What Are The Most Difficult Parts Of Being A Freelancer?

If you are a new freelancer, or if you are considering freelancing, it may seem like there is a lot to learn. It’s true! The good news is that there are plenty of resources on the internet for learning about how to be a successful freelancer. 

But when you’re in the thick of it, and you’re tired from working late or frustrated from a project that didn’t go as planned, going online to look for help can seem like too much work. It’s easy to just want someone to tell you what’s wrong, or how to fix it.

We talked to some experienced freelancers and compiled their most common problems into this list. If any of these issues sound familiar, use this list as your go-to resource for when you need a little advice or a little help.

 If none of these problems sound familiar, read the list anyway—you never know when one of these issues will come up!

What Are The Challenges for Freelancers? – YouTube
Key Takeaways
1. Freelancers often struggle with irregular income and financial uncertainty.
2. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be challenging due to blurred boundaries.
3. Freelancers need to handle self-discipline and motivation to stay productive.
4. Client acquisition and competition in the freelancing market are common hurdles.
5. Dealing with isolation and lack of social interaction is a significant difficulty.
6. Freelancers should focus on building a strong support system and seeking mentorship.
7. Time management and juggling multiple projects require careful planning.
8. Overcoming self-doubt and imposter syndrome is essential for freelancers.
9. Learning to negotiate rates and manage contracts effectively is crucial.
10. Investing in continuous learning and professional development is a key takeaway.

1. Getting Started

If you work in a traditional office environment, you know how hard it is to get motivated and on task when there’s no one watching over you. Well, the same is true when there are just no people around at all! This can be even more difficult if you’ve just left a full-time job and are still adjusting to the new setup and schedule.

Figuring out how to get yourself to sit down at your desk and start working without someone telling you what to do is one of the biggest challenges for every freelancer but it can be overcome.

Balancing work and personal life while freelancing can be a daunting task. Discover effective strategies in our guide on managing work-life balance as a freelancer to ensure both productivity and well-being.

2. Finding clients

You may have heard that being your own boss means not having a boss, but that’s not really true. As a freelancer, you have lots of bosses: your clients! The trick is finding them in the first place and then keeping them happy so they’ll keep hiring you. 

You might think this is the easy part of working for yourself after all, who wouldn’t want to hire someone like you? But finding clients can be tricky and unfortunately.

3. Managing Your Own Time

In a job, your schedule is pretty much set for you. You show up at 9 AM, go to lunch at 1 PM, and stay until 5 PM when it’s time to leave. But as a freelancer, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have enough time to get everything done. You’ll have to create your own schedule and stick with it or else risk missing deadlines and losing clients because of it.

4. Staying Motivated And Organized

When you’re working for yourself, it can be very easy to get distracted and put off tasks that need to be done. This is why it’s important to stay motivated and organized in order to keep up with your workload.

5. Taxes

One of the hardest parts of being a freelancer is paying your taxes. If you’re employed, taxes are usually withheld from your paycheck – but since you’re self-employed, you’re responsible for taking care of your own payment plan. If you don’t set aside money to cover the cost of taxes, it could cost you a lot of money at the end of the year when you file your returns!

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6. Determining Your Rates

From the time you start out as a freelancer, one of the most challenging questions is how to set your rates. Some people charge by the hour, others by the word. And then there’s the question of where you’re at in your career, and how much experience you have in that particular field. 

You don’t want to price yourself out of finding clients, but you also can’t be so cheap they treat you like a doormat. It’s tricky! 

The best advice we can give if you’re just starting out is to look around on job boards and see what people are charging for services similar to yours. Don’t look too long, though—you don’t want to get discouraged if it seems like everyone else is getting paid more than you think you’re worth! Take an average of what you see, and tack on another 15%. If that’s still lower than what your gut tells you is fair, add another 10% or 20%.

7. The Pay Is Unstable

Because freelancers typically work on a project-by-project basis, the pay can be unstable. One month you may have several projects, and the next month you may have none. For some freelancers, this is fine, but for others, it can be very stressful to never know what your monthly income will be – especially if you have a family or other financial obligations.

Some freelancers are able to alleviate this problem by working with clients on a retainer basis (where they agree to a certain number of hours per month) but this requires that they already have enough clients, or that they’re able to find new clients in order to secure a steady income.

