The 5 worst things about freelancing

After yesterday’s The 5 best things about freelancing I thought some balance was in order. So here are the 5 worst things about freelancing.
1. The constant pimping
Most freelancers need to continually sell themselves in order to get more work. That can mean time spent at “networking opportunities” (what the rest of the world calls drinks or socialising), cold calling potential clients and looking for new places to sell your business. Some folks don’t mind it but for many it’s a real drag.
2. Chasing money
THE thing I hate most about freelancing is that you need to often chase clients for payment. I recently had an invoice out with a client that took nine months to be paid. That meant lots of phone calls, countless emails and, eventually, the involvement of a debt collector. It’s not always that bad but staying on top of outstanding debtors is a serious energy sapper.
3. Administration
When you work in someone else’s business they look after all the stuff that you need in order to keep a business ticking over. Things like monthly or quarterly tax paperwork, invoicing, banking, payroll, filing – all those little tasks that end up sapping your time and energy.
4. Loneliness
For many freelancers, the ability to work from home is countered by loneliness and missing people to bounce ideas off. I’m fortunate that I have a client at the moment that needs me in the office for part of the week but when I was at home all the time, I missed the human contact.
5. The need for self-discipline
I am not, by nature, a very self-disciplined person. When I’m working at home I can find lots of reasons to not work. There’s always a dishwasher to unload, a coffee to make, a snack to eat or some errand to run. At least with this one, you can work at it and create good work habits so that you get the most from your work time.
What are the things you don’t like about freelancing? How do you work around or overcome them? Let me know in the comments.

Comments (3)

  1. Mostly agree with these – though I quite like the networking, and I don’t mind most of the admin. Sometimes doing some admin can be a nice mental change of pace.
    So true re payment. My gem of truth derived from years of freelancing: “The lowest payers are also the most time-wasting clients to deal with”.

  2. Pingback: Overcoming the loneliness of freelancing - Journo Advice

  3. I believe that the toughest part of freelancing is payment collection and it can be ugly when you’re working for offshore projects as arbitration can be costly. Many of the big freelance sites today give freelancers a false sense of security with their promise of payment guarantee when the truth is far from obvious ( plus, they get a cut from the freelancer’s pay for such promise ). For this reason, I’ve launched the first online marketplace with zero commission – giving more power to both parties to do business on the Web.

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