Does Freelancing Make You Happy?

3rdhappy-freelancerHas freelancing made you happy?

Recently I read an article stating that the self-employed are happier than other folks. Was the article right? Does self-employment equal happiness?

If you are new to freelancing, you may not be able to answer that question. However, if you’ve been freelancing for a year or more, then you probably already have a pretty good idea of whether or not you are cut out for freelancing.

I can think of a lot of good reasons why freelancers might be happier than other people.

Happy Benefits of Freelancing

The freelancing lifestyle offers an amazing number of benefits for freelancers. Here are a few of the benefits and their happy consequences:

  • No commute = no morning traffic
  • Work alone = no clashes with colleagues or managers
  • Set your own hours = gives you back your time
  • Choose your projects = creative control
  • Dress how you want = no $$$ spent on work wardrobe
  • Determine your own rates = unlimited income potential
  • Work from home = no cubicle and maybe a window
  • No boss = no possibility of getting down-sized
  • No colleagues = no office politics
  • Providing services or goods = satisfaction from helping people directly
  • No rules = your pet can come to work
  • Multiple clients = a variety of different types of work
  • Internet = abundant information source

After reading that list you might be tempted to think that all those benefits meant that just about every freelancer is happy with their choice to be a freelancer. However, that’s not the case. Not everyone is suited to freelancing.

In fact, those who aren’t suited to freelancing can be pretty miserable. I read unhappy gripes and rants on freelancing forums and blogs nearly every day.

Sad Stressors of Freelancing

For those who aren’t well-equipped to freelance (but who find themselves freelancing anyway), there are plenty of aspects of freelancing to cause stress. In fact, for every happy freelancing benefit it almost seems that there’s a corresponding stressor.

Here are some factors that cause freelancers stress and their unhappy consequences:

  • Work alone = loneliness
  • Set your own hours = time management problems
  • Choose your projects = difficulty finding clients
  • Determine your own rates = uncertainty as to what is a fair rate
  • Work from home = additional distractions
  • No boss = trouble deciding what to do
  • No colleagues = a feeling of isolation
  • No rules = fear of making a mistake
  • Multiple clients = being overloaded
  • No company perks = no insurance or paid days off
  • Internet = information overload
  • Self-employment = bookkeeping and accounting tasks
  • Some clients = scams

So, Are You Happier as a Freelancer?

As you can probably see, there are plenty of freelancing benefits to make you happy, if you’re cut out for freelancing. However, there are also plenty of stressors associated with freelancing.

My take is that individual freelancers ARE happier than most people IF freelancing is right for them. (I, for one, would have a hard time giving my freelancing career up.)

For some individuals, though, the stressors are just too much and they would really be much happier in a traditional job (and that’s okay too).

Your Turn

We’ve discussed both the benefits of freelancing and the stressors of freelancing.

What do you think?

Are freelancers happier?

Are YOU happier?

Leave your answers in the comments.

Image by crystalflickr