Episode 59: The Pros And Cons Of Ad Management Freelancing, Sub-contracting, And Employment

What are the pros and cons of being a Facebook

Jody Milward

What are the pros and cons of being a Facebook ads manager as a freelancer, a subcontractor, or as an employee?

That’s what we’re diving into today in this episode of Online Confidential, where I take you behind the scenes to talk about “Secret Ad Manager business”.

Knowing how to run Facebook ads is a super valuable skill, and it can really open up a number of opportunities for you.

Not only can you run your own business and work with your own clients and run ads for clients, but you can also offer coaching and consulting services. You can also be subcontracted to work for other agencies or other businesses. You could even be hired as an employee.

Whether you’re entrepreneurial and you want your own business, or you want to learn a skill and get a job so you can have a career as an ad manager, you have a number of options.

Each one has pros and cons that you want to consider before you decide what will be best for you.

We’ll explore the pros and cons of being a freelancer and running your own business, or choosing to be a subcontractor or an employee.

1. You want to be a freelance ad manager

If you’re a freelancer, you may not see yourself as a business owner. But you are more entrepreneurial-minded and you want the freedom to beat your own drum.

You want to do your own thing, manage your own clients, and have the lifestyle freedom that comes with being a business owner or a freelancer. This sounds awesome, but there are pros and cons for managing Facebook ads in this way.


  • You can charge your own rate

You get to decide what you bill clients for your Facebook ad management services which gives you the freedom to create your own income. If you want to make more money next month, you can get another client on board or get another two clients on board, or you could simply increase your rates.

Being a freelancer is so attractive because you can charge higher rates. With five clients each paying $2,000 per month, that’s $10,000 a month. Plus, with more experience, you can charge a percent of ad spend on top of the monthly retainer.

  • You have flexible working hours

You have the flexibility to work the hours that you want to work. As long as you deliver what the client expects in the agreed timeframe, you decide how you manage your time.

You are in control of who you work with and what your schedule is with clients. You are your own boss.


  • The client hustle

You’ve got to have a client pipeline and regularly bring new clients on board. You need to have potential clients in the wings for when clients off-board. You’ll have times when a client might be signed up with you to manage a launch for three months. And then they’re off your books for another six months.

So you want to have clients lined up and ready to fill your client roster. Plus, you need to network and put yourself out there as well as market yourself to attract new clients.

  • Responsibility for the business

There are other elements that come with being a business owner.  Like doing your taxes, managing the operations, and all the sales and marketing.

It’s a big responsibility being a business owner. If you have a team, you might pay a virtual assistant or a bookkeeper, but it’s on your shoulders to make sure more business is coming in.

You want to make sure you can afford to pay yourself as well because that’s why you have your own business. You’re in business for yourself and for your family, to support your finances, and to serve the people that you want to serve as best you can. You need to look after yourself and look after the team that helps you and supports your mission.

Some of the pros of being a freelance ad manager are that you can charge more, you get to be your own boss, and you decide how much income you have coming in.

On the flipside, the cons of being a freelance ad manager are that you’re always on the client hustle, and you may be responsible for managing a team. You may also be responsible for the business finances, for example, making sure you have money set aside for taxes. All that extra responsibility comes with being a business owner.

  • Subcontracting your ad management services

Subcontracting could be where you white label your services to another agency.


  • You avoid the client hustle

You don’t have to worry about where the next client is coming from. Instead, you can just focus on running Facebook ads because the person you’re working with is out there doing the client hustle to bring in more clients.

  • You don’t need to manage a team

It’s unlikely you’ll need to manage a team, so you won’t have to worry about all the human resource management that comes with building a team. It will just be you doing your thing running the ads as a subcontractor.

You might discover you really enjoy the perks of being a subcontractor and it’s your sweet spot.


  • Reduced ad management fees

If you subcontract your ad management services, you might not be able to charge the fee you want to charge. That’s a cold, hard fact.

