An advice to those who want to go freelance.

I was asked yesterday for an advice on the pros and cons of working at home. You see, I’ve been doing freelance work for the past eight years now so I have some knowledge to impart when it comes to the topic at hand.

Well, the first thing I told the person who asked for my advice is that resigning from her nine to five job and going freelance is a big risk. It’s the truth! Can you imagine your regular 15th-30th/end-of-month paycheck coming to a standstill? When you go freelance, your income now depends on how consistent you are with your work. It now depends on your diligence and perseverance (or what we call in Tagalog as sipag at tiyaga). If you work harder every single day, then expect a big income at the end of the month. If you slack off from what you need to do and just work whenever you feel like it, then expect an empty pocket. But the pay-off is really great if you are a hard worker.

Now, that’s just one risk, the recession of a steady, fixed monthly income. Another, and of greater importance, is the loss of mandatory benefits that you get when you are employed by a company as a regular employee. When you work at home doing freelance work, medical and dental health benefits plus those government-mandated ones (SSS, Philhealth and HDMF) are no longer the responsibility of the employer. It is now under your care and it is up to you to make sure you make a voluntary contribution every month to reap the benefits by the time you retire. Insurance policies placed by a company for you will be lost as well, once you choose freelance work.

But, again, the much larger pay-off if you know how to manage your time well and you grab at opportunities thrown your way will be more than enough to cover the cost of all those benefits that you lost.

An upside of freelance work is you control the volume of your work and the time you do it. In other words, your schedule is up to you. Your workload, too.

It’s all about diligence and perseverance. It’s all about hard work when you talk about freelance work and working at home. So my advice to the person asking me about it? Make sure she’s ready to be a much more responsible worker than she is in her nine to five job.