What are disadvantages of freelancing?
From no paid holiday or sick leave to loss of your financial control, here are seven answers to the question, “What is one disadvantage of being a freelancer?”
- Lack of Companionship from a Cohesive Team
- Finding the Perfect Clients Can Be a Problem
- No Paid Holiday Or Sick Leave
- Customers May Be Unfamiliar With What You Can Do
- Being the “Outsider” of the Brand’s Industry or Market
- Accepting Projects You Don’t Like Because of Financial Stress
- Loss of Your Financial Control
Lack of Companionship from a Cohesive Team
Freelancing often rhymes with freedom; of time, of choice and of lifestyle. But of course, it has its inconveniences. What I would characterize as a main disadvantage of being a freelancer is a lack of companionship from a cohesive team that has gone through thick and thin to make their department/company grow, and more often than not, a freelancer has less stake and engagement in the success of the venture. There’s a certain level of detachment associated to a freelancer that is hard to shake in today’s professional environment.
Finding the Perfect Clients Can Be a Problem
The main issue I have with freelancing is finding the perfect clients. The best-paying and most enjoyable clients can often be difficult to find, and you may end up stuck with low-paying jobs or clients who are challenging to work with. But a silver lining to this difficult situation is that it’s only a perspective. And with the right mindset, it can be seen as an opportunity and lead to positive change. For example, you have the chance to learn how to create a never-ending stream of inbound leads through social media and understand your true worth.
No Paid Holiday Or Sick Leave!
These are both benefits that many employees take for granted but become very apparent by their absence when you freelance. The benefit of being a freelancer is the autonomy you have over your schedule but it also means, you need to charge correctly to cover any time off you take for holiday.
Many freelancers suffer from burnout because they feel like they cannot afford to take any time off. Charging enough will also help you build a cash buffer in your business account in case you are unexpectedly taken ill and cannot work. While insurance should cover critical illness, a week in bed with the flu could also mean you are unable to work for a week, reducing your monthly income and this is something most insurance providers would not cover.
Customers May Be Unfamiliar With What You Can Do
For me, the main disadvantage of freelance work is working with customers who are not familiar with the specifics of marketing. Meaning, the expectations of customers often don’t line up with the reality of work itself and their expectations are often much higher than is humanly possible.
If you’re working in an in-house team, you can raise awareness in other teams in your company and manage expectations in the leadership team. When you are a freelancer, you don’t often know if the (potential) customer even understands how your skills can benefit them.
Being the “Outsider” of the Brand’s Industry or Market
While I love being a freelancer as it allows me to dip in and out, and not get bogged down with internal politics, I do find that being an “outsider” can put me at a disadvantage when it comes to industry, market or brand intel. Whether it is key information shared at a team meeting or an email exchange about a new initiative, if I am not included in those communications, I may miss an opportunity to leverage this information in the projects I am working on. Those little nuggets of information are important so I seek to ask a lot of questions regularly to be sure I am always in the know!
Accepting Projects You Don’t Like Because of Financial Stress
The unpredictable nature of freelancing can be challenging both mentally and financially. There may be months when you feel overwhelmed with assignments and others when you have a light workload. As a result, you may feel pressured to always accept projects for fear of never getting work again. As a freelancer, you should recognize that this cycle is inevitable and take steps to reduce stress. This includes networking and pitching yourself, even when you are busy. You can also create an ongoing list of tasks you can refer to when you have a lighter schedule, such as updating your website or taking an online course.
Flexibility Can Lead to a Loss of Your Financial Control
One disadvantage of being a freelance is that you do not have a proper financial control all over the year. The income fluctuates every month depending on projects, clients, needs and other factors. Having flexibility is interesting but it is important to work on an expected financial plan, keeping in mind all the circumstances that can happen, to analyze your real benefits and act accordingly.
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