In the dynamic world of digital marketing, the role of a Freelancer is becoming increasingly prominent. As someone who has walked this path and carved out a successful career as a freelancer, I’m here to guide you on your journey toward becoming a one yourself! In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the pros and cons of being a freelance consultant and help you determine how much you should charge for your services.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Marketing Freelancer
Becoming a freelance specialist offers a plethora of advantages, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of this career path (and one that only the bravest tend to go for)!
Pros of being a Freelancer
- As a freelance SEO or PPC specialist, you have the freedom to set your own work hours. This is by far and away one of, if not, the biggest pros of being a freelancer and one of the main reasons people choose to go freelance in the first place!
- 2. Location Independence
- Anyone with a LinkedIn profile knows the digital nomad lifestyle is well documented! Whether you’re a #vanlife fan or simply just prefer to while away your working day in an artisan coffee shop, location independence and being able to work from anywhere in the world is another massive advantage of being a freelancer. All you need is an internet connection to manage campaigns for clients worldwide.
- 3. Diverse Clientele
- Whether you choose to support agencies or clients direct, freelancing comes with the advantage of being able to select who you work with, a luxury you don’t get when you’re in full-time employment. This diversity keeps the job interesting and allows you to expand your knowledge.
- 4. Higher Earning Potential
- Freelance specialists often command higher hourly rates or project fees compared to their in-house counterparts however, the getting of work and contracts in the first place is the tricky part. The phrase “work for 5 days, get paid for 2” is very true in the world of freelancing!
- 5. Personal Brand Building
- As a freelancer, you’ll have the opportunity to build your personal brand. A strong online presence is vital for attracting clients and getting those leads coming in! It’s also a great way to build trust with potential clients because if you can market yourself well then you’ll likely do a good job for them!
- Inconsistent Income
- It doesn’t matter how organised you are or how many pies you have your fingers in, unfortunately at some point during your freelance career you will experience fluctuations in income. Top tip is to assume it’s going to happen at some point so when you do have great months make sure to save some of the revenue for months where your board is empty.
- 2. Client Acquisition
The fact of the matter is we’re all pretty good at marketing other people when it comes to ourselves we hate it. Finding and retaining clients can be challenging, especially when starting. Networking, marketing, and a strong portfolio are essential to secure clients so unfortunately, if you really don’t like any of the above OR aren’t going to make the time for it then you really need to question whether freelancing is the right route for you.
- 3. Self-Employment Taxes
- HMRC don’t take lightly to people who don’t save for their self assessment taxes. Yes, they can offer payment plans but getting your head round skimming enough off your income to ensure you’ve got enough in the pot for your tax bill is really tough. Ideally you’d hire a small business accountant to help you with this but if you’re not prepared to at least learn the basics then again, you should be questioning if freelancing and consulting is right for you.
- This is a real biggie and one that’s impossible to prepare yourself for. Freelancing can be a solitary profession, with limited interaction with colleagues. Even if you make an effort to stay connected with industry peers through networking events and online communities there will still be times where you feel lonely. In those instances it’s really important to make sure you’re doing your very best to look after yourself. Take the quieter times to get outside, go to the gym, reach out to friends, families and freelancer communities and make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy as these are the times where you’ll be truly tested.
- 5. Self-Discipline
- Sounds obvious, right? Well…similar to isolation the level of self discipline required to be a GREAT freelancer is hugely underestimated. At first the freedom of not having a company who dictates your whereabouts 5 days a week is awesome, however, once that structure goes and you’re in the wild all by yourself you’re going to have to dig very, very deep to stay on track.
- Procrastination is your worst enemy and something you’re not going to be able to avoid. Adopting productivity practices like the Pomodoro technique and learning prioritisation is key. Whilst it sounds “easy” to get your to-do list in order it’s actually an art form / science in itself and one you’re going to have to master.
- Tune into self development podcasts, videos, articles and peers to help develop your way of working because the quicker you nail self discipline the quicker you fly!
Becoming a digital marketing freelancer is an exciting and rewarding journey. The pros of flexibility, independence, and the potential for high earnings make it an appealing career choice. However, it’s essential to acknowledge the cons, such as fluctuating income and the need for self-discipline. It’s also extremely easy to be taken for a ride by these “gurus” who shout about how freelancing is a “great” cash earner for the most lazy people who want to find a quick side hustle as that’s simply not true.
Every SINGLE member of the Interim community has been in there chose discipline for at least 6-7 years prior to going freelance and have learned the ropes through hands on experience working for digital agencies. There is simply no other way to master your channel than to work hands-on so don’t be sucked into these YouTube teens who convince people to take up SEO in order to make a £1million over night! There’s no alternative to hard graft, simple.
Ultimately, success as a freelance specialist hinges on your dedication, continuous learning, and commitment to providing exceptional value to your clients. By striking a balance between the pros and cons, knuckling down and striving to be the best version of yourself, you can embark on a fulfilling career as a consultant. So, take the plunge, stay motivated, and watch your freelance career flourish.
If you’re exploring the idea of going freelance then why not download our free freelancer survival guide that gives you some more detailed insight into how to take the first steps into your career going solo?