There’s no denying that 2020 was a tough one, with more people than ever being forced to work from their homes and moving work entirely online. This shift has also seen freelancing boosted, as more businesses turn to flexible freelance support to help them get through the crisis.

If this year has been a turning point for you and you’ve decided to take the leap and become a full-time freelancer, congratulations! There will be many challenges along the road to successful freelancing, but every step is worth it. It’s also essential you know what you’re getting yourself into by becoming your own boss, so we set out the pros and cons below. 

Setting out on a new freelancing adventure can be daunting; you’re taking full responsibility for your income and workload, as well as taking over all the fiddly financial and marketing side of things, so we take a look at some of the challenges and how to beat them. 

Why go freelance? 

Despite the pandemic, anecdotally, more companies are turning to agile freelance support to help them ride out the Coronacoaster and get back on their feet in 2021. Most members of our community have reported an uplift in enquires and new opportunities so it’s all starting to feel a lot more positive and in the right direction.  

Being your own boss is liberating and empowering. You’re the master of your destiny and can choose who you want to work with. 

While there can be a lot of anxiety around the money side and the feast or famine lifestyle that can come with freelancing, the flip side of that is that your earning potential is limitless! There is no glass ceiling or restrictions on how much you can earn and pay yourself, unlike in employment. 

The flexibility means you can work around your other commitments, lifestyle and family. 

Freelancing challenges

Some of the biggest challenges that come with working for yourself are:

  • Gaps in work
  • Admin and chasing payments
  • Isolation
  • Difficult clients
  • Late payments
  • Bidding wars 

So how do you overcome the challenges?  

Gaps in work: Network network network and start to build relationships as soon as possible, a great place to start is freelance Facebook groups. There are skill-specific groups you can join, for example, Freelance PR’s, Marketing Managers UK, The Northern Creative Collective, and of course The Freelance Kit Members Group And what’s the best way to network in groups, ask questions and be helpful! Groups are like any other community, so contribute where you can, don’t be spammy or salesy and you’ll start to build authentic connections quickly. 

Admin and chasing payments: A necessary evil, but there are some things you can do to make the more monotonous tasks easier. Always have a contract (you can buy a contract template from our shop here) and strict terms and conditions to protect yourself against late and non-payment. For the best tools and software to manage admin, you can download our free guide here. 

Isolation: Isolation is a very real problem when you’re self-employed, even without a global pandemic and lockdown! Again, join as many online communities as you can and start to build your network. Connect with other freelancers in your area and go to events (online and IRL when they’re allowed!) Most people are always up for having a chat or meeting for a coffee. 

Difficult clients: Something you have to bear, unfortunately, but you can usually spot the nightmare clients early on! Red flags include saying someone can do it cheaper (there can be a race to the bottom in the freelance world), contacting you at unreasonable hours, not giving enough notice, or trying to micromanage you from the beginning. There are lots more too, but with time and experience, you start to spot them much earlier on! 

Late payments: Always get a deposit or payment upfront for any new work or clients you don’t have an existing relationship with and, again, have a good contract in place, so you’re covered. Invoices legally become late after 30 days, and you can charge 8 % interest as a late payment fee. 

Bidding wars: Freelancing can be competitive, so set yourself apart by having a strong portfolio and be clear on what value you bring to your clients. The right mindset can be challenging at first as you’re worried about paying the bills and where your next project is coming from, but never discount to a price you don’t feel comfortable with. You’ll only end up resenting it and not enjoying the project and the client doesn’t usually respect or value you like they should. 

 

Freelancer traits 

So what kind of people make the best freelancers? A real mix! Self-employment isn’t for everyone though, so if you’re a person who needs a lot of structure and isn’t OK with not knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from, it might not be for you! 

These are some of the more common traits that freelancers have: 

  • Tenacity: There will be good and bad days. Having the ability to brush yourself off and carry on is super important. 
  • Creativity: You don’t have a team to brainstorm with, so being able to dream up the big ideas is all on you. 
  • Patience: And lots of it! 
  • Relaxed with lack of structure and routine (although you can create this for yourself) 
  • Organisational skills: You will be wearing all of the hats!
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines: Projects and delivery dates can often be last minute! 
  • OK with potentially a lack of financial stability
  • Happy to work alone a lot of the time 
  • Self-discipline! 

So congratulations if you’ve already made the leap; most people who make the decision to freelance and be their own boss say it’s the best decision they ever made and didn’t look back! 

If you haven’t yet made your mind up, hopefully our review of the pros and cons helps. 😊

 

 

About The Freelance Kit

The Freelance Kit offers unique digital products, support and community for freelancers, including a 150 page high-quality and beautifully designed template kit.

Inside the digital kit, you’ll find templates, planners and spreadsheets for every aspect of freelance life including a 15-page contract worth £300, financial planning documents, social media planning templates and ideas for content, blog topic ideas and much more.

Along with digital products, The Freelance Kit has a private community and a soon-to-launch membership option, The Hive. The platform was created by experts to help freelancers thrive and our hope is that the products and support will empower you to succeed, and help make your freelance life that bit easier.

You can find our 2021 guide with 45 tools and tips for working from home and managing your freelance business in a handy FREE downloadable PDF HERE. We also have a FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community, join HERE

 

SHOP