8. Working From Home Can Feel Isolating

The biggest challenge I’ve found in freelancing from home is feeling like I’m all alone. Sure, I can always text or call my friends, but day today I’m working by myself. That means no more chit-chat around the office coffee machine or getting stuck in the elevator with a random coworker. It also means no more lunches out with my team when I finish a project or having a laugh at someone’s desk when they have a funny video to share.

Sure, I can go out and meet up with my friends when we have time together, but that’s not the same as just being able to talk things over throughout the day. Having those interactions at work may seem insignificant, but they are actually really important for keeping us engaged in our jobs and making us happy enough to stick around!

Relying solely on freelance income can be risky. Explore diverse opportunities in our comprehensive guide on making money as a freelancer to ensure financial stability and resilience in your career.

9. Lack Of Social Security

Some freelancers are fortunate enough to be eligible for social security benefits, but others are not. If you’re in the latter category, you’ll need to find an alternative way to get your social security benefits without working for an employer.

One option is to look into the Social Security Disability Insurance program. This program allows you to receive disability insurance even if you’re self-employed or a freelancer.

But there’s a catch: You’ll need to pay taxes on your income before you can receive any benefits through this program.

In addition, if you’re a freelancer and have been receiving disability payments from an employer, you might lose your eligibility for those payments if you decide to stop working as a freelancer because they will consider that work as part of your work history.

10. Getting Clients To Pay You On Time

As a freelancer, you are probably not going to get paid on time. Most of my freelance work is done through UpWork and they do not take fees until after you have been paid by the client. The problem with this is that clients can take their time paying and if you do not have a contract in place with your client, it can be difficult to get them to pay at all.

11. No Clear Work-Life Balance

A lot of freelancers are their own bosses, which means that they get to make the decisions about when they work and when they don’t. But this also means that it’s up to them to draw boundaries between “work time” and “free time,” and that can be hard for some people. They might find themselves working all day, or longer than they intended. 

Or maybe they have a hard time fitting in everything they need to do in the day because of unexpected meetings or other complications, which then forces them to work well past normal business hours.

In addition, freelancers may have difficulty separating their personal lives from their professional lives if they’re working from home (or if their personal lives involve a lot of work). It can be hard for some people to keep those two worlds separate, especially if they spend a significant amount of time at home.

12. The Stress Of Losing Clients

I think we all know that being a freelancer is hard. You don’t have the security of a consistent paycheck, and that can be terrifying. And even though you’re working for yourself, you still rely on clients to make a living. It can be difficult to find clients, and it can be even harder to keep them coming back for more work.

I’ve had clients disappear on me before, or tell me they no longer need my services and I have to scramble to find someone new who will hire me. It’s stressful, and there’s really no way around it other than just sucking it up and trying your best to get through it without making yourself sick over it!

Freelancers often face client-related challenges. Gain insights from our article on how to handle difficult clients to maintain a positive outlook and effective client relationships.

13. The Stress Of Meeting Deadlines

There’s a lot of stress involved with meeting deadlines, and it can feel like a gamble sometimes. You have to find the right balance between the time you spend on projects and the time you spend on your day-to-day life. If you don’t meet the deadline, you don’t get paid. But if you spend too much time working, there aren’t many hours left over for self-care, which is just as important.

It can be difficult to manage your time when working as a freelancer. You have to find the right balance between time spent working and time spent relaxing because both are equally important.

14. Lack Of Structure

One of the most difficult parts of being a freelancer is the lack of structure. There’s no boss to tell you what to do, no coworkers to chat with around the water cooler, and no set hours. Instead, it’s up to you! You have to figure out how you’re going to structure your day in order to maximize productivity. And that’s not always easy.

One way you can help yourself is by setting daily goals for yourself. Think about what needs to be done each day, and try setting aside a specific time of day for each type of task (eg: 8 am-9 am: checking emails; 9 am-12 pm: writing). Setting aside time for specific tasks will help your days go more smoothly, and having set times for different tasks will help give your day some structure.

15. Working Too Much

The most difficult part of being a freelancer is probably working too much. Freelancers tend to work more hours than people in office jobs, and they often work more days per week as well. Freelancers are almost always on the clock, and there’s no one else to do their work for them when they’re not in the mood to be productive.

