Being independent is not that easy. But you can take steps to address the challenges you encounter.
Most important points
- Being a freelancer can be a mixed bag.
- There are ways to deal with common pitfalls that freelancers face.
Some people decide to go freelance because they want more flexibility. Others do it because they find they can increase their income by venturing out on their own.
Regardless of your reason for going freelance, you’ll find it brings both benefits and challenges. And if you’re struggling with the latter, you’re certainly not alone. In a recent Always researchthese were the biggest challenges freelancers face.
1. Difficult to build during vacation time
No less than 42% of freelancers say that working during vacation time is hard. That is understandable, because freelancers do not get paid leave. However, one option is to put money in your savings account weekly for holiday purposes. And that amount should be enough to cover not only the cost of a trip, but also the cost of earning no income for a week or so.
2. Customers who don’t always pay or don’t pay on time
For 40% of freelancers, customers who pay late or don’t pay regularly are a problem, and understandably so. After all, you have bills to pay. And you can not just tell you credit card company “sorry, my customer paid late” and expect them to get away with things like interest. One workaround, however, is to request payments in advance and then payments at various intervals rather than at the end of a project. This way you can be sure that some money will come in while you are at work.
3. Paying for health benefits
Health insurance can be very expensive if you have to pay for it entirely out of pocket, so it’s easy to see why 38% of freelancers cite this as a major challenge. But it does pay to take out health insurance every year open registration for marketplace plans, as your needs and costs may change from year to year.
4. Difficulty finding regular gigs
More than 37% of freelancers say they have trouble finding regular gigs. One option is to offer discounted rates to customers who regularly use your services. That could incentivize them to give you a reliable stream of work. And don’t hesitate to ask satisfied customers to refer you to others. You might even consider rewarding them for helping you bring in more business.
5. Do taxes
Many people have trouble completing their tax returns. But it’s not shocking to learn that 36% of freelancers struggle with this necessary but potentially painful task. If you work freelance, you need to keep accurate records and know what expenses you can write off. It pays to hire an accountant for tax assistance. That investment can pay off in the form of tax savings and minimal stress.
6. Feelings of isolation
When you work freelance, you often lose the camaraderie of office life. And not surprisingly, 34% of freelancers struggle with feelings of isolation. If you have the same challenge, force yourself to work outside the home. Find a coffee shop to work in twice a week, or consider renting co-working space if the cost isn’t prohibitive. And if it’s not feasible to work anywhere other than your home office, at least try to keep your social calendar active, whether you’re attending professional networking events, volunteering, or spending time with friends.
Being a freelancer is not always smooth sailing. While these challenges can be quite general, the good news is that they are all solvable in their own right.
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