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Ask DN: What is the hardest thing about being a freelance?

over 8 years ago from , Lead Designer Designer at Icalia Labs

As a student always I hear to my friends talk about this question, for example in México one of the most difficult thing are the tax and accounting issues because the information it's very confusing.

For you, what is the most difficult thing about work as freelance? (Besides the money)

5 comments

  • Ryan Hicks, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    In my experience; figuring out the business (and legal) side of it because no school teaches that aspect, and figuring out what to charge your clients. Also worrying if you'll have enough work/clients/projects to keep yourself afloat, and where the next one will come from.

    If you do decide to do it (for me) finding a co-working space is a big boost for your business. Gives you a space to get out of your home, gives you networking opportunities (and potential clients), gives you meeting rooms, makes you appear more professional to clients, and other perks that siting alone in a room in your house/apt. may not otherwise offer.

    Edit

    I'd also like to append that every designer should be reading this book before they get into designing, contract, or freelance work. I really wish universities would require it as course material reading.

    Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro

    4 points
    • Kelly LawrenceKelly Lawrence, over 8 years ago

      In my experience; figuring out the business (and legal) side of it because no school teaches that aspect, and figuring out what to charge your clients.

      Totally forgot about this! I had to learn so much from my father, who luckily has run his own businesses in the past. If it wasn't for that, I would have had no idea about some the tax related stuff. If I was to ever freelance again, I think I'd like to take some form of Business 101 community college course first.

      If you do decide to do it (for me) finding a co-working space is a big boost for your business. Gives you a space to get out of your home, gives you networking opportunities (and potential clients), gives you meeting rooms, makes you appear more professional to clients, and other perks that siting alone in a room in your house/apt. may not otherwise offer.

      Unfortunately, such a thing isn't really available in the small area I'm from, but that definitely sounds like a good idea for anyone living in a larger place where something like that is common!

      0 points
      • Ryan Hicks, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

        Unfortunately, such a thing isn't really available in the small area I'm from, but that definitely sounds like a good idea for anyone living in a larger place where something like that is common!

        Sounds like a new business venture could be taken up in your area on your behalf. Co-working spaces are very popular. Time to do some market research for your area ;)

        I also edited my original reply.

        0 points
  • Kelly LawrenceKelly Lawrence, over 8 years ago

    When I was doing freelance for a while right out of college, the hardest thing was feeling like I was making a decent living out of it.

    I heard people make similar comments a few times about how it was nice that I was able to do what I loved temporarily until I "found a real job" in their eyes.

    Even besides the money as you mentioned, there was always a worrying feeling for me about when my next job would be lined up, if I had enough bigger projects to help cover my rent and whatnot for that month, etc.

    Also, I was working from my place all by myself, so besides client interaction, it was a pretty lonely period of time!

    With all of that said though, given the right opportunities and situations, I would probably do it again. Working 9-5 with a steady pay check is nice, but being your own boss, working your own hours, and feeling totally control about how things are ran is definitely more appealing to me!

    1 point
  • Zac HalbertZac Halbert, over 8 years ago

    The hardest thing for me is making the time to build the new client marketing machine. It's a grind for the first couple years while you get your name out there, but eventually gets easier. It took me a couple years to start getting enough project inquiries to keep me flush. It's even easier if you're diligent about being public (blogging, twitter, dribbble, etc), and asking old clients to refer you to friends and write reviews.

    Legal stuff is also a bit confusing, but with a good contract that spells out when you get paid, kill fees, rights, etc., you can rest easy. 99% of clients are awesome if you treat them right, and the contract is there for the 1%.

    You didn't ask this question, but the best part about it is being able to take your career in any direction you choose. This freedom is either awesome or terrifying depending on your personality :)

    0 points