As freelancers, many of you may have wondered whether you should receive the same benefits as employees from your client.
Alas! By posing a question with “Should I?” you have given control of your finances to the company, and you are thinking like an employee. So, you want to make the terms a win-win for you, don’t you? As an experienced freelance writer, I have some thoughts I want to share with everyone.
My Personal Experiences as a Freelance Writer
When I first started freelancing, I quickly learned that how you manage and negotiate your projects as an official entity can impact your freelancing journey.
While you dedicate most of your time, energy, and focus to your client’s work, you fail to negotiate your terms, benefits, and income effectively to succeed.
Importance of Self-care
When you work as a freelancer, it is easy to prioritize your client’s needs over your own and succumb to the pressure of meeting deadlines and not receiving any benefits. However, neglecting personal care in this way can ultimately lead to burnout or failure. Freelancers should prioritize self-care and avoid overworking themselves. In other words, you should set realistic deadlines, take breaks when needed, and seek support from fellow freelancers or professional networks.
The Negligence Freelancers Face
Having collaborated with numerous Fortune 500 companies, I have realized that so many clients often overlook the needs of their freelancers. I am not referring to freelancers who work for a contract, but rather those who have contributed their skills and expertise to these companies for years without receiving any additional support or benefits that in-house employees enjoy.
Compromising Individual Needs for Client Demands
Freelancers often have to navigate the complexities of self-employment, including managing their own taxes, securing their own insurance, and planning for their own retirement. They may not have access to paid time off or professional development opportunities that can help them grow and improve their skills. This lack of support and benefits can make freelancers feel undervalued and underappreciated.
For instance, if an employer wants to let you go, they will fire you by mail. That’s if you are lucky; if not, the company will casually ghost you.
This mindset by companies is unfair and detrimental to the success of the freelancer and the company. Because just like an employee, freelancers can get disgruntled, and that will ultimately affect the output. Not to mention earning a bad reputation and ill-will in the industry.
Lack of Support and Benefits from Companies
Companies often consider freelancers as disposable resources, easily replaceable and without the same commitment levels or loyalty as full-time employees. This thinking is a false narrative, considering that we put in all hours of day or night and our own tools to get the job done on our resources, dime, and time.
We see an exodus of freelancers taking to social media complaining about the injustice of compensation and benefits that employees enjoy and freelancers don’t. The most recent example is the Hollywood Strike, led by the 11,500 Screenwriters Guild of America (WGA), who went on strike in response to a labor dispute. Whether it is the burden of freelancing resource expenses, insurance, or health care, companies should remember that freelancers bear the brunt of everything.
Companies Should Recognize the Value of Freelancers
It is crucial to acknowledge the valuable contributions of every team member, whether they are full-time employees or freelancers. Freelancers deserve the same level of support and benefits from companies, and it is time for this to change.
Freelancers bring unique skill sets and expertise that benefit the job, often specializing in niche areas that may not be available within the company’s full-time staff. Their contributions should be recognized and valued for their efforts and the flexibility and cost-effectiveness they bring to the organization.
Disparity Between In-House Employees and Freelancers
In-house employees usually have access to the benefits and perks of their jobs, such as health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation, and professional growth opportunities. These perks give employees peace of mind and act as incentives for attracting and retaining the best talent.
On the flip side, freelancers face the challenges of self-employment. They must manage their work, resources, and official expenses. Even though freelancers use their own assets and provide their services at an affordable price, they often do not receive equal support or benefits.
In contrast, in-house employees enjoy various perks and benefits from their employment. However, it is crucial to recognize that freelancers also play a vital role. They make significant contributions to the company’s success.
Extending Benefits for Freelancers
Freelancers offer commitment and expertise that significantly contribute to the completion of company projects. Therefore, companies should take responsibility to ensure freelancers feel recognized, appreciated, and provided with the necessary support and benefits.
Companies should actively look for ways to reward their freelancers with certain perks, recognizing their dedication and hard work. Companies should value all team members, regardless of whether they are employed or freelancers. Everyone deserves to feel appreciated, supported, and entitled to the same benefits.
Implementing an Inclusive Work Culture for Freelancers
Companies should consider implementing a more inclusive approach to their freelancers, providing them with the necessary support and benefits to ensure their well-being and job satisfaction. This effort can include offering access to training and professional development opportunities, providing health insurance or other benefits, and fostering a sense of belonging within the company culture.
Final Thoughts: Make it a Win-win for Employers and Freelancers
By treating freelancers as integral members of the team, companies can foster long-term relationships and loyalty, leading to higher quality work and increased productivity. Additionally, freelancers who feel valued and supported will likely go above and beyond to deliver exceptional results.
Companies must recognize the value of their freelancers and provide them with the necessary support and benefits, while freelancers must prioritize their own well-being and income stability. Remember, working together, we can create a more inclusive and sustainable freelancing ecosystem that benefits everyone involved.
As freelancers, never undervalue yourself. You chose this profession for a reason. To be independent, run your business, and get the best projects on your own terms.