5 Reasons Why Freelancers Make Great Employees

Lessons of the hustle

In my recent article, I’ve written about how we are now entering the “era of the autodidacts” and why being able to master many talents is finally being recognized as a virtue. This time I want to touch on another type of skill set — freelancing. Freelancers often get a bad reputation for being too impatient, naive or even lazy for the corporate job world. But there is nothing easy about freelancing. I know, I’ve done it for years*. The challenges faced while freelancing teach freelancers valuable lessons which are relevant for any job environment. Here are 5 reasons why freelancers can actually make great employees:

1. They are great at time management

One of the first things a freelancer learns is the importance of managing time. The more customers one has, the more time management becomes essential. Unlike many employees, for a freelancer, work doesn’t end when the clock hits 5 or 6. Freelancers often find themselves working non-stop during their first year of freelance. It is only then, completely exhausted, that they understand how to manage their time better: choose the right projects, work with the right customers, work more efficiently, learn the importance of rest. Time becomes their most important asset and their ability to manage it becomes a skill.

2. They understand and respect businesses

To freelance is to run a business. Freelancers do everything themselves. They market themselves, negotiate, close deals, work on a tight schedule, maintain client relationships, bill, do accounting. They have to be on top of everything, all the time. Employees who have never freelanced before almost never get exposed to the complexity that is running a business. The business owners are the ones left with most of the high-level concerns and decision making. To employ someone who spent time as a freelancer is to employ somebody who has great respect and understanding of just how difficult it is to run a successful business.

To employ someone who spent time as a freelancer is to employ somebody who has great respect and understanding of just how difficult it is to run a successful business.

3. They are good at decision making

With no one else to ask, no colleagues to brainstorm with, freelancers make most decision making themselves. If they want to succeed they must learn to make quick, often tricky decisions while staying stable and calm. Not so simple as freelancers’ decisions often affect their livelihood. While employees can often consult with their bosses and move the decision making onto someone senior, freelancers are “stuck” with themselves when it comes to making business decisions. This teaches them responsibility and forces them to own up to their mistakes.

4. They are used to uncertainty.

The life of a freelancer is full of uncertainty. There is no paycheck, no job security and offers can simply dry up. Freelance for enough time and you too will (painfully) learn to deal with your worse fears. Somebody who gave freelancing a try is somebody who was willing to risk it all for one reason — they believe in themselves. Even if the workflow is constant and things look good, there’s always that fear in the back of your head that this could change in any moment, so you learn how to stay calm and trust yourself and your abilities.

Somebody who gave freelancing a try is somebody who was willing to risk it all for one reason — they believed in themselves.

5. They are agile and like to learn new things

One of the main reasons people choose to become a freelancer is because they like the excitement of working on different projects. They dislike repetitiveness and put everything on the line so that they can choose as many different projects as they’d like. Every new project brings new challenges, new requests, new industries, new products with it forcing freelancers to consistently do one thing — learn. Eventually, they become fast learners who can constantly adjust, an essential skill in today’s agile workplace.

Today’s job market is changing and fast. Companies no longer require college degrees and it is the experience that counts. The experience one gains by being a freelancer should be recognized and even sought after by companies looking for workers with a broad and unique skill set.

  • You can read more about how I spent my freelancing years right here.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +409,714 people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.