The Top 4 Challenges Faced By Freelancers and How to Overcome Them

Freelancers need to find work, battle loneliness, chase overdue invoices, and deal with unstable income. Here’s what to do.

Working full-time as a freelancer can be a great career decision for talented professionals, as it can provide you with exciting work opportunities that you normally wouldn’t be able to find in your typical 9-to-5 job. Aside from this, it also lets you make a living at your own time and pace, which means that you can schedule your work hours as freely as you’d like.

However, there are a few challenges freelancers face on a regular basis. If you’re new to working for yourself, or on your own, it might be difficult to adjust initially. Luckily, there are ways to overcome these obstacles so you can build a successful freelance business for yourself.

With that said, here are some of the four biggest hurdles that freelancers typically face, and what you can do to overcome them.

Finding Clients

This is quite possibly the biggest challenge for freelancers. Many new freelancers excitedly set up their home office and put up a fancy website for their new business. Unfortunately, when they’re finally ready to get to work it’s crickets. This can be extremely discouraging and is often the reason why many freelancers end up quitting and returning to the corporate world.

For a number of freelancers, the solution is spending hours sending emails to potential clients hoping one of them will actually answer back. However, the problem with this is that most of the time you have no way of knowing whether these organizations are even looking for freelancers, making this approach rather inefficient.

What to Do About It

One of the best ways to find clients is to use freelance platforms, like Work for Impact. Here, you’ll have access to a wide range of job opportunities from clients around the world. You can easily search for jobs that require your skills and apply online. This way, when you reach out to potential clients you know for sure they’re looking for freelancers with your unique skill set.

Once you land a few jobs, make sure to nurture and grow your client relationships. Remember, you aren’t the only fish in the sea, so you want to be sure to stay in touch with your clients in case they need your services again. Sending simple greetings to your clients during holidays, or just reaching out to see if there are any new projects you can assist them with, can help you continue to secure new jobs from your existing clients.

Working Alone

For a lot of people, working from home is the dream. However, many freelancers find that after they’ve worked alone in their apartment or bedroom for months on end the idea of a home office isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It can be especially tough when you’re home alone and you look on social media only to be bombarded by pictures of your friends attending office events and enjoying the camaraderie of working for a larger organization.

Over time, you may find yourself feeling lonely, which can start to become a big problem for your freelance business.

What to Do About It

Remember, as a freelancer your office is wherever you want it to be. If you get tired of working from home try working from a coffee shop or other public places where you have access to Wi-Fi.

Another way to make freelance work less lonely is by finding coworking spaces. These are shared office spaces for freelancers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. Working in places like this will give you the feeling and liveliness of your typical corporate office while still providing you with the freedom to choose your own hours. It’s a great alternative to working by yourself and could also be an opportunity to connect with other local professionals.

freelance business
Coworking spaces allow you to work around other talented freelancers while still operating on your own schedule. Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash.

Most importantly, you need to maintain a good work/life balance. While things like doing exceptional work and meeting deadlines need to be priorities for freelancers, don’t forget about your mental health. It’s easy to get lost in your work but be sure to make time for friends and family so you can get a healthy amount of human interaction.

Late Payments

Every freelancer has found themselves in this situation: You complete your project, the client is happy, you send your invoice, and then you wait. And you wait. And then you wait some more.

While most clients will promptly pay you after you successfully complete your work, there will always be a few that don’t always pay you on time. It can be both irritating and time-consuming having to continually email clients in order to track down payments. 

And for full-time freelancers who depend on this money to make a living, late payments can really start to negatively affect your business’ cash flow.

What to Do About It

This is another scenario where freelance platforms can be extremely useful. Many of them, including Work for Impact, have payment protection services that can help ensure you always get paid for the work you’ve completed. If you have an issue with a client, the platform provider will go to bat for you and will even cover your payment if you’ve kept proper records of your work.

This means you’re never waiting around for payments, and instead of chasing after invoices you can focus on finding new and exciting projects.

Unstable Income

Most people who work a 9-5 job take their stable income for granted. They simply show up every day and collect their salary no matter how much work there is for them to do. 

Freelancers don’t have this luxury.

Sure, there could be months where you have more work than you know what to do with and the money is just rolling in. But for every really busy month, there’s bound to be a month where you’re hustling just to get enough work to fill your schedule.

No matter how hard you work, there will always be times where your income slows down a bit. This can make life as a freelancer a little stressful at times if you’re not properly prepared.

What to Do About It

The key here is to know that there will be slow times during the year and plan ahead. You’ll find that sometimes you’ll earn more and other times you’ll earn less. So, if you make sure to set aside money when times are really good, you’ll always have reserves when things get a little slower. Ideally, it’s a good idea to have a few months worth of income saved in the bank, just in case you need it.

full-time freelancer
It’s a good idea for all freelancers to set some money aside so they’re prepared if they have a slow month. Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels.

Over the course of the year, the busy times will balance out the slow times. If you allocate your money wisely then this is an obstacle that can be easy to overcome.

Conclusion

Like any pursuit, freelancing comes with a few challenges. However, once you overcome those obstacles, you’ll have the opportunity to make a great living, all while having the freedom to work when and where you want.

About Work for Impact

Work for Impact is a freelance platform that aims to connect skilled freelancers with organizations that are built upon ethical business practices. By joining the platform, you’ll gain access to a wide range of job opportunities being offered by clients that want to make a difference around the world.

Click here to sign-up to Work for Impact and find meaningful freelance projects.