Are you a full-time office worker, striving for more freedom in your work and lifestyle? Or a QA freelancer tired of instability and high risks of your business and are leaning towards an old good nine-to-five job?
In today’s world, it may be tricky to distinguish between employment types. Side work can grow into a long-term, full-time job, whereas ‘day jobs’ can have flexible, remote or part-time work conditions. If you are considering, here are the differences between both types of work.
5 Key Differences Between Freelance and Permanent Jobs
1. Attitude and Responsibility
On your ‘day job’, there’s not much you can change in terms of project, technologies or salary. You are limited by your company’s opportunities and dependent on the decision of your boss and organization policies. In return, you have more guarantees about the future. Your responsibility on the project is usually shared with other team members and your career path will be smoother, as the corporate environment encourages your step-by-step moving to the next level.
Being a freelancer is totally different in that respect, since you alone are responsible for your rating and results, projects and income. The responsibility of an average freelancer very high. You don’t have the chance to hide behind the backs of colleagues in the matter of deadlines, quality of work, or its scope. Your commitment and attitude defines your rating and feedback – and in the world of freelance, good feedback is more valuable than money. Your career move can be described as being able to gain better jobs and clients, and thus higher rates, rather than winning a new job title and wider responsibilities inside the company.
2. Schedule and Workplace
Yes, freelancers work flexible hours, but don’t imagine them just sitting on the beach with a cocktail and opening their laptops for a single hour a day. They may have full-time contracts or need to be available at specific hours. Or even be physically working at the client’s office. Still, the ability to define working hours and place remains one of the main attractors of the freelance lifestyle.
On the other hand, a daytime job brings gives a sense of stability. You have a settled workplace with all the necessary devices and equipment, with a coffee maker and cookies available, not to speak of more significant bonuses like healthcare and insurance. This is compensated by less flexible hours, which in addition often exceed 40 hours per week, as you have some urgent work or need to cover time spent on non-work activities.
Vacations are also a difference. While the permanent workers are restricted to about 20 days a year, freelancers can afford to have a rest for as much as they want, or need to. Still, if they are under long-term contracts, it may be hard to negotiate a durable break with the clients.
At your permanent work, you can count on a clear and predictable salary figure that lets you build your plans for future. Freelance earnings may be quite unstable, especially at the start – in fact, they may be zero. That`s why those looking in the direction of freelancing usually start with earning some extra money through the sites like UpWork or Freelancer, and if it works out, to make them their main source of income.
By the way, an hourly rate of a freelancer would usually be higher than that of an employee, for several reasons. First, hours worked at freelance and classical nine-to-five jobs are quite different. Freelancers tend to track the time actually worked with specific tools like Toggl, which is a rare practice in permanent jobs (while studies show that effective working time in permanent jobs may be as little as 3 hours out of 8). In addition, freelancers have to pay their bills and taxes, cover overhead expenses and compensate the time they spend to land a job. Here is one of the online calculators that can help define an hourly rate based on factors like listed above.
Embodying the principle ‘Work smart not hard’, successful freelancers who have found their niche, often make an average salary in less time.
4. Self-Discipline and Relations with the Client
Self-discipline always means a lot, still an organized workplace and environment helps a nine-to-five employee to stay focused on the job. As for freelancers, most of them find it challenging to separate their work and life. A habit to be working in pajamas may result in procrastination and the inability to concentrate on the job activities. That`s why a good practice can be to organize your home-office or arrange other working place.
To start your freelance career as a QA, you should be ready to invest time in setting up your personal brand and reputation. You’ll need to put efforts into finding your clients and taking on the related risks. You need to keep your client happy, constantly to have a rating that pays. You need to prove to every, single client that you are worth the money.
On a daily job, you’ll more often build your relations with a manager and you don’t need to bother selling your QA services. You can be granted a new title or responsibilities based on your merit and regularly discuss your career goals with the manager and will be rewarded as you achieve them.
5. Community and Self-Education
Freelancers often suffer from the lack of ‘community’; things like live communication with colleagues, team building and corporate events, opportunities for mentoring and being mentored. Unlike permanent workers who learn new things smoothly from their colleagues, freelancers need to define for themselves what to learn, and often have no support or supervision in the learning process. On your day job, you may be offered some free training or knowledge sharing sessions where you can occasionally find inspiration or discover a new field of interest. A freelancer is self-driven and takes more risk in choosing a correct skill set to develop.
So that`s it. This list not be exhaustive, but addresses perhaps the most significant points. Whatever work life you choose, make sure it’s the kind of job that makes you happy.
Good luck and be inspired!