Being a freelancer is something very common today. It is usually considered to be something great and enjoyable. For some people it is better than being a full-time employee in a company. And in some aspects, it truly is, but everything has a price. If you're considering becoming a freelance developer, here's a list of the most common pros and cons of this type of employment, which might help in your choice.
You have the freedom to choose your "office" and even change it on a daily basis. The only prerequisites are a stable WiFi connection and a power outlet for your laptop. As long as these are fulfilled the options are immense.
You get to pick where you're most comfortable and productive. You can work from home, on the road, in a café, or in a shared working space. You can even take this a step further by becoming a digital nomad, travelling the world and not staying in one place for too long. At the end of the day, it's always summer in some parts of the world ;)
As a freelancer, you’ll have the ability to work at home and potentially spend more time with your family than you would in a full-time on-site development position.
When you’re a freelancer, your work adjusts to your life and not the other way around.
You have the freedom to choose jobs and only accept those that you decide upon. If a job’s pay rate is unattractive, or you don’t think it takes you further in fulfilling your career goals - you can choose to turn it down.
As a freelancer, you have the potential to scale your services. Most successful founders of bootstrapped companies and agencies, all started as freelancers. Of course, there's risk involved, but that’s a risk you should take.
If you’re a freelance developer, your job doesn’t only include coding. It also includes looking for new clients; improving your social presence; communicating with existing clients; improving your skills; accounting and taxes.
Furthermore, clients can be unreliable, jobs fall through, and payments don't come as quickly as you'd like to.
You may end up working odd hours to make yourself available for your client's schedules. Flexible hours are a luxury for well-established freelancers. When you first start, you may work weekends and nights instead of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as you planned. If that's when your clients are working, that's when you'll be working.
Balance is really tricky when you’re a freelancer. If you enjoy your work, you’re likely to keep finding more of it and work yourself down to a burnout. On the other hand, if you have a lot of things going on in your personal life, you’ll probably find yourself neglecting work.