Being a freelancer means making your own hours, afternoons that can be spent on the beach, going out for tea or coffee and tons of alone time. Being a freelancer is great if you despise the typical 9-5 life but trust me it is not without its downsides. Being a freelancer, especially when you are freelancer completely on your own can be very difficult. If you are considering quitting your day job to do it 100 percent on your own here are a few things to consider.
1. Money is not always guaranteed
With your typical 9-5 job you know exactly when you are getting paid. You can plan trips, manage bills and know exactly what you will be making each month. When freelancing it’s not always that simple. While you can easily make more money while freelancing depending on your hustle and how many clients/projects you have going, sometimes that also means tracking down your clients for payments or losing a client at the drop of a dime. With typical jobs, after a few months of working, if you were to be let go you can get unemployment, it’s not that simple with freelancing. As a freelancer you are pretty much at the mercy of your clients to pay you when they say they will and hope they follow through. It can be harder to manage bills or even have a clear vision of how much you will make each month and typically every month is different. While it’s great to have the world at your fingertips and be able to make your own schedule, it can be a big disappointment when you have no money to enjoy it. To try and maintain as much normalcy as possible with your monthly payments, set an expectation with your clients before you take on any new projects. Let them know the day you expect to be paid and the consequences of not paying on time such as additional late fees, halting business, etc. Also, be sure to schedule your payments well before your rent/bills are due that way if for any reason a client decides they don’t feel like paying you, you have enough time to come up with a back up plan, or call mom and dad for help.
2. When it rains it pours
Bad things will happen, eventually. It is inevitable that while yes you are attempting to live your best life, it’s not always going to be easy and eventually things won’t go as planned. Anytime you are relying on individuals to pay you and you aren’t exactly on their payroll, things can get messy. I had a client of two years decide the day she was supposed to pay me for her services and also the day my rent was due she no longer needed me. The very next day I had a client decide they didn’t feel like paying me and despite my reminder of non-payment late fees, they decide to draw it out for several days before they let me know that they were on vacation. Seriously, vacation? Unfortunately, people don’t always realize that this is your livelihood and being a freelancer means completely being at the mercy of your clients to hold up their end of the bargain. Before you quit your day job to start pursuing your daydream make sure you have money saved up for a rainy day or two because when it rains it will pour.
3. You can be your own worst enemy
When you’re used to working for the man, having a set schedule, set lunch and have found a way to manage your life around that, it can be extremely difficult to have to rely on yourself to get things done. I’ve had days where I didn’t want to get out of bed much less open my laptop. I’ve had days where I didn’t feel like sending yet another payment reminder to my client and instead binge watched Gossip Girls and ate fruit in bed all day. Being a freelancer means being your own boss. You have to be disciplined enough to set your own schedule, manage your clients and stay on top of payments. Being lazy and a freelancer do not go hand and hand. While of course you can have your lazy days and you should definitely give yourself breaks, for the most part you have to keep yourself as motivated as possible because unlike working a regular job you can’t hide in the bathroom and still get paid.
4. Your friends won’t always get it
Your friends will think that you sit at home all day and magically get paid. They won’t understand that yes, even though you are home in your pajamas eating ice-cream, you still have work to do. You will have to remind your significant other that while you were home all day, you also were working so no, dinner will not be on the table by 7 every night. Your family might not be able to comprehend why you traded in your cushy office job with benefits for a life of pjs, tracking down clients and contemplating how you can get all of your work done and still find a way to clean your body, feed yourself and clean the house. That’s ok though, while it’s great for your friends and family to understand what it is you actually do all day and why you are doing it, they don’t have to. The only one who truly needs to get it is you. While you may not always have the support and understanding from those closest to you, you can always build a network of like-minded individuals who do, so when it’s time to vent about your client who after five payment reminders still hasn’t paid you, they will understand why you still choose this life over a 9 to 5.
5. You will want to quit
I’d be lying if I said I never thought back to the days of sitting behind a desk in some random office building and typing away at whatever project I was assigned. There was structure, there was office snacks, there were pants! Then I remember, I hate having to wear real clothes, despise LA traffic and would much rather have a guessing game at which client is going to decide to be late on their payment than work 8 hours a day at a job I hate with a steady paycheck. There are going to be hard days and trust me you will daydream of going back to the simple life of pants and scheduled lunches and security. If this is truly want you want to do though, you won’t.
Being a freelancer like anything in life, is not without its downsides. You are going to have tough days, you are going to want to give up, you will have days where you get absolutely nothing done, but if this is the life you want, you will choose it. You will keep going despite all of these things and most days you will be glad you did. If you think you can overcome all of these things then give it a shot. Life is not about doing what everyone else thinks you should do but doing what you want to do! Remember, jobs will always be there. If your desire is to pursue your dreams then don’t let anything stop you from doing that. If surviving as a freelancer is your dream, then do what you need to do to make that happen and don’t let anyone or anything stop you on that journey.
Love & Light,