Last post, I talked about the PROS of freelancing. If you haven’t read it — check it out here ! This time I want to discuss the cons, the bad, the sad side to freelancing, because as mentioned, I’ve done both the 9-5 and freelancing, currently doing both at the same time!
I would hope readers who are full-timers place in their input about freelancing full-time. While I’m not all for it as of this article publish date, doesn’t mean I’m not open to it in the future.
I’ve done both freelancing and corporate life. I’ve also done both at the same time too. Big difference. At some point prior though, I was looking to do freelancing full time. Ireceived a reality check really quick by the number of clients I was getting every week, 0.
I had no consistency in clients. Most of my clients were friends of friends, who were also friends of friends. They never really needed more than a logo, a business card, maybe some stickers. Think about it freelancers, designers specifically, how are you supposed to make any type of profit if you’re really only getting a client a month. Some months for me were dry as fuck, no clients at all!
With that, I do think full-time freelancers need to be honest: are you a full-time because you work many contract jobs or are you really good a target marketing and luckily always have clients and gigs? Maybe that’s what I did wrong.
For those of you who don’t know or just starting out a contract job is a gig that outsources for a freelancer (so still part of the the freelance discussion) to do the job for a certain amount of time, example: 3-6 months could be longer if agreed between both parties.
(Disclaimer: Working as a freelancer and/or self-employed does have its own financial responsibilities, it is recommended that you work with your CPA to find out the best way for you to step into self-employment and/or freelancing)
If you work more than one contract job at a time or you have 2 to 3 contracts lined up one after another ends, then congrats you’re a full-time and self efficient freelancer! For the rest of us though, the struggle is real.
Cons of freelancing
— Finding the clients —
As mentioned, for those of us who do not have contracts lined up after another, we’re relying heavily on competitive markets on Upwork, Fiverr, and Thumbtack. It sometimes seems like you never get a job on these, and if you find one it’s either scammy, too good to be true, or low paying.
— Yeah, you make up your price, sometimes it has to be low —
I’m all for believing in all creatives should be charging a good chunk for their work. We put a lot of time and thought into these things after all. I barely could get past charging $50 for logos because I was just desperate for gigs. Sure I’ve tried the $200, $300 quotes for logos, and no one that came to me had those funds to pay for it nor did they understand that it was worth it.
Save me from the lecture of how “you should know your worth”. I totes get it and believe in it, but I think it’s hard to charge so high when you first start off. No one starts off the greatest, it takes gradual work to become better – so my first few pieces of logos that I charged for $30 or $40, I don’t even regret it. Now, I can definitely charge closer to the hundreds for a logo package.
— Being self employed can be messy —
As mentioned, being a freelancer has its own financial responsibilities. Your taxes aren’t deducted like a 9-5, instead you keep it! Yay AND nay… for sure it gave me a lot of headaches and anxieties because I was stressed over the IRS chasing my ass for a couple of hundreds. Contact your CPA if you’re interested in working as a freelancer, they can guide you in the right direction. I was just not about that life of headaches at the time.
— You thought you were tired from a 9-5 —
I get it, you had to close up the store and clean it up too. Geez, how tough. Freelancing for sure gave me the leg up in making my own schedule. I was at a coffee shop like 3 times a week, hella loaded on caffeine. At the start of my freelance career though, I was also a college student so I was TERRIBLE at time management. I accepted more gigs than I could handle and sometimes these gigs aren’t as forgiving as a 9-5.
At the university I work at, if I didn’t complete the assignment then and there, if there’s legroom, I can always finish it next day I come in. Some gigs as a freelancer, are more time sensitive. That’s why they outsource. Try juggling a client that has really important needs but having 5 of those clients. It’s a big stressor, if there’s no sense of balance or time management.
— The bad apple of the bunch —
So you have those kinds of clients who are specific, down to the the color, font size, shape of something. You also have the kind of clients who honestly know nothing of your creative work and are outsourcing you because you have the skills to do it and they don’t. Be prepared for clients who know absolutely nothing and will probably not give you great feedback. I think that was a big difference for me while simultaneously working in both 9-5 and freelancing. My 9-5 had a person in place that knew things in the creative world. She was well aware of what looks aesthetically pleasing and appropriate for audience, while the person who outsourced me may just be the assistant who doesn’t know.
That’s not to say that in the corporate world, they’re all perfects. I’ve dealt with a couple of supervisors who didn’t know anything either, which was also just as terrible. I do think corporates (if you’re working at a good one) invest their money into people who take on creative roles seriously. You’ll likely to grow from there easily.
Whatcha think? Agree or disagree? I’m not hurt – share your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org
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