Why Freelancers Need to Worry About Job Satisfaction Too

How do you feel about starting work each day?

Do you even want to get started? Or, do you dread the start of your work day?

Job satisfaction is a recognized factor in employee success. I believe that it also contributes to freelancing success. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important to think about whether freelancing makes you happy.

In this post, I’ll take a look at some of the reasons why it’s important to like what you’re doing. I’ll also examine some factors that may be affecting freelancing job satisfaction and discuss how you may be able to overcome those factors.

Why Your Freelancing Happiness Is Important

While freelancing may seem like an answer to many problems, it’s not an easy fix. Freelancing can be a real struggle for many.

Yes, you can earn a living as a freelancer. Yes, you can set your own hours. Yes, you can work where you want. Yes, you can choose your clients and your projects.

Those facts are enough to tempt many people into becoming freelancers when perhaps they’d actually be much happier following another career path. The truth is that freelancing can be as much of a grind as a traditional job–especially if it’s not really what you want to be doing.

Freelancing job satisfaction is important because it’s what will sustain you during the tough periods. Job satisfaction will keep you going during famine periods. Job satisfaction will help you get along with that difficult client. Job satisfaction will motivate you to finish that tough project.

So, are you happy as a freelancer?

Look for Your Freelancing Happiness

If freelancing has become a chore for you, it could mean that you’re not cut out for freelancing. Or, it could mean that you’re not managing your freelancing business as well as you could be.

Here are some factors that could be robbing you of freelancing job satisfaction:

  • You routinely accept work that you aren’t well-suited for. This could be work that isn’t really in your field. Or, it could be work that doesn’t really interest you.
  • You often work at a rate that won’t allow you a comfortable lifestyle. Low rates can quickly turn freelancing into a thankless chore. Don’t fall into this freelancing trap.
  • You don’t get along with most of your clients. If you’re having trouble managing your client relationships, it could be a symptom of a bigger problem. Look for like-minded clients.
  • You can’t stand the loneliness. You didn’t realize how much you depended on your coworkers for companionship. Now that you’re not in regular contact, you feel left out and sad.

If you find that some of these factors apply to you, don’t panic. It’s possible that you can make the changes that will help you to become a more satisfied freelancer. Identifying the problem is a great first step. All of the factors listed above can be changed by making a few simple adjustments.

Break Out of Your Shell

If you’re currently unhappy as a freelancer, try changing something. It’s easy for a freelancer to rely too much on a certain client or a certain type of work. Sticking with familiar projects and clients may seem safe, but doing so could mean you’re stuck in a protective shell of your own making.

There’s no reason for a freelancer to feel stuck. As freelancers, we have more control over our circumstances than most employees. No one is actually making you work for that difficult client, or accept that dull project. No one is forcing you to work in isolation instead of from the local coffee shop where you might meet other freelancers.

Finally, if you’ve tried everything you can think of and you’re still unhappy as a freelancer, it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Not everyone is cut out for the freelancing lifestyle. If you don’t like it, there’s nothing wrong with going back to traditional employment if that makes you more content.

Your happiness is important–don’t think it’s not. Your freelancing business should be contributing to that happiness, not subtracting from it.

Your Turn

Are you really happy as a freelancer?

Why, or why not?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image by alibree


  1. says

    I think this is a great reality check especially for aspiring freelancers who are only looking at it from a positive perspective (i.e. flexible hours, work from home, etc.). Like what you said, while the freelance life does offer those perks, people still need to put in the work in order to make it. Not to mention that it takes a lot discipline to do so.

    And to answer your question, yes, I’m a very happy freelancer. That’s mainly because I love what I do (writing) and I only work with clients that I genuinely like and believe in.

  2. says

    mI totally agree with Francesca and her point is spot on with regard to working only with clients you truly like and believe it. Great article, Laura, and thank you for sharing your feelings and insight!

  3. says

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for this article, it was really very incitefull. As a freelance marketing consultant myself, and someone who works closely with companies that employ large numbers of freelancers, I sometimes forget about the negative stresses related to taking on a job for which you’re I’m not suited. Sometimes it makes me wonder if freelancing is the best option, but I truly love the freedom it provides me!

    Thanks again for the article, I really found it inciteful.


  4. says

    Thanks for this post. It is so very true! Freelancing is awesome one can do what you want when you want. But you have to find a balance. I still work full time but I’m trying to do some freelancing as well.

  5. says

    Re: “You routinely accept work that you aren’t well-suited for.”

    I’d also add “. . . or settle for a work situation that you aren’t well-suited for.” This is the absolute worst!

    I recently turned down an offer to work on an assignment which I thought at first I’d love because the niche was one with which I am quite familiar – law. However, the person at the helm had an intractable, military-styled way of dealing with people, which goes against my views of work camaraderie and team player values. I immediately looked at the big picture, then envisioned my misery down the road and declined the offer. My freelancing happiness is too important to let someone steal it.

  6. Andy says

    Wow, nice article which creates a very good overview how to get freelance work. But maybe you missed out 99hours com as this service is especially relevant for IT experts and web professionals


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