The idea of not setting an alarm in the morning and working in my dressing gown all day really aided in my decision to become a freelancer. But when my workload went from eight to nine to ten hour days and I was dragged from pillar to post by new clients wanting to meet in person before working with me, I soon realised that freelancing wasn’t going to be such a breeze. And there’s plenty of other misconceptions to being a freelancer, here are a few you may have encountered:


You will enjoy a work-life balance

Having a healthy work-life balance is a wonderful thought and often tempts 9 to 5ers into taking up the freelance lifestyle. It’s fair to say that most full-time jobs don’t provide much of a work-life balance and for many people, workloads are increasing. The Guardian notes that people in the UK are working longer days than ever before. Sadly, working for yourself doesn’t necessarily equal less work and the feast or famine nature brings different challenges. Whether I’m working to meet deadlines for multiple clients or spending hours searching for new business, the freelance life can be full on. When I do get downtime, I make sure I enjoy it and try not to freak out about where the next client is going to come from.

You are the boss

Everybody’s gotta serve somebody. Clients aren’t the same as bosses but if you think freelancing will mean that you have no one to answer to, you’re kidding yourself. Most of my regular work comes in when I satisfy my existing clients. The relationship I have with my clients is one of respect. We work together on projects but at the end of the day, they're paying me for my service and I try to deliver the best work I can.

Working on holiday

You can work from anywhere in the world

As a writer, I’ve got the option to work whilst on the move but that comes with a few compromises. I can’t take face to face meetings that can often be the difference between getting the job or not and, depending on where I am, the time difference can cause communication problems.

Freelancers who need to be client-facing on the job like photographers and makeup artist have less flexibility when it comes to working in far off lands. Of course, your skills can travel but it takes time to land clients in a new country and build out your contacts.  

Freelancing is different from setting up a business

As a freelancer, you are the business! Setting up as a freelancer and getting started may be a quicker, less complicated process than starting a business, but that doesn’t mean having strong business acumen isn’t needed. I learn something new about my freelance business every week. I also have to run every ‘department’ from securing clients and creating a striking portfolio to filing taxes and writing invoices.

Self-employed woman working

You can’t turn freelancing into a career

For many, that’s actually the whole point. When first starting out, I saw freelancing as a side gig and a way to increase my income doing something that I love. In the back of my mind, I wanted to make freelancing my full-time career, so I was overjoyed when the clients kept rolling in and I was able to quit my job. The first year is often the hardest and I would advise anyone who is thinking about freelancing to start off part-time or in addition to a steady job and gradually move to full time freelancing once you have got a few regular clients. 

You’re going to be rich

Realistically, very few of us make big bank. Getting into freelancing for the money is not a good idea - that’s what law school is for! Freelancing works best when it’s driven by passion as the financial rewards can be limited.

Man with no money left

You’re going to be broke

Starting out as a freelancer can be a slow-burner but gets easier over time. If you break even after the first year, you’re already ahead of most. I had to adapt to getting paid at different times throughout the month when I started out, however, with good money management skills, I was far from broke. Like any business, some will do well, some won’t.

You’ll be living the dream

Like all career paths, there are highs and lows to freelancing. It can give you a new found freedom or it can feel very lonely and isolating. There are good days and there are bad days, just like any other job. The beauty of freelancing is that you’re in control of most of it and can design your workload to suit your lifestyle.

Everybody’s doing it

Yes, there are a lot of freelancers. According to the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), there are 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK and 42% of them are freelancers. However, this only makes up 6% of the UK workforce as a whole. So, it’s definitely not as many people as you may have thought. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, let the good times roll!