Freelancing is one of the best ways to earn money while working remotely and with flexible schedules instead of the confines of a 9-5 corporate job. However, due to the numerous benefits of working as a freelancer, there are many myths about freelance jobs that mislead people when deciding whether they should start a freelance career or look for regular jobs. For some, freelance is their dream career, while others think of it as the worst job they would ever consider.
Since I have some personal experience working a freelance job as a writer, I know how people react whenever they hear what I do, and some of the things they say are untrue or too idealized. So, today, I thought I should share the reality of being a freelancer and bust some of the most common myths about freelance jobs.
Not to discourage you, but starting a freelancing career is not easy, and going into it with the wrong assumptions and expectations might set you up for frustration and disappointment. This post aims to debunk 9 of the most common myths about freelance jobs to help you make an informed decision or shine some light on what freelancing entails for those who are considering changing careers to become freelancers.
The Most Common Myths about Freelance Jobs Debunked!
- Freelancers don’t have to dress up for work
As a freelancer, you have the freedom to work from anywhere, wearing whatever you want, and some do roll out of bed and start working in their PJs. But most freelancers do not work in their pajamas or on their beds at all. Working in your pajamas doesn’t foster productivity because you associate them with sleep and comfort, hence why one wakes up early and gets dressed to go into professional mode.
Besides, you might have onsite meetings or Zoom video calls with clients for which you have to look presentable. Like any other job, freelancers strive to earn an income and want to be as productive as possible to accomplish this.
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- Freelancers only work from the comfort of their homes
“You are so lucky that you don’t have to go to work!” Just like most freelancers don’t work in their pajamas, they also try to create a work environment and habits that encourage productivity including, having a designated work area or office at home.
Some freelancers also rent co-working spaces, offices, or work in coffee shops if they don’t want to work from home or if the home environment has too many distractions.
Furthermore, some freelance projects require you to network, do fieldwork, meet up with clients, or make video calls, hence working in your pajamas or at home may not be an option.
- Freelancers don’t have a boss
This statement is true to some extent because you do not have a boss in the traditional sense of the word. There’s no one walking around looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do, when. As a freelancer, you are your own boss and employee at the same time. Your clients may also act like your boss because you have to satisfy their needs and meet their deadlines for them to pay you.
A successful freelance career requires a lot of discipline. You have to learn how to manage your time, push yourself to meet deadlines, and ensure to deliver quality work that makes your clients happy because you can’t risk losing them.
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- Freelance is not a ‘real’ job, it’s a side hustle
Many people indeed do freelance work as a side job while still having their regular jobs. It is an excellent way to supplement their income and earn extra cash. However, the majority of freelancers learn how to build a successful freelance career and use this as their full-time job where they earn a living; hence this is only a myth and not the entire truth about freelance jobs.
- Freelancers choose their work hours
Who wouldn’t want to work only whenever they feel like it! Unfortunately, this is the most common myth about freelance jobs that mislead people when deciding to start a freelancing career. Yes, you don’t have to start work at 9 am and close at 5 pm, but you will probably put in more work hours or work at odd hours than you would at a regular job.
You are at the beck and call of your clients, and you often have to adjust your schedule to suit theirs. Also, some jobs require you to work late into the night or get up early to fulfill your clients’ needs. This often occurs if your clients are in a different time zone from yours, and you will have to learn how to work with clients in a different time zone as a freelancer.
Your supposed flexible schedule also disintegrates if you have tight deadlines to meet or have taken on a heavy workload, thus you might not have any free time.
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- Freelancers only work on projects they like
We wish! You are your own boss, but not really. Although you are the one who decides what kind of work or clients to take on as a freelancer, it is not possible to only choose what excites you or to only work on things you are passionate about. Your financial situation and client needs play a role in what kind of work you end up doing.
On some days you will get projects you like, other days challenging or boring ones, and have no choice but to do them for the money or client satisfaction. Although you could refuse some jobs, the freelance industry is very competitive, and you can’t risk losing a client or a chance at making extra money unless you truly can’t do the job.
- Freelancers always have work
Unlike an office setting where the company you work for would ensure you always have something to do and get a salary even when there isn’t much work, the success of your freelance career and the amount of money you make solely depends on you.
When starting out as a freelancer, clients will not just find you, and you don’t just bid/apply for jobs and get them automatically. You have to be patient, work hard, market yourself, and write proposals or applications that make clients want to work with you or send you referrals.
Unfortunately, even if you do get clients, the flow of work is inconsistent sometimes, or the contract you signed could be just short-term. This is one of the common myths about freelancing jobs that mislead people and makes them have unrealistic expectations when starting a freelance career. But now you know what to expect as a freelancer.
- Freelancing is not as stressful as a 9-5 job
If only this myth about freelance jobs were true! Although freelancing does seem stress-free compared to corporate jobs, it is probably worse for your physical and mental health. A freelancer is similar to the owner of an organization, but in this case, you have to do the work for all departments.
Apart from being your own marketer, accountant, boss, project manager, and working long hours, you have the added stress of not having a regular paycheck as well as social isolation and loneliness in some cases. All this can take a toll on you and could result in health problems such as burnout, lifestyle diseases, stress, depression, and anxiety.
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- Freelancing jobs are not secure and have an unreliable income
Freelance jobs are so insecure! How do you pay your taxes? What about insurance? Can you afford to spend that much money? Thinking about it though, is there really any job that is fully reliable or secure? Even when working a regular job, you could easily lose it, get sick and be unable to work for a while, or you could be employed in a company that doesn’t pay on time.
In a way, freelance is better than a regular job, because unlike how losing your corporate job could mean no more income, as a freelancer, losing a single client doesn’t affect your finances that much because you have others to work with.
It is true that when doing freelance jobs your income depends on the season and demand for the services you provide. However, most freelancers prepare for the low season by coming up with a plan to ensure they have a steady income during the low seasons.
They do this by either taking advantage of the high season and making as much money as they can or marketing themselves, learning more skills, and acquiring more clients to cover them when there is less workload from individual clients in the low season.
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Freelance, like most other jobs, has its ups and downs. But despite the challenges, freelance jobs have numerous benefits. However, not everyone can build a successful freelance career especially if they don’t do it right or if they have unrealistic expectations of what freelance is all about. When deciding whether to become a freelancer or look for/remain at your regular 9-5 job, it is best to assess the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision.
Though some of the myths have some truth to them, it is not what freelance entails entirely, and starting a freelance career with the wrong assumptions could affect your performance and satisfaction with your job. You now know the reality of being a freelancer, what to expect, and that the above are just myths about freelance jobs and not the entire truth.
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