You’ll often hear me waxing lyrical about the benefits of working freelance; while it’s not an option for everyone or for all professions, if you’re lucky enough to be your own boss then it’s generally a pretty good way to work. At this time of year, there are extra benefits to self-employment, as well as some drawbacks… Let’s look at the pros and cons of a freelance Holiday.
PRO - Holiday shopping
Crowds. Noise. Stress. Ugh. Not my favourite activity - but when you’re not locked down to office hours, it does get a little bit easier. When you can plan in some retail time at 2pm on a Tuesday, you’re likely to get less elbows in your ribs than spending a painful Saturday afternoon in a department store. To be honest, I do most of my shopping online anyway, because I just can’t deal - and it definitely helps being able to work from home and actually be in to receive your deliveries.
CON - Holiday spending
The Holidays tend to be expensive for everyone, but if you’re reliant on a variable pay check it can be a bit harder to contend with. If you’re super organised and plan in advance then chances are you’ll be fine - however, if you happen to be waiting on overdue invoices come the end of November, you’re likely to be hoping there are pennies behind your ears when you start your festive shopping. Fingers crossed your finances will even out again after the holiday season - but trifle and ribbons wait for no man. Wonder if Santa will take an IOU on the mince pies…?
PRO - office parties (getting out of)
The office holiday party generally sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me. Spending your precious free time with your work family at this time of year isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time - I suppose this depends on the people you work with, but either way, you see them all the time! By the time you’ve chipped in your contribution per head for the Holiday dinner out (and turkey is rarely good when it’s kept warm under a lamp until all 30 plates are prepped) and stumped up for your Secret Santa gift… is it January yet?
CON - office parties (missing out on!)
On the other hand, the grass is always greener - it must be nice having a big group activity to look forward to when you’re slogging through the pre-Holiday workload. Some kinds of work wind down a lot over December, in which case there are other people to “look busy” with, or if you’re even busier than usual, at least you’ve got people in the same boat to commiserate with and to spur you on. What better way to manage a tricky December - the promise of a party that will guarantee excellent gossip to see you through to New Years.
PRO - you decide your holidays
Rather than praying when your rota comes through that you’re not scheduled to work Boxing Day, when you’re your own boss you get to be as generous as you like with the holidays. If you’ve been organised and got things done in advance, you could well be kicking up your heels from Christmas Eve right through to 2017!
CON - there aren’t really any holidays
Ah, there’s the other side of the coin. While you might get to decide on your “holidays” that’s kind of because, well, there aren’t any. If you’re not working… then you’re not getting paid. If you’re working with companies or individuals who are taking time off over the holidays, you’ll either be rushing to get three times as much work done as usual before their office closes, or you’ll have less work altogether. Eek. Equally if the people you work with aren’t taking time off…? Neither are you.
Ultimately, freelancing will either work for you or it won’t - but if you’re feeling super jealous of the people setting their own timetables this festive season, rest assured, it’s not ALL flexible hours and working in pyjamas. But lord do those things help.