The average freelancer earns $93 per hour, according to research. Is freelance work for you?

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Is becoming self-employed suitable for your lifestyle and your finances?


Key points

  • Freelancers and full-time employees often have very different work lives.
  • One study found that freelancers were 29% more likely than full-time employees to earn $100 or more per hour.
  • Learn about the financial and lifestyle considerations you need to take into account before becoming self-employed.

For many, the independent lifestyle is ideal. This can provide more flexibility and give workers more freedom to choose how they spend their time and what projects they take on. If you’ve never been self-employed, you may be wondering if this work situation could be financially beneficial or if it’s the right career choice for you.

Although results vary, many freelancers make a comfortable living doing their job. But becoming independent can mean adjusting your whole lifestyle.

Joblist surveyed full-time employees and full-time freelancers to get a better idea of ​​how their lifestyles compare. The Joblist study looked at things like income, hours, lifestyle, and fulfillment.

It turns out that there were big differences in the way the workers lived and worked.

The average hourly wage for freelancers is $93

According to the results of the study, full-time freelancers have a higher average hourly wage than full-time employees.

The study found that the average hourly wage for employees is $72, while the average hourly wage for freelancers is $93. Another notable finding is that full-time freelancers were 29% more likely to earn $100 or more per hour. These are attractive rates, but not common for beginners.

One important thing to keep in mind is that freelancers have different tax responsibilities. Self-employed income comes before tax – so workers should set aside income for their taxes and prepare accordingly. It is best to make quarterly tax payments to avoid penalties.

Additionally, freelancers are responsible for investing in their own benefits, while full-time employees can often take advantage of health and retirement benefits as part of their job.

Freelancers should also prepare for sick days and vacations. They don’t get paid when they’re not working, so they have to put money aside for those situations (or agree not to get paid).

Working hours vary for freelancers

This study found that freelancers tend to have inconsistent schedules.

Freelancers were 50% more likely than full-timers to put in ten or more hours in an average workday. The study also found that freelancers were twice as likely to work six hours or less than full-time employees on other days.

Hours of the day worked may also vary. While most full-time employees work a typical 9 to 5 schedule, many freelancers work less traditional hours. This benefits some freelancers who may feel more productive during non-traditional hours.

A significantly positive finding from the study is that freelancers tend to have more time to focus on non-work activities and personal commitments. For many, this is a huge victory.

Joblist found that freelancers were almost twice as likely to spend time each week on social activities. Only one in four full-time employees could say the same.

Take stock of your finances before becoming independent

If you’re considering transitioning into a freelance working life, you want to make sure the lifestyle is right for you. While this works for many, it’s not the best solution for everyone.

It can be a great transition from having a boss in charge of you to controlling your schedule and workload entirely on your own. For some freelancers, sticking to a traditional 9 to 5 work schedule may work best when they’re starting out.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I take charge and stay on track with my work goals?
  • Do I have the ability to avoid distractions throughout the day?
  • Am I motivated or do I need direction?
  • How much do I want to work?

You should also plan your finances as a freelancer. If you’re just starting out, you need to figure out how much money you can make and if you can keep covering your bills.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Will you be able to afford all your living expenses for the first few months?
  • How much money do you need to earn to live comfortably?
  • Will you be able to cover additional expenses such as health costs?
  • Do you have an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs that may arise?

If you don’t have an emergency fund, now is a good time to open a savings account and start contributing to your savings regularly.

Independent living can be a great financial and lifestyle change, but it’s an adjustment. If you’re not sure you can make enough money as a new freelancer, one option is to start freelancing part-time while you still have a full-time job. Many freelancers start this way.

Check out our personal finance resources for additional advice on essential financial matters.

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