To Freelance or Not To Freelance: A Developer’s Guide to Navigate

Choosing between flying solo as a freelancer or going with a full-time job is a big deal. Both roads have their cool stuff and hard parts. Here’s my take on each, based on my personal experiences…or lack thereof..It should be noted that when I write about the freelance life it is with the disclaimer that I have not done it for several years, but am strongly considering it again and therefore in this article tries to talk me into the pros and cons that there must be.

The Full-Time Grind 

Going full-time means you get a regular paycheck and colleagues to hang out with, if you want. But getting a full-time gig can feel like running a marathon. In my experince, landing a job can go down to surviving 4-6 intense interviews packed with “tell me about a time when…” kind of questions and coding challenges on whiteboards or even online. Stressful, sure, but they were great learning experiences. 

Being a full-time worker also means dealing with the corporate world. Stuff like meetings, trainings, and yearly performance reviews or weekly 1:1. They can be pretty boring, but they’ve also been chances for me to learn and grow, especially in the ever-changing world. 

When considering full-time employment, it’s essential to acknowledge the economy’s role. It’s an invisible rollercoaster that can significantly impact job security, wage, and overall job satisfaction. An economic downturn could lead to layoffs, or wage freezes, which could contribute additional stress to the job.

The Freelance Adventure or The Freelance Unpredictability

Freelancing, though, is a totally different beast. You’re your own boss, picking projects and the possibility to set your rates. One big plus? No corporate stuff. Without meetings or yearly reviews, you’ve got more time to just the work, which can make you more efficient. But freelancing isn’t all roses. It takes discipline, solid time management, and being good at selling what you do, and also staying on top of the latest stuff and constantly learning new skills is super important. The regular paycheck isn’t a given, and not knowing where your next project is coming from can be kinda scary. 

With freelancing, the uncertainty of finding a new project, especially during economic downturns when companies might be less inclined to hire external contractors, can be daunting, but the potential for higher earnings can often outweigh the inherent risks. 

As I look into the future, it’s worth considering how freelancing might shape the job market. Freelancing’s rise reflects a paradigm shift in our work culture. With flexibility, autonomy, and remote work capabilities, freelancing offers a unique chance that’s increasingly attractive in today’s digital age.

However, freelancing is not without its challenges. Despite these challenges, its increasing adoption suggests that the freelance model is poised to become a significant part of our future work landscape, if not an outright game-changer.

The Bottom Line 

Deciding to freelance or work full-time depends on what you want and how you want to live. Each has its ups and downs. If you like a bit more stability, a full-time job might be right up your alley. But if you value freedom and being flexible, freelancing could be your thing. It’s vital to consider the economy, your risk tolerance, and your financial goals when making this decision. On my own reflection, I have thought that both ways have their merits. It is important to think it through and choose what matches the thoughts you have about your working life.

What’s Your Take?

Alright folks, I’ve spilled my thoughts on freelancing vs. full-time work. But what about you? Are you living the freelance dream or rocking the 8-16 life, or if you’re thinking about making a switch ? Got any tips or stories to share?

Good luck making your choice!