Freelancing: part-time vs full time?

freelancing part time vs full time

Freelancing: part-time vs full time?

Are you thinking about freelancing? Awesome! Freelancing is an exciting way to be your own boss. You get to choose your working hours and clients. But should you go part-time or full-time? That’s a biggie decision.

In this super detailed guide, I’ll share my experiences as a freelancer. We’ll look at the pros and cons of part-time versus full-time freelancing. I’ll also give you tips to succeed at whichever path you pick.

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

What is Freelancing?

Freelancing means you work for yourself instead of an employer. As a freelancer, you are self-employed. You find your own clients and projects. You also set your own rates and schedules.

Freelancers can work part-time or full-time hours. They often take on multiple clients at once. Common freelance jobs include:

  • Writing and editing
  • Web and graphic design
  • Virtual assistance
  • Software development
  • Consulting and coaching
  • Photography and videography

Many freelancers start while still employed. That way, they can test the waters with a part-time freelance schedule.

Part-Time Freelancing

Working part-time as a freelancer means keeping your regular 9-to-5 job. You freelance “on the side” for extra income.

Pros of Part-Time Freelancing

Stable Income – Your day job provides a reliable paycheck. Freelancing supplements it.

Ease Into It – Part-time lets you start slow and learn as you go, without major risk.

Try New Skills – You can freelance in a different field than your job to explore new interests.

Tax Benefits – Freelance income is taxed as self-employment, which has some advantages.

Cons of Part-Time Freelancing

Limited Availability – You only have evenings and weekends for freelance work after your day job.

Balancing Act – Juggling a job plus freelancing can lead to burnout if not managed well.

Slower Growth – Your freelance business may grow more slowly than if you went full-time.

Full-Time Freelancing

As a full-time freelancer, freelancing is your sole job and income source. You don’t have any other employment.

Pros of Full-Time Freelancing

Be Your Own Boss – You have complete control over your schedule, rates, clients, and work.

Profit Potential – Your income isn’t capped, so you can earn as much as your efforts allow.

Location Independence – With just a laptop, you can freelance from anywhere with WiFi.

Lifestyle Flexibility – Easily adjust your schedule as personal needs change.

Cons of Full-Time Freelancing

Inconsistent Income – Your pay will vary month-to-month based on your client work.

Self-Discipline Required – You must motivate yourself without a manager’s oversight.

Admin Responsibilities – You handle business management like accounting and invoicing.

Funding Your Own Benefits – Health insurance, retirement, etc. come out of your own pocket.

Part-Time vs Full-Time: Which is Better?

So which freelancing approach should you choose? It depends on your goals and lifestyle preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all.

Full-time freelancing offers the most autonomy but also the highest risks. Part-time has less freedom but more stability.

Many freelancers start part-time. Then, once they build up experience and clients, they make the leap to full-time. But others happily stay part-time indefinitely.

The right path comes down to your priorities around income, flexibility, security, and work-life balance. Let’s look at some visuals comparing the two:

Part-Time vs Full-Time Freelancing At-a-Glance

Income Potential$$$$$$$$
Schedule FlexibilityLowHigh
Financial SecurityHigherLower
Lifestyle ControlSomeFull

Part-time gives you lower income potential but higher financial security from your day job income. Full-time freelancing means higher (unlimited) income potential but less financial safety net.

Best Uses of Part-Time vs Full-Time Freelancing

Part-Time FreelancingFull-Time Freelancing
Supplemental incomePrimary income
Transition to full-timeIdeal lifestyle
Test freelancingBusiness ownership
Stay in workforceMaximum control

In the end, both part-time and full-time freelancing can be viable paths. One isn’t necessarily better – it’s about choosing the right model for your current situation and goals.

Tips for Successful Freelancing

Whether part-time or full-time, certain principles are key for freelancing success:

Have a Dedicated Workspace

Having a separate, quiet space for work helps you stay focused and productive when freelancing from home.

Market Yourself

Successful freelancers constantly market their services through networking, social media, job boards, and more.

Manage Your Time Wisely

Use time-tracking and scheduling tools to avoid undercharging clients or overworking yourself.

Invest in Professional Development

Consistently learning new skills keeps your service offerings competitive and rates higher.

Build a Financial Safety Net

Save a cash reserve to carry you through periods of few or late client payments.

Set Boundaries

Protect your personal time by communicating clear working hours and policies to clients.

Q&A on Freelancing

Q: How much can I earn freelancing part-time? A: Part-time freelance earnings can vary significantly based on your skills, rates, availability, and client work. A reasonably achievable range is $200 – $2,000+ per month on top of your day job income.

Q: Is it hard to get freelance clients? A: Getting your first few clients is often the hardest part. After that, good freelancers get repeat work and referrals from past clients. Marketing yourself consistently is key.

Q: What are the most in-demand freelance skills?
A: Some of the most in-demand freelance skills include:

  • Web/mobile development and design
  • Digital marketing (SEO, PPC, social media, etc.)
  • Writing (copywriting, blogging, editing)
  • Graphic design and animation
  • Virtual assistance and administrative work

Q: How much should I charge as a freelancer?
A: Freelance rates vary wildly by industry, location, and experience level. Research your field’s market rates, then price yourself based on your skills/expertise. Experience freelancers can earn $50-$300+ per hour.

Q: Do I need any special licenses or business registration? A: Freelancing requirements differ by location. Common needs are getting a business license, sales tax ID, and preparing to pay self-employment taxes each year.


Freelancing gives you the flexibility to be your own boss and work on your own terms. You can freelance part-time for supplemental income while keeping a day job. Or freelance full-time with unlimited earning potential but inconsistent pay.

Part-time freelancing lets you ease into it with lower risks. It suits those wanting stable base income or to test freelancing temporarily. Full-time freelancing means higher rewards but also higher responsibility in running your own business.

The ideal path depends on your income needs, lifestyle preferences, and appetite for risk/autonomy. With diligent marketing, time management, and professional development, freelancing success is possible through either model.

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