Is it easy to work as a freelancer or difficult? I contemplate this as a writer, or rather, a content writer. Why do I not work in a company? As a matter of fact, I had a somewhat "nice" job some time back but couldn't stay there for more than three months.
Freelancing has its challenges, has its drawbacks, its pitfalls, but it also has rewards that you cannot get anywhere. Getting a job, going to an office and working under a bloated project manager gives me the creeps. Life becomes an inexorable litany of schedules and routines. There are lots of "gives" and very few "takes". You are always working for the organization like a zombie. You always need to be an asset, constantly pushing yourself to the limits so that you company can earn profits whereas your own efforts do not commensurate with the compensation.
On the other hand, as a freelancer you control your life. Yes, you are not assigned a project -- you have to find it, you have to convince the client to give it to you. No big name is there to render you credibility. All you have at hand are your experience, your portfolio and above all, your communication skills. You have to be self-disciplined. It's very difficult to wade through the household distractions and focus on your work. You need to convince your family that the bread and butter depends on this. Friends and relatives think you don't work. They can visit you, they can call you any time they like. They cannot imagine in their wildest dreams that you might too have a busy schedule.
Despite all these roadblocks, more and more people are opting for working on their own. They want to control their lives. They don't just want to spend their lives, they want to live their lives and this is a motivating force for me. Since you have just one life why waste it for someone else? There is so much more you can do if you do not have to dance on someone's cacophonic tunes. I know many people who have left their so-called "cushioned jobs" and have tried to get connected with their real self. Money and high-profile job is not everything in life. Life lives in its own nuances and you have to live near the ground, near the soil to be able to revere it.
I cannot ever imagine myself sitting in a cubicle, far away from home, slogging over a presentation, some writing assignment, occasionally greeted by the cloying smiles of my colleagues. I prefer my cluttered room where all the doors are open and all sorts of smells (ok, odours too) waft in the air. I can hear the sounds of birds, dogs and the occasional mooing of a stray cow. My wife doesn't have to call me whenever she wants to share something with me. If I don't want to work on a particular day, I can always do more work on the previous day or the next day. If we want to spend an hour or two extra in bed on some lazy morning, there is no clock scrutinizing our every morning move.
Another factor I value a lot is my rapport with my clients. There are very few clients who are not in touch with me after having had happily paid me for a job well done. They know I'm not working for a company -- I can either work for my own interest, or for their interest. They know that if I don't work, I'm the one who loses along with them, not my organization. So it's easier for them to believe that I'll give my best.
For instance, recently I've been working on a client's sales copy for his website. It's not working...1000s of clicks, but no sales. When he read one of my articles on a website, he had a feeling I could help him sell from his website. I have tried. I haven't succeeded. He has only paid for the effort. I told him to pay me the rest when I have really performed. We are both trying hard because we both want his website to sell for our own personal reasons. Because of this he believes I'm leaving no stones unturned and I believe after this assignment I'll be more competent for my next assignment. My increasing experience helps me gradually increase my rates. So I not only control my work environment, I also control how much I can earn every month.
The road to freelancing is replete with obstacles, but the rewards that await you are exceptional too. You have to work hard, no doubt. Lots of networking, lots of learning, de-learning and relearning, immense ability to persevere, long hours of isolation sometimes, lack of resources, infrastructure and tools, overwhelming distractions and mood-swings, they are all a part-and-parcel of a freelancers life. Once you get over these blocks, you won't give it up for any other job in the world.