If you’re about to follow a new career trajectory and choose the freedom of working for yourself rather than for a boss you don’t like, working a job you don’t enjoy, you should be mentally prepared for the barriers on the way.
They are more than one, and usually, no one talks about them. There’s a not-so-pleasant aspect to any big venture in life, and leaving the 9 to 5 to pursue something on your own is no small deed.
The benefits are many, of course. What better way to love every day of your life than to structure each in the way you like it, choose when to work, where and on what, be picky about your clients, make more money the moment you feel like staying more on the computer, etc.
But let’s talk about the dark side of freelancing now. Which doesn’t need to stop you from giving it a try, sure. But you do need to be aware of this as it’s better to know if it’s not for you now, than to spend months of your life hustling on the side for something that you won’t enjoy that much.
So here’s what you should know about being a freelancer that you won’t hear most people talk about:
1. The insecurity might be overwhelming at times.
Living with uncertainty – meaning, you’ll never be sure if you’ll meet your budget next month or whether you’ll find a new client soon after you finish your project for the current one – isn’t for everyone.
It might lead to not sleeping well at night, constantly worrying about money, and even not being able to focus on the job because of that.
If you’re usually like that, and uncertainty is bad for your mental and physical health, you might be better off staying at your regular job.
But if you’re a freedom seeker, ready to work hard even if there’s no money coming in in the beginning, do start something on the side and turn it into an online business.
2. The ‘work from home’ trap.
Yes, you will have the freedom to wake up whenever you want to and to basically be making money from your bed. Or to even go to the beach and do it from there. It’s fantastic, true. But you’ll also face new kinds of demons that might cost you your focus, energy and work performance.
That’s procrastination, laziness and the distractions that seem to be everywhere.
3. People in your surroundings won’t really take you seriously.
In the beginning, when they see you dedicating your weekends, mornings and evenings to start working for yourself, they’ll consider you crazy and might even tell you all this is pointless.
Then, when you quit your job and start doing it full-time, they will consider you the king of freedom and might expect you to go out with them more often, or to say yes to vacations, or else. But that will be the period in your life when you’ll need to hustle more than ever to make this work and to even scale it and create new income streams.
Some friends might get offended. It might even cost you a relationship with a loved one. But, in reality, it’s just a test showing you who accepts you for who you are and takes you and your goals in life seriously.
You don’t need support to succeed in this. You just need determination and a clear vision to keep you on the right track.
4. The start is never easy.
Another problem you’ll face that might make you give up is that you’ll be no one in the beginning. That might mean you’ll need to do work for free to create a portfolio and go from there. Experience means a lot in any field.
5. You should master branding.
It’s all about building a name for yourself out there. That’s when you won’t need to go look for new clients and even accept lower rates when you haven’t met your monthly budget. Just the opposite. Clients will be finding you and you might even need to reject some due to a high volume of work.
To create your brand, you should put in effort daily. From starting your own website and having a frequently updated portfolio and blog on it, to being on every social media network and connecting with influencers and trying to provide value.
6. The taxes won’t always seem fair.
Being your own boss means managing your own finances, and having to pay for the ability to work for yourself. It doesn’t feel good to give a big percentage of what you’ve just worked on to a site just because it’s the platform that connected you to the client, but that’s how it works.
Once you build your online presence though, have more experience and a few regular clients, you won’t need to be using these sites and will be paying the standard fees as any individual working for themselves.
7. The competition is fearless.
Here’s something you won’t like and which might surprise you: whatever quality work you’re willing to commit to for hours daily, there is a person from a cheap country who’ll do it for almost no money. And because most companies and employers have a low budget for this, they will rarely choose you in the beginning. Because you won’t have the experience yet, though, you won’t be able to reach out to and grab the attention of the big names in the industry who also have the big money.
So be patient in the beginning. Do it on the side so you can still make a living from your current job. And when things take off, leave it and give freelancing your full attention.
Now that you know the traps and negative sides of this world, what do you think? Does it seem like something you can dedicate the rest of your life to? Are you willing to make such sacrifices to receive the ultimate freedom in return?