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4 Biggest Challenges of Being A Freelancer (And How To Deal With Them)

You may be a freelancer right now or you may be considering entering the world of freelancing. Either way, the challenges of being a freelancer outlined below are real and they affect every freelancer at some point in their journey.

If you’re yet to experience this set of nightmares, this should prepare you. If you’re riding through Freelancing Hell right now, maybe the following points will help you get out alive.

You will need to learn how to chase money

If you’ve come into freelancing from a real job, then you’ll understand how easy it is to rely upon accounts departments and payroll to make sure you eat every day. It’s what they do and they exist for that purpose.

Businesses know that getting paid is fundamental to the life of any business. So, they employ accountants and debt collectors.

When you’re a freelancer, it’s just you.

You’re the person who has to call that client every hour of the day so that you can get paid. You’re the one who has to get up at three in the morning to catch the client who is on the other side of the world — trying to avoid you.

Basically, you need to get paid.

However, it’s hard for freelancers to make sure they get paid. Some clients will simply not pay. Instead, they’ll avoid you long after you’ve completed work for them. You have to deal with this and often it means chasing clients every day.

How to manage this

Set up watertight contracts with clients beforehand, making it clear how you work and when you expect to get paid. If you’re particularly jumpy, create contracts that have clear milestones. With established clients, you can ease off with the milestones.

Research the companies you freelance for. Make sure they have established websites and points of contact. Check out their financial details online. Do whatever you can to feel better about working for them. Don’t work for them if you feel that something’s not quite right.

Chase payments. Get tough about it. The more persistent, professional, and focused you are about payments, the nicer your life will be.

See Also: 5 Freelancing Tips That Will Make you Successful


being a freelancer

This may not be a problem for you if you work in a pod or an office where you can rent a desk. If you don’t do that, expect to face distraction every minute of the day. Working from home can be great fun, and that’s the problem.

You will most likely find every excuse not to work. It could be the TV or the Internet. Even cleaning the lounge can distract you.

All these things quickly help you forget that you’re being paid for some work done.

How to manage this

Remove distractions. Work in an environment that has none or consider working in a place where other people are. A more professional environment may be what you need.

Focus on building concentration. Turn off everything that is not necessary and use a timer to give yourself clear periods of focus. A Pomodoro timer is ideal or any clock that can make you stick to a dedicated time frame.

You can’t get sick

You’re working for yourself. Any time missed means that you’re missing out on earnings. You are the sole revenue maker. If anything happens to you, you’re going to lose money.

Oh, and you’re going to suffer when it comes to sleep. There’s a reason the top-performing CEOs and business leaders sleep so little. It gets them to the top.

You are a CEO and a business leader. Your brand is you. You will lose sleep and poor sleep means a poor immune system — but you can’t get sick.

How to manage this

Sleep. Make it a big thing to sleep whenever you can. Take naps often and sleep for at least six hours a night. Grab every single moment you can where your body tells you that it’s time to nod off.

Eat well and please exercise regularly. If you can’t fit it in, at least walk everywhere. You have to exercise to stay well.

This is a huge problem. Anyone who knows what it feels like to have a rotten cold will appreciate that the very last thing you want to be doing at that time is working.

Basically, look after yourself. Join a gym. Eat fruit and drink plenty of water.

Oh yeah, and sleep.

You’ll be exploited financially

If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably take any job you can. This is understandable, but don’t let that last too long.

You will be ‘bargained with’. You’ll also be pushed for discounts, told your rates are too high, and so on. And this will always be the case until you take care of it. If left to rot, your pricing structure could be the end of your freelance dream before the first year is up.

How to manage this

Know what you are worth and make absolutely sure you stick to that pricing structure. Set your fees and make them very clear to prospects from the first moment you meet.

This can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t have a clear fee structure, you’re just a fool walking around getting work where you can. That’s not a career choice. It’s just a life of desperation.

And besides, if clients see that you know you’re worth good money, the majority will pay it.

See Also: 9 Tips To Overcome Stress For Freelancers

So, what’s next?

If you’re in the ‘game’, you’re likely struggling with this stuff already. If you’re starting out, this is all new to you. Rest assured, unless you take care of these challenges of being a freelancer quickly and effectively, freelancing could be one long nightmare.

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