Category: Personal Development Written by Alice Berg
Freelancing is not a walk in the park. Ask any freelancer, and you will learn that they are often surprised and screwed by their businesses, especially when starting. In light of these facts, starting a career as a freelancer needs meticulous planning to ensure success and sustainability in the long term. It is particularly necessary since, despite the allure that a freelance job presents, several pitfalls are often overlooked.
On that note, before you follow this career path, below are some notable disadvantages of working from home to be wary of.
Freelance Gigs Are Isolating
One of the disadvantages of being a freelancer is isolation. It is especially the case if you have no workers under you, no supervisors to work with, and no collaborators- remote or otherwise. Nonetheless, thanks to the proliferation of social media, you can minimize this isolation by connecting with other freelancers within your niche. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook can prove to be invaluable platforms where you contact and collaborate with other freelancers on various projects.
There Are No Benefits
When you choose to become a freelance worker, you forfeit all employer-given perks. As such, you have to make the necessary plans on your own whenever various things happen. Case in point, since you will not have any holiday allowance, you will have to put aside funds for the same so that you do not miss out when your employed friends are going on vacays. Moreover, since you do not have paid sick time, you need to create a backup plan for when you cannot fulfill your projects due to ailment.
When it comes to health insurance, be prepared to part with a heftier amount as a freelancer. Why so? Since you are not part of a company, you are exempt from the volume-based discounts that huge teams enjoy.
Significant Variations in Workload & Income
By being a freelancer, one thing you can be sure of is significant variations in your workload as well as income. Regarding workload, be prepped for those days when you’ll be very busy and those when you do not have a single project to do. And that is just it; there is no way of telling when the orders will trickle in. After all, research shows that only 25% of freelancers can find work within a day. As such, it can be quite challenging for anyone to get anything from their business during the formative stages when not many people know about their gig.
Given the variations in your workload, you can expect the same in your pay. This time you might make a windfall, the next, not even a single dime. So, it is best to learn some money management tips to ensure you make use of the finances you reap during the peak seasons to sustain you.
“While freelancers offering skilled services earn a median rate of $28 an hour, which is 70% more per hour than other workers in the overall U.S. economy, there is no certainty of getting this amount daily. At times, these freelancers hit severe downtimes when they do not take even a single dollar home.” Jane Chapman, HR at ResumeEdge.
Distinct Ethical Requirements
Be prepared for unfamiliar ethical requirements, especially when freelancing in the niche of law. For example, confidentiality and information security matters, client disclosure and consent, as well as the unapproved practice of legal work are some of the typical ethical issues you will come across.
One of the major drawbacks of becoming a freelancer is that your clients will expect you to be available around the clock. You will find yourself talking to clients in the middle of the night during weekends, and even on your holidays. According to a recent survey, 92% of American freelancers say that they cannot take a nonworking vacation. To be successful, you will need to adjust to this working schedule, more so, if you have clients spanning different time zones. And, you must be willing to deal with clients at all times. As a freelancer, time is money. So, the more hours you put in, the more you are likely to make.
Full Responsibility of a Project Rests on You
Since you are working independently on all your projects, you are also fully responsible for them. That is, you ensure that they are completed on time and that they meet customer requirements. You also take the blame lateness, errors, or dissatisfactory work. Being a freelancer is like being a business owner. You are responsible for the success or failure of your venture.
There’s No Job Security
The downside of the freedom that freelance work provides is the ease in which you can lose your job. Freelancing doesn’t offer the job security that is often associated with fulltime salaried opportunities. Though salaried employees are not immune to being let go, it is generally easier for an employer to let go of a freelancer than a permanent worker. So, it’s no surprise that many freelancers worry about the future of their gigs. If you are starting as a freelancer, do it part-time first, alongside your 9-5 job.
Tax Matters Rest on the Freelancer’s Shoulder
As a contractor working independently, you are considered self-employed. As such, you are eligible for the self-employment tax of 15.3% stipulated by the IRS. This tax consists of Social Security plus Medicare. For regular employees, taxes are figured out by their employers. But when freelancing, it is upon you to know what regulatory fees you should be paying, how much to pay, and ensure you file them quarterly. That also means that when you work from home, you should have properly kept financial and expenses records.
Not Getting Your Dues
As a freelancer, you also face the risk of working and not getting pay for it. This risk is, unfortunately, much too common in the freelancing industry. And while there are measures you can take to safeguard yourself from such eventualities, sometimes you won’t know it is happening to you until it occurs. So, be prepared to be a debt collector too.
Now you know that freelancing is not all rosy. But with these disadvantages of self-employment in mind, you can prepare yourself better before becoming independent.
About the author:
Alice Berg is a blogger and career advisor, who helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people to prepare for their careers. Find Alice on Twitter @AliceBerg234
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