When I first delved into the professional world, most of my time went into deciding whether to opt for a fixed agency or choose to freelance. If you have just graduated from your University or planning to start working soon, then you too will have this same dilemma at some point in time. According to Forbes, 90% of companies hire freelancers. On the other hand, other sources indicate that there are almost 132.15 million full-time employees in the United States. Therefore, choosing either of them needs a close evaluation of all aspects. Freelancing vs agency life have a set of pros and cons. Therefore, I have made a list to clear your doubts, so that you make the best decision for your career. Let’s dive in.
The life of a freelancer:
pros and cons
Americans tend to spend more than a billion hours in freelancing per week in 2019. Thus, it proves that more and more companies are hiring freelancers to get their job done. Even Brian Greenberg, the CEO of True Blue Life Insurance, stated that he created nine businesses with the help of freelancers.
The perks of freelancing:
- Better Earning Potential
Freelancers earn more money than salaried employees. Fixed working teams in an agency usually earn 125$-250$ per hour, whereas freelancers charge approximately $35 for an hour. But, freelancers do not have to share their salaries with anyone. A team, on the other hand, consists of sales executives, managers, marketers, etc. Therefore, the individual members of the team receive comparatively less money.
- Top-notch expertise in one person
Freelancers are expected to have their own area of specialisation. Say you are a freelance paper help expert and you have been working in this field for over three years now. You can find jobs in your niche only by showing relevant samples of your work. No other qualifications required.
- Flexible working hours and location
Freelancers have the freedom to work whenever they want to. You don’t have to remain confined to a cubicle or stringent working hours. You can discuss the project with your clients and work as per your convenience. Your employers will not bother you as long as you deliver the work prior to the deadlines.
All that glitters is not gold, right? Similarly, as my experience and qualifications grew, I realised the cons of freelancing as well. Check them out.
The drawbacks of freelancing:
- Sharp pangs of isolation
Working from home or freelancing can be isolating. You do not get to interact with office staff or other employees. There will be no office games or after-office parties for you to attend. Eventually, it becomes a frustrating task to work all alone and the frustration can affect productivity.
- No health insurance, 401K or vacation pay
Freelancing pays you as long as you work. If you don’t work for a day; you don’t get paid for that day. It is as simple as that. You don’t receive health insurance, 401K, employee funds and vacation pay like other salaried employees do.
- Inconsistent workload and cash flow
It is difficult to predict the workload and the income for freelancers. You as a freelancer will have your own share of lean and peak seasons. You can’t expect bonuses, employer recognition or other awards for your work as well.
The life of a freelancer is pretty easy if there is a consistent income from multiple clients. Studies have also shown that almost 51% of freelancers are most likely to enjoy the lifestyle they want. However, the above-mentioned pitfalls can make things go really wrong for a freelancer.
Agency Life: what are the pros and cons?
Working in an agency is more than just sitting in your cubicle and day-dreaming. It is about doing the things that you love without worrying about behind the scenes work. Say you are a graphic designer. You only need to focus on graphic designing and not on content writing, paperwork or SEO.
Perks of being a part of the agency life:
- Job security
The most important benefit of agency life is its job security. In this case, you know that you have a regular source of income. You don’t have to worry about specific clients or hourly work. You work in a team and have the liberty to share your workload in case of urgent deadlines.
- The ‘Fun’ Factor
The ambience at the office is way livelier. You can talk, crack jokes and laugh with your colleagues to relieve the stress. You can also go to parties, movies and enjoy sports games or day trips with your office friends.
- Rewards and health benefits
Agencies usually tend to provide incentives or other forms of monetary benefits to employees who have outdone themselves. Benefits such as movie tickets, vacation pay, sick leaves and health insurances are provided. You can not only push yourselves in the creative field but also get rewards as signs of appreciation.
Disadvantages of working in an agency:
- No flexibility
Unlike freelancing, you don’t have the freedom of choosing to work only when you want to. You are bound to follow a strict 9-5 schedule from Monday to Friday in an agency. That means you can’t turn down a client just because you are not in the ‘mood’ to work.
- Less control
In an agency, you have to work under a boss who tells you what to do and what not to do. You may also have to get your work approved before the final submission. Thus, you will have less control over your work as compared to the freelancers. Things may not turn out that bad in an agency if you have a good boss who helps you rise higher in the ranks.
- Involvement of office politics
No matter how ignorant try to be, you can’t keep yourself out of office politics. It’s just some silly stuff that goes down in an office almost every day. Office politics can lead to a sharp decline in the sales and productivity of an organisation. It can also ruin your mental peace and prevent you from working in the agency with the utmost attention.
All in all, agency life is not that bad if you have your heart in the job. Working in an agency provides you with guaranteed income and other monetary rewards. I have already shared the odds of working in an agency. If you can beat the odds, then working in an agency may prove beneficial for you.
My Verdict on freelancing vs agency life
In my opinion, freelancing is best suited for people who are more interested in working under flexible working hours without the guarantee of a monthly salary. If you have a strong profile to grab the attention of your clients, freelancing might be the right career for you. However, if you haven’t gained enough experience yet, consider working in an agency as your career option. Agencies will teach you new concepts in your field of interest and you can explore your possibilities of creativity.
Read more on Freelancing: 10 Questions you should ask yourself before becoming a freelancer.
John Mark is a part-time career consultant at a reputed firm in Australia. He also provides paper help to students at Allessaywriter. John likes to watch movies and listen to songs in her spare time.