As anyone who has been a working adult for more than twelve months will tell you, January is just the worst month. This is especially true for freelancers. You have all the motivation to succeed and make this the best year ever, but you are still reeling from a) the time off you took to relax, b) the financial implications of the fact you took time off to relax and c) the fact January means so much admin. With that in mind, we thought now would be the perfect time to get the negativity thing over and done with by going through the worst things about being a freelancer. If we get it out the way now, we can move on sooner.
Now, don’t get us wrong, there is an incredible amount of freedom that comes with being freelance, doing what you love and doing it as you please. But that doesn’t make it a utopian existence and, with that in mind, we have pulled together a list of the worst things to expect from going it alone. Just remember, though, you aren’t alone. All freelancers feel this way.
- Do It Yourself Accounting
This point seems incredibly apt given we are in January and, for many, that means tax returns. This is one of those things that anyone who has ever been employed before will tell you it sucks. To put it simply, don’t make the mistake of doing them on your own. Take the small financial hit of paying a really good – and qualified – accountant to manage your tax returns for you. Getting an unexpected bill or filling out your returns wrong just isn’t worth the risk.
- Not Getting Paid
We’re not talking so much about the odd client experience where your invoice doesn’t get paid for three months despite you chasing up over and over and over again. We’re talking about not getting paid for your time. We’re talking about when a client asks for a one-hour video conference call, only to drag it out for three hours, treating you like a salaried employee. Your time is what you get paid for, and the time you spend dilly-dallying is time not spent being paid elsewhere. So, if you find this happening, address it with the culprit, explain yourself and start having them schedule meetings correctly.
- Document Every Expense
A huge financial hit most newbie freelancers take is down to misunderstanding things. When you are working for yourself, you don’t realise just how much can be put down as expenses. You were in employment before, so this kind of thing didn’t exist. Now that you are a freelancer, though, you need to educate yourself on expensing things or else you could find yourself losing out on thousands that you could have kept. That is why you need to make it your business to know how taxes work. Like we said, it could be thousands that you lose out on.
- Justifying Your Worth
This is one of those things that no knew freelancer ever thinks about, but having to justify your worth is a constant battle. It doesn’t matter whether you are a web designer, a content writer, a graphic designer or a consultant; you’ll find you always have to justify your invoices, and it is so frustrating. You get challenged on quotes, you get challenged on price and you find yourself in negotiations that shouldn’t happen, and this makes you start questioning whether you are worth what you say. Well, you are. You absolutely are. So, know your worth and stick to it.