ICBA Blog

4 Myths of Independent Contractor Life

 We debunk the myths of the freelancer lifestyle . . . so you don’t have to

People who have traditional job schedules and aren’t freelancers often have some misconceptions about the lifestyle. If you’re an independent contractor, you’ve likely had to dispel the myths to some friends or family members. We’ve crafted this handy article so that you can just send them a link. After all, you’re probably busy doing other things—like working. You’re welcome.

Myth #1: Independent contractors get to sleep in.
While it’s true that, as freelancers, we can typically set the hours of the day we work, we still have to get that work done, meet deadlines, and interact with our clients. If we’re sleeping later than the average person on some days, it might be because we worked late hours the night before. We also have the flexibility to skip the traditional 9-to-5 grind. That means we don’t have a regular commute or a scheduled lunch break and can condense our work hours. Some of us get it all done in one marathon session. Others work in shifts throughout the day and evening and take advantage of the ability to run errands or go to the gym during less crowded times.

Myth #2: Freelancers have more free time.
Many of us freelancers have the ability to work remotely. That gives some people the impression that we can vacation whenever we want, take longer holiday breaks, or simply enjoy extra days or afternoons off. In reality, we often have trouble scheduling time away from work. When we’re not working, we’re not earning, unlike in traditional jobs where people get paid vacation. That’s true for gig workers, whether we’re rideshare drivers, graphic designers, bookkeepers, etc. Plus, projects for writers, artists, web developers, and more can be unpredictable and take longer than anticipated, making it hard for us to know when we can or should schedule time off. When we do take vacation, we often end up doing a little work while away.

Myth #3: Independent contractors are lucky because they don’t have a boss.
Actually, we have several bosses. We don’t have a supervisor in the traditional sense, checking to see if we’ve made it to work on time or are completing our tasks. That’s up to us. But we do usually have clients, and they are, in a way, like bosses. If they don’t like the work we do, they could stop hiring us, which in the freelance world, is like a firing.

Myth #4: Freelancers get paid more for their work.
If you analyze the hourly pay of what a salaried employee makes and what a freelancer makes in the same industry, you might find that the freelancer’s rate is indeed a bit higher. As freelancers, we have to pay income tax. In a traditional job, an employer withholds taxes from an employee’s paycheck. Freelancers also have to pay their own health insurance. We don’t have employee benefits covering us. So while we sometimes get paid more for our work, the extra cash usually goes to Uncle Sam or to pay our insurance premiums.