Pros and cons of freelancing

It seems to me freelancing is a bit like Marmite.  You'll either love it or hate it.  

For the purposes of this blog, I'm not going to say which one I feel, but I will lay out some pros and cons that I've noticed after two years of freelance copywriting and several years of freelance journalism.  

Maybe you've been working in an agency for a while and are thinking about going freelance.  Or maybe you're taking the first steps and want to hear what you might expect.  These are just my personal opinions and your experience may be completely different. 


Most people cite the freedom to set your own hours and work in your own way as their favourite aspect of freelancing.  Unfortunately, this one doesn't really apply to me as I work with agencies during normal working hours. 

It's interesting to be able to tackle a range of different projects and subjects for a wide variety of clients - from global agencies to small businesses!  Keeping my brain engaged means my writing will be better.  This is also a good way of being able to build a diverse portfolio relatively quickly, should you want to tee up future opportunities.

You have the power to choose who you work for and the work you take on.  This is wonderful, especially if you start a project with a client you don't get on with.  While still being professional and fulfilling your obligations, you're able to politely but firmly turn down other opportunities with that client.  

Less meetings (hopefully)
As an employed copywriter, you'll likely be expected to attend a number of meetings, such as morning stand up, briefings, catch-up calls, team building exercises and more.  I find meetings quite exhausting and after a full day of meetings, my brain isn't as good at coming up with creative copy as it would be if I was left relatively to my own devices.  As a freelancer, I don't need to attend many meetings other than a briefing and, sometimes, if I'm very familiar with the tone of voice and subject, I don't even need a briefing.  If you're someone who loves meetings and is quite gregarious, this may not be a pro for you.  


I absolutely hate handling my own admin, accounts, promotion and all the things that come with running my own business.  I like to show up, work hard and then go home without having to worry about looming tax bills or getting the word out that I exist.  Even though I have an amazing accountant, I still hate all the admin - which, in my view, gets in the way of me doing what I enjoy.  It's a necessary evil, however, and important to ensure it's done correctly.

Lack of security
I know it should be the opposite.  After all, an employer could, at any time, let an employee go.  But being employed gives me, at the very least, the illusion of job security in a way that freelancing doesn't.  

Feast or famine
The quiet times, even if it's just for a day or a week, really get me down.  I fall into a trap of thinking the work has dried up forever and nobody will ever hire me again.  Foolish, but it happens every time.  Similar to the point above, even if this does happen when I'm employed, I don't have the same fear.  

You still have to go to the office
Even though the idea of freelancing conjures up the image of someone on a sunkissed beach with a laptop on their tanned knees, working from absolutely anywhere in the world, I've found most of the freelance copywriting jobs I see require you to go to the office for at least two days a week.  This makes me very sad as I miss out on jobs I would otherwise love, simply because I'm nowhere near London.  And I'm not even on a sunkissed beach.  I have been very fortunate, however, to find amazing clients who don't mind that they'll probably never see me in person.  

Are you thinking about freelancing?  I'd love to hear all about your plans.