client work in order to enroll in Spanish classes. With 4 hours of intensive classes Monday - Thursday mornings, there was no way I'd have been able to keep up with client work the whole time. So I downsized the amount of work I took on and upsized learning, fun, and hanging out with classmates! "Una margarita por favor!"
#2 - You can create your own flexible working hours
Along with the freedom to decide how much you take on, deciding when you work is another of the important benefits of freelancing. You're operating as a business, and as such, you decide your working hours. That's great news if you're a night owl who does your best work between 10 PM and 2 AM... or if you're up with the early bird and going after that worm!
There are certain considerations around making sure that you get back to clients in a timely fashion and making sure that you're getting your work done. But for the most part, high-quality clients love a freelancer who can work independently. You'll want to make it clear to clients from the beginning that flexible working hours are a part of working with you. That's easily done as a part of your client onboarding process.
#3 - You can work from anywhere in the world
Say hello to the laptop lifestyle! No, you're not working from a beach all day every day like the cheesy stock photos. (Or like some Instagram influencers feeds would have you believe).
But you do have the ability to pick up and work from anywhere in the world. I've worked from Medellín, Lima, Quito, Paris, Reykjavik and more! (Not to mention on all the trains, planes, and automobiles as well!)
Many clients (again, the high-quality ones) will not care as long as you're getting what you need to get done. And, just because you can work from anywhere in the world doesn't mean you have to. If staying home is more your style you're free to wear pajamas all day or take the dog for a walk whenever. (Yes, even pets can get in on the benefits of freelance life!)
#4 - No commute (unless you choose to!)
It's estimated that Americans spend around 60 minutes a day commuting. Some 4.3 million workers (back in 2018) had commutes of over 90 minutes each day! What a massive waste of time! Working from home means no commute back and forth from work every day. This is a benefit of freelancing that can really add up! (It's not just about the money when it comes to numbers!)
No commute can mean sleeping in, or finishing early, or choosing when and where you commute. Once the "have to" part is taken out of the equation, there's a good chance you'll find yourself wanting to commute here and there to check out a trendy coffee shop or connect with others in coworking spaces around town. You choose your office for the day!
#5 - As an independent worker, you choose who to work with
This has to be my favorite benefit of freelancing. When you're in a traditional job, you're sorta stuck with your boss, your teammates, your vendors, etc. You get assigned to projects, teams, tasks, and you don't really have a whole lot of say in the matter.
Yet, when you make the jump to freelancing, all that changes. You get to decide what clients you pitch, what types of projects are interesting to you, and what you'd rather pass on.
A freelance business gives you the power to choose, even changing things up down the road when you need to. Just a month or two into freelancing I was already switching up the services I offered to clients because I had a better idea of what I liked and what direction I wanted to go in for the future.
#6 - The ability to work on a variety of projects
As a freelancer, you're a business owner. And over a period of time, you'll end up working with a number of different clients on a variety of different projects.
Let's say you're specializing in Facebook Ads. That'll still be different from client to client. Sure, the base is the same, but working with a company selling pet accessories is wildly different than a business hotel chain.
You'll meet different people and improve your soft skills as you work with people from all kinds of backgrounds. You'll also bolster your problem-solving and critical thinking skills as you tackle different projects and manage different situations. These freelancing benefits will add up to more money in your pocket over time (but oh yeah, we're not talking about that here!)
You'll also build up your portfolio and have more skills and proven results to offer to future clients.
#7 - Business to business relationships (better treatment & respect)
As a business owner, you gain a lot more respect than the typical boss to employee relationship. When you're a freelancer selling your services to another business, it's an equal playing field. They need something from you (a result) and they'll pay you for it.
A lot of freelancers don't recognize this and get themselves into all kinds of messed-up situations (see clientsfromhell.com) but that doesn't have to be the case with you.
Managing yourself like a business owner, setting expectations, and a solid onboarding process will keep you on equal footing with those who are in need of your services. There's no price you can put on being treated with respect, professionalism, and value so trust me when I say you'll praise this benefit of freelancing for years to come!
#8 - Skip the office politics
Where are my independent workers at? 🙋♀️🙋♂️ I absolutely love this freelancing benefit. No drama! No dealing with the latest gossip around the watercooler. No watching people suck up to the boss for a promotion. Or the least qualified person on the team getting promoted without merit.
Hey, no caring about promotions at all because when you want to make more you just raise your rate!
Seriously, being able to just sit down in your office (or a café, or coworking space) and just focus on doing good work is a life-changing benefit of freelancing.
Psssst! Also ... you get way more done in way less time!
#9 - Achieving work-life balance is not just possible, it's easy
So many times, people focus on the income possibilities of freelancing. They are great (although not for this post to get into)! But there's another thing that I believe is just as, if not more, important. Achieving work-life balance. Fortunately, it's quite possible when you set up a freelancing career.
As mentioned so many times in this post ... when you freelance, you're in the driver's seat. You make the decisions for when you work, how much you work, who you work with, and the types of work you do. All of these things help to create balance in your life.
Hopefully, you're creating a life you love and not one you hate. Having work that you enjoy, in a quantity that supports you, but also lets you go out to enjoy time off the clock, is yet another of the many great benefits of freelancing.
If you haven't figured it out by now, singing the praises of freelancing is kinda my thing! From a broke former middle school teacher $30,000 in debt to making just shy of 6-figures in my first year of freelancing, I'm well acquainted with the benefits of freelancing and just how far it can take you. If you'd like a deeper dive into freelancing, check out my course: The Escape Hatch which will take you from beginner to setting up a solid freelance career in no time!