You can say what your fee is, and maybe you can negotiate with the agency you’re subcontracting to, but it’s going to depend on whether they can cover your fee and make some margin after their fees to the clients. They’ve got other expenses to factor in, so they may not be in a position to pay a full ad management fee like $2,000. There will be limitations for you in that way.

You may have to compromise and charge a reduced ad management fee.

  • Limited social proof

You may have to sign NDAs, so it could limit your ability to get case studies and testimonials because you probably won’t be in direct contact with the client.

The client won’t know you’re doing all the great work managing their campaign behind the scenes.

Some of the pros to being a subcontractor are that you avoid the client hustle and you won’t have to manage a team. You can just turn up and do the ad management. You don’t have the extra responsibilities of a business owner.

While the cons mean you’ll probably have to accept a lower ad management fee, and you won’t be able to gather all the great social proof that comes from case studies and client testimonials.

  • You decide to be an employee ad manager

You could be an employee at an ad agency or a marketing firm. You could also be an employee at a company or a corporation who wants someone in-house to run Facebook ads for the business.


  • You’re free of the client hustle

I speak to a lot of ad managers who’ve been freelancing for a while and hustling to get clients, but they just want to park it and be part of a team for a while.

They say they miss the camaraderie of a team and they’re tired of the constant client hustle, doing discovery calls and all the business management and growth activities. They just love running ads and that’s what they want to do. And that’s great.

You can get paid very well just to run ads as an employee at an agency marketing firm or other business that wants someone to run their ads and digital marketing.

  • Employee perks

There are no team management issues or HR headaches. You can just turn up and run Facebook ads and get paid very well. You also get holidays, your taxes taken care of, as well as a lot of the other advantages being an employee brings, like healthcare benefits.


  • Lower hourly rate

Depending on who you end up working for, they may offer a lower hourly rate. I know some ad managers who’ve looked at working with agencies where it’s $20/hour or $25/hour.

And it’s a big difference to what they could charge as a freelancer. For some, it means coming down a lot from being able to charge a hundred dollars an hour as a freelancer. What you need to remember is you’ve let go of all that extra responsibility, chasing clients and being on the client hustle. Your compromise might be a lower rate so you can just sit back, manage Facebook ads, and enjoy getting paid.

  • Less flexibility with your time

As an employee, you’re likely to have a contract with your employer for an agreed number of hours and clear responsibilities. You’ll be expected to contribute to regular team meetings and whatever obligations come with the employment contract.

Some of the pros to being an employee are that you don’t have to worry about the client hustle, managing a team or the business finances. You have clear responsibilities that come with regular pay and any benefits provided by the employer.

On the other hand, the cons are that you’ll probably be paid a lower hourly rate than if you were a freelance ad manager, and you’ll lose that flexibility with your time.

In summary, those are the pros and cons that I like to make sure ad managers know.

If you want to be a freelancer, then you want to be in control of the business. You want to have more flexibility and the ability to decide your fees and which clients you work with. It can be the most rewarding and lucrative avenue for you.

It also comes with the burden of being a business owner or an entrepreneur. You’ll have more responsibility as your business grows with a team and also with managing the business finances. If you love the idea, the world’s your oyster.

But if you don’t want all that responsibility, then choosing to be a subcontractor or an employee are fantastic options for an ads manager.

You’ve got super valuable skills that businesses will pay for; however, you come in as an employee and it’s unlikely you will earn the same rate as a freelancer or business owner. But that may be okay for you. It depends on where you are and what stage of life you’re in.

If you love the client hustle and building a team, then freelancing with ad management services and being a business owner would be great for you.

If you think you just want to run Facebook ads because that’s what you’re good at, there are certainly places for you as a subcontractor or employee that also pay very well.

So I’d love to hear your experience. Have you been a freelancer? Have you been a subcontractor? Have you been an employee? Or, which one of those are you most interested in?

Shoot me an email I’d love to hear about your experience and your thoughts on today’s topic. I’ll reply to you.


I love to share practical information to help you improve your skills, learn something new or help you avoid the mistakes that many Ad Managers and I have made to help fast-track you on your journey as a well-paid and in-demand Ad Manager.