5 Things Nobody Tells You About Life as a Freelancer

All around the country, and indeed the world, we’re learning just how fragile the economic world we all live in really is. People are learning that their jobs are not as secure as they thought, businesses of all shapes and sizes are feeling the pinch and an unfortunate many are having to scrape by on Statutory Sick Pay. As a result, more and more people are starting to think that maybe working as a freelancer might be the perfect way to either supplement their income as a side hustle or start your career all over again from scratch. Freelancing is awesome… at least potentially. You get to make a living for yourself on your own terms, doing what you love. Most of the time you’re working from home and you have complete control over your working hours, giving you the flexibility to achieve your own work / life balance.

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But of course, freelancing has its caveats. If it were easy, after all, we’d be a nation of freelancers. While it’s nice to sip your coffee and practice yoru smug face while scores of commuters scramble about in the rain outside your window, the life of a freelancer (like any job) has its perils and pitfalls. If you’re expecting a life of wine and roses, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

Here are a few things that nobody tells you about being a freelancer, but you’ll need to learn if you’re to survive and thrive while working for yourself…

You’re probably more likely to work too much than not enough

When starting out as a freelancer it’s entirely common to feel an intense paranoia that you’re not getting enough done. Because you can never be sure where your next payday is coming from, in your zeal to stay productive and financially stable you can find yourself over-committing. And this simply isn’t sustainable. You’ll need to pace yourself, establishing how much work you can do to a high standard without burning yourself out. However, you also need to be sure that you’re taking the time to line up your next job. It’s a tricky balance, but it’s one that can be found with time and practice.

Spreadsheets will become your new best friend

If you haven’t seen a spreadsheet since your high school IT classes, you’ll need to get familiar with them quickly. So it may well be worth taking on some Excel training online. Because a spreadsheet is the freelancer’s best friend. They help you keep track of your income and your expenses to give you an up to date idea of your profit and loss and make your tax accounting easy.

Yes, you can still get a mortgage… but it might prove a little trickier

For some reason, it’s become an assumed truth that freelancers, the self-employed and small business owners can’t get a mortgage in the current economy. While it’s true that banks, building societies and other mortgage lenders are much more gun shy about mortgage lending than they were before the 2007-2008 financial crisis, self-employed people can and do often get mortgages. A mortgage advisor will be able to help you find a mortgage product that suits your needs and let you know what paperwork you need to provide (usually at least 2-3 years’ accounting) to make your case to mortgage lenders. Contrary to popular belief, freelancers don’t need to give up on their dream of home ownership.

You’ll need to legally protect your work online

Unfortunately, plagiarism is a real problem for freelancers trying to eke out a living in the digital economy. With so many outlets eager for a steady stream of content, some less than reputable parties will think nothing of stealing other people’s work as long as it keeps clicks (and ad revenue) coming in. As such, it’s important to be able to legally protect your work online. Fortunately, you can read all about how to do this here.

Your reputation is everything!

Finally, lots of people will be happy to tell you how to find work online as a freelancer. But few are as keen to share with you the importance of maintaining consistent quality. This is why it’s so important not to over-commit because inevitably the quality of your work suffers when you do this. Safeguard your reputation by maintaining high standards, taking time to proof your work and using tools like Grammarly to catch any mistakes which might slip past your word processor’s spelling and grammar software.

Maintain your standards and your reputation will grow and grow to the point where you’re getting better work from higher paying clients.

This is a collaborative post and it may contain some affiliate links

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