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6 Challenges Freelancers Face and How to Overcome Them

Although freelancing is considered a less stressful kind of career choice, it still has its fair share of challenges. The challenges of being a freelancer are quite different from being a traditional employee. That said, you really can’t wholly say that freelancing is less stressful, but it does have its perks. To enjoy success as a freelancer, you need to face the imminent difficulties and problems that come along with it. So if you’re currently freelancing or planning to soon, then you’re in the right place here with us. We’ll discuss six of the most notable freelancer challenges and how you can overcome each of them.

6 Challenges Freelancers Face and How to Overcome Them

Looking for Gigs

The very first challenge that every freelancer will probably encounter is looking for gigs. You’re basically on ground zero if you’ve just started freelancing. It’s tough to find clients in the freelance economy, particularly if you’re a newbie who hasn’t established a reputation yet. On top of that, you’re on your own in searching for gigs most of the time. Sometimes, you have to be the one to approach clients and present a proposal to work for them; take the initiative.

Overcoming the challenge of landing gigs is not that complicated. For one, there are several freelance websites wherein you can obtain contracts from the right clients. Register your profile and portfolio into these websites, and clients might contact you first. Another approach you can do is to execute simple marketing techniques. Promote your freelance services on social media platforms. There are numerous social media strategies that you can do without the help of experts. Simply put, just take advantage of various online platforms that helped long-time freelancers earn more work.

Managing Time

Time management is an every-day challenge for freelancers. In freelancing, you can seriously get busy at times, especially if you have many projects with hectic deadlines that are fast approaching. You could feel the pressure in such a situation, which also makes proper time management challenging to achieve, and it could seem near-impossible at certain points.

As a freelancer, time management should be like a religion to you. To manage your time well, there are several strategies you can tackle. The most basic is to prepare a schedule so that you can budget your working hours equitably. On your schedule, you should prioritize the most urgent projects. You can also include personal tasks and important errands if that helps you plan your schedule better. For a more straightforward approach, you can create a simple to-do checklist to keep tabs on which project you need to complete within a specific period. There also time management tools and apps that you can download on your devices.

Keep in mind that your chosen time management tactic should help you accomplish your workloads on time.

Unrealistic or Vague Client Requests

Dealing with clients can cause headaches for many freelancers. Clients have different kinds of personalities, some of which may prove challenging to handle, especially those with unrealistic or vague requests. Unfortunately, there is a likely chance that you’ll encounter those types of clients. Working on their projects will be a significant headscratcher due to unclear instructions and requirements. In that case, the result of the projects will be significantly suboptimal, which will surely make your clients unsatisfied.

The best approach to overcome this hurdle is simply to communicate well with your clients. If there are unclear instructions about your agreements with your clients, clarify those with them. If possible, set regular meetings with your clients to discuss matters regarding their projects in person. In situations when your clients have infeasible expectations, explain to them why the results they want are impossible to happen. As a freelancer, you should be more knowledgeable and reasonable than your clients. Remember that you’re the expert.

Dealing with Drought

There will be times that freelance gigs are scarce due to various reasons. Even your long-time trusted clients might not have any project for you to work on at some periods. This situation is called droughts or dry spells. Although it rarely happens, there are also instances when freelancing websites have fewer job vacancies than usual. In such times, you might think that freelancing is a terrible career choice.

Freelancing isn’t a bad career path, but it does have risks such as periods of droughts. Any industry in our economy has phases such as that. Admittedly, there’s no immediate solution for droughts. The best thing that you can do is to be prepared for them all the time. Accept the fact that the freelancing field has certain unpredictabilities. When droughts happen, it’s important not to panic and to understand that things will get back to normal eventually. So before droughts occur, make the most of your freelance gigs and save money as much as you can.

Overdue Payments

Clients who don’t pay freelancers on time is definitely a huge problem. Many freelancers out there are dealing with this kind of frustration regularly, especially full-time freelancers. Full-time freelancers depend on client payments to obtain a steady income. A steady income is not easy to achieve in freelancing. So as a freelancer, you should know that clients’ overdue payments will affect your financial status. If that happens, you’ll have a hard time paying your bills and daily expenses.

There are two reasons why clients don’t pay you on time. First, they simply forgot because they’re busy with other things; know that some of your clients could be businessmen with many professional obligations. Second, they currently don’t have the money to pay you.

To ensure that your clients pay dues on time, send them a bill or invoice of your services, and follow up constantly. Make your own simple report sheet to track which of your clients have already paid and which haven’t yet. What’s even better is to let your clients sign a contract with a statement conveying that they must pay due as scheduled. That should incline them to pay your services on time.

Being a One-Man Show

One of the main benefits of freelancer careers is independence and freedom. According to an article from, an estimate of 57.3 million individuals in the U.S freelanced in 2019, and those freelancers could become a major workforce come 2027. The most probable reasons why many are transitioning to freelance are work-life balance and being one’s own boss. Based on a survey analysis by FlexJobs, work-life balance is the top reason why 70% of their respondents chose to be freelancers.

To enjoy a work-life balance, to be independent, and to have more freedom as a freelancer means you’ll be a one-man show. No bosses or CEOs will order you to do this or to do that. You act at your own will and choices. But, being a one-person show is never easy. When there are problems, you need to face them singlehandedly. You won’t have colleagues who’ll help you with your tasks and projects. How should you deal with being a one-person show? Well, you just need to be dedicated to your stance as a freelancer. You should know in the first place that freelancing is a one-person show. Because you’re your own boss, you must exercise your leadership skills so that you can lead yourself to success.

In freelancing, you need to be flexible, resourceful, dynamic, and committed. In other words, you need to be a hustler. Once you possess those qualities of a hustler, you can overcome any challenge that comes in your way.

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