Freelance vs Employment which one is better?

This week has been a scorcher here in the UK.  The weather has been well above 30 degrees and there is even talk that we could be in for the hottest summer since 1972 or something like that.

I don’t know about you but on days when the sun is up, the beach is packed and the beer cool, the temptation to simply wonder off and enjoy the sun is huge.

I hasten to add I am writing this from my office and not the beach or an establishment that sells cool beer.

Do people in employment feel the same way?  You bet.

In this article I’d like you to think about your options, what’s better for you the freelance route or working for your boss?

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Freelancers – It’s your responsibility 

Guess what, when it comes to finding your first clients as a freelancer it is your responsibility, no one else.

There are hundreds of guides out there all showing how you can get your first client, how waking up early does x z and y etc.

There are also plenty of motivational posters and speakers out there as well as business coaches and lord knows what else.

However, when push comes to shove, you’ve got to go out and find those clients, put it another way, get sh*t done.

Counting the pennies

Did I mention you need to do this to?

If the money stops coming in, you stop, take it from someone who has been there.

Ensuring you have enough work on for the month and getting more work in is vital to the success of your freelance career.

You will also need to ensure you keep accurate records for the more legal agencies in your life i.e HMRC.

Of course you could always outsource this to your friendly accountant.

It’s not going to be easy

Competitors, price, meetings and time management are just some of the elements you need to consider when embarking on your freelance career.

If you’re expecting to wake up Monday morning with 20-30 clients ringing you, it’s not going to happen, unless you’re introducing the next big thing and even then it might not happen.

Be prepared to work hard, and in some cases expect to wait on invoices being cleared, be prepared to chase and dig deep for patience.

Freelancing is difficult but the rewards are massive, you have great flexibility in terms of when and how you work.

That said how you choose your time is vital to the success of failure of your freelancing career.

Employment – it’s easy, right?

Well you’d think so, what’s so hard about turning up to the office on time and working with people and clients?

Employment is a easy route to go down, there is minimal risk and in the tech sector good website developers are looked after and retained by companies for years.

However it’s not without it’s faults or risks, there is always a risk the company could go bust, you might not get on with the people there, you might not get on with the boss, who does?

Career Paths

For me, when I was working for various agencies around the South West there would typically be a Senior Developer and a Junior Developer.  I position myself as a middle weight developer down to my skill set and experience of using and developing web applications.

However, after you’ve reached the senior developer role, the next position would be to become a team leader and then finally a CTO (Chief Technology Officer).

Having worked as a CTO in another life,  I can assure you the demands on a CTO can sometimes be higher than those on a Junior, Middle or Senior Developer.  That said, the work you will be doing will be identical to what you were doing as a Junior.

All developer roles revolve around code, whether it be APIs, Application Designs, Frameworks etc.

You’re going to need to be able to code if you’re going to be a freelance developer


A monthly salary is a massive perk to going down the route of employment.

Less Stress, apparantly 

I have to say I disagree with this.

Just because you’re employed doesn’t make any job any less stressful.  There is still deadlines, and you will still have to manage your work load as well as interact with other humans.

Sure you don’t have to worry about marketing the company, selling, or even meeting clients.  But you do have to worry about that chap in the corner who has a big badge saying CEO.


In terms of what’s better for you, well it really is a matter of choice.

I have been a freelancer since the days of 2009/2010 and have built up a small reputation, hopefully a good one, in my local area.  It’s not been plain sailing at all, I have tried and failed at different points in my freelance career and everyday is a new challenge.

If you’re looking for stability and someone to tell you what to do, then employment is the way forward.  If you’re someone who prefers the idea of working for yourself, all I will say is be prepared to take he rough with the smooth.

What do you think?



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