By now, one in three jobs in the United States are for freelancers. The phenomenon is also growing in Thailand: more and more companies are finding suitable temporary staff for a specific job through specialised intermediaries and online platforms. But does freelance work also have benefits for the freelancers themselves? We have recorded our practical experiences here in this article.
Nevertheless, first the term freelance and what is meant by it.
The term comes from the English word ‘freelance’ that was first used by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) in his novel Ivanhoe. He described in the story a medieval mercenary soldier whose spear (‘lance’) did not belong to any landlord but made his services available for money. Later the term was copied in many languages and changed into a self-employed entrepreneur in a figurative context without a permanent employment contract.
The term is thus used in a contract form in which a company or an individual commits to deliver a performance for a client. Freelance work differs from a salaried employment due to the absence of a permanent or long-term employment contract, regular wage payment. Sometimes even a direct authority relationship is missing, where the client, as the ‘boss’, determines how the work should be performed. This does not mean, however, that the requirements that the service or the desired end product has to meet are missing.
Freelance assignments can be carried out at customer location or at their own location of choice, can be small or large, can take a short or a long time and are aimed at achieving a particular result, delivering a product or performing a service. Another characteristic of working on a freelance basis is that freelancers need to have multiple clients during a certain period, whereby freelance work can be reimbursed by a fixed contract sum for the delivered performance or by invoiced hours.
Although already known want to quote; freelance agreements in Thailand can only be entered into by someone who is allowed to work in Thailand.
Someone who takes on freelance assignments is called a freelancer. They are either born entrepreneurs or persons who were no longer happy in a permanent job at a given moment. It will be a routine without new exciting milestones, more and more meetings, little variation, diminishing enthusiasm for the profession, a changed mentality. Freelancing can then be an attractive perspective.
Benefits of freelancing
As a freelancer, you have considerable advantages compared to someone in permanent salaried employment. For example, the freedom to organise your own time according to your wishes or to select good customers with nice assignments. Naturally, of course, financial risks are more significant. If you do not have work, you earn nothing, and you will not get paid. You have to take this into account when you determine your price offers. To oversee all these facets is difficult and it requires thorough consideration. Below is a list of the benefits of a freelancing, which you would have to adjust according to your own insights.
Follow your passion
Do what you are good at and what you love to do. Without a doubt one of the most important reasons, if not the best, advantage of freelancing. You can turn your ‘hobby’ into your profession and continue to develop into an expert in your business.
Being your own boss
Who is not occasionally complaining about his or her boss? And let’s be honest: there are a few monsters. Freelancers, unlike employees, have clients instead of bosses. This certainly does not mean that there are no obligations, but as you, as a freelancer are hired as an entrepreneur, the relationship is different between you and your client. Being your own boss also means that you will have to arrange your own business, must take action and can no longer fall back on your boss, you make plans yourself, and you can give substance to your work.
Diversity in work
As a freelancer, you can work on another assignment for a different client each time. There is no question of a daily routine. You search and meet new customers, and you get new assignments. You sometimes work from home, sometimes on the desk of your client or possibly even from abroad. Not satisfied with the work? One of the advantages of freelancing is that you decide whether to accept an assignment or not.
Satisfy higher income
Wage to work. That principle is hardly ever effective as employees, and certainly not in the public sector. Some work more than others and still get the same wage (or less!). As a self-employed person, you reap the fruits of your labour: what motivates and gives satisfaction.
Potentially higher income
The emphasis is on potential because your hourly rate depends on your experience, profession and sector. As a starting freelancer, the hourly rate is often not much higher than what you would earn per hour with a permanent job. But as soon as you have more experience, you can increase the hourly rate. Especially freelancers who specialise in a profession and sector, in which is a lot of demand, but little supply, can ask for a considerable hourly rate. Of course, your income depends on the number of hours you work and the number of assignments that you take on.
No annoying internal policy
Office politics can be found at any company and organisation. Whether it’s a slimy colleague trying to earn some extra points from the boss or a web of nepotism. As a freelancer, you do not work on a career with the company. You are there for a temporary period, and you have been assigned for a specific assignment that you are working on. You do not have to do anything about the battle to win a boss for you. No office problems, no long meetings, no gossip about colleagues, etc. That’s nice.
