BY: JOHNAÉ DE FELICIS
Tom Bilyeu famously said, “In my parent’s generation, a person had one job in their lifetime. Someone like my sister and her peers would have 4 or 5 jobs throughout their career. It is projected that an individual from Generation Z will have 4 or 5 jobs at the same time due to the gig economy.”
The gig economy was practically a myth two decades ago. Now, it’s a reality. More and more people are joining the gig economy these days–either out of necessity or by choice.
Previous studies predicted that 50.9% of the US workforce will be freelancers by 2027, meaning that 86.5 million Americans will be freelancing before the decade’s end. Only time will tell if this actually comes true.
A career in the gig economy can be an adjustment if you’re used to working a traditional job. Leaving your main source of income for freelance is a big decision, but also a rewarding one if you do the work to succeed.
I left the corporate world in 2018 to become my own boss, and freelancing helped me make that possible. Taking the first leap was a scary feeling, but I was determined to make it work for me.
What’s so great about the gig economy? Is freelancing better than a full-time job? It depends on what best fits your needs and your desired lifestyle. Freelancing isn’t for everyone. Like anything, it has its upsides and drawbacks, and there’s an opportunity cost that comes with choosing this career path rather than traditional employment.
Pro: Freelancers have more freedom and flexibility
Most freelancers don’t have to go to the office every day and sit there for eight hours, because we can technically work from anywhere. In contrast, a full-time job often requires you to arrive there before 9AM and head home after 8 hours (or more) of work.
Prefer to work on a flexible schedule? Freelancing may suit you well. It’s particularly advantageous to stay at home moms (or dads) who prefer to look after their children while working.
The beauty of the gig economy is that you’re able to clock in, clock out, and plug away whenever you please. You call all the shots!
Con: Everything falls on you
When you become a freelancer, you become an entrepreneur. Freelancers are self-employed individuals who mostly profit from creative outlets.
Clients pay freelancers to deliver work that meets their expectations. The difference between clients and employers is that an employer must compensate you for the work you do as long as you’re on their payroll.
A client can request a refund if they’re not happy with your work, or they may not pay you at all until you produce a product that they want (depending on the terms you agree to). The responsibility of getting paid will always fall on you as a freelancer–along with getting and keeping clients.
Freelancing is a business, and running a business requires excellence at all times. It’s important to always be on your A-Game, as clients will not hesitate to replace you with someone who (in their eyes) is capable of doing a better job than you. You cannot be mediocre or produce work that’s less than professional quality.
Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?
Have you recently thought about ditching your job to pursue a freelance career?
Your financial stability should always come first. Since joining the gig economy involves inevitable risk, you may want to consider keeping your traditional job while growing your freelance business.
That’s what I did until I was comfortable enough to leave the corporate nest and branch out on my own. In this way, you can significantly lower the risk of starting a new venture while still doing what you love.
You can even have a part-time job and run your own freelance business on the side. Or if your full-time job is quite easy, you can keep your full-time job and build a side hustle.