Pros of Freelancing
No location issues! Freelancers can work wherever they like - literally! You can work from home, at your private office, cafe, or coffee shop, without your boss hovering around your cubicle. Just make sure there aren't major work distractions around, like a TV, domestic chores, etc. Also, deliver on time. Don't compromise on the work quality either.
Freelancers can choose from a variety of projects instead of working on a designated one. For instance, if you are a freelance writer, you can choose to write on various styles (research-based, social media, or PR), instead of sticking to a particular style. There is a lot of exposure, opportunity, and creative freedom with freelancing.
You can charge your client as per the project, there is no fixed salary. And you can have multiple clients and several projects. Experienced freelancers often choose their own hourly rates, and you have a chance to earn much more than a regular job. You can negotiate, take more clients without fear, and charge more (with quality).
If you don't like a client, you have all the right to drop him and look out for another, unlike a regular job where you have to work for a client and your boss, no matter what. You also get to make a lot of contacts, and establish professional bonds with experienced freelancers; thus, if your work is good, you'll find it easier to acquire more clients.
You don't have to cater to anyone's demands about how to work; you're your own boss. You can choose the manner, time, and style of working. You don't have to suck up to your clients for a raise, you are not tied down to a single employer, and no one can technically hire/fire you. Cherish the independence and autonomous feeling!
It may be quite probable that as a freelancer, you may pay lower income taxes than regular employees. Since you do not earn a regular salary, no federal taxes are withheld from your paycheck. You can deduct reasonable expenses from your taxable income (office, travel, insurance, etc.), and buy retirement plans with tax benefits as well. You have to decide on a certain estimated amount, and pay the same directly to the IRS.
Cons of Freelancing
With a regular job, you have a fixed, reliable clientele and guaranteed work. For freelancers, however, it can be particularly difficult to find clients one after the other, rather, to find steady work. You may find 5 or 6 clients at once, and be working 24x7 to fulfill their demands, or you may find no clients at all for a few weeks. Also, getting your choice of work may be rather difficult at times.
You do not have a guaranteed, fixed salary; you are paid as and when you find work. In a regular company, even if the business suffers or there is less work, you are still paid. For a freelancer, no work means no money. Also, you may not always get the kind money you want; your client may pay lesser, may not pay at all, or there may be a delay in payment. And then it can become difficult to handle expenses without any income.
Being your own boss is not always profitable; you have to strive hard to develop the business yourself. Also, you'll work with financial uncertainty if your line of work has less scope and demand. Starting out with no clients, especially during recession, is even worse. You have to be the compulsive problem solver - you don't have immediate colleagues or seniors to help you, and you may experience a loss of corporate identity. You also have to work as and when the clients demand.
A freelancer has to manage every single thing himself - there are no accounting/HR/sales departments to help out. One has to don the hat of a manager, director, and employee, and tasks would include accounting, sales, marketing, bookkeeping, business developer, one's actual niche (writing/designing/translating), negotiations, legal issues, tax problems, and project management.
Despite the freedom to choose the location, time, and style of work, freelancing leads to imbalance between work and home. You get distracted by household chores, there is lesser time management, and you are pushed into isolation, since you are not a part of a corporate team, do not have coworkers to bond with, gain support, or discuss important points. You may even be dropped by your agency if your work is sloppy.
Since you have to find work and clients on your own, there is no job security or regular employee benefits. Freelancers miss out on health insurance, unemployment insurance benefits, labor law protections, debt liabilities, workers' compensation, retirement benefits, bonus, paid vacations, sick leave, federal/state law protection, etc. There is no safety net. Makes you wonder if freelancing is worth it, isn't it?
A regular employee has the chance to learn, grow, and progress. Freelancers complete their clients' work exactly as it is needed - they do not gain any remarkable knowledge from what they do, and cannot reuse what they worked on. They do not own the work, they do not have a long-term value; One may not even have the right to add his own creative opinion about something. It's akin to a hired help, doing the same work on a contractual basis.