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The Cons of Freelancing

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cons of freelancingA few years ago, I used to do some freelance writing work. It was good money. There were tons of freelance opportunities out there. Jobs can be found on Fiverr, Upwork, and Problogger, but deep down, I hated it.  Today, I want to talk about the cons of freelancing, specifically freelance writing. This post isn’t meant to scare you from freelancing. It’s intended to inform you about some things that could possibly happen once you take the leap.

The Cons of Freelancing

Constructive Criticism

As a freelance writer, you have to be able to handle constructive criticism. Everyone is not going to like everything that you write. I found that out about two months after I started freelancing. People may not like your “voice” or writing style. That’s perfectly fine. I have no problem with constructive criticism. I took it for what it’s worth and used it to help me become a better writer. If you’re the type of person who’s super sensitive, you may have to toughen up just a bit. If a client doesn’t like something you write, realize that in 95% of the case that it’s not personal. You may have to edit some posts 2-3 times before they like them. You also won’t get every freelance job that you apply for. It’s all good, though. Take some time to look for more writing gigs. The sooner you realize that constructive criticism isn’t the end of the world, the better off you will be. It may even help your writing skills.

Late Payments

You would get paid on time for every assignment in a perfect world. As you can see, we don’t live in a perfect world. Some clients pay late. When that happens, you will have to decide if you want to work with them again. If a client is a couple of days late, I wouldn’t worry about that. If they are a week or more later, then there may be a problem. I understand that people are busy, but if a client is supposed to pay you at a particular time, they should do it unless they have contacted you and made previous arrangements. Luckily, I’ve only dealt with late payments twice. The first time a client went on vacation. As much as I love to travel, I understood. Everyone needs a getaway every once in a while. The second time a client paid me late, they were procrastinating. After a quick email where I politely let them know how unprofessional it was to play with other people’s money, I got paid.

Low Pay

Next up on the cons of freelancing list is low pay. When starting out as a freelancer, you may have to take some low-paying jobs at the beginning. Those jobs can be used for your portfolio, but you shouldn’t stay at beginner freelance rates forever. You will get more referrals and make more money as you get better. There are tons of freelance jobs and potential clients out there that are willing to pay you what you are worth.

Writers Block

You will not be able to write every day. You will have writer’s block from time to time. I have a couple of tips that can help you get over it.

The first thing that you can do is to do your writing on the weekend mornings. I’ve noticed I was more creative and focused during the weekend mornings. I was able to create great content and also send in multiple submissions to my clients.

The next thing that you can do is to switch up your writing locations. You may get tired of writing at home all the time, so switch it up and go to the library or a coffee shop. That should be able to help you shake your writer’s block.

If you still have trouble writing after doing those two things, you can just take a break and try again the next day.

More Research Than Expected

When you agree to take freelance projects, some of the topics may require more research than you expected. Keep that in mind when you’re going over your rates. Some jobs could initially seem easy, but once you start working, you may realize that you need do a little more research. You may be able to request a little more money from the client because of the research, but not every client will pay more. When you start freelancing, be ready to factor in research regarding your rates for some gigs.

Time Consuming

Freelancing can be time-consuming. Depending on your number of clients, your work-life balance may be nonexistent. The more clients you have, the more work you will need to do. There are times when you want just to be lazy, but if you really want to get paid, you can’t do that. You should take some time and create a schedule.

You May Neglect Your Website or Small Business

Since many freelancers are independent contractors, they tend to have their own websites or small businesses. Depending on the freelance jobs that they have, they may neglect their own things. The money could be so good that they simply forget to take the time to work on theirs. In the past, I’ve made that mistake. I know the freelance money can be great, but don’t forget to work on your website or small business. Schedule some time to work on it each week.

Sacrifice

The last thing on the cons of freelancing list is that you will have to sacrifice something. If you want to be a success and make decent money doing freelance writing or graphic design, you will have to change something. A few years ago, I used to be a big partier. I loved the nightlife, but I knew that I needed to make a change. I stopped going out as much because I’d rather wake up at 8 am fresh the next morning instead of at noon with a hangover. When you start freelancing, you will have to figure out what you need to give up to succeed.

Most of the articles out there usually discuss the pros of freelancing. In this one, I wanted to talk about the cons of freelancing. I wanted to let you know that it’s not easy, but you can succeed at working as a freelancer. Doing freelance work can help your finances. It can allow you to work from home and even become your own boss.

If you want to get started, take some time to review different freelance websites. Then find some jobs and start making money.

5 Comments

  1. This is an awesome overview Jason, and some really great advice that people need to hear. I think starting at a low pay rate is important. When I was collecting applicants for writers for Young Adult Money someone quoted 10x what I would expect them to quote, but the thing is they were brand new and really didn’t know how to price themselves. The more established you are the more you can charge, but starting out low is basically an absolute must.

    1. Starting out low is a must. It’s only temporary.

  2. Really great points Jason! At the freelancermap blog we also covered this topic and I would like to add just another point that is: “The beginning can be slow”. Freelancing requires a lot of work and you have to stay motivated to keep the business going even if you are not getting clients as fast as you imagined. Freelancers need to be strong to not give up during the initial phase!

  3. This is so true! When I got that very first job I was totally stumped on how much I should charge for my charge, I even did a couple of freebies to prove myself. Fast forward 6 months and I was totally swamped with work, my own blog took the hit and I was feeling total burnout. I managed on through to October and then had to admit I needed a break. I took a week off work, initially to get myself ahead on my own blog to free up more time for freelancing, one day into that holiday i turned my phone off, put it in a draw and booked a flight to sit on a beach for 5 days. Best thing I did, my batteries were totally recharged and I was ready to get going again. I think taking time for ourselves is what we neglect most as freelancers!

    1. You’re right about that. I’ve neglected myself a few times. I can’t afford to do that anymore.

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