10 Things No One Tells You About Freelancing

In the world of freelancing, a lot goes on that people don’t know about. But let’s face it, working as a freelancer is very different from working as an employee in a 9-to-5.

It’s easy to get carried away by the wonderful opportunities and benefits freelancers get to enjoy for being self-employed.  But it’s good to see the other side of the coin. Here are 10 things no one tells you about going freelance.


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Freelancing is lonely

Unlike in a 9-to-5 where you get to work with colleagues or go to meetings, freelancing is lonely. It’s only you in front of your computer working on projects for your clients.

When you do want to go out or hang out with friends, they are either at work or they are busy with something else. You no longer have the same work schedule as they do. So most times you stay alone.

However, to combat the loneliness you can make friends with freelancers who live near you and spend time with them. It’s nice to spend time with those who understand the loneliness of freelancing.


You end up working more hours than you did in your 9-to-5

Many people think that freelancers have a lot of time on their hands since they don’t have to go to an office everyday. What people don’t know is that freelancers work around the clock.

Freelancers don’t have fixed work hours. They work everyday, including the weekends and often late into the night and start all over again early in the morning.

In a 9-to-5 your work hours are defined, that’s one luxury won’t have as a freelancer.


People expect you to work for free

Although there are more freelancers in the world, it’s not receiving the status it deserves. People still see freelancing more as a hobby than a real job.

When you get started as a freelancer, don’t be surprised when you get people coming to you to ask if you could work for them for free. Since they don’t consider freelancing as a real job, they don’t see the trade as something that should be paid for.

It now depends on you to educate such people that freelancing is as real a job as a 9-to-5 and as a freelancer you deserved to be paid like any other worker.


You have to deal with distractions

Freelancers spend most of their time working at home and are often distracted by the presence of the TV and internet. So when faced with these temptations everyday it can get difficult to finish projects on time.

To be an efficient freelancer, staying laser-focused is key. You may be working at home but you’re still running a business and that requires a lot of discipline and focus.


You need to ace up your productivity

Most freelancers run service-based businesses. That means that their income is in direct proportion with the number of clients or projects they have on their plate.

More projects means more money. Therefore, the faster you’re able to work within a day, the more projects you’ll be able to accommodate. And that means a higher income. That calls for you to learn to be more productive.


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You may have issues getting a loan

When you’re self-employed some lenders tend to refuse credit even if you earn as much as or even more than you used to earn as an employee.

Most banks and mortgage lenders ask for at least three years of accounts to prove income. Very few of them even consider one to two years. That has posed a serious challenge for freelancers.


You have to be in charge of your own pension

The perks of working in a 9-to-5 is that your pension is handled by your employer. Which means freelancers have to take care of their pensions themselves by allocating money for their retirement.


Cash flow isn’t always steady

It’s not all rosy when it comes to cash flow. There will be months when you’ll experience dry spells and months when you’re overwhelmed with projects.

That’s where the need to diversify your income comes in. When you create more income streams you can somewhat guarantee a steady flow every month.


You can be spontaneous

Freelancers have the freedom to work anywhere they want to. As a freelancer, you don’t have to wait until the summer to travel. You can book a flight or a train ride to anywhere at any time, without having to be answerable to anyone.


You have to do everything yourself

Unfortunately when you’re starting out as a freelancer you have to do everything yourself.

Before you have enough funds to outsource some of the operations of your freelancing business you have to do it on your own.

You have to do your taxes and accounting of your business. You write your own copy and edit your own content, post on social media and even negotiate with brands.

But remember that this is only temporary. Once you’re able to build an audience and raise your income you can start hiring extra hands to help you out.


Does anything on this list surprise you? How has your freelancing experience been?







34 responses

  1. No nothing surprised me on your list. I was self-employef and ran the ex admin side and my own goung back many years so know the pitfalls of that angle. It’s hard work and there has to be structure as you say.

    One of the most gauling things is people are surprised about cost! They dont seem to realise that as well as time, you also have your expenditure for bills to pay and just think it’s all cash in your own pocket

  2. Because I have been a free lance interior designer for 37 glorious years…nothing on this list surprised me. All true. One thing I’d like to add, is that there is no other work as rewarding as making hundreds of clients happy! Our newly added virtual, online interior design, service is another form of free lancing. Honest post!

  3. It is a big pain. I am a psychologist+businesswoman+blogger and now a freelance writer. It is really hard to maintain it. Some people think its easy only we know sometimes what a pain in ass it actually is.

  4. I can relate so much on what you say! As a freelancer and digital nomad I often have also to replay to people who believe we can work from where we want and when we want. They don’t know that actually we have to work from no matter where and when we have to.

  5. This article is so true! You definitely hit the nail on the head when chatting about freelancing. It is definitely harder than people think it is!

  6. Great post! I’m just starting out and learning as much as I can as go. It’s good to know what to expect and I learned a lot reading this.

  7. I worked a s a freelancer for a while and i can attest to the validity of every single point you’re making. But all that aside, i still loved it and hope to run my future business in such manner.

  8. While it might sound so nice to many, freelancing comes with a lot of ‘work’; maintaining personal discipline when it comes to dealing with distractions, struggling on your own with not-so-steady income. Much to do but with determination, it pays off,right?

  9. I didn’t think about how difficult it would be to secure your own loan. I wonder if trying to get the business records would help. But you are probably right it would still take three years.

  10. almost all my life I’ve been working as a freelancer and I know about all the negative things it has. And since I moved to the US it’s even harder for me right now.

  11. Huh? Yeah, that was my reaction when I was told you can get paid good money to use Facebook. But I checked it out and I loved what I found.

    If you know how to use Facebook then you can generate a serious income doing this.

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