7 Signs You Shouldn’t Become a Freelancer

Everyday we read articles revolving around Freelancing and how great and easy it is to become a freelancer. The one thing that a lot of these articles don’t mention is the different character traits that you have to have to even think of becoming a freelancer. The reason a lot of people fail in the first few months of going freelance is because they made a impulsive decision and now its to late to turn back. Let’s not jump the gun here, in this article I will point out different things that you have to take into account when making your decision.

The following Signs that I will be mentioning is directed towards everyone. These different signs will point out to you if you will become a successful freelancer or not. I don’t say that if you have one of the following signs below that you won’t become successful, I am just pointing out that it will be easier if you don’t have one of the signs below. Let’s check it out.

1. You are Lazy

This is definitely one of the biggest downfalls any freelancer can have for his career, laziness. I don’t mean being lazy because you spent a entire day hiking up a mountain or being lazy because you just ran a few miles. You couldn’t keep up with your work schedule at your previously employed job – lazy that’s what I mean. How is it going to help your business when you don’t have someone watching you every second of the day and keeping a eye on you to see if you are working? Freelancing is about having a energetic passion for what you do, you should be able to go crazy because of all the hype you have for what you do. My verdict is don’t even think of going freelance if you are lazy.

2. Procrastination

Procrastination can come forth in different forms, I have mentioned procrastination in one of my previous articles “How to Fail as a Blogger” where I highlighted that it is a very easy way to fail as a blogger. Procrastination is definitely from down under, you might say that you don’t procrastinate but, I bet you do. Your wife ask you to please wash the car, do you do it immediately or move it up to the next day? It’s simple things like that, that makes you end up procrastinating more and more. Freelancing can’t have any procrastination involved, you have a deadline to finish your work and that deadline is when it has to be finished. You can’t move it up a day or two to suite you. My advice is to make a to do list each day and be sure to complete the tasks that you have setup to do for the day.

3. You’re not Disciplined

If you aren’t able to manage finances and keep a schedule how do you think you are going to manage being a freelancer? Freelancing is probably one of the hardest working jobs in the world, yes you have free time to yourself but, if you don’t get any work done, you’re in for a real surprise. Discipline sits at the heart of every successful person out there, if you don’t have any be sure to work on it and get some. I’d recommend getting your ducks in a row and sorting out your life, your a grown up now and should be able to take care of yourself.

4. Not Interested

Weather your working for a company or your working from home, if your not interested in the field you work in it can be seen in your daily routine. Freelancing is not different, if your not enthusiastic or interested about freelancing your clients won’t benefit from you at all. They will receive lumpy, unfinished work which isn’t worth their money spent, you will also not be hearing from those clients ever again. Interest isn’t just about what you want and don’t want, it’s all about having a passion for what you do. Every single person in the world do things that they don’t like every day and in freelancing you will also have things to do that you won’t like at all, the difference is that if you are passionate about what you do it won’t be a cumbersome task. If you’re really passionate about becoming a freelancer and know that you will succeed you are on the right path.

5. You want to Become Rich Quickly

A lot of people think because you have control of your entire business and income you can work harder and you will become rich in a short period of time. Unless your selling diamonds that ain’t going to happen. Freelancing takes time, you have to build up clients and contacts, you have to get your name out their and recognized. It’s the only way you will ever succeed in freelancing from home. All these get rich quick schemes are only really there to drain money out of you, I’m sure some of them work for some people that believe in that but, the fact stands that if you want to become successful you are going to have to work hard for it. Determination, persistence and Hard work will bring you success.

6. You can’t Handle Pressure

Being a freelancer you work under pressure constantly. Clients sometimes have strict deadlines and if your not able to submit to that you ain’t going very far. If you aren’t able to handle pressure in tight situations freelancing isn’t a very good option for you. You get different people with different personality types that function better under pressure than they do in a calm environment but, with freelancing you have to have a balance. You should be able to work well in a calm environment and well in a pressured situation. Be sure to see how you work and if you will be able to handle the pressure if it comes your way.

7. You are Selfish

If your a selfish person you definitely shouldn’t become a freelancer. Freelancers sometimes have to do little deeds for people and not charge money for it, simply because of good nature and kindness. Selfishness doesn’t get you far in any business form, especially small businesses that you run yourself. You are going to have to make decisions to charge different people different prices sometimes due to the fact that their financial statuses aren’t all above average. You might say that you will only be targeting upper market clients but, the point is you gotta work for lower budgeted clients first and then work your way up. If you have a selfish streak in you, get rid of it immediately or forget about freelancing.

That concludes this article. Just a reminder that I didn’t write this article to turn you away from reaching your dream or your goals of success. I merely wrote this to point out different situations people all around the world face on a day to day basis. I hope you enjoyed the article and that you will be back for more. Be sure to follow me on twitter @Jacquesvh to keep yourself posted with the latest design related tweets.

Jacques is a Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of the An1ken Group. He started Creativeoverflow in 2009 as a hub for creatives. Connect with him: - @Jacquesvh - Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest - Google+

  1. Reply Andy Feliciotti November 23, 2009 at 11:51 PM

    “Freelancers sometimes have to do little deeds for people and not charge money for it, simply because of good nature and kindness.”

    One of the best lines in the article
    .-= Andy Feliciotti´s last blog ..9 WordPress Plugins Every Blog Should Have =-.

  2. Reply designfollow November 24, 2009 at 12:58 AM

    very useful

    thank you
    .-= designfollow´s last blog ..7 Signs You Shouldn’t Become a Freelancer =-.

  3. Reply Tim Willison November 24, 2009 at 1:14 AM

    Organized and to the point. Well done.

