Sometimes freelancers are guilty of thinking everyone wants to freelance.
Some do. But many don’t!
One of the worst spots to be in is a worn out, overworked, underpaid freelancer, watching your “employee” friends taking paid days off, enjoying full benefits, and having the ability to leave work on time every day.
Now not all freelancers face this. Many are successful or have taken the steps to become successful in their craft.
But there are many freelance web developers out there worn out from the hustle, from the long days, bad clients, and unpredictable pay. They know they could go get a job, make more money, get full benefits, and paid days off. But they want to keep freelancing. Unless things change, it really is a losing situation.
So how does one know when they should stop freelancing? How does one know that their quality of life would improve significatly by becoming an employee again?
Here are 5 reasons a web developer may want to stop freelancing
** Disclaimer: I’m fully aware of the right practices, habits and personal developments that go into being a successful freelancer. Just read my blog. And I understand the counter-arguments to the below reasons.
1. Because you want to be a Developer
Really, I’m serious.
As a freelance web developer, you often spend your time doing other tasks like writing/reading emails, budgeting, giving estimates, learning new things, etc. All of those “non-development” things that go into running your own business.
Now, of course, the answer is to niche down and have a specialization. And that is correct. But this doesn’t stop the emails, the estimates, and all the “business-related” tasks that are not web development.
So if you are like, “I just want to sit down every day and code,” then perhaps you should reconsider freelancing and look to a web developer position.
2. You are putting in more hours for less pay
You know what this is like. You are working 11 hours days and only getting paid for 4 of them! It really adds up.
As an employee, you get all 11 of those hours if you work them. As a freelancer, you do not.
Answering emails, giving estimates, marketing, social media promotion, etc., all of these are non-paid activities.
If you can only muster $40,000 a year freelancing, knowing that a company would pay you to write code for $80,000, then common sense may be leading you back to employment.
3. You literally cannot take a day off
There is NO paid vacation for a freelancer. If you are able to save up for it or have a nice source of passive income, then great. But if not, you literally cannot take a day off.
Days off and recuperation time are vital, and many freelancers think they can go without them. Many actually MUST go without them.
So if you are getting by financially but can never take a day or two off, then perhaps you should reconsider your freelancing career…especially if you have a wife and kids.
This is not a huge problem for many people, but for some it is. Even as a remote employee you get daily meetings or Slack interaction. But often as a freelancer, you are on your own.
If you are a “people person” and love interaction and teamwork, then this may be a huge adjustment for you. You may want to consider co-working spaces or meeting up with others on a regular basis.
But if it is really hard on you and you find yourself irritated and bored, then freelance web development may not be best for you.
5. Taxes / Benefits
You are taxed double as a freelancer (companies usually take half) and there are NO benefits. You can literally save yourself hundreds of dollars by not being a freelancer based on benefits alone.
Especially in the software engineer world where the benefits and perks are amazing.
And this ties in with another point above, benefits allow you take time off and recuperate (and still get paid for it).
If you are struggling to afford health/dental/vision insurance, have little savings, or are not able to take any time off, all due to reasons above, then freelance web development may not be good for you at the current time.
Freelancing is a wonderful pursuit and can make for a great lifestyle. But there are many who pursue it and receive many disadvantages from doing so. Perhaps they may need to stop freelancing.
Have you faced these issues in the past as a freelancer? Have you gone back and forth between freelancing and being an employee? I’d love to hear your story below.