What does it mean to be a freelancer?
Does that means that you have a dream to chase or does it simply means that you are unemployable? Let me try my luck and list down some of the more common freelance jobs out there.
- Freelance Model
- Freelance Designer
- Freelance Photographer
- Freelance Writer
- Freelance Driver
- Freelance Tour Guide
Are these jobs also available in companies as full-time jobs? Yes.
So why are these people not employed full-time with an organisation instead?
The lack of flexibility? The hatred against red tape? The ability to make your own decisions instead of being controlled by your boss? Or is it the only way to enjoy “work life balance?”
Are the above-mentioned perks of freelancing worth the sacrifice of a fixed income and company benefits? Annual leave, annual increment, year-end bonuses, maternity leave, support from colleagues, and the many other tangible and intangible welfare that you are giving up?
If you are not working with a company and instead choose to be a freelancer, who can help and protect you?
Are you being protected by the Ministry of Manpower? What rights do you have? What if your clients do not want to pay you and you do not have a legal team to help you with these? Along with the other 101 problems from your clients.
As bad as it sounds bad to be a freelancer, you will be surprised at the number of freelancers out there in Singapore.
I was at the Fair for Freelancers organised by NTUC and I was very surprised by the response.
Despite it being a ticketed event, the venue was still packed with freelancers and they ain’t there just for the free food. (Maybe some of them lah hor. Market quite bad these days.)
Most were there because they are interested in the program lineup and were seen talking to the business owners who were there to share more about their businesses and potentially how they can help their freelance career.
One such business that really caught my attention was “Dragon law”.
Dragon Law, which launched in January 2015, aims to help businesses of all sizes to draft legal documents, access legal advice, get incorporated, register trademarks, obtain visas, and more.
However, instead of doing in-person consultations, Dragon Law provides software to help freelancers make sense of it all. This sounds like a lifesaver that every freelancer needs!
There were also sharing sessions by different freelancers as well as business owner where they share more insights about being freelancers as well as being on the other side of the fence where they work with freelancers.
A quick interview with the freelancers at the event got me some answers I was seeking.
Some have chosen to be a freelancer because they are actually holding a full-time job or because they are students.
While others choose to freelance because they enjoy the flexibility of managing their own time as well as the flexibility of choosing projects that they are passionate about instead of being in an organisation where they have to work all-round the clock to build someone else’s brand instead of their own.
If done well, some freelancers are even earning a better income than being hired full-time in a company.
With Singapore’s progress, more and more ambitious young people are stepping into the world of entrepreneurship as well as freelancing where they fully take responsibility of their own success as well as failure. (Unlike some keyboard warriors out there who will just simply blame our gahment for every failure.)
All I can say is that it ain’t going to be easy, but again, if it is too easy, everyone would be doing it.
And yes, the world definitely needs freelancers.
Image Credits: Straits Times.