As a freelancer, you do not limit yourself to your just one activity! You must have some expertise in accounting, marketing, acquisitive & sales, customer management, website management. You develop many unprecedented qualities, and that is incredibly enriching.
Every well-closed assignment is a victory. As a freelancer, you have some degree of control over your work and the results. Enjoying customer satisfaction which for sure will effect in returning customers and excellent references.
Deductibility of costs
The professional costs (electricity, desk items, telephone, etc.) are tax-deductible and the VAT of professional purchases refunded. There is always a vague area of personal use from which you can take some advantage.
Flexible working hours
One of the advantages of freelancing is that you can give substance to the balance between free time and work. If your contract and assignment allow you, as a freelancer, you can even determine your work schedule and work when you want work. This gives you the opportunity to be at home if your child is ill, to work extra alongside your study or job, or to start later after that evening of partying. You can avoid the traffic rush, are not obliged to cram the train during rush hour or go on holiday in the much too expensive high season. But on the other hand, the border from the weekend to the week will fade; a job on Saturday is a job on the weekend. As a freelancer, you can organise your own time and therefore work much more efficiently. If you have the taste and are in a good working mode you are much more productive, so you can afford to release yourself at the moments that you have less or no inspiration.
Many assignments are not offered location, and therefore you can work anywhere. If you are not tied to a place, each site is a potential workplace. Whether you want to work in an office, on your couch, in that cosy coffee shop around the corner, or from a ‘vacation’ address, it’s up to you. Work where you are most productive or exchange it if you wish. You determine the right balance between work and private life.
No dress code
Again depending on the assignment and work location. Some freelancers like to adapt to the dress code when they start an assignment at a company, and others prefer something that they want. The great thing about freelancing is that you do a temporary job for a company and therefore you (to a certain extent) can choose whether you stick to the dress code, but often it is not necessarily necessary. And home-working freelancers have complete freedom to wear what they want to wear.
Disadvantages of freelancing
Of course, freelancing is not always only sunshine and roses. Freelancing is hard work. Starting for yourself means putting your career in the foreground, making long hours, an insecure income, working through stacks of administration and sometimes it can feel lonely to have to make needed choices. Freelancing does not make everyone happy; it must suit you as a person. Here below our list of disadvantages of freelancing.
No work is no income. You stand alone as a self-employed person. You could be confronted with (very) busy and calm periods.
Acquisition & Sales
It is challenging to combine acquisition if you are fully engaged in assignments, and most of all also hate commerce of selling yourself. Good tenders also cost a lot of time and losing a possible assignment can be a recurring painful experience.
Often the (additional) costs are underestimated or too much is spent; costs can explode very quickly: insurance and social charges, accountant, administrative fees, acquisition costs, website, software, office supplies, memberships etc.
Administrative red tape
It is not always easy to keep the administration in order. You have to disentangle many administrative clusters and work very carefully. For example, as a freelancer, in addition to invoicing, you (also) have to do the tax returns and the accounting, as well as the salary and pension and insurance schemes.
Loneliness and work atmosphere
As a freelancer, you can not consult colleagues. You are alone in business. At the desk of the customer, you are regularly put aside because you are not part of the company. To break through this isolation, you can approach other freelancers by participating in conferences, being a member of freelance associations etc.
No employee benefits
No holidays, no yearly bonus, no paid sick leave, no training, no travel allowance, no meal vouchers, no laptop, no company car, no health insurance, etc. The financial benefits of a permanent job will fall away, and you realise only when you have to pay these costs yourself.
Late or no payments
Paid invoices are the only source of income. Sometimes you have to chase customers so that they pay their bill. That is not nice at all. Most freelancers are not happy with an irregular income. It is always exciting when and if there will be fully paid; more than half of all freelancers have experienced that their invoices are not paid or not paid in full.
Due to the varying income of a freelancer, it is often impossible (or at higher costs) to take loan or mortgage.
Variations can be oppressive
Some of us cannot handle change; changing work, workplaces, working hours, temporary colleagues and cultures. Others just welcome it and find it a surplus value of freelancing.
If you have additions or comments on this article, please let us know.
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