The pandemic popularized telecommuting, remote work, and the gig economy, but the evolution of work has been a topic for over a decade. As the economy recovers from the last few years, news of layoffs, downsizing, and restructuring dominate the headlines. As a result, companies are turning to freelancers to fill vacant positions to cut costs.

Miles Everson, CEO of MBO Partners shared, “We’ve reached an important inflection point in the American workforce, where workers not only desire to control their own careers, but businesses increasingly realize that accessing top talent and skills means needing to re-think how they structure their workforces, and that in order to be competitive, they must leverage independent professionals as part of this modern business model.”

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Considering Freelance Work

As a cleared worker, you’re more layoff-proof than most, but a freelance opportunity might sound intriguing. So, if you’re deciding between freelance work or keeping your 9-to-5 job, here are a few things to consider.

1. Flexibility vs. Stability

One of the biggest upsides to freelance work is the freedom. You choose the clients you work with and choose jobs based on your own interests. And with most freelance opportunities remote or requiring limited travel, you can work wherever you choose.

On the downside, you’re solely responsible for finding clients and managing your workload. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. On the other hand, the steady paycheck and relative job security of a cleared full-time position offer stability.

2. All About the Benjamins (And Benefits)

While many full-time cleared workers earn six-figure salaries, freelancers set their own prices, so there’s no cap on potential earnings. But, where 9 to 5ers have a fixed income, they receive full benefits. Employers don’t provide insurance, retirement 401ks, PTO, or fringe benefits (typically) to their independent contractors.

3. Growth Opportunities

Depending on where you work, many employers provide professional development opportunities and education reimbursement to advance their skills. And while freelancers must constantly keep up-to-date on the latest trends and data to stay relevant, obtaining certificates and attending trainings and conferences are all write-offs for their business.

4. Staying Connected

If your 9 to 5 job is in-person, and the freelance work you’re interested in is remote, the change in socialization will be the biggest hurdle you face (or rather, don’t face!). Not being in the same location as your coworkers might seem jarring initially, but with online platforms like ClearanceJobs, you can stay connected with other cleared workers. Because let’s face it, your dog doesn’t understand what you do!

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Phoebe Wells is the Public Relations & Partnerships Marketing Manager at ClearanceJobs and loves every aspect of her role. Creating content and working with the CJ team to connect cleared candidates with employers is incredibly rewarding, as the work ClearanceJobs does ultimately supports the mission of the U.S. As the daughter of a veteran and former cleared worker, she knows the sacrifices security and defense professionals make. She is honored to assist them in leveling up their careers. Plus, she gets to work from home in the Adirondack Mountains with her partner and two huskies!