The benefits of freelancing are many. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the freedom and flexibility it affords. Freelancers can work from anywhere they please, set their hours, and take on only the projects they want. This level of autonomy is a significant draw for many people.
Another significant benefit is the income potential. Freelancers can earn much more than they would work a traditional job. And since there are no limits on how much work they can take, they can maximize their earnings by choosing projects that pay well.
Freelancing offers various perks, such as building a portfolio, networking with other professionals, and learning new skills. All these benefits make freelancing an attractive option for career changers and those looking for more flexibility.
Unfortunately, there is one glaring problem with freelancing as a career. As profitable as the career path can be, freelancers cannot access company perks. This can be a significant drawback, especially for those who are used to receiving benefits like health insurance, paid vacation days, and retirement savings matching.
While freelancers may not have access to traditional company perks, there are plenty of other ways to receive similar benefits. Here are a few ideas.
Individual Health Insurance
Health insurance is perhaps the single most significant benefit many freelancers give up when they leave the traditional workforce. They will have to pull out their wallet and pay the entire bill themselves whenever they get sick. Moreover, they will not get paid for the days they must get treated or recover.
This can be a significant financial burden, especially if you have a family. Fortunately, there are many options for individual health insurance plans. The key is to find one that fits your needs and budget.
Several websites offer comparisons of different health insurance plans. These can help you find the right plan for you.
Some freelancers may be eligible for group health insurance plans. This is usually the case if you are part of a professional association or union. These plans can be cheaper than individual plans, so it’s worth considering whether you’re eligible for any group plans.
The same principle applies to dental insurance. Unfortunately, you might find the rates challenging while also focusing on health insurance payments. If that is the case, you can focus on prioritizing dental health. Only seek dental services when necessary. You can get affordable dental implants at a reliable clinic if you have a missing tooth. As much as possible, try to save up for it even if you do not require immediate attention.
Paid Time Off
Another familiar company perk freelancers miss out on is paid time off. This can be a severe issue if you have children or other family obligations. Fortunately, there are ways to get around this.
One option is to take advantage of sick days and vacation days. When you have to take time off, make sure you plan and save up enough money to cover your living expenses for the duration of your time off.
You can also negotiate with your clients to include paid time off in your contract. This is usually not an issue for one-time projects, but it can be more difficult for long-term projects. You can also offer to work during holidays in exchange for additional days off.
Many full-time employees have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s. These plans offer tax advantages and can help you save for retirement. Unfortunately, freelancers do not have access to these types of programs.
Fortunately, there are other ways to save for retirement. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) offer many of the same benefits as employer-sponsored plans. There are also Roth IRAs, which offer different tax advantages.
You can also set up your retirement plan. This is usually only an option if you’re making a significant income. But if you can afford it, setting up your retirement plan can be a great way to save for the future.
With freelancing, you might be on your own most of the time. You will have to get used to not having anyone to bounce ideas off of or help you with your work. This can be challenging, especially if you’re accustomed to working in a team environment.
One way to get around this is to join a co-working space. These spaces offer the opportunity to interact with other freelancers and small business owners. This can be a great way to network and find collaborators for future projects.
You can also join professional associations or online communities related to your field. These can provide support and networking opportunities.
Perks for freelancers may not be as traditional, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. There are many ways to get the benefits you’re used to when working for a corporation. You have to look for them. You can find the perfect setup for you and your family with a little effort.