12 Reasons You Shouldn’t Freelance

[tweetmeme]Going into business for the wrong reasons can bring ruin into both your financial and professional life. While freelancing comes with many perks, it’s important not to base your self-employment decision solely on those perks, as you may run yourself out of business.

What are some of these perks of freelancing?

  • You can choose your own hours
  • You can choose your own clients
  • You can choose the type of work you do
  • You can choose your rates

We’ve discussed great reasons to start freelancing, but we haven’t really talked about why you shouldn’t start freelancing. Let’s take a look at some of the worst reasons to go into business for yourself.

Reason 1: To Sleep in All Day and Leave Work Early

It’s true that as a freelancer, you can set the hours you work. However, if you think that means you can sleep in all day and get off early, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

Clients still expect you to keep some normal business hours. While it’s ok to shift your schedule to times where you’re most productive, you’ll still have clients who request to speak to you by phone during nine to five hours. Limiting your work hours to starting at midnight and ending at 3 a.m. will cause you to lose a lot of potential business.

Reason 2: Freelancing Will Make You Rich

If you want to start freelancing, you shouldn’t do it solely for the money. While you’re free to set your rates, chances are you’ll have little or no money when starting out. Making tons of cash, even if you’re a seasoned professional, is pretty unlikely.

Reason 3: You Hate Working with People

Sorry to burst your bubble, but even if you plan on working by yourself, you still have to work with people. You may have to work with clients, agencies or other freelancers.

Reason 4: To Spend the Day with Your Kids

Unless you’re planning on only working part-time, expecting to be able to spend ample amounts of time with your kids is a huge potential pitfall. Once you get your business going, you’ll rarely have time for lunch and bathroom breaks; much less to change diapers, have playtime and offer help with homework.

Plus, if you’re not careful, staying at home with your kids can be a huge distraction and prevent you from getting any work done. Especially with younger kids, the temptation to spend time with them can often throw a productive day out the door.

This isn’t to say freelancing isn’t a good option for stay-at-home parents. You just have to be realistic in your goal settings and realize you’re not going to be able to be as productive, busy or profitable as a regular freelancer.

Reason 5: You Can Charge Whatever You Want

Related to Reason 2 above, you can’t simply charge any amount of money for your work and expect anyone to hire you. Your rates have to fall into what the market can bear and take into account your quality of work and experience you offer.

Of course, the busier and more well known you become the more you can charge to “fit” in those clients or schedule them in months ahead of time.

Reason 6: Freelancing Is An Easy Job

Freelancing is one of the hardest jobs out there. It’s one of the few careers where you’re truly alone, in the sense that you’re responsible for everything. This includes finding the work, doing the work, billing for it, tracking down late payments and taking care of the books and taxes. That’s a lot of work for one person!

Reason 7: To Keep Up with the Household Chores

It drives me nuts to wake up to a kitchen full of dishes or stuff where it shouldn’t be. However, I often have to hold back this urge until lunchtime or after work. Just like kids, it can be tempting to take just a “few” minutes to pick up the house and promise yourself you’ll get “right” back to work. Before you know it, half the day is gone and you haven’t done any work…paid work that is.

Personally, I try to have the dishes from the night before finished that night so I don’t wake up with them in the sink. I try to pick up as I go throughout the day so there isn’t a mess, or I wait until my lunch break to clean up what’s needed.

Reason 8: Work Will Just Come to You

It takes a lot of work to freelance before you even start “working”. Just sitting at your computer everyday and staring at your screen won’t get you clients.

Reason 9: No Boss!

Without having someone behind you to make sure you’re staying productive, it can be tough to stay motivated and on target. You have to make sure you have enough drive to push yourself to make it through the boring everyday tasks of freelancing.

Reason 10: You’ll Save Lots of Money

While it’s true you’ll no longer have to fight morning or evening traffic, that doesn’t mean you can sell the car and save lots of money. It gets lonely in your own office so you’ll want to work remotely a few times a week.

Often, you’ll find yourself going to your local bookstore, cafe, or restaurant to work for a few hours and you’ll probably end up spending some money there as well. After you factor in this spending money and gas, plus the extra money you’ll spend on electricity and water now that you’re home more often, freelancing can easily add up to be more expensive than a nine to five job.

I once spent a ton of money at Target when I had no money coming in because I was “bored” from being at home all the time. Don’t make the same mistake!

Reason 11: You’ll Have More Free Time

When you’re a freelancer, you’ll actually have a lot less free time than when you were working a regular nine to five job, even if you keep the same or less hours than before.

Why? The biggest reasons are overscheduling and procrastinating. It’ll take some time to properly schedule your work, but even then it’s impossible to predict if a client is going to have last minute changes or a rush project. You may even end up working nights and weekends.

Reason 12: Your Family Will Respect You More

Most non-web people don’t understand what we do at all. They understand even less what we do as freelancers. You’ll probably have some difficulty getting your family members to understand that you’re really working, even if you’re at home. They may not understand you’re running a real business and trying to make some real money.

To this day, my mom still doesn’t understand that I can’t just drop everything I’m doing in the middle of the day to do something with her. Just because I set my own hours, doesn’t mean I can make myself free whenever I want to, as I still have to take care of my clients.

If you’re married, or living with a significant other, it’s easier for them to see you’re doing real work if bills are getting paid, but sometimes they forget and may try to talk to you or ask you to do things around the house. The best thing to do is to try and talk to them and explain that you need to be left alone, as if you’re working at a regular job, during your office hours. You may need to close and/or lock the office door while you’re working to prevent interruptions.

Freelancing Is the Best Job Ever

But, it’s also the hardest and most demanding job ever. It can be frustrating because you have no one else to share the business duties with. People, including clients, misunderstand what you do and may not think you’re a real business who charges real rates for real work.

That being said, I do believe it’s the best job ever. Really, I wouldn’t go back to a full-time job, even if they offered me a six figure salary. Like everything else, it has it’s drawbacks but it also has lots of good perks.

The important thing is to make sure you really like working independently and you have the drive to do this all by yourself. The freedom and satisfaction from being able to control your own career is reward in itself.

What About You?

What were some of the reasons you started freelancing? Where they good or bad reasons? Did they work out? Please share you experiences!

Image by joeyparsons