When you are thinking of freelancing, everything seems advantageous:
- Flexible schedules.
- Having a business.
- Be your own boss.
- Work remotely from home or from anywhere else.
- Choose the projects you want to work.
However, when you really start, you realise that being freelancer has some drawbacks. One of the clearest examples is the hours of work, because you work much longer hours than any worker employed. While you can work on projects that you like and you get a job, it is not nearly brainer.
In this guide you will find the main challenges that await you working as a freelancer. Note that we do not intend to discourage you; we just want you to bear in mind what reality you will face from now on.
1- Doing business is not easy
Especially if it is not your job. When you are alone, getting new projects is complicated. You’ll have to spend some of your time and your energies to find new projects.
It is also very difficult to get projects regularly. You’ll have 5 times more projects at some point and others in which you are not going to work on either. The challenge is to get some stability.
2- The price, the big question
One of the great existential questions of any freelancing is its price, i.e. what your hours are worth. It is a fine balance between being competitive and being able to pay yourself a salary, which is not easy to find however, setting the right price is a matter of time, you’ll soon find your personal strategy.
3- Self-motivated is essential
When you work alone with no one to pat you on the back, it is so important to motivate yourself. In our blog we always try to talk about things that can help you achieve that, but one thing is clear: taking care of your health and your mind is essential.
Another key to success of any freelance is the productivity. Schedules of work at home may be chaotic if you do not control it. Getting the most out of every hour of work is essential for a living and do not spend 24 hours a day working.
5- Nobody pays budgets
Learning to answer your budgets quickly, effectively and professionally is key to getting projects. Unfortunately, the reality is that 75-80% of your budget will not prosper and the time you have dedicated to them (sometimes hours or days) cannot be recovered.
6- Nobody pays for holidays
As a freelancer, your business is mainly based on selling your time. If you’re not on the ball because you’re sick, you want to take a few days or you leave on vacation; nobody is going to pay for your time.
7- In search of business model
Finding new ways to generate revenue is important for survival. Many freelancers choose to add training to its portfolio of services and it is something interesting to enjoy some stability.
But there are other alternatives that are less directly related to the time freelancer, such as: selling digital products (eBooks, online courses), the sales services as products or affiliate marketing.
8- Staff-work balance
The fact of working remotely allows you to work anytime and anywhere, making it difficult to draw the line between your professional life and work. Define when you finish your work hours, as your personal time begins then and this is a major challenge.
9- The maturities
There are many projects that are not going to charge (even a part) until it’s done. In fact, in most cases, you’re not going to charge for your work until 60 or 90 days after issuing the invoice. These are unfortunately maturities that most companies handle.
When you work as a freelancer, you have to do everything. You need to sell, manage a business, to support existing customers and find hours to deliver projects that you have in hand.
It is essential to have the agility and flexibility to make these changes quickly and effectively.
11- Learning to manage your business
Being a freelancer means having your own business, so you have to manage your billing, file your tax returns, control your spending etc.
More than half of all your invoices used will be taxed. The conditions we face as freelancers are the toughest in Europe. When you do your numbers, you must take into account that there is a big difference between what you can bill and what you can charge as a freelancer.
Freelancing is a big challenge, but it’s a really exciting lifestyle. It is a way of understanding the world and tailoring your work to your life rather than the other way round. So we hope this guide will help you to anticipate and foresee.