Is Freelancing Not For You?

On Diversified Finances, the primary topics consist of freelancing, self-employment and other related topics. However, what if freelancing and being your own boss is not for you?

If you’re a reader of this website, then I’m going to assume that most of you are at least somewhat interested in freelancing, making money on the side, and/or becoming your own boss.

However, there are some out there who are not interested in freelancing or owning a business at all.

I really enjoy freelancing, but there are some downsides. I always laugh inside whenever people tell me how easy life must be for me. There are some many things that go into owning a business, and if you aren’t careful then it can easily take over your life.

Below are some reasons for why you might want to rethink making the freelancing switch. Of course not everything applies to everyone, but these are things to think about.

You crave stable income.

One negative of freelancing and/or having your own business is that stable income feels impossible. You never know what you will make, and everything is up to you.

Not everyone feels the greatest about this. Stable income is probably especially important for you if you have financial goals that you are trying to meet, or if you have children or family who depend on your income.

You don’t want all of the trouble of having your own business.

When you are a business owner, it is hard to take a break from work. When you are on vacation, you will most likely work at least a little bit. However, when you are an employee, it is very likely that when the work day is over that you can just go home and enjoy your night, Β weekend, or vacation.

I do love what I do, but I am always on call. I have many clients who operate on different time schedules and will e-mail me and expect a response right away. And you know what? That is fine. That’s what I signed up for πŸ™‚

Other things to think about when freelancing is how you will get health insurance, how you will save for retirement, what will happen if you get sick and are unable to work (you might lose a lot of money!), taxes (don’t forget to pay these!), what happens to your business when you have a really bad month, and so on.

You don’t want to work alone or at home.

Freelancing does not always mean that you will be working from home, but for some it does. It might also mean that you work completely alone.

I know of many people who don’t want to work alone and would prefer to work with others at a company.

You hate networking.

I’m sure that there are some freelancing businesses where no networking is required, but for most at least some networking should be expected.

I had someone e-mail me recently asking me for help because they hate networking and they know that their business hasn’t grown because of their hatred of it. I thought this was crazy because networking can be so easy and it can also be a lot of fun.

Read my article The Power of Networking to learn more.

You are horrible at making your own schedule.

Some might think that this would be a stupid reason to not pursue freelancing, however, it is the truth. Some workers really need someone (such as a boss) pushing them to complete tasks. If they aren’t “forced” to do something, then it probably won’t get done.

As a freelancer, you have to be really motivated to do things on your own. There won’t be someone telling you that you need to do something specific each day.

You have no experience.

Everyone has to start from somewhere. I started from the very beginning and worked my way to where I am today. And I get that. However, if you want to switch to full-time self-employment and have absolutely no experience doing what you are doing, then you may want to think about pausing your plans and really thinking about this decision.

If you have no experience, then how do you truly know how things will be? Make sure you have a plan. Maybe you can test the waters first and start it out as a side job. You don’t have to test it out forever, just until you are truly comfortable.

Are you interested in freelancing or owning a business? Why or why not?



Is Freelancing Not For You? — 37 Comments

  1. I definitely agree that you need to consider if freelancing is right for you before jumping in with both feet. ‘Testing the waters’ by doing some work on the side – even though this means less of a social life – is a good way to find out if freelancing is for you.

    In terms of running a business, this is stuff that you can learn and it also helps to get guidance and advice from people who’ve made the switch before you.

  2. These are really valid reasons for some people to stay away from the freelancing life. I chose to run my own small business 4 years ago and loved every minute though.

  3. I’m extremely interested in having my own business, but steady income is the main concern. I’d love the flexibility of being around the house more often (or at least, when I want to be). Having 2 kids is a big responsibility though, I wouldn’t want to “bet the farm” with their well-being at stake.

  4. I think I’m interested in running a business with Mr PoP, but only after we’re more or less FI and a bad income month wouldn’t be a reason for stressing out. To put all of our eggs in one basket right now would be asking a lot since I am a person that really likes stability.

  5. I totally am! This is a great gut check to see if you are meant for working on your own. I need to work on the last item a lot more before I am ready to dependent on my own business’s income for supporting myself (and puppy!)

  6. Great things to consider! I’m a freelance web designer right now and I want to go full-time. I understand the downsides of it, but for me, it’s worth it. I feel like freelancing is the only place where I really belong–where I can do things how I want to do them. I have a vision but I have yet to find a company that shares my vision with me (and that gives me creative control to make that vision happen).

  7. Great points. I agree that freelancing or owning a business is not for everyone. I think the biggest reason I want to be my own boss is the flexibility. I really hate that I’m basically giving someone my time in return for a salary. I want to make my time count.

  8. Thanks for sharing your insights with us! I would like to try freelancing, though stability does slightly worry me. If we could manage to solely live off the boyfriend’s income, I’d be much less worried. That’s why I am waiting until we move. I’ll be jobless anyway, so may as well give it a try. I am saving up in anticipation.

    I think the best part of being a freelancer is being in control. You decide what you want to work on and what you want to do. The flexibility is very nice as well. I don’t think I’d mind being on call if I could work from anywhere.

  9. I will never be a freelancer. I have no desire to do it. I do want to own a business or two, but I am much more likely to buy an established one that will pretty much run itself (like a laudromat, which I am looking into). Maybe owning my first business will change my mind, but I’m not so sure. I actually don’t mind working for the man

  10. Thanks for this great blog post. I just started my own little side business and it’s not going so well but I think I’m being impatient. I do need to focus on managing my time better so this post is a great reminder of what’s holding me back.

  11. I often find myself getting frustrated with freelancing. While my blog has been successful in getting me some freelance gigs, I’m still struggling to make the blog itself bring in income. Meanwhile I read about people with less traffic and lower stats getting all kinds of affiliate and advertising income. I can see how people get discouraged.

    • Yes, it can be discouraging, but don’t let that get you. Your blog is one of my favorites, and you will be successful πŸ™‚

  12. I think this is really interesting. I started freelancing on the side on Oct 15 and right now I have 3 clients, I’m working way less hours but after taking out 30% for taxes I’m making roughly half of my salary every 2 weeks. I expect these clients to be long term and I have a 2 other clients who are short term/sporadic. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast and honestly I’m amazed.

    I think I might quit my job at the end of the year (or sooner if I get more clients) and really focus on my freelancing effort. I may even start a blog solely dedicated to my freelancing efforts because right now I have a fashion blog so the two would not mix.

    I love your blog btw.

  13. I have been interested in having my own business for a while because I like the idea of working hard for myself but it can be difficult to take the plunge by yourself. I think I would feel better if I had a business partner. I’m working on finding one. I’m also working on building my blog and eventually figuring out how to monetize it. Thanks for all your great tips!

  14. I don’t think freelancing is for me! I’d like to have a stable full-time job and encourage my husband to work at start-ups. To me that is a good balance of reliable income with potential upside. But I don’t think either of us would be very good at working for ourselves.

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  16. The reality is, freelancing isn’t for everyone. There are certainly key characteristics that are required to succeed, discipline and motivation being some of them. I have been freelancing for a while now, totally love it…mainly because it fits perfectly with my slightly introverted personality. Also not having face to face conversations most times does help…you are judged on what you can do and not your age πŸ™‚ experience or your level of assertiveness. I love me-self a good meritocracy!

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