Should You Go Freelance in 2022?

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KEY POINTS

  • Not having to report to a specific boss all the time is a great benefit of being a freelancer.
  • Here's how to decide if you're ready to take that leap in the coming year.

The freelance lifestyle has its pros and cons. Here's how to know if it's right for you.

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of people to rethink their job situations. In fact, this year, workers have been quitting their jobs in droves in an effort to pursue better opportunities.

If you're tired of being a salaried employee who's tethered to a specific schedule, you may be thinking of going freelance in the coming year. There are certainly a lot of benefits to venturing out on your own. But there are also some challenges you might face in the course of becoming a freelance worker.

Here's how to decide if becoming a freelancer in 2022 is the right move for you.

The upside of freelancing

When you become a freelancer, you don't have to report to a specific boss all the time or stick to a certain schedule. That added flexibility could help you in a number of ways.

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First, if you're a parent, going freelance could mean getting to spend less of your earnings on childcare. It could also make it easier to manage your various household responsibilities.

Furthermore, additional flexibility could do wonders for your work-life balance and well-being. And if you're not required to report to an office, you could save a fair amount of money on commuting costs.

Also, it can be easier to make more money as a freelancer than as a salaried employee. The reason? Salaried workers commonly get benefits like subsidized health insurance that affect their compensation. But if you don't need health insurance (say, you can get low-cost coverage through your spouse) and you're willing to give up perks like paid time off, you might actually manage to demand a higher hourly rate for your time than you'd get as a salaried employee.

The downside of freelancing

Having to stick to a rigid schedule may be tough, but in exchange, you're guaranteed a steady paycheck. When you go freelance, your income can vary from one month to the next. That could make it more difficult to keep up with your bills and work toward your personal financial goals.

Also, when you're a freelancer, there's no such thing as paid time off. If you get sick for a week and miss out on doing your job, you'll have to go a week without pay. And if you want to take a vacation, you'll need to either forgo pay or work extra hours before and after your trip to make up for it. That's something that may prove challenging.

What's the right call for you?

If you're thinking of becoming a freelancer in 2022, you should, ideally, do all of these things first:

  • Accumulate a healthy savings account balance so that if it takes a while to build up a steady stream of work, you have money to cover your bills.
  • Have an actual plan for what work you'll do, when you'll do it, and how you'll acquire clients.
  • Have a plan for getting health insurance if leaving your job means losing it (since going without coverage really isn't a good idea).
  • Talk to people who have been freelancing for a while to get firsthand accounts of their experiences.

Becoming a freelancer could end up being a great career move for you, and it could work wonders for your lifestyle. The key is to make sure it's really the right decision before diving in.

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