6 Reasons Why Freelancing is the Hardest Job in the World

Everyone thinks we just stay at home and sit in front of our computers working and making a lot of money without doing to much. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard someone say that to me, I would be a millionaire already. I think all freelancers agree with me when I say, “Freelancing is one of the hardest, inconsistent jobs in the world.” One month you could be soaring above the clouds and the next you could be nipping to pay all your bills.

Freelancing gets easier with the amount of experience that you build up over time and that’s how you become successful in what you do. My Main inspiration for this article was when I read DesignReviver’sSo You Call Yourself A Designer? written by Niki Brown. Its funny how many people just purchase Computers and get Design Software and call themselves Designers or Freelancers, to be honest they don’t know the first thing about Designing or Freelancing. They definitely don’t know that it’s one of the Hardest Jobs in the world, I suppose a lot of people don’t know that Freelancing is one of the Hardest Jobs in the world? That just the reason for me writing this article, to actually tell people that what we do isn’t a very easy job at all. Let’s get on with the article.

1. Freelancers deal with the Feast and Famine Cycle.

Like I noted in my introduction to this article, Freelancers have a very inconsistent job, one month they could be soaring above the clouds and the next month they could be nipping to pay the bills. The experience gained by these different situations are definitely critical for the future of the Freelancer and he/she learns from their mistakes.

2. Working from home comes with a lot of Distractions.

Yes, being a freelancer you have the opportunity to work from home and be close to your family, but this comes with distractions. Like the quote from the popular movie Spider written by Stan Lee, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” We could fit that quote in with working from home, “With Comfort comes Distractions.” What I am saying is that if you are working on a major project and Timmy “Your Son” falls off his bike, you aren’t going to continue working, you’re going to run to his aid and help him out and explain to him what he had done wrong etc. Another scenario with working from home is that there is always noise in and around the house with the kids and their friends or your wife having a get together with her friends. Those are just two examples, believe me there is much more.

3. If you don’t find Clients, you don’t have any work.

This is one problem a lot of beginning freelancers face, not having enough work to make it through the month. You will have to literally search for your clients the first few months of freelancing, mainly because no one really knows you just yet. I’m not talking about your family and friends, I’m talking about the market. Freelancers have to Market themselves, it isn’t like being in a Agency where you advertise Big.

4. If you’re Sick or Hospitalized, your Business stands still.

It isn’t like being part of a Agency where you get paid even if you’re absent from work. In this case if you don’t work, your absent or sick your business comes to a staggering halt. You don’t get paid, you aren’t able to pay the bills and you aren’t able to uphold your family, be sure to prepare for any situation or tragedy that could arise.

5. You have to manage every aspect of the Business on your own.

Managing your Business solely on your own could be a very heavy burden if you aren’t prepared for it. You have to take care of the physical services, Invoicing, quoting, clients, marketing, branding to mention a few. If you haven’t prepared for these tasks they could really become quite heavy on your shoulders, perhaps sending you into a downward spiral. If you are motivated and determined that is yet another story.

6. Balancing Your Work and Social Life.

Working from home you could find it hard to balance your work and social life. You will constantly be in contact with your working environment and constantly be thinking about clients, you won’t be able to rest or take time off. You have to separate your working environment from your social environment, meaning LOCK your home office when the weekend comes, so you don’t accidentally stray into working mode.

Jacques is an Entrepreneur and Founder of the An1ken Group. He recently launched a daily vlog on Youtube — JacquesvhTV. He started Creativeoverflow in 2009 as a hub for creatives. Connect with him: Jacquesvh.com - @Jacquesvh - Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest

  1. Reply Oscar March 3, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    You nailed it I think. The working from home issues of distractions really just boil down to discipline and commitment, but I must admit, it is hard to keep both of those.

  2. Reply Art DeGuzman March 3, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    I’m guilty with all the things you said, I actually experienced almost all of them. I can’t imagine how I was excited to start being a Freelancer but don’t ever see that it becomes frustrating when all the glory and free time you have becomes a much pressure compared to a regular job.

    Right now, I’m already employed and don’t regret I’ve experienced that. It’s more better to do both and manage time properly. At least I made freelancing as optional, because I feel there’s direction and learn more for having a regular job than just a freelancer alone.

    Anyway, a great article for any freelancer out there.

  3. Reply Shaan Nicol March 3, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Great reasons, it can be tough at times, but all worth it!

