Working as a freelance is one of the new options that people have for making a living.
For a long time, work has been considered as a long-term contractual relationship between a company or employer and a person.
Perhaps for that reason, even some people still do not understand that being a freelance is a way of working very typical of our times.
Why the freelancing has spread
The rapid spread of the Internet has produced a new series of services, which has required professionals who can do them.
For example, companies need graphic and web designers, copywriters, web application developers, etc.
But not all companies or organizations can afford to have all these in-house professionals.
Then freelance work has opened the doors to these companies or organizations to meet their needs, while helping many professionals to earn income.
Of course, like any other activity, being a freelancer has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look objectively at each one of them.
Advantage of the freelance work
1) Freedom of schedule
Instead of entering at the office at 8 am and ending at 5 pm, freelancers can carry out their work at any time of their choice.
That allows them to use a few hours to attend to their family, and work on some others things, always according to their own convenience.
2) No more traffic, no fancy clothes
Although some freelancers and remote workers go to places like Starbucks to work, most do it from their own home.
Then, you do not have to pay Uber, Commute, Bus or any other form of transportation. It is not only a saving of money, but also of time, since it is not necessary to be moving from one place to another during rush hours.
Staying at home offers a lot of comfort. In fact, it seems that the preferred clothing are pajamas.
3) Payment per project, not per hours
Frequently, freelancers become experts in some types of projects, which allows them to run faster each time.
Then, over time, they may receive the same amount of money, using less time.
4) Possibility of carrying out own projects
Some freelancers choose this type of work to have enough time and flexibility to also do their own personal projects.
Some of those personal projects can be, for example, to have a blog. But they can also be entrepreneurships or even hobbies.
Disadvantages of the freelance work
1) There is no fixed income
Those who work for a company can count on that – regardless of how it was for them – they will have a paycheck at the end of the month. They can plan what to do with the money, because they are sure that they will receive it.
However, freelancers do not necessarily receive money with the same periodicity. In fact, they can earn good money for a project and then spend some time without receiving any.
That insecurity can be a source of anguish for some people.
2) Difficulty finding new customers
Once the project ends, it is time to start a new one. But sometimes there is not a new project waiting.
Then you have to look for it. But getting a good project to work on can take time. Sometimes more time than the necessary to make the project itself.
3) There is not medical insurance
Freelancers work on their own. Unless in their country they have some public option for their type of work, they should get their medical coverage privately, which is usually expensive.
4) Not everyone understands it
Since being a freelancer is not the most common, some people believe that they do not work or do not like to work.
So every freelancer has more than one family member or friend who believes that what he or she actually does not work. That can be discouraging.
Toptal, the best option for contractors and freelancers
I have found some web applications where contractors and freelances can find each other. In fact, there are several out there.
Some of these applications have specific niches, while others are aimed to specific language markets.
Another difference they usually have is their business model. While some are open to specific requests from customers, which freelancers should seek to satisfy, others have products almost ready for customers looking for something done.
However, after knowing many of these web applications, my favorite is Toptal. I have several reasons:
1) They have a thorough intake process
Toptal explains that only 3% of those who request to enter and offer their services, get into the community. The admission process is quite strict.
That’s good because it ensures quality to customers. But it is also good for freelancers, because, as they are very specialized, their rates can be higher.
2) They have many clients, some of them high profile
For freelancers who are part of Toptal, getting the next project is usually not a problem.
Not only is it important to be sure of getting projects, which solves one of the disadvantages of freelance life, but several of the clients are high profile.
For example, companies such as Hewlett Packard, Airbnb, Zendesk, Pfizer, etc. trust some of their digital needs to Toptal freelancers.
3) A great blog
The content of the Toptal blog articles is exceptional. It is always developed by experts from each area.
So any freelance – really anyone – can take advantage of the knowledge that is shared there to improve their skills or get new ones.
4) A vibrant community
Toptal really believe on the freelancers community that shapes it. They know that, to stay on top, they must have the best community of freelancers that exists on the planet.
To keep the community warm and educated, it organizes events every week, in different cities, worldwide.
My personal position and recommendation
For some time I have been doing freelance work, with activities for my own company.
Along the time, some of these companies have become recurring customers. However, it can be considered freelance work because there is not contractual relationship.
Personally, I love the flexibility of time offered by freelance work, and the possibility of growing professionally, when facing new challenges every time.
That is why I am opting to be part of the Toptal Freelance visual designers Group.
If you think that being a freelancer can be your thing, I would recommend you to join Toptal, as I am doing. Indeed it offers a lot of advantages.