The Billfold's Six Lessons I Learned After Becoming a Full-Time Freelancer does an excellent job of covering some of the key pluses and minuses associated with independent work.
Overall the author is quite positive about freelancing saying it's "awesome" and "everyone should live like this".
But the author also points out that freelancing comes with challenges. She says "... I do live in fear: of an accident, illness, or injury; of a delayed payment; of success or failure. It’s all on me, now, not a corporation, not my boss, not on anyone or anything else."
And she adds:
I don’t get paid to pee anymore. It’s a very stressful thing.
These challenges are what we call the burden of empowerment, a term we first heard about at the Institute for the Future.
Freelancing is quite empowering. You get to set your own hours, pick the type of work you want to do and decide when and where you work. You have a lot of freedom and flexibility.
Because it's so empowering, most independent workers are highly satisfied and don't want to return to a traditional job.
But with this empowerment comes burdens. Everything is up to you and the issues mentioned in this article - a lack of predictable income, added costs for taxes and health insurance, the time and effort marketing and selling your services, managing contracts, etc. - are real and require time and effort.
The good news there's a growing ecosystem of companies that are providing support services for independent workers. This lowers, but does not eliminate, the burdens.
So if you're considering going freelance, keep in mind its not all wine and roses. Yes, the empowerment is intoxicating. But the burdens will keep you sober - at least most of the time.