Those interested in beginning a new career or making a shift from their current position in the digital marketing realm are in luck: the internet and online commerce continue to expand rapidly, providing plenty of jobs for digital marketing professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that jobs demand in the marketing industry overall should increase by 10% by 2026, which is an increase above the average for all careers. With demand for online presence continuing to climb, digital marketing jobs prospects are likely on the higher end. Since much of this work can be done from home, now may be a good time to explore a position as a freelance digital marketer. As with any position, working as a freelancer comes with advantages as well as downsides. This article breaks down some of the pros and cons to help you decide if freelancing is right for you.
Pros of Being a Freelance Digital Marketer
In recent years, interest in freelancing has risen steadily, and for good reason. Digital marketing is a broad sector with diverse channels within the field. As a freelancer, you can start by exploring different areas depending on your interests. Whether your specialty is brand management, search engine optimization, advertising, content creation, or a combination, there is likely a niche in the digital marketing world for you. The beauty of digital marketing is the diverse career paths it provides, and freelancing offers plenty of benefits. Let’s dive into some of the pros.
With freelancing comes independence—you get to choose when to work, where to work, and what to work on. Say you’re a night owl who hits her stride when many others are turning in for the evening, or you only have a finite amount of time while your kids are in school to focus on work. Freelancing might be a great solution for you.
Although you’ll have clients for whom you want to create quality products and services, you are the one who gets to choose those clients. Rather than being assigned a project by a higher-up, you have the power and control to pick who to work with and what to work on, which is much different than clocking in, reporting to one person, and being assigned projects or coworkers without having much say in the process. Many freelance digital marketers find this independence empowering.
Another positive side of being a freelance digital marketer goes hand-in-hand with independence: flexibility. Freelancing provides flexibility in terms of projects you get to focus on, the hours you work, and more wiggle room in terms of scheduling. If you're in school, have kids, or even work another job, freelancing can provide professional flexibility. While going into an office works for some, others swear they get the most accomplished working from their couches wearing their most comfortable loungewear.
Professional flexibility often leads to better control over that ever-elusive work/life balance. Hopefully, having more control over your projects, schedule, and working conditions will lead to you being happier and more productive overall, with less chance of burnout.
Working as a freelance digital marketer allows you to take on all kinds of projects from a variety of clients. Rather than getting pigeonholed into one specialty or task at a larger agency, for example, setting off on your own provides an opportunity to try out various niches, types of industries, and get to know customers and clients in a wide range of sectors. While it can be daunting to take on a variety of projects, it can also be exhilarating. Additionally, freelancers have the chance to set their own pace when it comes to workload.
Cons of Being a Freelance Digital Marketer
While the satisfaction of being your own boss and the opportunities for professional independence, flexibility, and variety may appeal to many, there are also downsides to being a freelance digital marketer.
Lack of Face-to-Face Community
While some folks relish the solitude of working on their own from wherever they choose, others might miss the camaraderie of being part of working in-person together with others. While digital marketing is a job that can be performed virtually, often good ideas come from face-to-face collaboration, discussions, and group meetings. While video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teams, and Google Meets have greatly improved ways for people to connect live online, for some, the lack of face-to-face community is a major downside to freelance work.
When you have a “regular” nine-to-five job, there’s predictability when it comes to when you go to work, who you’re working for, and where you do that work. While this can feel confining to some, the reliability can also provide security. When you’re the boss, you’ll need to hustle to make sure the cash continues to flow in. Bouncing from project to project or client to client can be a great way to build a diverse portfolio, but it can be nerve-wracking to wonder when the next paycheck might come. Because of this, many freelance digital marketers feel they can never truly relax or feel secure since they’re often hustling for their next gig. The unpredictability of income and/or projects and clients (often referred to as “feast or famine” in the freelance world) can be stressful. Along with this lack of job security comes a lack of benefits such as health care or a 401k. If you have a spouse or another job where you can receive these benefits, perhaps this isn’t as big of a downside. But those who have to pay out of pocket for their healthcare or struggle to save for retirement on their own may want to weigh whether freelancing is truly the best path for them.
With the freelance hustle comes stiff competition. Often, freelancers have to work even harder to show they’ve got what it takes to be the best match for the job. Having to continually prove yourself can be a challenge. Growing and building experience on your own rather than as a part of a team or a larger agency can take time—and money. At a nine-to-five job, there’s a chance your employer might pay for you to attend a bootcamp or certificate program to get you up-to-speed on the fast-changing digital marketing landscape. As a freelancer, you have to carve out the time and come up with the cash to attend such workshops on your own. Luckily, there are plenty of digital marketing classes, bootcamps, and certificate programs offered by Noble Desktop and other training providers.
Learn the Skills to Become a Freelance Digital Marketer
Enrolling in a digital marketing program is a great way to learn more about the field or enhance current skills. Digital marketing classes teach how to use the various platforms to your advantage. Depending on your location, you may be able to find digital marketing courses, bootcamps, and certificate programs in your area using Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool. In-person learning opportunities provide aspiring freelance digital marketers with valuable information and skills they can use to make changes within current positions or even opt for complete career shifts.
Those who prefer to learn digital marketing from home can attend Noble Desktop’s live online digital marketing courses, available from anywhere in the world. Live online digital marketing bootcamps provide the same advantages as their in-person counterparts: they’re interactive, comprehensive training courses led by experienced digital marketers.
For a more comprehensive look at digital marketing strategies, take a look at Noble’s Digital Marketing Strategies bootcamp. The bootcamp is a 12-hour course that delves into the important role digital marketing strategy plays in a company’s overall success. The bootcamp is also offered as part of the 78-hour Digital Marketing Certificate, which delves deeper into each aspect of digital marketing including developing an end-to-end marketing strategy through hands-on classes where you work on your business or company as a project. Students even have the chance to retake the course for free for one year!
Other digital marketing resources offered by Noble Desktop that can be useful to freelancers include a digital marketing blog that has detailed articles on topics across the board. Additionally, check out Noble’s seminar on YouTube entitled The Pillars of Digital Marketing Success.