Freelancing vs. Full-Time: What's The Best Option?


Are self-employment and side hustles the future? Or are we in the 9-5 for life?

In partnership with Bestow, We've put together a fun infographics (see below) to help you decide which career move you should make.

Well over 57 million people freelanced in 2019, proving that self-employment and side hustles could very well be the future of working. Considering that close to four million more people joined the freelance life between 2014 and 2019, there are some serious draw factors to freelancing.

Being your own boss, being able to work from anywhere at anytime, deciding what you do and what you don't, and having the ability to make your own working hours are just some of the factors that are drawing people to freelancing. For those that yearn for freedom and flexibility, this working style has some serious appeal. Not to mention, the rise of the solopreneur has helped revolutionize working for introverts.

As with anything, those that have freelanced as a full-time position will be the first to tell you that these pros come with their fair share of cons. For all the flexibility that freelancing offers, there is a fair share of uncertainty and instability. Especially for those just starting out, there could be weeks (or even months) between gigs. This unpredictability extends to payment, as there's no accounting department to make sure you get paid. The onus is on you to follow up with clients and make sure they pay, or you could be risking not getting your hard-earned money at all.

That said, stability of pay is often not even a question at a typical, full-time 9-5 job. The same can be said for job security, which is enough to make most people stay in a full-time position even if they're unhappy or want to spread their wings. Stability is a big pull for many people to a full-time position, as they wake up each day and know (for the most part) what their day will look like.

As anyone who has worked one for long enough can attest to, a full-time job has several downsides. For many, the lack of autonomy, flexibility, and freedom can oftentimes feel stifling, and like the creative spark in them is being stamped out by routines, regulations, and the ever-dreaded busy work. For companies that have not kept up with modern benefits, having only two weeks of vacation a year, tightly scheduled maternity leave for working moms, plus limited work-from-home (or remote) availability can feel restrictive.

When it comes down to making the decision between freelancing and full-time work, the real question to answer is what makes you the happiest and will lead to long-term job satisfaction. If you're someone with dependents who relies heavily on structure, and thrives on regulations, then a 9-5 might be the best bet for you. If you consider yourself more of a "free spirit" with ever-changing interests who wishes to explore the world over, a more flexible freelancing position might be the path forward.

Taking what makes you happiest into consideration isn't just an option—it's a necessity. Adults spend nearly 13 years of their total lives at work—wouldn't you much rather do something you're passionate about, or at least inspires and motivates you to do the best you can?

Making the ultimate decision between freelancing vs. full-time work may sound like an intimidating choice with life-altering consequences either way, but you don't have to make this decision alone. Carefully considering the best path forward for you with a friend, mentor, or career coach can help you make an informed decision that is the best choice for you. While making this choice, use this visual from Bestow to help guide you through the different factors that freelancing and full-time work has; from earning potential to the pros and cons of each. This is an exciting decision either way, so remember to be excited about the leap you (and your career) are taking!

Freelance or Full-Time

Infographic courtesy of hellobestow.com.

3 Min Read

Help! Am I A Fraud?

The Armchair Psychologist has all the answers you need!

Help! I Might Get Fired!

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

What's the best way to be prepared for a layoff? Because of the crisis, I am worried that my company is going to let me go soon, what can I do to be prepared? Is now a good time to send resumes? Should I save money? Redesign my website? Be proactive at work? Make myself non-disposable?

- Restless & Jobless

Dear Restless & Jobless,

I'm sorry that you're feeling anxious about your employment status. There are many people like yourself in this pandemic who are navigating an uncertain future, many have already lost their jobs. In my experience as a former professional recruiter for almost a decade, I always told my candidates the importance of periodically being passively on the market. This way, you'd know your worth, and you'd be able to track the market rates that may have changed over time, and sometimes even your job title which might have evolved unbeknownst to you.

This is a great time to reach out to your network, update your online professional presence (LinkedIn etc.), and send resumes. Though I'm not a fan of sending a resume blindly into a large database. Rather, talk to friends or email acquaintances and have them directly introduce you to someone who knows someone at a list of companies and people you have already researched. It's called "working closest to the dollar."

Here's a useful article with some great COVID-times employment tips; it suggests to "post ideas, articles, and other content that will attract and engage your target audience—specifically recruiters." If you're able to, try to steer away from focusing too much on the possibility of getting fired, instead spend your energy being the best you can be at work, and also actively being on the job market. Schedule as many video calls as you can, there's nothing like good ol' face-to-face meetings to get yourself on someone's radar. If your worries get the best of you, I recommend you schedule time with a qualified therapist. When you're ready, lean into that video chat and werk!

- The Armchair Psychologist


Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I'm an independent consultant in NYC. I just filed for unemployment, but I feel a little guilty collecting because a) I'm not looking for a job (there are none anyway) and b) the company that will pay just happens to be the one that had me file a W2 last year; I've done other 1099 work since then.

- Guilt-Ridden

Dear Name,

I'm sorry that you're wracked with guilt. It's admirable that your conscience is making you re-evaluate whether you are entitled to "burden the system" so to speak as a state's unemployment funds can run low. Shame researchers, like Dr. Brené Brown, believe that the difference between shame and guilt is that shame is often rooted in the self/self-worth and is often destructive whereas guilt is based on one's behavior and compels us to do better. "I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it's holding something we've done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort."

Your guilt sounds like a healthy problem. Many people feel guilty about collecting unemployment benefits because of how they were raised and the assumption that it's akin to "seeking charity." You're entitled to your unemployment benefits, and it was paid into a fund for you by your employer with your own blood, sweat, and tears. Also, you aren't committing an illegal act. The benefits are there to relieve you in times when circumstances prevent you from having a job. Each state may vary, but the NY State Department of Labor requires that you are actively job searching. The Cares Act which was passed in March 2020 also may provide some relief. I recommend that you collect the relief you need but to be sure that you meet the criteria by actively searching for a job just in case anyone will hire you.

- The Armchair Psychologist