For many, working from home is the ultimate dream. The flexibility and freedom it affords allows people to tend their families, travel and live their lives like never before. Freelancers rave at the independence they gain, but not all will tell you their challenges. Some people realize early on that freelancing isn’t for them because like any job, freelancing has its pros and cons. These are just a few of those challenges.
Distraction is Everywhere
Some people work better in an office and some don’t. If you’re one of those people who can’t stand sitting in a fluorescent lit cubicle all day, you may find salvation working wherever you want. But this won’t be true for everyone. Some people work better in office settings, and you don’t know yet unless you’ve worked from home before. For some, working from home brings up an abundance of distractions. Your mind may start to wander to cleaning the dishes, then doing the laundry, water the plants and the list goes on and on. Before you know it, you’ve wasted a whole day. Your house may look spic-and-span, but you’ve just passed up a day’s pay that you’ll have to make up for tomorrow. Find a place that works for you. It may be a home office or a coffee shop. If you insist on working in your home, make sure you’ve cleared it of distractions. Get chores done the night before, turn the social media apps off, and get in the zone.
You Have Less Free Time Then You Think
Everyone thinks that freelancing is all about having free time, but it’s not true. Freelancing takes just as much time, it just allows you more flexibility with your time. This means that if you want to work only two hours one day, you’ll still have to make it up some time to complete the project by the deadline. Don’t expect to cram eight hours of office work into three hours every day. Many people are more productive outside the office, and it may be true that you will get more done, but don’t overestimate what you can do.
Those Starbucks Coffees Add Up
Do you like Starbucks? Love ordering that nonfat, half soy, triple shot with one regular shot, one decaf shot, and one half-caff shot double-cupped latte? Well, that daily latte habit adds up. Unless you’re raking in the bills you will quickly find yourself leaking funds into mindless spending. It takes time to build your presence as a freelancer so in the meantime you may want to cut back. Prepare your budget ahead of time and later you can start expecting regular figures. In the meantime, lay off the extra spending,
Taxes Become Complicated
Freelancers are self-employed. When there’s no work to be done, there’s no money to be made. Sometimes your paycheck will fluctuate and if you don’t keep careful records, the numbers will get out of hand. You won’t get a bimonthly paystub telling you how much taxes were taken out and there is no HR department to fix any mistakes. As a freelancer, you are your own accountant. This means it’s critical that you monitor your taxes. Educate yourself on tax law to avoid heavy penalties on quarterly taxes and keep your career thriving.
You Can Become Isolated
When you choose a career as a freelancer, you miss the opportunity to build bonds with coworkers. If you already have a close network of friends and family, this may be less important to you. But if you work and live alone, it will be harder to meet new people. This is especially true if you live abroad or you’re moving to a new city. Beat loneliness by joining activities that you enjoy. Instead of grabbing a drink with coworkers, become a regular at your favorite bar to get to know others. Join intramural clubs or find people who love to do what you do on Meetup.com. Make sure you have a network of friends and family around you to keep work from getting stale.
Freelancing may be difficult, but you’ll be successful if you go in prepared. Find remote work online and keep your options open to expand your career opportunities.