What do online freelancers struggle with the most?
- Discipline and time management
- Client demands and requirements
- Financial knowledge and management
- Work-life balance
Becoming an online freelancer has become widely accepted. As more people prefer the comfort of their homes or coffee shops instead of a corporate office, the freelancing route becomes more saturated than ever.
One of the few reasons why a lot of people choose to freelance is because they have seen others become successful doing it. Of course, you should never forget about the hard parts of freelancing too! You will be left to do everything on your own, including most of your tax computations. Here in the Philippines, many freelancers have opened up on how their lives really are.
Here are some of the things that most online freelancers struggle with:
Discipline and Time Management
This is something that many people, who are just starting to become freelancers, struggle with the most. When you have the freedom to choose which jobs to take and when to do them (unless there are strict deadlines), you should still be disciplined enough to use your time wisely. Sometimes, the comfort of your home gives you a false sense of security, finding out later on that wasted a week doing nothing.
As an online freelancer, it is important that you have a solid grasp of time management so that you won’t fall behind your tasks, particularly for those who accept multiple projects at a time. Organizing your time working on jobs and following strict schedules are needed for maximum efficiency and productivity.
Client Demands and Requirements
No matter how long you’ve been working as a freelancer, it is your clients that will be the most volatile factor of your work. Sometimes, you can find an extremely generous and laidback client that would give you the freedom to do what you want as long as you finish the project – and that’s great! However, in cases when the clients are strict and particularly stubborn, you would probably feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, a freelancer’s life often becomes harder than usual.
Clients have different demands and requirements. Some have little considerations while others require a good deal of things that you need to remember. A good freelancer should be prepared for anything, expect the worst when accepting a project, and adapt to challenges along the way.
Another thing to remember about clients is that freelancers are rarely the ones being chosen for a project (unless they have a great resume to back them up!) Most of the time, they have to be the ones to look for clients. Freelance websites help them a lot when it comes to this, but of course, they can never be certain when a client will avail of their services unless they get approached by them.
Financial Knowledge and Management
Anyone who has ever started out their career as a freelancer would probably tell you that they didn’t have a clue about taxes when they started; and that they probably tried to learn it online but ended up asking their friends or family to help them do it anyway.
Freelancers don’t necessarily have the knowledge with taxes that those who work in businesses usually have. They also have to file different kinds of taxes but will usually have no one to do it for them. In most cases, freelancers are going to need the help of websites such as Taxumo in order to do some of their tax computations. In the Philippines, a lot of freelancers use online software to do their taxes just because of how practical and easy they are.
Aside from taxes, freelancers tend to be victims of uncertainty. Every month is a blank slate, unless a client has hired them for the long-term. Until you secure and finish a project, you won’t know how much you’re going to make. In addition, freelancers usually don’t have a fixed salary so they can’t spend their money frivolously.
Lastly, work-life balance is one of the things that freelancers often struggle with because they usually work and live in the same area. For those freelancers who work at home, there is probably little difference in the environment in which they live and work in.
Sometimes, freelancers tend to forget that they have work to do because they stayed at home all day. Other times, they don’t even get to rest because all they did at home was work. When you work and live in the same place, it can be hard to separate the two. But as long as you are disciplined and aware enough of your work and surroundings, you should be able to adapt to this lifestyle easily.
Being an online freelancer does not necessarily mean taking the easy route. In fact, it may be considered by others as the harder path to take. There will always be things that you are going to struggle with, whether you are a freelancer or an employee, but what’s important is the things you do to overcome them!
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