Freelance vs 9-5 Jobs: Which Is Better?

Added: 5 months ago
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If you are like me, who thrives in a structured, deadline-driven, 9-5, traditional office set-up, you're probably still struggling with (what looks to me, at least for me) a long-term remote job set-up.

But, hey, I can't and shouldn't be complaining. I feel lucky that I have some income sources already when jobs are harder to come by nowadays, more than ever.

I now freelance as a content writer for various agencies/companies. I remember a friend of mine casually said to me in passing, "With the lifestyle that you lead, you'd be much more suited with freelance work than a 9-5 career". And, by my "lifestyle", it's the appreciation of enjoying weekends with family and friends, travelling once in a while, or thoroughly enjoying a real day-off without work constantly hounding me on Viber or Slack.

I vividly remember how I felt back then. I thought, "There is no way in hell I will work a structureless job like that." I made that comment not having any experience or basic knowledge about how freelancing works.

I had a very stable and fulfilling job in marketing communications for almost five years. I started as a go-getter, very driven, career-focused, and was more than happy to spend the holidays at work or way past duty hours on too many occasions. But, c'est la vie, especially in the hotel industry.

I resigned just last December 2019. Not for a career change or a sabbatical. My priorities had changed, and I wanted to adjust my focus from work to life, per se. My one-year plan from the day I resigned was already laid out and set in motion. But then, everything changed when the pandemic attacked (I hope someone gets this narrative reference).

Ten months later, I am 6 months into my freelancing gig. I freelance for two agencies as a ghostwriter and a digital content writer for another. So how did I manage to land these jobs? In the most surreal way imaginable for me: luck. Or so I thought.

Recommended by friends

I got recommended by friends who knew of my work history. That alone speaks about how I work, my qualifications, and my skills. It started with small assignments here and there during the first month, getting the hang of working on your own hours with just a few sets of guidelines to work with. Then, eventually, I was given more projects and can demand a higher rate for my output. 

Maximizing LinkedIn's features

I was surprised by how much traffic I was getting within a day of activating LinkedIn's #OpenToWork feature. The recruiters or HR personnel who reached out to me almost tripled. Although, so far, there have been no actual conversions yet (landed a job), getting noticed has been a big help in my job search for more gigs. 

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Photo Credit to Souvik Banerjee from Unsplash

Joined a Facebook group

It's impressive what reaching out to friends or acquaintances can do! So I reached out to an acquaintance who has had years and years of writing and freelancing experience. I just needed to ask her two things: how to charge clients for downloadable PDF freebies and if she knew an academic writer who can sideline as a proofreader. I got answers for both and got referred to join this Facebook group for freelance writers if I needed any more questions. 

This was just last week. And I have had 2 job offers so far! 

So, the verdict. Do I prefer freelance over a 9-5? Right now, I prefer to freelance. It allows me to spend so much valuable time with loved ones and take care of what I need to take care of at home. 

Although the pay isn't that great or stable compared to a 9-5, I know that it will increase and get better as my experience lengthens, and I take on more projects that will not take away from the free time I enjoy. 

But, in the long run, I know myself. I know that I will be craving that office environment, the excitement I get with accomplishing projects in a killer outfit and heels, mingling with colleagues and clients, and seeing first-hand and in-person that the work I do matters.

In the meantime, remote work and freelance gigs suit my needs right now. And, I'm so very sorry for even thinking it's not something I would want to do! 

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