Many people use the terms freelancer and business owner interchangeably. Although there are definite similarities (working in pajamas anyone?) the differences make a huge, well, difference.
In my case, I’m currently in the transition between freelancer and business owner, and let me tell you, I feel like a small child trying to put together an adult jigsaw puzzle. Sounds fun right?
Being a Freelancer
Going from a freelancer to a business owner is a huge step. When you start out as a freelancer, you trade a specific skill for money – meaning you get to do what you love, and make some extra money. It’s awesome, at first.
And then comes the dry months – the drought so to speak in the freelance world. It hits all of us at one point or another, and it has the ability to make you doubt literally everything you’ve done up to this point. This is the issue with freelancing long term, its just not easily sustainable, or scalable. You may go weeks or even months without work, making it difficult to live the life you want.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are people out there who are able to find million dollar clients on Upwork and Freelancer, and swear by their freelance ways. There are definite pros to freelancing, you don’t have to worry so much about legal matters (registering a business, GST numbers etc.), you get to do the one job you actually enjoy, and chances are you don’t have to deal with people you don’t want to very often.
Being a business owner
When you’re a business owner however, the role you have to play broadens. You’re no longer looking for one time contracts to supplement your income. You may even have to take a step back from the role you love in order to focus on things like marketing or accounting. Being a business owner is incredible and exhilarating and terrifying – you are the key factor in the success and growth of your company. No pressure, right?
Although it’s a lot of responsibility, growing a business from the ground up, and cultivating it into something tangible is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s literally creating something out of nothing, and when it turns into something – you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Owning a business means investing time, energy, money – everything you have – into the hope of something better. It means staying up late, working weekends, and sometimes, sacrificing your sanity in the hope of a better future.
It’s up to You
For me, it’s 100% worth it. I want to build something sustainable, something that I can create that takes on a life of it’s own. I hate accounting, I despise sales and marketing, HOWEVER, in my mind, making the choice to deal with these things now, means that eventually I won’t have to. And, the thought of waking up every morning, knowing that I created something out of nothing, and cultivated a business into being, makes me so excited for the future. It gives me hope. And that is something I strive for my entire life.
So, before you decide if you should stick to freelancing, or become a business owner, really think about what you want out of your career, and your life. I’ll be honest, either way, you’re going to face struggle, and it might feel impossible. There will be days where you feel like you just can’t. Though push through those moments, focus on the thing that makes you feel hope and excitement, and go after it with unabashed determination. I promise, you won’t regret it.