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Freelance or Employee: Which Type of Remote Job is Right for You?

Freelance or employee: Which type of remote worker are you? Read this guide to figure it out, and simplify your work from home job search! It’s a big decision to take the leap from office dweller to home-office worker.

But once you make that all important decision, you’re probably pretty eager to make the transition. And who could blame you?

Remember, you save time by not having to commute every day and keep cash in your pocket not paying for gas.

Oh, and there’s the happiness factor of remote work (it’s a thing, I promise).

But starting a remote job search isn’t for the faint of heart. For starters, there are a lot of options out there, making it difficult to actually make your move.

That’s why I recommend you first figure out which type of employment you’re looking for. From there, your remote job search because much simpler.

While there are tons of ways to make a living online — start a blog, launch a coupon site, sell digital downloads — there are two main type of ways to land at-home work quickly: Employee positions and freelancing.

So, which one is right for you? Excellent question. That’s what we’re going to figure out.

Work From Home Employee Positions

Thanks to the Internet and the many different online collaboration tools, you can do almost any office job from home. And more and more companies are recognizing that they can have employees put in a full day’s work without having to come into the office. This is beneficial to the company because they save on costs associated with operating office spaces and don’t have to limit their talent pool to a certain geographic region. Instead, they can attract the best and the brightest from around the world!

And, of course, this is also a good thing for remote job seekers since it opens up endless possibilities to have a career without the commute. From administrative assistants to customer service reps and developers to designers, pretty much any job you’d find in a traditional office space can also be found at hundreds of remote-friendly companies.

That means, no matter your background, education, or experience, you can likely find an at-home employee position that works for you. So, don’t worry if you have experience as a receptionist, admissions coordinator, teacher, project manager or any other job that you typically associate with an office setting. Distributed workforces, where all or most employees work remotely, have made it possible for workers with a range of experiences and backgrounds to work from home.

What It Means To Be An At-Home Employee

If you’ve ever worked an in-office job, you already know what it’s like to work from home as an employee! Seriously, you can expect pretty much the same arrangement but instead of commuting and in-person meetings, you’ll ‘meet’ with and ‘interact’ with coworkers virtually.

As an at-home employee you:

  • Are benefits eligible
  • Receive steady pay
  • Have taxes withheld from your check
  • Adhere to schedules set by your employer
  • Ask permission for vacation/sick days/time off
  • Maintain a quiet home office during business hours

Are You Remote Employee Material?

Many people initially say they want an at-home job as an employee. They think that, as long as they don’t have to physically go into work each day, they prefer the stability of a remote employee position.

And for some people this is the case. But for others, not so much. To figure out if you really are after a remote employee position, consider these things:

You Cannot Pull Double-Duty As a Remote Employee

What I mean by that is, if you have kids or caretaker responsibilities during the day, don’t think you can ‘watch’ your little ones and put in a full day’s work at the same time. It’s not going to happen. In fact, many remote-friendly companies will require you to maintain a distraction-free, completely quiet home office during your scheduled hours. If you can’t do that, you need to consider a different type of remote job.

Your Schedule Will Pretty Much Be Fixed

If you were hoping that all work from home jobs allowed you to work at your leisure, think again! Remember, an at-home employee position is just like any other office job (without the cubicle). You will have to work during your assigned business hours without exception. This means you can’t sneak out for a midday movie or pick and choose your own hours.

You Still Have a Boss To Answer To

Just because you may not see your boss every day, doesn’t mean they’re not there! As a remote employee, there will still be a chain of command that you fall somewhere within. This means while you get to work autonomously for the most part, you still have to work for someone.

Is An At-Home Employee Position Right For Me?

If you have a home office that is quiet, at least eight consecutive distraction-free hours each day, and an ability to work collaboratively with others while working virtually, you are definitely remote employee material.

If, on the other hand, you want a super flexible schedule, dream of working for yourself, have kids in your care or other daily responsibilities, employee positions just aren’t right for you. But don’t worry, there’s another option.

