4 Things You Should Know Before You Start Freelancing

4 Things You Should Know Before You Start Freelancing

Robyn Petrik
Published on
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re frustrated with parts of your corporate nine-to-five job and you want to do something you’re actually excited about. Something where there’s no Sunday night dread or Monday morning blues.

You dream of working at home, handpicking your projects, and getting paid to do what you enjoy. I’ve been a full-time freelancer for three years now and I can confirm that all the above are true. But I’ve also had some unexpected, eye-opening realizations along the way. Let’s talk about some of the things you should know before you start freelancing.

1. Working at home gets lonely.

There are many perks to working from home like not having to commute and wearing whatever you want. However, working at home means you don’t see anyone else throughout the day and there’s no one to chitchat with. Social interaction becomes a thing of the past and it may start to drive you a little nutty. Create a plan to work at a coffee shop or coworking space on a regular basis to give yourself a change of scenery.

2. The income is inconsistent.

Hopefully you already know, especially before jumping into freelance writing full-time, that your income will be inconsistent from month to month. For example, in one month I had three of my clients wrap up projects out of the blue and suddenly my income was cut in half. Yet after a couple of months of applying for more writing gigs, I was earning more than ever as a freelancer. Before going full-time, pad your savings, cut back on expenses, and put a budget in place to prepare for inconsistent income.

3. Clients are like bosses.

Chances are, freelance writing appeals to you because you like the idea of being your own boss and answering only to yourself. I know that feeling well because that definitely drew me to freelancing when I was starting out. However, it’s important to know that clients still make requests, have expectations, and like to call a lot of the shots. Instead of having one boss in a traditional job, you’ll have several ‘mini-bosses.’ Learn early on to set guidelines with your clients that create healthy working relationships.

4. You feel guilty when you’re not working.

When you’re building your own business, there’s always something that needs your attention and you can always add more to your to-do list. That pesky voice in your head will constantly nag you to keep working – whether it’s spending more time on client work, marketing, or just getting ahead of schedule. Be sure to take time for yourself, schedule breaks and vacations, and let yourself truly relax when you’re not sitting at your computer.

While these are a few of the more honest realities about working as a freelance writer, you can prepare for them ahead of time. Get familiar with the challenges you may face so they won’t surprise you. And remember, having a flexible schedule while working in your pajamas at home is almost always worth it.