Five things they don’t tell you about freelance work

According to the government definition of self employment, self-employed people are those who define themselves as working for themselves, rather than receiving a wage or salary from an employer.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

The freelance life definitely brings freedom, and decision-making power but just as with any other lifestyle, there are drawbacks to being a freelancer. Your income will be less certain, you won’t get sick pay, and you’ll have to work hard for every penny of profit you make.

Don’t give up on the idea yet though. We have five disadvantages of being self-employed below but we also explain how to deal with them.

Freelancing doesn’t suit everybody

Contrary to the way freelancing is presented on social media, it isn’t all about lifestyle. You’ll almost certainly have those ‘I’m so lucky’ moments but most of the time freelancing is just like any other job.

Plain old hard work.

What you do gain of course from being self-employed, is the ability to control your own time. Some of it at least.

Freelancing can be stressful

It’s true. As a freelancer you’ll probably have control over how and when you work. However, your decisions around this will have significant implications.

If you don’t work, you won’t get paid.

Planning ahead can really help. For example if you want to travel in June, make sure you let your clients know well ahead of time. You might also need to save some money to cover any lost wages.

You’ll wish you were part of the team

No matter how much you value your peace and quiet, from time to time freelancing can seem like a lonely existence. Being responsible for everything from marketing to accounting vastly reduces the number of people you encounter each week.

Freelancers are often a team of one.

The trick with this is to find your teams elsewhere. Volunteering, playing sport, or joining a club can all give you that sense of belonging you crave.

Payment dates can be unpredictable

It goes without saying that you should always be punctual and organised with your invoices but this doesn’t mean your clients will always do the same.

Sometimes they will forget to pay you.

This can be inconvenient to say the least but it’s one of many good reasons to have a contingency fund. Having a bit of cash put aside for those slower months will help relieve late payment stress.

An enquiry is not the same thing as a job

The moment you get an enquiry from a new client is an exciting one. It means your branding and marketing are working. However, enquiries are just that. They’re a legitimate way of gaining important information.

Not all enquiries lead to paid work.

That said, you should take all enquiries seriously. Your aim is to impress but above all be honest. Allocate just enough time to make sure you understand the prospective job but don’t be too eager too soon.

Work hard, gain the rewards

So there we have it. Freelancing is not the perfect lifestyle but it can be a very rewarding one. Take off those rose-tinted spectacles and be prepared for some hard work, occasional rejection, and the odd moment of loneliness.

Oh yes, and the satisfaction of knowing any freelance achievements you make have been yours, and yours alone.

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