  4. Reply Ben March 3, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    nice article mate – just promoted it – cheers
    .-= Ben´s last blog ..9 Unique and Exclusive iPod and iPad Brushes for Photoshop. =-.

  5. Reply Ash Blue March 3, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    Freelancing is probably the hardest job around, seems so easy in theory though. Well, at least when you don’t think about it too hard.
    .-= Ash Blue´s last blog ..Create a WordPress Portfolio Tutorial =-.

  6. Reply Liam O'Leary March 3, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    Yep agree with all of those points, I think number 5 is one of the hardest, as you go into business to do something you love and get paid for it, most people don’t enjoy the other parts of business that you have to be able to do or manage, invoicing and chasing up clients for money they owe you is the biggest pain!

    Good article, maybe you should do the good points about being a frelance to keep balance. :D

  7. Reply ximi March 3, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Nice article with some interesting opinions.

    Whereas I agree with most of your points I do think that some of these just vary hugely from person to person. Surely there are freelancers that don’t have a family and live alone and due to that less distractions.
    There are certainly also others that actually enjoy handling the different responsibilities that come with having a business, etc.

    I certainly agree with the Feast and Famine Cycle argument, but with a little bit of careful financial planning this is definitely something one can handle.
    .-= ximi´s last blog ..Resource-Wednesday #11 =-.

  8. Reply Matthew Craig March 3, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    All very valid points but on the flipside it can also be the most rewarding…

    You are your own boss, you decide when you work, and how much you want to work. You also get to take on very diverse projects and often are never doing the same thing twice. It can be very lucrative as well. You really have to be the person who has excellent time management and organizational skills.

    The hardest thing for me when I was doing freelance stuff was trying to turn my personal space (a.k.a. home office / computer) into my work space. I much prefer having an office outside the home in which I go to and get into ‘work-mode’ all day and then come home and relax on my home computer.

    • Reply Jacques van Heerden March 4, 2010 at 9:42 AM

      That is definitely true, There are numerous reasons to benefit from Freelancing.
      I do also agree with you in having a separate office space, I did that when I freelanced.

  9. Reply sriganesh March 3, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    What you said is true ! have to follow these points. the 3,4th points are really true !!
    .-= sriganesh´s last blog ..Uprinting Giveaway :500 Die Cut Business Cards for 2 winners =-.

  10. Reply Mihai O. March 4, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Everything you wrote is true, great article Jacques!
    .-= Mihai O.´s last blog ..The Success Of Your Business On The Web =-.

  11. Reply Matt March 4, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    I would completely agree on all these points. That being said, for me personally – these are all the reasons I also love freelancing and when you make it through the things you mention, its incredibly rewarding. Nice article!

  12. Reply Paul Burgess March 4, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Some good points, some random capital letters.

    As for being the ‘hardest job in the world’ – I don’t think so.

  13. Reply Maicon Sobczak March 4, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    But I love this life!

  14. Reply Rohit Prakash March 4, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Freelancing must start with growth in mind. If you are thinking to remain a freelancer whole life, cons are more and pros are less. The team must grow so that at times of your hospitalization (as mentioned in the original post) or other critical times, someone can share the burden.

    I did freelancing for a long time and found that tensions are more and it is not easy to really enjoy life. Your role is wide and from meeting to deployment, you are the decision maker. Even if you are a successful freelancer, you are bound to refuse orders, and that is where growth stops.

    My view is that you must not do anything called a freelancing. It must have a brand name even if it is a one man company and your strategies must be to grow the company and the team. If you intend to remain a freelancer, i.e., a one man show, life is tough and risk.
    .-= Rohit Prakash´s last blog ..A never ending chase =-.

  15. Reply Natalie March 5, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    I am sure freelancing can be tough in many ways but at least you get to do what you enjoy and be your own boss.
    I have found working for someone else to be very restrictive and unrewarding. Basically you are putting your effort and time in trying to make them look good.
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..10 Inspirational Japanese Digital Illustrators and Artists =-.

  16. Reply njmehta September 1, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Everyone thinks we just stay at home and sit in front of our computers working and making a lot of money without doing to much. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard someone say that to me, I would be a millionaire already. I think all freelancers agree with me when I say, “Freelancing is one of the hardest, inconsistent jobs in the world.” One month you could be soaring above the clouds and the next you could be nipping to pay all your bills.

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