Corporate or freelance? You may be wondering which option is best for your own freedom and livelihood.
In this article, we will explore the many pros and cons of both options to help you make the right choice for you.
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The corporate world gets a lot of criticism, but when it comes to freelance vs employee pros and cons, here are some of the pros we find to be important to understand and consider.
One of the most obvious perks of working in corporate is the idea of stability. Sure, you may not be able to engage in a myriad of jobs, but you at least have the stability of one.
It alleviates a lot of possible worrying knowing that the job you have today is one you will have for a long time. Although it’s not glamorous, having a corporate job is safe and has a lot of the following benefits as well.
The steady stream of money is probably the biggest pro when it comes to being in the corporate world. As a freelancer, you never know where the next paycheck may be coming from.
The weekly or biweekly pay is something reliable, and as we’ll mention later can be much more beneficial when you have plans for saving or are building up for large purchases in the future.
Company Benefits and Perks
Health insurance, retirement, and holiday bonuses are a few of the many benefits that corporate positions have to offer.
Often the best part is that you don’t even have to think about it, most of the funds are taken right out of your check and sent to the various accounts or benefits.
This can be relieving, especially since health care can be difficult and expensive without corporate plans. It also doesn’t require you to put in the leg work to search for proper health or retirement plans, which can be time-consuming and overwhelming.
Looking to save for that nice suit, slick car, or a new house? The benefit of a corporate job is that with the predictable income you can actually budget accordingly. When you are getting that steady paycheck it is much easier to see your budget far into the future.
When it comes to freelancing, you don’t really know how your income is going to spread out throughout the year.
This makes it difficult to actually plan accordingly and budget, which may make it tough to justify making more expensive purchases even when you need them.
Only Focused On One Aspect
The great thing about having a corporate job is also the fact that the only aspect you need to focus on is the actual job. When it comes to freelancing, as we’ll get into later on, you have to not only focus on the work but also consistently bring in work.
It’s almost like you’re constantly looking for work, but you’re still working at the same time. A corporate job guarantees that you are only focusing on your job. This frees up a lot of stress and is probably best for individuals who have a one-track mind.
Obviously, there are a lot of reasons to avoid the corporate world, and in many ways, these have to do with feeling restricted. Here are a couple of downsides to working in corporate.
Fixed Salary and Slow Increase
The big issue is you get paid what you get paid, and in many cases, that’s what you’ll make for a while regardless of your growth with skills or experience. It can be very hard to climb your way up that ladder.
Some people end up in the same position with the same pay for years. It may be stable, but the problem with stability is that there’s very little movement.
For people that like some variety in their lives, this can be a real issue.
Fixed Work Schedule
Speaking of variety, there will be very little of that when it comes to your days. With a corporate job, you can be sure that your work schedule will be the same everyday.
For some people, this can be a pro. It can be nice to know your schedule every day and be able to work around that.
For instance, if you have a family and need to have a set schedule for picking up the kids, making dinner, or even just keeping a steady gym schedule, the fixed work schedule can be the best option.
However, if you like a little bit of flexibility, it may not be best for you.
Strictly Bound By Company Policies
Bureaucracy and rules can be stifling for some people. In many ways, these policies are crucial for keeping the corporate environment working smoothly and with civility, but it can be frustrating for others.
Some people find it difficult to fit into the policies and find it restrictive resulting in less productivity. This may mean the corporate world isn’t for you.
Commute to Work/On-site Work
Maybe you like sitting in traffic for an hour, but for most people, it’s not a great experience.
With a corporate job, as we exit the pandemic people are returning to on-site working. Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but most in these positions are working on-site, and require some degree of a commute.
Not only does this take a lot of time out of your day, but it can be frustrating especially when the alternative is working from the comfort of your own home.
In corporate environments, it’s not foreign to have management breathing down your neck the majority of the time, and you also never know what kind of boss you may be stuck with for what could be years.
Even if you’re disciplined enough to work on your own, there may be the typical boss that can’t trust their team to do the work.
