Whether you want to teach private lessons or write about music, there are many benefits of freelancing as a musician. You can take control over your schedule and income, and it can be just as good as a full-time job.
It doesn’t matter if you’re still in music school or have been out for a while. You can start freelancing to enjoy some of the advantages today.
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One of my favorite benefits of freelancing is the flexibility. I can make my schedule and work when I want and when I’m the most alert and productive. If I worked a traditional job, I wouldn’t have that same flexibility.
I’d have to request time off or hope I could go home early if I got sick or tired. Plus, I can take on different types of work in music and other industries, and I don’t have to worry about an employer restricting that.
Whether you want to teach lessons or perform, having a flexible work schedule can be essential. That way, you can take on work that you enjoy and that will fulfill you rather than drain you.
Along with flexibility, you have control over your work. If you don’t work well with a private student, you can drop them from your studio. Or if you don’t feel comfortable in a performance environment, you can move on.
You can control how much work you do, which can also affect your income. I’m on track to earn close to double what I was earning when I worked at a bank. Sure, I have more expenses than a bank employee, but it’s well worth it.
I also have more control over where I work. Whether there’s a pandemic or just some bad weather, I don’t have to go into a studio or office just to get work done.
Another amazing benefit of being a freelancer is the variety. I work as both a freelance musician and writer, so each week and each day is different.
Some days, I focus on creating content for this blog and my online store, Flute Files. Other days, I write about anything under the sun for my freelance writing clients.
I’ve also taught private lessons, performed, and sold sheet music. All of that has helped me earn some money, and I can create a life and career I enjoy.
When you work full-time, you may not have much work-life balance, especially as a musician. But as a freelancer, I can maintain an excellent balance between my work and my personal life.
I don’t have to work all day just so that I can get some practicing in or do something else to grow my own business. Instead, I can spend a few hours on client work and reserve the rest of my work day for my stuff. Then, I can still spend my evenings and weekends on other things.
Being able to make my schedule also means I can schedule appointments or run errands during the day. I don’t have to worry about missing work just because of an appointment or fighting large crowds at the store after work.
One of the most underrated benefits of freelancing is being able to write things off on your taxes. If you buy something that you use primarily for business, you can deduct it from your taxable income.
Now, I’m not an account, so I’d recommend talking with someone about your situation. However, you may be able to write off the cost of a new instrument, method books, and even health insurance premiums.
While you may not get employer-sponsored health insurance, you can deduct what you spend on premiums. So as long as you make enough money, you may still come out ahead.
It may sound counterintuitive, but freelancing can be just as stable as having one full-time job. If one of my clients ends my contract, I have other work to fall back on. The same is true if a student quits lessons or if I lose a performance gig.
When you rely on one job for your entire income, that can be risky. You never know when that employer may fire you or if you may need to quit. Having a few clients and students can give you a cushion should you have to leave one gig.
At first, freelancing can be very unstable. You have to build up a studio of students and/or a group of clients. But once that happens, you can make a decent living working for yourself.
Being a freelancer isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of work and determination to create a successful freelance career. However, the benefits of freelancing make that work well worth it.