Why You Should Never Become A Freelancer

Why You Should Never Become A Freelancer

Why You Should Never Become A Freelancer

The allure of freelancing cannot be understated. The promise of flexible hours, the appeal of being your own boss, the idea of potentially limitless income if you’ve got the grit and the grind to make it. It’s a neon sign flashing “freedom” in the eyes of anyone stuck in a 9-to-5 grind, and it’s easy to understand why.

In this new digital age, more and more individuals are choosing the path of self-employment, lured by the perceived autonomy and potential for high income. Global platforms are facilitating connections between freelancers and clients like never before, making the transition seemingly straightforward.

But with this newfound freedom comes a set of challenges that are often glossed over by the glossy veneer of freelancing. From the irregularity of income and fierce global competition to the constant chase for clients and lack of traditional job benefits, the freelance life is a blend of ups and downs.

And, because I’m nice like that, I’m here to tell you all about the downs.

20 reasons why you shouldn’t become a freelancer

1. Income instability

There’s no sugarcoating it – freelancing often brings with it a certain level of financial unpredictability. One month, you could be swimming in projects and thinking about taking a holiday in Hawaii. The next, you’re scraping for gigs and Googling how to make a can of beans last a week.

This lack of consistency can make it difficult to plan financially, which is a problem you wouldn’t typically have with a salaried job.

2. Lack of benefits

That sweet, sweet package of health insurance, retirement contributions, paid vacation, sick leave – you know, the “perks” of a traditional job – these go bye-bye when you decide to freelance.

Sure, you can set up your own IRA or health insurance, but it’s often more expensive and complicated than when it’s facilitated by an employer.

3. Unpredictable workload

One minute, you’re looking for something – anything – to do, the next, you’re drowning in a sea of projects with deadlines that laugh in the face of a good night’s sleep. Feast or famine is the name of the game in the freelance world, and it can be mentally and emotionally draining.

4. You’re on your own

There’s no IT department to call when your computer throws a tantrum, no admin team to handle invoicing and contracts, no HR to mediate disputes. You are the company, and you’re responsible for everything.

This requires a level of self-reliance and wide-ranging skills that many people don’t anticipate when diving into freelancing.

5. No clear work/life boundaries

When your home is your office and your office is your home, it’s easy for the lines to blur between work and personal time. This can lead to burnout, strained relationships, and a general feeling of always being “on”.

6. The chase for clients

Finding clients is often a perpetual hamster wheel. You’re constantly pitching, networking, promoting – in essence, selling yourself. And even if you land a solid client, there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around. The time and energy spent on this chase can be exhausting.

7. No job security

There’s no two-weeks notice in the freelance world. A client can drop you at any time, for any reason, leaving you scrambling to fill the income gap. The absence of job security can cause a constant undercurrent of stress.

8. Loneliness

Freelancing is often a solitary pursuit. Without office camaraderie and the routine interactions of a typical work environment, that feeling of isolation will creep in fast.

9. Taking care of taxes

When you’re self-employed, the tax man cometh and you’ve got to be ready. This means you’ll be setting aside a portion of your income, understanding what can and cannot be deducted, and potentially paying estimated taxes quarterly. It’s no one’s idea of a good time.

10. Dealing with difficult clients

Freelancers often face clients who are challenging – they can be uncommunicative, demanding, or simply difficult to please. Without a managerial buffer, these encounters could be particularly stressful.

11. No promotion or career advancement

As a freelancer, there’s no corporate ladder to climb. You can expand your business, gain more clients, or increase your rates, but there’s no promotion or structured career progression. For some, this lack of a clear growth trajectory might feel limiting or even stagnating over time.

12. You become a master of none

As a freelancer, you might find yourself dabbling in various areas to keep the cash flowing. This can prevent you from developing a deep expertise in one specific area, leaving you as a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

While versatility is beneficial, it may also limit your potential to command higher rates for specialized work.

13. Inconsistent feedback

In a traditional job, there are performance reviews, regular check-ins with your manager, and colleagues to provide feedback. As a freelancer, you might find yourself working in a vacuum, unsure if you’re improving or if your work is up to par. This lack of feedback could hinder your professional growth.

14. Handling rejection

As a freelancer, rejection is part of the game. Potential clients may choose another freelancer over you, or existing clients may not be happy with your work. If you’re not good at handling rejection, it can take a toll on your self-esteem and motivation.

15. Struggling to keep up with industry changes

Industries evolve and so must you if you want to stay competitive. But without an organization’s resources to support learning and development, keeping up with industry changes and trends can be a significant challenge. It could require a considerable investment of time and money on your part.

16. Higher risk during economic downturns

During economic recessions or downturns, freelancers often get hit harder than full-time employees. Companies tend to cut back on contractors and freelancers first when they need to tighten their belts.

So, not only do you have to deal with the usual unpredictability of freelancing, but you might find it harder to secure work during tough economic times.

17. Potential for exploitation

Some clients might take advantage of freelancers. They may demand more work than initially agreed upon without willing to pay extra (also known as scope creep), delay payments, or refuse to pay altogether.

This happens more often than you’d think. It’s all too easy for clients to decide that your hard work just isn’t up to par and withhold payment.

Without a legal team or union to back you up, these battles could be tough to fight (and even tougher to win).

18. High competition

Freelancing involves competing in a global market. With numerous freelancers offering similar services, often willing to work for less, securing clients becomes challenging.

What’s more, you have to continuously find ways to stand out, which requires considerable effort in marketing and branding. The intense competition in freelancing is thus a significant hurdle.

19. The pitfalls of platform dependency

Reliance on online freelancing platforms can be a double-edged sword. While they connect you to a global client base, they often take a substantial commission from your earnings. This ‘platform tax’ can eat into your income, making it harder to turn a sustainable profit from your efforts.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I cannot stand the idea of doing all the work only for someone else to snatch a considerable portion of my hard-earned money. It feels like you’re the one doing the heavy lifting while these platforms just get to lean back, take their cut, and watch the cash roll in.

20. Employment stigma post-freelancing

Making a transition back into full-time employment after a stint in freelancing can be fraught with challenges. Some employers may view freelance work as unstable or question your ability to adapt to a structured environment. This potential bias may create additional hurdles when you decide to return to a more traditional career path.

Final thoughts

So, there you have it. Freelancing isn’t all sunsets and Instagram-worthy coffee shops. There’s a gritty, unglamorous underbelly to this world. It’s like an iceberg – the freedom, the flexibility, the being-your-own-boss part, that’s the 10% you see. The other 90% is below the surface. It’s the uncertain paychecks, the late-night scrambles to meet deadlines, the clients who forget that you need to eat too.

Don’t let that daunt you, though. Sometimes, the best views come after the hardest climb. Freelancing can still be that breathtaking view for you, provided you’re ready for the climb. Just strap on your gear, chalk up your hands, and don’t say we didn’t warn you about the rough terrain ahead.