Working as a freelancer can be lucrative and beneficial, even though there is still just as much traditional employment, depending on vocations and location demands. Nowadays, the number of independent developers and contractors is rising compared to people who still stick to the standard and traditional full-time job, predominantly on-site.
Non-traditional working sounds good from many aspects, but it has been drastically sought, especially since the pandemic — remote work became not just a safer way to do a job but also came with more perks than initially imagined. It is wrongly thought that freelancing and contracting are not ‘a real job’ or involve too few work hours to make a living.
Many people are even scared of freelancing full-time because they fear a lack of security or long-term earnings such as a regular monthly income, etc. However, this is not entirely true in today’s gig economy and fast-paced modernized work novelties.
We will debunk these sorts of beliefs by comparing freelancing vs. traditional employment as presented.
What is freelancing?
Starting freelancing usually works by signing a contract with a client that is interested in the freelancer’s skills and expertise for a certain period. The freelancer is expected to provide services by a deadline (mostly flexible).
It’s quite simple, without too demanding conditions, and there are full-time freelancers and part-time freelancer jobs — it all depends on the type of services needed and the contract mutually agreed upon.
Freelancers are independent workers who provide their services to clients willing to pay the most or are open to hiring them upon an agreed compensation sum for a limited period.
Pros of freelancing
Variety of clients
When working this way, they will get the opportunity to work on various engagements, topics, and niches relevant to the vocation of the freelancer and communicate with different clients per each engagement. For example, a content writer may write for the travel industry for a while and then for entirely different sectors like IT, or similar industries, as long as they know the technical aspects of their work.
Building better expertise and freelance business portfolio
In continuation to the point above, when communicating with various clients and working on different topics and industries, the portfolio will showcase a much richer experience that applies in more than a single defined industry. Interestingly, in a way, a freelancer is like their own project manager.
Flexible time management
One of the most significant benefits of freelancing is that workers can manage their own time. They can work at night, in the daytime, or mixed, as long as they deliver work on time by agreed deadlines.
Remote work from anywhere
Working from home or while traveling is a significant perk that mustn’t be overlooked. Even the simple freedom to move around the house is great enough and provides much-needed comfort and less psychological and physical strain than just being in an office all day.
No professional dress code needed
In the past, dress code and appearance have played a significant role in determining an employee's expertise. Some professions still require a specific dress code, but with freelancing, there is a dress code rarely, only during occasional brief meetings (if any at all, and most of them are remote and online too).
Easy to pick up
As long as the worker has a stable internet connection and digital equipment, signing up to freelancing platforms and working their way up is neither too demanding nor costly.
Constant demand for freelancers and contractors
Even if we imagine there are just traditional employments mostly, or entirely, an extra service by professionals is always welcome to businesses. And, in a digital economy world, it goes without saying that this type of professional is even the norm.
Good work-life balance
Since freelancers manage their own time and working location, they can establish a good work-life balance. Some people work only on specific ‘power hours’ during night or day, have other obligations that need to be done during the day, or are stay-at-home parents; regardless, the freelancer can manage it all.
Potential for a higher income
Freelancers, in most cases, can work on other engagements and more job platforms, especially if the current engagements are not too complex and demanding. In most cases, there are no repercussions for working with multiple companies or clients.
Dynamic combo of creativity and responsibility
Despite managing their hours and being free to work from anywhere, freelancers invest just as much responsibility in their work as anyone else. It is positively challenging to be freely creative but also work intensely and passionately on their engagements and regularly follow new opportunities.
No commuting costs
There are no costs for commuting and moving to and from the work location, which the freelancers themselves define. We see how time and resources are saved if remote or working from home.
Cons of freelancing
No health insurance or taxes covered
Regardless if it’s a contractor or a freelancer, these workers need to pay their taxes, which are not included in their income. Also, the same applies to health or other insurances.
No paid time off in some cases
The time/hours spent on freelancing are the hours paid for. For contractors, there is sometimes some leeway regarding important religious or national holidays, but for freelancers, it doesn’t apply. A sick day or a few idle days of not working is, in a way, a loss of daily incomes or commissions.
Medium to short time limitations on contracts
There is always the risk of not finding a new client fast or near the end of a current contract. Some freelance gigs are short-term, and some ‘idle’ time could pass until the next income opportunity starts.
