I am currently freelancing since the kids are on summer vacation. School is starting soon, and the kids will not be home for the majority of the day. It’s been making me wonder if I should consider getting a contracting position. I plan on buying a bigger place next summer, and with that, I want to save some money before making that giant leap. My freelance writing career is picking up, but there are some things that I miss about going into an office. With these thoughts, I can’t help but wonder what are the pros and cons of freelancing and contracting?
Before I get into the pros and cons, I want to tell you what I think is he difference between freelancing and contracting. For me, freelancing is when you work from home and are not on anyone’s time. You have different clients, and you usually work on a 1099 form. You wear different hats because you are your own marketing, technology, human resource, and everything else department. With contracting, you are usually dedicating your time to one client, work on a W-2 form, and you only focus on your area of expertise.
Here are my pros and cons for each one:
Contracting Pro: You have the ability to socialize with others
A freelancer’s life can be a pretty lonely one. You don’t work with anyone else, so unless you leave your home, you don’t have the ability to socialize. Humans are social creatures, so it can sometimes drive you a little batty. As a contractor, you have to work with other people, so this means you have time to be social. Companies try to keep morale up by hosting several events, when you are contracting, you will be able to attend those.
Freelancing Pro: No one is clocking your time
When you are freelancing, you have the ability to set your own schedule. I read this time management book called Time Management from the Inside Out, Second Edition: The Foolproof System for Taking Control of Your Schedule — and Your Life. In it, Mortgensen discusses how you should set your schedule to your biorhythm. Not everyone has the same one. This is why a 9-5 job doesn’t work for everyone. I am a night owl, so I usually are ready to work from 4:00 p.m. onward. I love the freedom to decide when to work. I feel that as long as I get eight hours (or more) in during the day, no one should tell me when to work.
Contracting Pro: You have access to expensive applications and tools
One of the great things about contracting for a company is that you are able to work with all the applications that are probably to expensive for you to have on your personal computer. This is a plus because you are able to learn how to use these applications without having to pay for it yourself.
Freelancing Pro: You can download whatever you want
In the majority of the offices you encounter, you are not allowed to download whatever you want on your computer systems. It can be really annoying at times, but it’s understandable because if you download the wrong things, you can cause major upheaval on the computer’s network.
Contracting Pro: You get to dress up
There are times that you want to get all dolled up and get out of the house. When you go into an office, you can. Whether it’s business casual or business formal attire, you are able to get out of the sweats and look your best. Wearing a great outfit can definitely boost up your morale.
Freelancing Pro: You get to dress down
However, sometimes you really don’t feel like getting into those high heels and skirt. When you are freelancing, you are able to slip on your slippers and your sweats, and work while you are comfortable. I tend to dress up even though no one is going to see me because then I can feel my best while I am still at home.
Regardless of whether freelancing or contracting is right for you, there are pros and cons for each one. You have to decide what is right for you. I think that I would consider a contracting position with one company if they were flexible, allowed telecommuting, and I was able to learn something I had never learned before. Until I find that, I will keep loving the freedom I have as a freelancer.