A lot of people think that being a freelancer is a walk in the park – I mean all we do is sit at home drinking tea in front of the computer, right? Definitely not right! Although there are, of course, plenty of perks to being a freelancer, it’s not all Cappuccinos in our PJs and things can certainly get frustrating.

One of the main frustrations is the client/freelancer dynamic and not knowing what your next ‘boss’ is going to be like. They might be great and let you get on with your work in peace, provide constructive feedback, or give you creative opportunities, but there is always the chance that you’ll get a client that has unrealistic expectations. They are not experts in your field but they know what they want. This can be frustrating, particularly when they don’t understand how time-consuming the work can be, or how expensive it can be to produce.

Clients are also really invested in their own business, sometimes too invested, so they can often try and tell you how to do your job, when really if they knew what they were doing in the first place they wouldn’t be hiring a professional. 

Frustrations of Freelancing

Before any of these worries begin, just trying to find clients can be really stressful. It can take time for you to get a big break and for clients to start recommending you to others. Struggling to find a company, a brand or even just a person to hire you can be tough, but what can be equally difficult is when a client cancels on you at the eleventh hour. This not only wastes your time, but it means you don’t have the satisfaction of finishing what you started. Hours spent travelling to meetings, preparing for a job and poof - it's gone. Do we get paid for those hours, hell no! 

Not landing business can be the result of many things from selling as a service that no one wants, prices being too high, not promoting work enough or to the right people and a million and one other possibilities. If this is one of your main frustrations, reach out to someone in the industry and ask them to critique your brand, portfolio, and prices. 

Once your career does get going, you can find yourself working 24/7 with no time to take a break. The feast or famine lifestyle can take its toll on your social life. It's not uncommon for freelancers to miss out on important life events. Weddings, birthdays, trips abroad with friends. It's a sacrifice.  Missing these events can cause friction at home because your friends just don’t understand your workload or schedule, but why would they if they’ve never been a freelancer? The thought of getting ill, or dare I say it, pregnant, is terrifying. Without paid sick days, if you want to continue to earn you have to keep working.  

One minute it can seem as though your whole world revolves around your work and the next it’s the complete opposite. There are times where you are just sitting at home waiting for jobs to crop up but nothing lands and other times when there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit it all in. Fluctuating workloads and unpredictable income can become really challenging, especially when you’re trying to plan for the future. Applying for a mortgage or a business loan as a freelancer comes with challenges.

Even when you do start to get regular work in and your freelance business is starting to feel settled, clients can often remind you that freelancing is a tumultuous career path. Late payments, chasing invoices, taking clients to small claims court and sometimes, not getting paid at all eats into your time. Just because we’re freelancers doesn’t mean we can work for free! 

And although we face these frustrations every day we still plow on with our freelancing careers because we get to do the thing we love every day and it doesn’t get much better than that or maybe we're all masochists.