With 53 million Americans taking part in freelance work as of 2015, they accounted for nearly a third of the U.S. workforce according to Edelman Berland’s 2014 survey findings. Therefore, if you’re considering taking this route and joining their ranks – now is your chance! On the surface, freelancing looks amazing: no more oppressive cubicles to endure, and now you can work in your pajamas without anyone batting an eye. Don’t be fooled though—it’s not all sunshine and rainbows! As someone who has experienced working freelance for over two years, I’m here to make sure that when you take this big step into self-employment, no surprises are waiting for you down the line. Here are some of the most common struggles freelancers encounter…
1. Your parents think you’re out of your mind.
Our parents were raised in an entirely different era, so as soon as you mention freelancing to them, it can be like broaching the subject of selling friendship bracelets at Union Square. Although this may seem difficult for us to understand, kindly explain your plans and show them that you have a strategy–you know what you are doing. Be patient with them; after all, they just want the best future for us!
2. Your friends assume you wear your pajamas all day.
A pal will inevitably ping you with a G-chat question, inquiring if you’re out of bed yet and even wearing clothes. Indeed, there may be days when no one sees your lower half; however, most freelancers do take the time to get dressed (and yes – yoga pants are considered getting dressed).
3. …and that you live paycheck to paycheck.
For those entrenched in the traditional career trajectory, freelancing might seem like a distant dream. But it’s not! Many individuals make more money as independent contractors than by working for one company. While your friends may joke that you’re on the brink of peddling fruit at a service station, don’t let their remarks deter you from taking advantage of this lucrative opportunity; such success is within reach!
4. You have to deal with clients who don’t pay on time.
Whereas a conventional job provides a reliably provided income regularly, the freelance world requires you to be proactive in searching for and acquiring new business opportunities. In other words, if you want money as a freelancer, hustling is essential. Despite your best efforts, there will be weeks when getting customers to pay you on time may require a bit of persistence and determination. To minimize the financial disruption such delays may cause, you must stay as organized with your finances as possible. When done right, this practice can prevent any unfortunate surprises due to multiple payments occurring at once or none at all!
5. Your friends also assume you do yoga for three hours a day, in the middle of the day.
Freelancing is an exciting venture, and people may be curious as to how you fill your days. After all, you have the freedom of managing your schedule – but that doesn’t mean it’s a constant vacation! You are still expected to put in regular hours either earlier or later than typical office workers. So take advantage of the flexibility freelance offers by taking some time for yourself during the day – whether that’s working out in between tasks or going for a walk around town – but always remember to set aside enough time for work too so you can stay productive and successful.
6. Your taxes are scary.
Don’t attempt to tackle your taxes alone! They may seem uncomplicated, but they can be quite intricate and should only be done with the help of a professional. To make life easier for you and your accountant later down the line, diligently record all of your expenses – particularly if you work from home. Doing so will save you time when tax season comes around in April and will ensure accuracy throughout the process.
7. A coffee shop will become your second home.
Be prepared to be asked where your current “hip” coffee shop office is, and for them to imagine you sitting there in a trendy t-shirt, sipping on a frothy cappuccino with an intense gaze out the window (as if suddenly you have magically become French). Not only do freelancers utilize coffee shops as offices, but they are oftentimes the focused ones hard at work. The Economist states that freelancers devote around 6 percent more hours to their jobs every week than full-time employees; this exemplifies just how dedicated and motivated these workers can be when using a cafe as an office space.
8. It can be a little lonely.
When you’re not in an environment surrounded by colleagues, it can take a while to realize how much you miss the company. Before long, conversations with baristas, pet owners, and store assistants become your new norm – even more than you ever anticipated!
9. You are your boss.
Working for yourself can sound like a dream come true, but there is an added layer of responsibility. You are solely responsible for adhering to deadlines, ensuring the quality of your product, procuring any tools and resources necessary to complete tasks swiftly and efficiently, acquiring health insurance coverage, not to mention generating income! The pressure is real; no one else will tell you what needs doing or how it should be done – that’s all on you now!
Going freelance is not without its risks, yet there are abundant advantages that make it worthwhile. Remain motivated and connected to others within your industry as you embark on a thrilling journey!
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