Quitting a full-time job to become one’s own boss has been a game-changer for many, myself included.
But what’s seldom addressed is whether you’re cut out for this career choice. Like any other job, freelancing demands certain unique and valuable skills.
Ignoring its stark realities might lead many to venture into it blindly, only to lose all hope.
While you can always take on projects alongside your full-time job to test the waters, it’s important to establish whether this industry truly sparks your interest (or not).
Here are some reasons why freelancing isn’t your cup of hot tea.
Wearing Multiple Hats Seems Overwhelming
While going freelance frees you up to pursue what you love, there’s a catch. You’re no longer just a copywriter working at an ad agency or part of the photography department at a pet store.
You’re officially a juggler, jumping between marketing, relationship management, and accountancy roles, on top of advancing in your core expertise.
So before you dip your toes in the freelancing world, make sure you’re ready by asking yourself these three questions:
- Am I willing to take on additional responsibilities?
- Am I open to learning and ready to constantly upskill myself?
- Do I have what it takes to run a one-man-army business?
If your answers to these are a resounding yes, it’s time to lace up and take the plunge!
But if these tasks cause feelings of overwhelm and mounting frustration, well, it’s best you steer clear.
You’re Unable to Disable Work Mode
Do you often find yourself so deeply engrossed in work that you struggle to set a time to shut shop for the day? Do you sacrifice your personal life for work, perhaps more than you should?
Don’t get me wrong, commitment is great, but not at the expense of proper rest and downtime.
You’ll be setting yourself up for burnout before you know it.
Since you’re in this on your own, it’s easy to get carried away. A go-with-the-flow mindset can quickly become the reason for your downfall as a full-time freelancer.
That’s where a well-structured schedule comes in handy, much like the traditional 9-5 routine.
You don’t have to adhere strictly to those hours. Embrace the flexible hours of freelancing, but remember to manage your time so you know when to log off.
Uncertainty Gets You Down
Although freelancing may be liberating for many, the uncertainty that comes with it certainly isn’t. Finding work quarterly, monthly, or even weekly isn’t everyone’s idea of fun.
Your workload and freelance income will often fluctuate, and you must be motivated enough to put yourself out there time and again to land more gigs.
Are you game?
If not, keep your job.
But if you’re willing to ride the waves on this (sometimes rickety) freelance boat, you’ll want to start cold pitching as soon as possible to land your first project.
You never know, with consistent gigs coming your way, freelancing may become your most stable career yet!
You Work Best in Teams
Word of caution: freelancing can get lonely.
You’ll feel it more intensely if you’ve recently quit your corporate job, where you almost always had the companionship of colleagues.
As I mentioned before, this is a one-man army business. So gear up for some alone time, because there will be plenty of that.
But more importantly, learn to love your own company. This results in improved emotional well-being and keeps you deeply connected to your inner voice so you can tackle challenges like a pro.
And if you need to let off some steam or need a quick pep talk, you can always go on a coffee date with a fellow freelancer in your city, rely on friends or family for support, or jump on a freelance forum page.
However, if you find it hard to function without people around, it’s worth reevaluating whether freelancing is for you.
Communication Is Not Your Forte
Freelancers have the respite of fewer phone calls, but there is no escaping the emails sitting in your inboxes.
In other words, communicating professionally is as crucial as a successful freelancer as it was at your 9-5.
The only difference is you’re now dealing with multiple new clients rather than the same friendly (or not-so-friendly) faces you saw at your traditional workplace.
Different clients have their unique project scopes and insights, and you’re expected to deliver work accordingly.
While this does make it somewhat complicated, forging these professional connections through commendable work, and of course, effective communication is one of the biggest pros of freelancing.
Ask yourself — is that something you could get used to?
You Don’t Take Rejection Well
Here’s some vital advice for all freelancers: those who bounce back strong from rejection demonstrate enormous mental resilience — and are most likely to grow a successful freelance business from the ground up.
While stories such as “I signed a $10,000 client” and “I hit the $100K mark on Upwork” sound appealing and instantly get your hopes up, know that you will face rejection, especially when you’re starting out.
Now this could be for many reasons, including:
- Intense competition
- Lack of relevant portfolio samples
- Late to apply to a job ad
- Little to no experience in your field
At this point, you have two options.
You can either feel dejected and close the doors on your freelancing business for good.
Or you can take each rejection in your stride, follow a proven project landing strategy, and continue to show up even when your inbox feels like a ghost town.
Trust me, the latter is rewarding.
There you have it — reasons why a freelancing career might not be for you.
Working for yourself isn’t always as rosy as it seems. Challenges, unreasonable clients, and crickets in your inbox come with the territory.
If going through the above points stirred up negative feelings, it’s safe to assume you’re not freelance material.
And that is perfectly acceptable. Not everyone is looking to quit their jobs.
Do what brings you the utmost fulfillment, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Ultimately, your mental health and happiness is what everything comes down to.
But for those who want to take the leap, the gates to the freelancing realm are always open.