The freelance career path has definitely changed over the years. 15 years ago people didn’t necessarily want to freelance full time, and if they did want to, they were usually photographers or journalists.
Now more professionals are leaning toward a freelance career. They might be doing so to start a new career path, get away for “working for the man”, or to find a better work-life balance.
But, freelance work isn’t for everyone. While most professionals in traditional employment deal with similar problems: the boss, kids, family, office politics, etc., freelancers some unique challenges. Here are five challenges you might have to deal with as a freelancer.
For some, working alone might be a blessing. Introverts who freelance may enjoy the minimal contact with others. But for others, this could be a huge challenge. Humans are social beings and not being around others on a regular basis could drive them crazy.
Even if you are an introvert, the absence of people may be a problem if you like to talk things out or bounce ideas off of others.
Flexible income can be hard to budget around whether you are freelance or if you work on commission. Your income may not be the same from month to month. This can cause headaches because most bills are consistent, even if your income isn’t.
One way around this as a freelancer is to put your clients on a retainer so you are paid the same amount every month. You can also change the way you budget to make it work better for an inconsistent income.
Always Recruiting New Clients
In traditional employment there may be “slow days” but you are always guaranteed to be paid your hourly or salary rate, even during those slow times. But as a freelancer, if you aren’t working then bills aren’t being paid.
Since some freelance work is a one-time thing, you have to continually put yourself out there to find new clients. This constant “hustle” can be exhausting.
Self-employment taxes can break a freelancer if they don’t charge enough for services. Since all of your work as a freelancer is contract work, there is no employment tax taken out of your check. If you don’t budget and save for this, the tax bill may hit you hard.
Everyone gets distracted no matter where or who they work for. As freelancers tend to work wherever they are, there are a lot more distractions. If you work from home, you might find yourself distracted by things like laundry needing done, or dishes that are piling up. It may also be tough when it’s a beautiful day and you want to go outside. There are so many things that can pull you away from your work.
Though it’s good to take breaks, be sure to not let that break become a whole day with work and deadlines piling up. Breaks are good, but distractions can cost you.
Being a freelancer isn’t as easy as some people might think. It takes a lot of dedication to stick with it and do it on your own. But, if done correctly the rewards of being an independent freelancer can far outweigh these challenges.