I must confess that I have experienced times during my freelancing journey where I felt like I was not cut out for freelancing. This may come as a surprise but I want to be 100 percent authentic and honest with you.
But feeling like you’re not cut out for freelancing is completely different from actually not being cut out for freelancing. As I persisted through my dream to live a freedom-based laptop lifestyle, I learned the difference.
Life as a freelancer is attractive, flexible and you get to be your own boss, determine your rates and set your schedule. But what happens when it doesn’t turn out as planned. Should you quit? I have been freelancing for years and have been there. I know how you feel.
Here are 5 clear signs that freelancing is not working for you and how you can fix it.
You don’t enjoy what you’re doing
When you started freelancing you actually loved what you did. It wasn’t always about the money. New projects got you excited. You were always open for a challenge. But it’s been 6 months now and you start dreading another project. What ever happened?
The answer is simple. You grew comfortable with where you are. And the best way to shake the feeling of dread is to do something new. Try different styles, different approaches, and different methods. Sometimes changing where you work can make a huge difference. Take your laptop to a nearby café and get busy. Introduce something fresh in your work life.
You don’t have a good work-life balance
Have your weekends disappeared? Do you work late into the night every day? When was the last time you actually made time for yourself?
When working at your 9-to-5, it was easy to know when work ended. After work, all you had was free time to do whatever you wished. Weekends were off-limits. But as a freelancer, you may have the entire 24 hours dedicated to work and this can make you lose all sense of personal life.
Set clearly defined working hours and stick with them. If you want weekends off, then set your work schedule in a way that you can have weekends solely to yourself.
You’re overwhelmed with changes in the industry
Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry takes work. But things change pretty quickly. It comes to a point where you start feeling left out on all the latest trends and innovations in the industry. It’s overwhelming and you end up on a plateau with your knowledge and skills.
I struggled with this feeling for a while but during one of my quiet moments it hit me – the reason I was overwhelmed was because I was busy going under in the industry instead of going deeper.
Start off where you’re at and dig deep to find more. Improve on what you know, rather than going after every new thing. Don’t rush it. Take it step-by-step and most of all enjoy the process.
You’re worn out
It’s great to have new clients but if your income depends on acquiring new clients everyday then it can get really stressful. Its’ a horrible feeling to be weighed down by a lot of work.
What helped me was to create passive income streams. Passive income streams help to boost your income while you spend your time doing things you enjoy.
Of course, as a freelancer, you define your income. But chasing after clients who will pay you a low rate can wear you out fast. What will help is for you to raise your rates and go after quality high paying clients who will value your work. You can raise your rates and work for fewer people and still make a comfortable income while you have better working hours.
The loneliness is getting to you
Being a freelancer is a lonely journey. Although you have the potential to earn more, have flexible hours and actually do what you love, you have to do most of it alone.
To beat the loneliness, go for meet ups and meet other freelancers. Collaborate with other freelancers on a project or course. Join a mastermind. Get connected with people in your industry and invite them over for coffee. You’ll be surprised at how many freelancers are in your area.
Are you freelancing? Is it working for you?
You are so right…I soon realized that freelancing was making me more uncomfortable and I was more worn out than ever. 8 hours a day was just a myth..I ended up working more and that too at unusual hours.
It is easy to for over 12 hours a day from home. It is definitely not for everybody.
Freelance is so hard. I get the lonely thing. Sometimes though I just feel like there isn’t enough content out there that really interests me in writing, you know?
It can be so hard Komal.
It’s so important to do what you love! If you don’t you gotta move on!
True that. Thanks Michelle x
Hi thank you for sharing those helpful tips,I am starting to look into freelancing jobs was wondering if you can please share how and where I can find them?
I get most of my jobs on social media, especially Twitter. Upwork is another useful website.
Quality over quantity is it for me.
A lot of times, it is hard to get BUT deliver one and more will come
Work-Life balance is KEY too, for me
I agree Moji. Definitely quality over quantity.
At the moment I’m having a lot of anxiety about my finances so although I don’t regret my decision I am having a lot of burn out with my stress. That being said you are right in saying that sometimes it helps to switch things up and try new methods out.
I can imagine the stress. I wish I could say it’s gets easier but it doesn’t.
I always believe in trying new things and getting new perspectives from different people…it opens opportunities that are not thought of before.
Yes it does Sona.
Well, that is true. Freelancing is not for everyone – it takes someone’s lifestyle including daily routine and perspective. But anyone can adjust so long willingness is there.
Yes very true Eliza.
Real practical signs, being worn out due to new clientele and loads to work to earn more income is what I feel really hits freelancing and in the end it disturbs work life balance also.
Yes it does.
Ulgh this is so relatable! There was a time before when I was freelancing (more than now lol) and it was just constant chaos in my head and life! I was definitely burnt out, my work/life ratio sucked, and I surely started disliking what I was was doing. This info is so important for anyone who freelances!
Glad you found it important. Thanks Shawna.
All of these reasons are so on point. I have to agree with you on not enjoying part. I think not just freelancing, any job that you’re not enjoying is not going to give you satisfaction and you’ll end up under performing rather than excelling.
So true Aditi.
this is great insight for the freelancers of the world… I feel I’ve gotten better at the time part of this lifestyle over the recent months and it feels amazing just with that change alone!
thanks for the tips, I love the meeting other freelancers so you’re not so lonely idea, might have to incorporate that one ; )
I am not a freelancer and never was. I know i wouldn’t have liked it for sure.
Yea it is definitely not for everyone.
As a freelancer, I say that all the issues you have listed are a cyclic part of a freelancer’s life and it’s better for any freelancer (newbie or wannabe) to know it, in order not to let everything go as soon as they occur.
I agree Sabrina.
Great topic to address – its easy to get swept into what your doing and not really address whether its good for you mentally. I think loneliness is a big under reported one!
Yes I think it is under reported too. It can get very lonely sometimes.
The big burn out can easily happen and that is where some self love and reflection are so important x
I agree. Thanks x
Meeting other freelancers is the part I really need to work on locally. I have a friend who does that and it helps her and gives her balance, something I have had a hard time finding with a full time job and doing this blogging journey. It gets to be crazy sometimes, but I do feel like progress is being made. But you are right that I need to set aside schedules for things so that I am not working all the time and feeling like I am being buried alive by things.
I agree. I need to meet other freelancers around me too.
Great topic and easy to relate to!
Being a freelancer feels like the world is all yours. Standing up in the chair of yours for 15 mins feels like heaven. But it’s a MUST work for me.
Yes for me too. Thanks Nathan.
It really is so difficult to have a good work-life balance when you’re working from home! Never know where to draw the line
Yes it can be very tricky.
My biggest problem is getting more clients.
It is usually the same issue for many. Just carry on doing what you are doing. You will get there.
This is really encouraging, thanks.
My pleasure 😊