Whatever your reasons are for wanting to become a freelancer, it pays to balance out the pros with a few often overlooked cons before you decide to take the leap of faith, quit your job and become self-employed.
Working alone, all day, every day
Becoming a freelancer means you will have a great amount of freedom. Don’t feel like catching up on bookkeeping? Want to go down to the gym and let off some steam instead of finishing that piece of work? Why not? You can always catch up on things later in the day. The freedom of picking and choosing your working hours can be incredibly beneficial – enabling you to find that work-life balance you’ve been longing for. Until, you realise all your friends are busy working their day jobs. Becoming a freelancer can mean that you’ll end up spending a great deal of time on your own. Fine if you like your own company, but no so great if you enjoy and benefit from being around others. Freelancing – unless you frequently collaborate – often means working solo. To overcome this potential drawback, check out a local co-working space (expensive option) or play musical chairs across your city’s coffee shops (cheaper option). Interact with fellow freelancers at every available opportunity – you could even end up finding work this way!
Money, invoicing & waiting for payments
The freedom that freelancing brings also means more responsibility. You will need to create your own cash flow, carry out all the work yourself, invoice clients and be prepared to wait for payment. Before you begin your freelance career, take some time out to think about setting a day or hourly rate. Factor in that you will not get sick or holiday pay. Once you get into the swing of freelancing and understand your own cash flow, you can budget and manage your finances a lot easier. Be realistic, put some money aside each month to prepare yourself for quiet periods and make sure you print 30-day payments terms on your invoice.
Quiet times, when you have nothing to do
Unlike a traditional 9-5 where you have a boss who dictates your work schedule, freelancing is different. Being a freelancer can mean you are working on a busy project one moment and then all of a sudden have no work in the pipeline. The free to stay, free to go working relationship can of course lead you to exciting places, but when the quieter times occur it can feel strange. Have a proactive approach and be ready to channel more time into marketing yourself, whether that be via a website, networking or touting for work, finding something productive to do is going to make you feel positive and creative opportunities. Relish the downtime and use it wisely!