For many people, working for yourself is the dream!
I recently took the plunge and quit my day job to become a freelance blogger and writer for the web full-time.
And although I’m super excited and optimistic about it, it doesn’t come without its own set of challenges.
You don’t often encounter too much about the downsides of being a freelancer though, so I thought I’d share with you the top three things that make the business challenging for me.
1. You Have More than One Boss
Now instead of just having one boss, you have many. Your new bosses are yourself, your spouse, your bills and the numerous clients you hopefully have.
As a writer for the web, one of the most challenging aspects of my job is to remember the different requirements for writing for each of my different clients.
I need to remember who wants posts written in the backend of WordPress, who wants it delivered via Word or a Google Doc, who requires a photo and who doesn’t, their expected word count, etc.
This means I need to be super organized.
One way that I do this is to keep a different Google Doc file for each of my clients. I also have an individual style guide per client or list of notes to keep them straight.
That way when I’m sitting down to write a piece, I can just quickly glance through their file if I’m uncertain where to write my post or what the client is looking for.
2. There’s a Higher Chance You’ll Get Fired
I’ve gotten fired from writing jobs in the past. It’s not necessarily as dramatic as it sounds – it’s normal to not find a fit with each one of your clients or for either party to move on at some point.
This is why I often start a new relationship on a trial basis.
If a client’s expectations are too high or they’re difficult to work with, I want an easy out. On the flip side, if they don’t like my writing style or for some reason I’m not meeting their expectations, I want them to have an easy out too.
Both people need to be happy in order for the relationship to work well long-term.
Not all relationships are going to be long-term. It’d be rare to acquire five clients and continue working with just those same few for years on end. Business needs will change, your goals and skill set grows over time and there’s bound to be attrition on either side.
I’ve also found it normal to have one-off projects. These can often be the most fun (like copywriting gigs), but don’t always lead to repeat business.
This means your pay can be highly variable, but it is nice to fit these in when you have extra time.
3. As a Freelance Blogger, You’re Responsible for Everything
As a small business owner, you’re going to have to wear multiple hats. Instead of just having a job description as a ________ (fill in the blank), you are now the business owner, the accountant, the service professional, the customer service department and the list goes on.
You need to know it’s not just your job to write or edit or develop websites anymore. It’s your job to manage payroll, invoicing, market your business and secure new clients, among many other things.
Being that you’re responsible for so much, you must be (or learn to be) disciplined and use your time wisely.
You need to make sure that you keep yourself on task and don’t get distracted by social media or whatever personal emergency crops up every five minutes.
4. A Freelance Blogger’s Pay is Often Unpredictable
If you don’t have regular clients or if you lose a client, it lead to inconsistent and unpredictable pay.
Having unlimited income potential is exciting and can be highly rewarding.
Not having an income floor can be scary and lead to a lot of stress when it comes to paying your bills or saving for your future.
The best way to hedge against this is to build up a clientele with repeat work.
Clients that you write for on a regular basis – whether that’s weekly, monthly or another regular interval.
Another way to combat this is to diversify your business. Just because you set out to be a writer, doesn’t mean that’s the only type of freelance work that you can take on.
One of my biggest clients is someone that I do VA (virtual assistant) work for, not writing.
It’s nice because it diversifies my income, as well as the tasks that I do each day. It keeps things fresh and interesting.
Being self-employed or a full-time freelance can be great. It’s exciting to not have a cap on your income and to be your boss.
It doesn’t come without its own set of challenges though. Having multiple bosses, a higher potential of getting fired, being responsible for everything and having unpredictable pay can be taxing and scary at times.
It doesn’t mean it’s impossible. On the contrary, it’s completely doable.
If you’re setting out to work for yourself, just know that there will be challenges that are different than being an employee. In my opinion, the list of benefits far outweighs the cons though!
If you’re currently self-employed (or a writer for hire), what do you find to be the most challenging for you?
Are you a freelance blogger (or trying to be one)? Be sure to take a look at our guest posting opportunities.
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