26 Perks of Freelance Work You’ll Love

By Bethany Johnson, Contributor, on March 24, 2017

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Making the leap from employee to freelancer can intimidate even the bravest, most risk-tolerant entrepreneurs. One thing that can soothe frazzled nerves is a reminder (or 26) of why, exactly, the indy life is one worth pursuing. Here’s a handful of quick, smart, snackable nuggets to encourage you as you start your adventure.

  1. Autonomy. Freedom to decide everything tops the list of reasons freelancers are freelancers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  2. The living room factor. Unsurprisingly, the ability to work from almost anywhere is also among the most valuable perks of freelance work.
  3. Camaraderie with other freelancers. Want a shot of encouragement? Talk with another freelance professional. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sharing notes with other independent contractors. It’s hard to get that level of camaraderie as an employee.

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  4. Time with family. Managing your own work flow means you can jam out client projects early to ensure you don’t miss a game or recital.
  5. The dream team. You can choose exactly who’s on your team.
  6. The best tunes. You get to be the office DJ and enjoy whatever tunes you’d like.

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  7. A renewed sense of purpose and worth, a benefit noted by Governor Lael Brainard of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors.
  8. Accountability. You’re the only one to blame if there are dishes in the office sink.
  9. Comfortable shoes. Better yet, no shoes.

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  10. Perspective. You’ll never again view a business owner the same way. You’ll always appreciate what a start-up has endured to “make it.”
  11. Work with whomever you want. The freedom to target interesting clients over more predictable ones.
  12. You pocket the profit. Have you ever found out what your boss was paid by coordinating (selling) your work? If so, the freelance lifestyle is especially attractive, since the payment goes to you. No middleman.

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  13. The ability to establish terms. Hello, retainers! Adios, uncertainty!
  14. The power to part ways with troublesome clients. In other words, you can free yourself from delinquents, non-payers and discourteous partners.
  15. Combating scope creep. As a freelancer, you can preemptively deal with scope creep, a term used by Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation to describe unreasonable add-ons requested by clients after a product’s delivered. Too often, clients expect you to produce the extra work for free.

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  16. Paid artistic release. Often, innovative people stuck in traditional employee roles seek a creative outlet for their prolific ideas. As a freelancer, your work is an outlet. Plus, you’re compensated.
  17. No more office parties. Unless, of course, you feel like inviting a few friends over to celebrate your wins. Which, come to think of it, qualifies as another perk.
  18. Fresh coffee. Whenever you want it, however you take it.

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  19. A customizable benefits package. Freelancers occasionally bemoan the lack of corporate health insurance, 401(k) matches and paid leave. But if you think about it, traditional employers also pay for things you can’t take advantage of, since no one can consume all the benefits available. When you own the business, you determine exactly what perks you give yourself as an employee.
  20. Opportunities to barter. Trade services with another freelancer or local shop for a unique small business win-win.
  21. New skills. You’ll learn marketing, bookkeeping, sales, website design, debt collection or, most likely, all the above. No one starts a business knowing everything. A year after you start your own biz, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve learned. Guaranteed.

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  22. Tax deductions. All over the place.
  23. Newfound gratitude. Meaningful work is not a right. You earn it, and once you’ve hustled for it, you’re thankful to have it.
  24. Assets. When you’re working for The Man, you don’t get as much of a chance to add assets to your net worth, unless you’re an aggressive paycheck squirrel. One of the best perks of freelance work is the business expenses that translate into assets.

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  25. On-site laundry. Super hip start-up JibJab made waves by offering on-site laundry as a corporate perk. Doesn’t it make you wonder whether your washer and dryer setup counts among the perks of freelance work, then, too? Often, the smartest enterprises work hard to give you perks that remind you of … well, working from home.
  26. A reputation. Working for a paycheck is admirable, but working for your own purpose is attractive. No, you probably won’t get famous, but people will pay more attention.

Pin this article to your browser bar. Forward it to other “future freelancers” who need a nudge. Print this list and tack it to your corkboard of reminders. Do what you need to do for fresh motivation when blazing your own trail.

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