The Top 10 Things People Dislike About Being a Freelancer
You hate your job or your boss and you think you can do things better when you are a freelancer. If you were a freelancer, you would have all the time in the world to perfect the outcome of your assignment, make more money or plan your own schedule. While I encourage people to follow their dreams, I do think you should think twice before starting as a freelancer. Living the freelance life can be great, but it can also be hard. In this blog post, I list the things that people dislike about being a freelancer. I have found these disadvantages in blog posts, on forums, by talking to people around me, and by looking at my own experience. They appear in random order. If you feel like you dislike many of these things too, freelancing might not be the best way to go for you.
1. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: there are no common employee perks and benefits
Forget about paid sick days, paid leave, retirement savings and, in some countries, medical coverage. When you are sick, you have two options: you stay in bed and make no money or you get to work and feel terrible. If you have an accident, better hope you can still work and make money. Yes, you can take out an insurance policy, but they are expensive! Yes, there are ways to save money for when you want to retire, but again, it can be expensive and it might not yield the same results.
2. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: flexibility does not equal freedom
The client is the one to decide when you are working. They are the ones who set the deadlines, can make changes at the last minute, and decide when they need an answer from you. If you are not available most of the time, you risk losing repeat customers. Instead of one boss, you have hundreds of bosses each year.
3. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: there is no separation between work and your personal life
You do not have regular working hours or a distinct work location. Work is where your laptop is, and you can start at any time of the day (or night). With your home as your office and your office as your home, any problem you face in either your personal life or work life might significantly affect the other. You are already at work the moment you wake up!
4. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: it is hard to have a real vacation
Faced with the irregularity of working hours, (unrealistic) expectations by demanding clients and sometimes very tight project deadlines, taking a good vacation might be a challenge. Some people find it hard to take a vacation at all.
5. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: life can be pretty lonely
Most people have their work as the primary source for social activities. We spend more than 8 hours a day at work, so this trend is not strange. As a freelancer, however, you can feel pretty lonely and isolated. It is good to maintain good social support outside of your work.
6. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: you need to be focused and you need to be able to organize and prioritize things
It is no multitasking when you are being pulled away from the real work. Do not answer your personal email or social-networking messages in the background of your project. It is a one-man (or woman) show that you are running, so you have to be well-organized to cover all aspects of your business. Sometimes, you even have to work on multiple projects at varying levels of each project, so make sure you know how to prioritize and organize tasks.
7. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: you have to brand yourself
You need to know how to brand yourself before you get customers knocking on your doors. What makes you stand out? Constantly update your portfolios with your latest work to showcase the rise in quality and the value of your services. Go to network meetings. Be present and active online. If people do not know about you and your products or services, you will not make any money. More information can be found in my blog post about personal branding.
8. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: you have to LOVE your work
As with any job, if you hate what you are doing, you have a hard time doing it for the long run. When you are a freelancer, passion for your work is even more essential. If you do not LOVE what you are doing, it is easy to lose direction and become complacent with the delivery of your work.
9. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: you have to be business savvy
Freelancing is like a business: the income does not come in consistently. Sometimes it pours, other times, you suffer from a dry spell. You are the one in charge of making sure that you actually have an income. Also, you need to make sure that you put aside part of what you have earned for the times that things are not going so well. For me personally, the hunt for new clients is my favorite part of being a freelancer. It even gives me a little thrill when I score a good job.
10. Things people dislike about being a freelancer: mediocrity is not an option
If you are considering taking up the freelancing role because you think it is ‘easier,’ you are going to have a bad time. To maintain your value and competitiveness in the freelancing market, you have to keep perfecting your craft and you cannot afford to be complacent. Minimal efforts will work against you in the long run.
You need higher than average levels of self-discipline and motivation to keep your business going, and more if you want it to flourish. If you get used to the idea of being free, you get complacent. This is when you start getting sloppy in your work and missing deadlines.
Being a freelancer
There are wonderful things about being a freelancer, honestly. As I said, I love ‘hunting’ for new clients, but there is more. I feel satisfied when a customer gives me a compliment or gives me another assignment. I feel like I can put all my creativity in my businesses. In addition, I feel responsible for all the things going on in my business. Yes, some people like that! Moreover, I get to do different chores every day, so work never gets boring.
Still, you should think twice. Is freelancing really something for you? Do not start if you feel you might give up after two years. It is not worth the effort. Not for you, and not for your family.
Make sure you talk to your family and friends about your ideas. They know you and your personality, so they can give you tips and advice. Do not be hurt when people say your idea sucks. It might be the best piece of advice you will ever get!
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