Are freelancers happier than salaried employees?

Susan Guillory
Susan Guillory
August 8, 2017

Anyone who’s ever been a full-time employee knows there are plenty of things to be stressed about: job security, concerns about a raise, and that co-worker who insists on eating tuna salad at an alarming rate, just to name a few.

Now, while being a freelancer is no walk in the park (you’ve got to constantly hustle to find new clients, sometimes they don’t pay on time, and a negative review can rock your world), recent research shows that ultimately, most people are happier being self-employed than working for someone else.

But is it true? With all the risks you take to launch your own freelance business, can it really truly make you a happier person?

Better work/life balance makes for an easier life

If you’ve ever had a boss who demanded you turn in a project first thing Monday (which means you had to slog away over the weekend while everyone else was at the beach), you can understand why better work/life balance is the driver to go freelance for 60% of the people who do.

Being able to set your own schedule, being available for your kids after school, and working when you’re most productive has huge appeal. And if you’re able to work from anywhere, the way many freelancers can, that puts more power into your hands.

Choosing what you work on brings meaning to your job

Employees usually don’t have a choice about what projects they work on or which clients they work with. But as a freelancer, you have the ability to say no to projects that don’t pay well or involve an overbearing client. Likewise, you can choose what you do want to work on. Even if you don’t end up being a billionaire as a freelancer, this is a perk that makes it well worth the effort to be one.

There’s always the opportunity to make more money

Employees are usually capped at a certain salary. The only way to make more is to earn a promotion or move into another position that pays more. Still, the bump up may not be significant.

Freelancers, on the other hand, have unlimited revenue potential, if they’re willing to put in the effort to earn it. Now, don’t read that and think that you can quit your job tomorrow and start earning the big bucks. It does take time, and you have to pay your dues. But as you become known in your industry, you can start charging more, and you’ll attract even more clients.

Who better to work for than yourself?

Another driver for quitting your job to become self-employed is simply to not have to report to someone else. We’ve all had volatile bosses that we cowered in fear from, who gave us nightmares. But running your own business, you get to call the shots. Whereas once you thought “I could do better than that” in regards to your former boss’ bad decisions, now you can shape the direction of your business.

There’s plenty of evidence to support the idea that freelancers are happier than employees. It’s all about your motivation for becoming an entrepreneur and how you handle the process.

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