  4. Reply Tanish November 24, 2009 at 2:30 AM

    Nice post m8,
    Looks like I’m kinda ok with freelancing.
    But the hardest thing for me is to get some freelance jobs (I live in Sri lanka).
    Looks like I must build up some marketing skills. I hate writing cover letters.
    .-= Tanish´s last blog ..Google Chrome Revealed =-.

    • Reply Jacques van Heerden November 24, 2009 at 9:37 AM

      That’s good that you are set bro, yes finding jobs when you start out is a pretty hard job but, with effective marketing and hard work it should become a easier job. I will write a article on finding freelancing jobs soon. Laters

  5. Reply Design Informer November 24, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    Definitely agree with all these points. I would like to add:

    Don’t be a freelancer if you don’t have any savings. You’ll have a hard time.
    .-= Design Informer´s last blog ..25 of the Best Free Fonts from Deviant Art =-.

    • Reply Jacques van Heerden November 24, 2009 at 9:52 AM

      Thats a good point to add, there are quite a few more points that one could add to this specific topic. Thanks for the comment and the retweet bro.

  6. Reply Ajay November 24, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Nice and useful tips! Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Ajay´s last blog ..Free Postcard Textures =-.

  7. Reply ThisIsInspired November 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    Well written post Jacques. I appreciate you gave specifics for each point; It was constructive without being condescending.
    .-= ThisIsInspired´s last blog ..Drawing With Light Hits a Whole New Level =-.

  8. Reply cssbit November 24, 2009 at 5:25 PM

    that’s very interesting

  9. Reply David W. November 24, 2009 at 6:05 PM

    I think I have a few of those symptoms. :P Thanks for the article bro, I do have some things to work on. :)

  10. Reply Tomas November 24, 2009 at 7:59 PM

    Jacques as you said it’s one of the hardest job in the world. I think especially for new freelancers, because when you feel freedom to do what you want it’s hard to stop procrastination or laziness. Thanks for useful and inspiring article.
    .-= Tomas´s last blog ..30 Magnificent Abstract Wallpapers =-.

    • Reply Jacques van Heerden November 24, 2009 at 9:50 PM

      Pleasure is all mine bro. Procrastination can take you to your grave and should be avoided by all costs.

  11. Reply Walter November 25, 2009 at 1:22 AM

    Success is a character. Whatever our endeavors in life we must possess the necessary character that will ensure success. You have pointed this out very well here. I myself are in pursuance of my dream and I am applying the principles you have stated here. It is hard but I know it’s the only way to go. :-)

  12. Reply Blogger Article November 25, 2009 at 7:28 AM

    This information is very good and interesting because it can inspire many people thank you for your advice…

  13. Reply Ivan Tolmachev November 25, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    I disagree with the first point. Being lazy really isn’t about the pace and time you spend on your work, it’s about dedication. If you’re dedicated enough, laziness goes away once you start freelancing.
    .-= Ivan Tolmachev´s last blog ..Design Principles =-.

    • Reply Jacques van Heerden November 25, 2009 at 9:46 PM

      Being lazy won’t get any work done. If you have a client that sets a week deadline for a pretty big job, how will you finish it? yes dedication and commitment comes into play here but, laziness will have the best of you.

  14. Reply Tommy Holiday November 25, 2009 at 10:44 PM

    oh god. this was very hard to read for me. honestly the first 3 points exactly apply to me! :/

    but, when you are enployeed, you can be sure at the end of the month you have your money… ;) what i try to say is, when you are a freelancer it’s your problem how to buy your daily bread and water. so you are responsible for yourself and so you just can’t be lazy or so… i have learned a lot in the past few months as i worked as a freelancer. i’m now much more disciplinated than before :)

  15. Reply LukeSF November 26, 2009 at 8:43 AM

    Sounds really helpful… But IMHO most of people who have gone through full time job already know how to face these things… Mostly it should be a concern for one who is deciding on freelancing as a first job or its alterantive.

  16. Reply Florante November 27, 2009 at 3:30 AM

    Very realistic points. Freelancing isn’t really just about earning the big bucks but it’s all about creating a relationship with your clients as an investment that you can reap in due time.
    .-= Florante´s last blog ..How to Succeed as a Freelancer =-.

  17. Reply Brian Lang November 27, 2009 at 4:34 PM

    Guess I shouldn’t try then… :)

  18. Reply Juliet | Freelancewise November 28, 2009 at 7:53 AM


    Good warnings.
    I think it is also important to be aware that you have to market yourself – not always the easiest. The important question to ask is: Can you run a business?


  19. Reply Brian Jones November 28, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    Great Points and thank you for the article. In hopes of starting Freelancing this coming year – it is great to hear that none of the above apply to me (even though I will still work full time from home – I will freelance on the side until my business grows)

  20. Reply Amanda November 30, 2009 at 11:07 AM

    That’s a great blog, I’ve been freelancing for about 7 years now and wholeheartedly agree with every single thing you say.

    Design freelancing is only 50% about creative work, some of the other day to day realities to think about you’ve outlined perfectly.

  21. Reply Waasys December 8, 2009 at 9:39 PM

    Like I said before, it’s an art!
    .-= Waasys´s last blog ..How to draw an USB Flash Drive =-.

  22. Reply live job search January 7, 2010 at 5:38 AM

    Add one more point, “You cannot make friends” :)
    .-= live job search´s last blog ..HTML interaction =-.

  23. Reply how to write cover letter May 26, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Bloggers are not appreciated enough, thanks for taking the time to post this.

  24. Reply Chucky B July 11, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Great article…. One thing we should add for “creative” freelancers: smoking weed… Been an issue with allot of collaborator…

    It usually makes you really cranky and susceptible to criticism!

  25. Reply Eric May 14, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    “Whether you’re…”

  26. Reply RS September 4, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    Wow Sherlock, I’d never thought of that!

Leave a Reply