A lot of freelancers paint out their lifestyle to be something from the movies. Constant travel, no schedule, working from anywhere, etc. However, there are a lot of significant downsides to being a freelancer. In fact, I’d go as far as to say freelancing sucks from time to time.
That’s coming from someone who has been freelancing for over six years now, so you can take my word for it. However, every job sucks from time to time. With freelancing, at least you have a lot of freedom on how to tackle those issues.
In this article, I’m going to share with you three reasons why freelancing sucks and how to deal with them. Then I’ll break down why I love freelance writing despite all the crap you have to put up it. Let’s get to it!
3 Reasons Why Freelancing Sucks
I’m not going to beat around the bush – freelance writing can be brutal. As much as I love it and despite all the advice I share with you regularly, this profession comes with plenty of downsides. If you want to succeed, you need to be aware of them and learn how to cope.
1. You Need to Deal With Health Insurance and Taxes
According to some studies, health care is one of the primary worries for adult Americans. If you happen to live somewhere with free and decent healthcare, then great for you! However, the rest of us have to deal with a lot of headaches when it comes to our health.
As a freelancer, you need to take the reins when it comes to medical insurance. That means finding the right plan, staying on top of premiums, and all the work that involves. As if that weren’t enough, you also need to look into how to file taxes as a freelancer in your country, and set aside that money religiously to avoid problems.
Over a year ago, I moved to a new country. Between finding new insurance and setting up my tax payments, that led to some massive headaches. However, it all comes down to organization. If you don’t put off dealing with healthcare or taxes and do your research, you’ll be fine!
2. You Can Only Succeed if You’re Highly Motivated
A lot of people will tell you it’s easy to make a ton of money as a freelancer and those guys are massive liars. In most cases, anyone who tries to peddle a ‘system’ to start earning massive amounts of money is just trying to sell you something, so you can safely ignore them.
The truth is, freelance writing is a highly competitive field where only motivated people succeed. Anyone can make a few bucks here and there writing online, but to get to the point where you’re making a good living, you will need to:
- Chase new clients constantly
- Negotiate fair per word rates
- Worry about contracts
- Keep your existing clients happy
To put it simply, being a freelancer is pretty much like running a business on your own. Over half of new businesses fail during their first year, and that’s pretty much my experience with people who try to break into freelancing. Those who get into this field with the hopes of making a lot of money without any effort will burn out quickly. On the other hand, if you have the right mindset, then freelancing can be a fantastic career path.
3. It’s Easy to Become Isolated
Dealing with isolation is, for me, the biggest downside of being a freelancer. If you work from home primarily, or just move from coffee shop to coffee shop, it’s easy to fall into a pattern where you don’t get much social interaction. Should you happen to end up working odd hours, then it becomes an even more significant issue.
Digital nomads have it even harder since they have to build social networks in every new place they land. Even if you’re a social butterfly, trying to make new friends all the time can get exhausting fast.
I’ve never been a big fan of traditional offices, but in my opinion, the most significant upside to them is you get to see and talk with other people every day. If you’re the kind of person who has trouble being social, then freelancing can exacerbate that.
That’s not to say you can’t have a healthy social life as a freelance writer. For me, it’s all about maintaining a healthy work-life balance and trying not to work odd hours. That way, I have time for hobbies and friends, and I avoid going insane.
Why I Love Being a Freelance Writer (In a Nutshell)
My goal with this article isn’t to scare you away from the idea of becoming a freelance writer. What I want is for you to be fully prepared for all the downsides of working in this field.
In my experience, a lot of people tend to idealize being a freelancer too much. When they finally try it, they find it’s a lot harder than they imagined, so they crash fast. When I first started freelancing, it didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped, but I stuck with it mostly because of two reasons:
- It gives you a lot of freedom on how you manage your time.
- You’re always free to raise your rates whenever you see fit.
Those two perks combined are something no other job in the world can offer you, and for me, that’s worth enough to put up with all the downsides of freelancing.
Plus, let’s be honest – every job sucks in its way from time to time. With the right mindset, dealing with the downsides of freelancing isn’t as complicated as you may imagine. If you take a crack at freelancing the right way, by building a strong portfolio and knowing where to find great clients, then you can skip a lot of the ugly parts of the business.
We all hate our jobs from time to time (unless you’re getting paid to sit around and pet puppies). That’s part of being an adult, and with freelance writing, you get plenty of things to complain about. Dealing with taxes and health insurance can get complicated, you need a lot of motivation to make a good living, and that’s just for starters.
Even with all that, I wouldn’t trade freelancing for another profession. We get to deal with a lot of problems ‘regular’ people don’t, but at the same time, we also get a lot more freedom. For me, just knowing that I can take a day off whenever I want (if I finish all my work first) is more than enough to get me through the bad parts of freelancing.
What’s the worst part of being a freelance writer, in your opinion? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.