It takes a bit of time to create a strong base of clients
It is fast and easy to start freelancing, but it takes some time to build an adequate base of clients or acquire enough (good) ratings on the job platforms. Those freelancers with more ratings and clients, and excellent ratings for that matter, will have fewer problems finding the next project in no time.
What is traditional employment?
Traditional employment is simply defined as the standard employment where people get hired by a company and carry out their work on a more long-term basis, five days a week, with eight working hours per day, usually a 9 to 5 type of job, and it can be in day and night shifts too, as long as there are fixed hours and days.
Traditional employment does not mean passive income, just because there are fixed days and hours or because there is a misconception that people ‘steal’ company time during daily office hours.
Pros of traditional employment
Month by month, a fixed sum arrives as a salary, not fluctuating or changing depending on the work dynamic.
Health insurance and taxes calculated in the income
The fixed salary arrives to the employee independently of the calculated costs for taxes within that country. Taxes, and health insurance, are covered by the employer during traditional employment.
In case of health issues, urgent needs, or anything similar that requires some time off, even more time off, is covered, and the salary is not affected by time off in justified cases.
Cons of traditional employment
There is no flexibility in work hours with a regular job type, nor working any time of day and night as employees find fit. There is a lunch break in those fixed hours, and that is all.
It could get claustrophobic for most to spend a third of the day within the same workspaces in the exact location — no possibility of working remotely or from home (in most cases, if not all cases).
Poor work-life balance
Because of fixed location and hours, any obligations, private matters, and urgencies need to be postponed only after the work hours end, which can be very limiting overall.
Less versatile portfolio
Traditional employments usually last much longer than freelancing or contracting, and there is no significant variety of clients and projects.
Physical strain and stress
With traditional day jobs, employees spend many hours in one chair, in one space, without much movement or remoteness freedom, which can be stressful when it happens regularly. Not to mention the overall routine of waking up, getting ready, and commuting, all of which also contribute to tiredness.
No ability to choose projects and tasks
As it may sound secure and stable, not to be surprised by challenging work or novelties, it can get tedious very fast to work on almost the same thing every day, year by year.
The overall routine of traditional employment is stale pretty fast. The exact location, number of hours, commuting areas to and from, the same type of obligations in general, the same employer, and the same team of employees for a long time to come.
Resources for hiring needed
The resources here include all the paperwork and all the additional experts within the company to conduct actions required before and during the hiring, including taxes, insurance, absence of leave for soon-to-be parents, and more.
Resources for commuting needed
Depending on what is agreed upon, in most cases, transportation is not covered to and from the workplace.
No foolproof way to vet and test expertise
With traditional employment, there is a discussion about the resumé, work experience, samples of work, and interview, which goes by quickly. In comparison, freelancers and contractors get tested through various skill tests, practical assignments, and similar.
Why is freelancing better than traditional employment today?
By now, the ‘verdict’ of the comparison between freelance and traditional jobs, or types of employment, is obvious. There are way more perks and benefits for both sides with freelancing.
Despite the feeling of security with steady unchanging income and the safety of holding a job position for longer or having taxes and insurances covered, traditional employment is more costly for the employer, more tiring for the employee, and less flexible regarding hours and work locations. A crucial aspect is a less significant variety of expertise in the past and less attention to assessment before the hiring is finalized.
Freelancing has the upper position in this comparison because it is less costly, excellent for portfolio building and rich work experience, and allows for a better work-life balance and flexibility. The assessment is also much more accentuated in this case than traditional employment. Assessing or vetting experts is a crucial point that guarantees as much as possible that the freelancer works with their skills perfectly and will likely be retained for longer because they promptly provide good-quality work.
One example of an excellent way to assess and retain experts is the example of how Proxify conducts the vetting and hiring processes. There is a meticulous recruitment process with talent acquisition specialists that dedicate enough time and effort to find the best of the best candidates.
This is followed by interviewing and vetting with additional experts during a multi-stage vetting process that includes various practical, technical, and coding tests, confirming the candidate's expertise in-depth. The process takes days instead of months and is less costly than traditional hiring processes.
Both types of employment, freelancing/contracts and traditional work for someone else, but one allows for more freedom, flexibility, and career progress, among other things. A freelancing career is a new way of working. It has proven to be way better for everyone included, including aspects of resources, freedom, happiness in the workplace, and quality of work delivered.
If you need to save time and resources for hiring a freelancer or contractor, traditional hiring is far from the ideal option. Instead, opt out for non-traditional and freelancing employment, which guarantees the superb quality of work and services provided in less time and for a lower cost overall.