Freelancing From Home

A whopping 1 in 3 workers now earns at least part of their income freelancing! But even though it’s a hugely popular way to earn a living from home, many remote job seekers tend to write off freelancing as ‘not for them.’

Time and time again I hear people say they don’t know how to freelance or simply don’t have the skills needed to become a successful freelancer.

But I tend to disagree with them. In fact, I truly believe that everyone has a profitable skill that they can transform into a lucrative freelance career.

Whether you’re a writer, designer, teacher, paralegal, or a stay-at-home parent, you can seriously make a career out of selling what you already know.  It may just not be readily apparent to you.

Remember, 1 in 3 — 33% of workers are freelancing to some degree. If they can do it, so can you.

What It Means To Be a Freelancer

There are certainly some misconceptions about freelancing but it’s really not a difficult way to earn a living from home — promise! You’ll still work with others but instead of an employee-employer relationship, you’ll have a client-freelancer one. And with this change in dynamics, there are some other things to consider.

As a freelancer you:

  • Become responsible for paying taxes
  • Need to find your own clients
  • Maintain your own schedule
  • Bill clients for your services
  • Negotiate your own pay rate

Are You Freelance Material?

As a freelancer, you are essentially your own boss. Yes, you have to answer to clients but otherwise you are responsible for finding work, payments, taxes, and all other aspects of getting your work done and growing the business of you.

I know this can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re used to working as an employee. But, while it can be admittedly tough to transition from full-time to freelance, the payoff is worth it for many!

You Can Work When You Want

For those with hectic family schedules or other daily commitments, freelancing is a great way to earn a living around your busy schedule. You get to decide when you work whether that’s 2:00 a.m. on a Tuesday or 9:00 p.m. Sunday. For parents, caregivers, or anyone who doesn’t (or can not!) thrive in a traditional 9 to 5, freelancing offers the freedom needed to earn a living on their own terms.

You Have to Find Your Own Clients

The uncertainty of pay as a freelancer is a real thing. But don’t let that scare you off from considering this type of remote employment. Yes, in the beginning, it’s tough to get your name out there but there are a number of techniques, tips and tricks you can use to start landing clients and keep them coming back for more. Don’t get caught up with the logistics of freelancing just yet, but seriously consider whether you want/need the flexibility and autonomy that comes with this kind of remote work.

You Are Able To Work (Almost) Anywhere

Freelancers don’t have to be tethered to their home offices for certain hours during the day. And that means you can pick up and work practically anywhere your laptop takes you — as long as you can connect to the Internet! So, if you feel like taking off to travel, no problem. Or if you want to work from your local coffeehouse, that’s okay too. Freelancers get the freedom to work wherever they’re happiest.

Is Freelancing Right For Me?

If you’re ready to kick your cubicle to the curb and, along with it, say goodbye to a traditional 9 to 5, freelancing can certainly provide that. But, it does take a little work and a lot of determination to get a career as a freelancer off the ground.

The good news is, just about everyone has a skill they can package into a profitable service for sale — yes, even you ?

As a freelancer, you get the freedom to work when and where you choose, for whom, and set your pay rate — something an employee position does not offer. This means you can build your work schedule around family time or other obligations, and not the other way around.

Think About It

You don’t need to decide right now whether you want to pursue freelance or employee-based positions. I know I just threw a lot of information at you. Take your time, mull over the pros and cons, and truly figure out what you’re looking for in a remote job.

Once you can confidently say you prefer the freedom of freelancing or stability of employee work, you’ve just made it that much easier for yourself once it comes to sourcing job leads and applying to jobs.

Stuck? Confused? Leave your questions in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out my ebook, The 10-Second Commute. It’s the a beginner’s guide to helping your find a job as a remote employee with a real company. Hint: Download the Kindle App, sign up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited, and you can read my book (and thousands others) for free.



P.S. This post contains affiliate links. What are they? Read my disclosure statement to learn more. 

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About Carol St. Amand

Carol St. Amand

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