Margaret has been working as a freelance writer for a couple of years.
I decided to start working as a freelancer right after I graduated from college. I loved the idea of having a chance to continue writing, something I’ve been doing since a young age, and I assumed that my freelancing would be a part-time gig.
However, due to some serious health issues, I was prevented from actively looking for a day job. This situation meant I would be obliged to spend a lot of time at home. With the free time on my hands, I decided to try my luck as a full-time freelancer.
I had no guidance whatsoever. There were things I did right, and there were things I did wrong. The most important thing, however, is that I realized that freelancing isn’t the perfect dream job many people might think it is. It has some significant disadvantages too.
1. It Can Get Pretty Boring
The thing about freelancing is that you’re doing the same things every single day. And these things are spending endless hours in front of your screen, typing, editing, and searching for clients. While your friends can experience a lot of different things on their jobs every day, the most interesting thing that can happen to you is an article of yours getting accepted by a publication or landing a client.
Now, don’t get me wrong. These can be amazing feelings. But they only last for a couple of minutes—or hours—and then you’re back to your routine. You don’t meet new people, and you can’t have a random conversation with a co-worker during your break. If you’re someone who draws energy from others or prefers physically active jobs, freelancing will probably be a great challenge for you.
2. It Can Be Bad for Your Physical Health
As I mentioned above, freelancing means sitting on a chair and staring at a screen for endless hours. You can understand that extended sitting can have a lot of bad effects on your physical health—especially when combined with too much screen time.
In my experience, after spending too many hours writing, I’ve always felt my eyes and lower back hurt and my muscles sore and numb. The two things that have helped me are stretching and taking multiple short breaks. Comfort is one thing you should invest in if you’re a freelancer. On the other hand, short breaks should be your best friend if you don’t want to damage your physical health.
3. It Might Take a Lot of Time Before You Start Earning a Decent Income
And when I say a lot of time, I mean it. It might take a lot of time before you earn any money at all, let alone a decent income. It took me three whole months before I was able to find a client and get paid for an article of mine. Then, it took me another month to earn some money for a second time.
Of course, that is not the case with everyone. Some start earning immediately. For others, it takes them even longer to do so than it took me. Either way, if you plan on pursuing a full-time career as a freelancer, it would be a good idea to make sure you have some extra money in your bank account. Or someone who can financially support you. This job can be a pretty unpredictable source of income.
4. People Often Underestimate You
I guess this one comes down to how open-minded and mature are the people around you and how much you’re affected by their opinions. Whatever the case may be, people who have a typical 9 to 5 job tend to underestimate those who work from home.
I’ve had people telling me that freelancing is not even “a real job.” So, keep in mind that you might encounter ignorant people who have trouble accepting and recognizing the value of anything they’re not familiar with. Don’t let their opinion affect you. They have no idea what they’re talking about.
If someone had told me all of these things before I pursued a freelance career, would I still do it? The answer is definitely yes. After all, the more challenging something is, the greater value your accomplishments will have.
If you find full-time freelancing to be a too challenging and risky choice of career, you can always turn it into a side hustle. The choice is yours. One thing’s for sure: If you never try, you’ll never know.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Margaret Pan