16. Feeling Isolated

When you’re working in an office, you have people around you all the time. You get to go out for lunch and have casual conversations with coworkers. You can bounce ideas off them or just talk about your lives. It’s easy to ask questions and get feedback on your work.

When you work alone, those opportunities don’t come up as much. It’s easy to get stuck when you’re trying to solve a problem and have no one there to help. You can feel frustrated because no one is there to give honest feedback or support when things are tough. And sometimes you may not even know what other freelancers are experiencing because they aren’t talking about it!

17. Not Having Access To Benefits

The most difficult part of being a freelancer is not having access to benefits. When I was an employee, the company had health insurance, retirement accounts, and other things that made life easier. As a freelancer, all that responsibility falls on me, which means I have to do a lot more research and plan to get anything like what I used to have before.

18. Clients Who Never Respond

As a freelancer, it can sometimes be frustrating to not get a response. After all, you’re working hard to provide clients with the content they need—whether that’s blog posts, social media posts, email newsletters, or anything else—and sometimes they just don’t respond.

It’s important to remember that everyone is busy, and it’s possible that your client has just been caught up in something else. But if you think this may have happened, it might be a good idea to reach out and check-in. 

This can help put their mind at ease and let them know that you’re still interested in working with them. You could even let them know why you think they haven’t responded yet so that they’ll be less likely to forget about you next time!

Freelance email marketing offers great potential. Learn how to turn it into a full-time income source in our guide on building a full-time freelance email marketing business and transform your freelancing journey.

Final Thought

Hopefully, the above points have helped shed some light on what a freelance life can entail, and how you can overcome the more difficult parts of it. If you’re still unsure of what to do, it may help to network with others in your industry and get some help from people who have already been through the process. 

Knowing that others are in similar situations can be comforting and reassuring. And as these freelancers should attest, you don’t need to follow this journey alone—and you shouldn’t feel like you have to.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to explore the challenges of being a freelancer:

Designiscope: The Toughest Aspects of Freelancing Short Description: Gain insights into the most challenging aspects of freelancing and discover strategies to overcome them.

Twine Blog: Overcoming Freelancing Difficulties Short Description: Learn about the difficulties commonly faced by freelancers and find practical tips to tackle them effectively.

GoCardless Guides: Challenges Faced by Freelancers Short Description: Explore the five common challenges that freelancers often encounter and discover solutions to handle them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Start Freelancing?

If you have a skill that you think people need and are willing to pay for, then that’s the first step. You have to believe in yourself. It has been said that we are our own worst critics, and that is true. We often don’t give ourselves enough credit for the skills we have.

Do I Need A Business License?

In my opinion, you don’t need a business license to be a freelancer. A business license is usually needed if you will be selling something or providing a service on a recurring basis. This is not the case with freelancing. There are some legal issues involved though, and you may want to consult an attorney in your area regarding this matter. 

How Much Should I Charge?

There are many factors involved in pricing your services as a freelancer, such as a cost of living in your area, competition, and what your clients can afford to pay for the services they need from you (or will be willing to pay).

What Is Your Favorite Part Of Being A Freelancer?

I love being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, with my clients’ approval.

Once you get used to it, it can be very freeing. For example, one day I was ready for lunch at noon and my client was ready for me to work from home. No problem! We worked out an arrangement and now we’re both happy campers.

What Is The Most Difficult Part About Being A Freelancer?

The most difficult part is working with clients who are not as flexible as you would like them to be when it comes to how you work. And there are also clients who aren’t as good as they could be and will ask you to do things that are not in your best interests or not what you agreed on in your contract. 

Those are usually the people who cause the most hassles, which is why we recommend finding clients through referrals or by word of mouth.

How Much Should I Charge?

There’s no right answer, but we advise you to think about your costs and make sure you’re charging enough to cover your expenses, as well as your time. If you’re new to writing, we suggest charging around $20 per hour or $40-$50 per 1000 words. 

Later on in your career, you can charge more—but don’t overcharge! You want to make sure clients feel like they got a good deal.

How Do I Get Clients?

You have lots of options for finding clients! We suggest joining sites like Upwork that offer freelance writers access to businesses that are looking for writers. You can also try reaching out to local business owners directly—just be sure to let them know what makes you stand out from other freelancers!

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