04-Sep-2017 | Santiago
As exciting as the idea of the freedom that freelance work can offer, it is also a difficult challenge that one should deliberate on before undertaking such a lifestyle.
Even before graduating, I was already dead-set on becoming a full-time freelancer when I got out of college. I was always attracted to the idea of becoming my own boss, working my own hours and generally the freedom that freelancing would provide.
Considering that I was a journalism major, I decided my skills in writing would be my ticket into the freelance world. Writing was something I was quite happy and comfortable doing and it would not hurt if I could earn some money doing what I loved at my own pace.
My friends and family had mixed reactions to the idea of freelancing but all cautioned me to be wary that freelancing may not be as glamorous as it sounds because it might be difficult to find projects.
Nevertheless, I still pursued freelance work after graduating. I put myself out there, made connections and expanded my network while, at the same time, looking for possible clients or a project offer. Luckily, I landed a job as a contributor for the lifestyle section of a national broadsheet. I would be assigned to go to various places, cover events, interview people and finally write a full-length story afterwards.
While the work was enjoyable, the pay was not enough and I found myself searching once again for new clients and jobs I could juggle. I took a few temporary writing jobs here and there to earn what I could but in the fiercely competitive market where you had to compete globally, there was not much.
Running out of luck, I decided to start taking up jobs entailing layout and graphic design. During my college years, I had many artistic friends who influenced me and taught me graphic design. They always told me I would never know when the skill would come in handy later on in life.
Accepting both freelance writing and graphic design jobs, I started feeling as if I was freelancing full-time. I had to juggle various projects, some days even working 18 hours straight just to beat the deadline. On most days though, I had the luxury of just working during mornings and then I had the entire day to myself.
I realized that working freelance is either a hit or a miss. For me, the best part of working freelance is the fact that I could work whenever or wherever you wanted to. There is no 9 to 5 schedule that I had to follow and there is no office that I had to report to everyday. As a freelancer, I also had the benefit of choosing the clients and jobs I could accept. If I was too busy or if the client was suspicious, I could easily deny a job request.
However, being a freelancer also meant that my income and workload were almost always inconsistent. Unlike the fixed rate you would receive at a traditional job, income was never guaranteed and if you are not working, you are not earning. Working at home, I also found it quite difficult to distinguish between my personal life and my work life. I had to learn how to build my schedule around my work and still find time with my family and friends as well.
As I slowly got tired of the freelance lifestyle, I decided that looking for a traditional job would be a nice change and a better career path. After a few weeks of searching, I was accepted into the Philippine STAR’s Features team as a writer. While I had to submit to a fixed Monday to Friday schedule, working in an office still had its perks. Aside from the guaranteed workload and income, working for a company also provided various employee benefits that you will not get access to as a freelancer.
Different people prefer different jobs. While some may prefer to have traditional jobs, others may opt to consider freelancing. While some value security and assurance, others prefer freedom and opportunities. At the end of the day, it all boils down to where you think you will excel at.