Sunday, September 11, 2016

Should I Become a Freelancer or Full-Time Employee after Graduating College?

As a recent college graduate, you have to decide whether full-time employment is your path in life, or if you prefer to go the way of the freelancer. Some of you may choose to work full-time for a company and do freelancing on the side. No matter which path you choose, one of these options is going to be best for you.

Transitioning from an employee to the freelancer/consultant world might seem difficult at first; if that’s something you’re interested in. You lose your security blanket (i.e. your job) and have to become acclimated to the freelancing world.

In many cases, working as a freelancer will often create an environment of feast or famine. At certain points you’re going to have more work than you can handle and wonder why anyone would ever consider working for a company again. And then your run comes to an end and the work dries up. Suddenly, you can’t believe you ever thought freelancing/consulting was a smart choice.

Nonetheless, being an employee certainly has its privileges. And being a freelancer/consultant also has its appreciative moments. At the end of the day, you have to decide which path is the best option for you.

The Benefits of Becoming a Freelancer

As you can imagine, there are many great benefits to becoming a freelancer. Some of our all-time favorites include:

  • Setting your own hours (you will need to be available for your customers during their regular business hours.)
  • Choose projects that you feel passionate about.
  • Charge your own set rates.
  • Business expenses are deductible.
  • Gaining the ability to be your own boss.
  • Using timekeeping software to track billable hours.

The Negatives of Becoming a Freelancer

Nothing in life is perfect. There are potential downsides to becoming a freelancer/consultant. They might include:

  • No longer having coworkers/working in seclusion.
  • Finding new customers when you workload runs dry.
  • Employment taxes are your responsibility.
  • Healthcare coverage is your responsibility.
  • Following up with customers that do not pay their invoices on time.
  • Taking the necessary steps to collect past-due payments.

The Benefits of Becoming a Full-Time Employee

Full-time employment certainly has its perks. Some of the best benefits of being a full-time employee include:

  • Receiving a regular paycheck (weekly, biweekly, twice a month, etc.)
  • Retirement account contributions from your employer (401(k), 403(b), etc.
  • Employer pays for your health insurance.
  • Employer provides full-time employees with paid sick days.
  • Employer provides full-time employees with paid vacation days.
  • Employer provides full-time employees with paid personal days.

The Negatives of Becoming a Full-Time Employee

On the flipside, there are certain things that people considered negatives when it comes to full time employment. Some of the potential negatives include:

  • Employees must show up to work at a specific time.
  • Employees are expected to stay at work until a specific time.
  • Employees often feel pressure to continue working at their place of employment because they fear losing a steady paycheck.
  • Employees do not control whether they can take personal days or vacation days when they request them (i.e. management refuses your request to take your vacation on a certain date because the company is busy and they need you to continue working.)
  • Employees are occasionally berated or belittled in front of their coworkers.

Full-time vs. Freelancer

Now that you’ve discovered all of the benefits and facts, it’s up to you to make the ultimate decision. Some new college graduates will prefer to venture out on their own and take the consultant/freelancer route. Others aren’t looking for a life of adventure. They want more stability in their lives and full-time employment is the best choice.
Which situation is better for you? Should you become a full-time employee or freelancer? It’s time to decide. Look deep within your heart and choose wisely.

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