As the internet kept evolving for decades, the number of people needed to keep everything going has gone up drastically. Today, every website needs a team of people to take care of everything from the technical side of things to marketing.
That has led many companies to look for help outside their companies. Freelancers are one of the options that businesses explore when they need some extra help. The reasons for choosing freelancers might differ. For instance, a company might not have members of the team suitable to perform a particular task. In other cases, it is about time management and allowing your team to focus on other assignments that might be higher on the priority scale. However, with the increased demand, freelancers themselves face an array of challenges. In a survey by FreelancerMap, participants highlighted struggles with finding clients, managing projects, staying productive, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. However, there are many more issues that land on freelancers’ shoulders. Let’s take a look at them.
Having to master everything
A freelancer has to know a little bit about everything to become successful. That includes finance, marketing, copywriting, design, sales, and technology. They have to keep learning new skills all the time, very quickly, which can be a considerable challenge.
Every job they get requires a different approach and a different set of skills. Freelancers have to be able to prioritize their projects and stay organized at all times. That requires a high dose of self-discipline. Freelancers are their own bosses, which is something not everyone can manage.
Meeting unrealistic deadlines
Most clients don’t care about the details. They want their projects to be completed as soon as possible, which puts the freelancers under stress. Freelancers have to make sure that they meet the client’s expectations, no matter how unrealistic they might be.
As long as both sides agree to the same terms, the project will be done on time. However, many clients often ask the freelancer to complete tasks they didn’t agree on upfront. It’s up to the freelancer to decide whether or not they will do the extra work. That can be risky as some clients might see that as failure to complete the task, which could lead to legal action, or in other cases – no payment.
Bidding for every project
The market is full of freelancers looking for new projects. Only those who offer the best prices and terms will get the job. As a freelancer, you will have to bid for every project against dozens of other people trying to score a deal.
Having to battle for every project can be exhausting and challenging, so many freelancers invest in developing new skills to get an edge over their competitors. The ones with the best skills and terms will usually get the job.
It’s a lonely career
Most freelancers work from their own homes. Some open up companies to get more job offers, but even they work from their home office. Being your boss and working from home can often make you feel lonely, as you have to take care of everything.
Loneliness can be very counterproductive after some time. Freelancers often gain extra weight and experience all kinds of health issues due to high-stress levels. The need for socialization is responsible for creating the co-working spaces where freelancers go to work. The sense of belonging to a collective can help improve creativity, energy levels and create business opportunities on the way.
Keeping up with technologies
Successful freelancers are always in tune with the latest technologies and trends. Not only do they have to focus on developing new skills, but they also have to consider new technologies designed to help them create better content. That includes internet technology, new software solutions, following the latest industry trends, and so on.
All freelancers work online, which is why they have to be aware of the countless security threats lurking behind every link or website. They have to be well-informed about cybersecurity trends and make sure that they have all the tools they need to stay safe on the job.
That usually means having an excellent understanding of how the internet works, special tools such as proxies, VPNs, and other solutions designed to improve online safety. For example, tools like Nord VPN protect users’ communications online. They prevent unnecessary tracking and ensure that all your data exchanges occur in a well-protected environment.
Since freelancers are free to work wherever they want, they might choose coffee shops or other facilities that offer free Wi-Fi. However, it is dangerous to perform such activities on just any network, especially a free hotspot. Other people connected to the network or its managers could see what you are doing. To reassure that your conversations and data exchanges with your client are safe, use a VPN to ensure that web traffic encryption follows you everywhere you go.
Many freelancers find themselves in the role of a personal assistant to clients instead of focusing on their work. There’s a lot of back and forth involved when communicating with clients, which can take a lot of time and effort away from the project itself.
Micromanaging time is another skill every freelancer has to learn to become successful. They have to know how to keep communication with clients at a minimum without insulting the client. Doing so can be very difficult with some clients, so freelancers must learn how to adapt to every specific situation.
The bottom line
Freelancers have to invest a lot of time and energy into developing new skills, keeping up with technology, communicating with clients, and making sure they get paid.
Freelancers might face more challenges every day than many other employees across all industries. Those that become successful are usually experts in multiple categories and have a long list of hard-earned skills and experiences. Consider that if you’re looking to create a career as a freelancer. However, do not be discouraged from starting your career in freelancing. It is a great way to polish your skills by working with an array of clients from various industries.