Freelancing on the other hand makes you your own boss.
Freelancing is a very popular option today, and here is a list of freelance advantages and disadvantages. These pros may make you see why freelancing is better than a job in corporate.
Flexible Working Hours
No more 9-5 for you if you’re working as a freelancer unless you want to. But a freelance position gives you the freedom to choose your hours. Maybe you work better at night, or in assorted short periods throughout the day.
Freelancing allows you that type of freedom to work when you want. This can be beneficial if you have a family at home and need to be more flexible.
Work From Home/Work From Anywhere
In addition to the flexible working hours, freelance also gives you the flexibility of a working environment. You can work from home, or you can go to your favorite coffee shop every day to get work done.
Depending on your job you may even be able to travel around the country, or the world while maintaining your job. That’s not something you can do in a corporate position.
Work On Your Own Terms
When you’re freelancing you’re your own boss, you make your own rules, and you do your own work. The beauty is that you’re in charge of most of the aspects of your business.
This can lead to a less stressful environment. One that allows you to be more productive, and one that is more in line with how you like to work.
As a freelancer, you don’t have to worry about giving a percentage of your money to unwanted services, and also depending on your work you can probably make more.
Working in corporate may mean that your work is underpaid and underappreciated. However, as a freelancer, you can set your rate and you walk with all of the profit. Now, there can be some negatives to this, but we’ll come back to that.
Flexibility and Independence
Choosing your hours, your workspace, and being your own boss all means you are independent. It can feel empowering to know that you don’t have to answer to anyone and that your work is what you decide it to be.
It also allows you to welcome some variety into your life instead of sticking with that repetitive Monday through Friday schedule of working 9 to 5.
With freedom and flexibility come many downsides as well. Here is a list of disadvantages of freelance work.
Instability of Income
Sure, you may be working on your own terms, but that doesn’t mean you’re always working. Many freelancers have to hustle to make sure they have money constantly coming in.
Not only are you working the job you need to work, but you take on the responsibility of getting and maintaining gigs. This also means that you may make a reasonable income for one month, but the next make half that.
This just means being better with your finances, and being prepared for those dips in income.
Being your own boss is great if you don’t want to answer to anyone, but it also means that you are in charge of all of the aspects of your work just like making sure you get those gigs consistently.
This means if you want to be successful, you have to put in a lot of work. Although there is flexibility with this work, freelancers tend to be hustlers, because they have to be.
Filing your own Taxes
You may get 100% profit, but that doesn’t mean you get to keep it all. The government needs a cut of that, and because you’re in charge of your business, you’re going to have to pay that off yourself.
This can be frustrating because you have to make sure you’re keeping track of your finances constantly. You don’t want to spend too much and not be able to pay your taxes at the end of the fiscal year.
This can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you aren’t an accountant, or you don’t have any financial discipline or knowledge.
Inconsistency of Workload
You’ll need to be okay with some downtime when you’re a freelancer. You can’t be guaranteed work at all times. Even if you’re hustling to get those gigs, it may be the case that gigs just aren’t available.
This is where you need to be good with finances and prepared for some rough times.
No Paid Time Off And Benefits
Another trade-off is the lack of paid time off. When you aren’t working, you aren’t bringing in any income, and there isn’t an alternative. Freelance life is one of relying on the consistency of work.
So you may be living where you want in some far-off beautiful land like Bali, but you may not have the time to really take off and enjoy the sites.
It’s also your responsibility to get your own health insurance and retirement. That’s something important financially to keep up with, and can be difficult if you don’t have a stable income.
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If you’re in the process of deciding between a corporate job or freelancing, we hope these pros and cons help you to make that decision.
As you can see, the corporate world gives stability, but no flexibility. Freelancing means you can be your own boss, but it means a lot of work to be self-sufficient.
About the Author
Veselin Mladenov is the Content Manager of ThriveMyWay. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field of corporate marketing and sales, and decided to pursue his passion - digital marketing and content creation.
LinkedIn: Veselin Mladenov