Working Remotely Full-Time Versus Online Freelancing: Which Is Right For You?

Both are good ways to earn income online - the key differentiator is in the approach.

The number of people working remotely has increased significantly this year. Applicants for remote jobs often feel discouraged, believing their fields are oversaturated. Sometimes this discouragement is fueled by rejections (or no communication at all) from recruiters or hiring managers and puts them off from applying for remote jobs in the future.

Working full-time is not the only way to kickstart a remote career. Under the vast umbrella of remote work, many professionals work as freelancers or launch their own businesses that allow them to work from home. Freelancing, done independently or via a freelancing platform, is a viable way for remote hopefuls to earn a living online.

When it comes down to the wire, many individuals struggle to decide which approach is better for them.

Today's blog is all about the in's and out's of working remotely full-time, versus freelancing full-time:

Working Remotely

Working remotely full-time for one dedicated company is vastly different from freelancing where you have multiple different clients.

To start, while your location will be irrelevant to your employer, the hours you are able to work will not be. Full-time roles usually require the candidate to be able to work set hours, particularly if their teams are distributed across the globe. As with traditional jobs, the remote employee is entrusted with tasks to complete within a reasonable timeline. They may have little control over which tasks they get or who they work with.

There are some benefits to working remotely for a single company on a permanent basis. For one, unlike freelancing, a full-time job with a remote company provides more security and benefits. Remote companies are increasingly focused on providing employees with a good work-life balance. Working in a fully remote team provides candidates with the opportunity to learn from their peers and build up their professional network.


Freelancing remotely is a whole other ball game to working full-time for a single company.

Unlike permanent roles, freelancing gives the remote worker more control. Freelancers can choose who they want to work with and when, typically picking up new clients via referrals, cold-pitching, and a host of other techniques. Many individuals choose this option due to the freedom it can offer.

Freelancing platforms like Fiverr, People Per Hour, or Upwork are also popular with remote freelancers. Working through a platform of this nature gives the freelancer and their client a layer of protection should the course of work required not run smoothly.

It's important to bear in mind that these platforms are filled with other freelancers offering similar services, and it will be key to find a way to stand out or move up the ranks if you are to be successful.

One of the biggest advantages of freelancing remotely is being able to work with multiple clients at the same time. Without a contract binding you to a single company, you are free to take on as many interesting projects as you have time for. This also means that should one of your clients fall through, you'll have others to support you in the meantime.

Important Considerations: Remote Work VS Freelancing

Just as both approaches hold their own distinct benefits, it's important to consider the other side of the coin too.

When it comes to working full-time for a remote company, there is a trade-off that the candidate makes. You accept a contract with stipulations about what work can be done and what cannot be in return for consistent payment. It's not uncommon for this agreement to include not only an NDA but a non-compete clause too. As a full-time remote worker, you effectively trade the exclusivity of your knowledge and skills for a salary and benefits.

With this approach, it's important to consider what will happen should your position within a company be discontinued. You'll need to make considerations for how you will support yourself should you lose your job, such as building up some savings that will last you until you get rehired elsewhere.

In terms of freelancing, there are also trade-offs that are made. You trade the concept of a full-time salary away for the freedom of working with who you want, when you want.

There are some significant things to consider before getting your feet wet with freelancing. Work availability may not be constant, and you have to do the additional effort of finding clients and convincing them to work for you. It's also worth noting that as a freelancer, you will be responsible for all of your own insurance or retirement policies.

As a freelancer, you will be running your own business while as a remote employee you become part of someone else's. This is an important differentiator; as a business owner, you will take on many duties outside of your general daily tasks such as accounting for example. In a full-time role for another company, you do not need to concern yourself with day-to-day operations and administrative tasks (unless that's your actual gig).

Knowing Which Is Right For You

If you're planning to make your living remotely, knowing the different approaches will help you figure out which style of work is best for you. Full-time work has its benefits and drawbacks, but so does freelancing. At the end of the day, it's up to you to set goals and decide how to achieve them.

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