10 Reasons NOT to Choose Freelancing in 2024

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10 Reasons NOT to Choose Freelancing in 2024

Despite the continued threat of a recession (or maybe because of it), the gig economy is alive and well. In 2023, there are 73.3 million freelancers in the United States. It is predicted that there will be more than 76 million by the end of 2024. Studies have reported that freelancers are overall happier and more satisfied with their work/life balance. I am one of these happy freelancers. Leaving my Vice President of Marketing job to work full-time as a freelance brand strategist and marketing content writer in 2022 was one of the best decisions I’d ever made.

Yet, I don’t think freelancing is for everyone. It takes a special kind of person to thrive in a freelancing work environment. In fact, there are many reasons not to become a freelancer. As much as I love what I do, I always keep these cautionary tales in mind when speaking with friends who ask about my freelancing. I tell them that it’s just as important to be completely clear about the reasons not to dive in as it is to embrace the exciting opportunities freelancing can offer. Here are ten reasons NOT to become a freelancer in 2024.

  1. You need a steady paycheck: Money is the most important reason some people should not be freelancers. If you do not have savings to maintain your lifestyle or pay your bills, freelancing is not for you. If you are terrible with money and spend it all the moment it hits your bank account, freelancing will not work for you. There is no such thing as a steady paycheck in freelancing, especially in the beginning. Successful freelancers plan for downtimes with savings and backup strategies to supplement income when needed. If that sounds impossible or unpleasant, do not consider freelancing.
  2. You need your health insurance and yearly vacation time: Paying for your own health insurance and vacations can be very expensive. Many freelancers never go to the doctor or take a vacation for just this reason. If you need health insurance for yourself or your family, freelancing may not be the smart move for you. If you look forward to two weeks of paid time off every year, freelancing will never provide them.
  3. You love your 9 to 5 weekday work schedule: Freelancing is not a 9 to 5 endeavor. Variable deadlines mean you work when you have work to do. That might mean late nights, weekends, or holidays. It also means that some weeks may be light on work while others will be overloaded. Over time, experienced freelancers can regulate their schedules with long-time clients, but it takes time to get there. Meanwhile, you work when the work is due. Freelancing is not for you if you like shutting down the laptop at 5 p.m. sharp every day.
  4. You need regular feedback from superiors: You are on your own as a freelancer. It may be nice to think about a work-life with no boss, but it can also feel very unsettled. Performance reviews and check-ins with superiors can make workers feel validated or like they are progressing in their work. Freelancers may receive client feedback, but it is often sporadic at best and only when the client is unhappy. If you need a superior to tell you whether or not you are doing a good job, freelancing is not a smart choice for you.
  5. You need direction and focus at work: As a freelancer, you are a business owner. The success of your business is completely up to you. Freelancers wear multiple hats. You’re both the worker and the business owner. Staying focused allows you to balance these roles effectively, managing administrative tasks alongside client work. Freelancers also need to know the direction they want that business to go in. To be successful, you’ll need business goals. Maintaining focus is essential for working toward these goals, whether financial milestones, skill development, or expanding their client base. If you are easily distracted or prone to procrastination, freelancing is not for you.
  6. You love the social environment of work: Freelancers work alone, which can lead to feelings of isolation. You’ll often communicate only with clients, and these interactions are typically task-oriented. The absence of co-workers to share non-work-related conversations can contribute to a sense of social isolation. You will miss out on the “watercooler moments” that contribute to a sense of camaraderie. If you thrive on social interaction and a team environment, the solitude of freelancing will be unappealing.
  7. You don’t like sales: As a small business owner, freelancers must continually look for clients. That means selling your products or services to prospective customers. Selling is critical to freelancing success. It involves creating a compelling pitch, showcasing skills and experience, and demonstrating how to add value to potential clients. It also involves good negotiation and networking skills. Without smart selling strategies, no freelancer will survive. If any of this feels “icky” to you, freelancing may not be the path.
  8. You don’t want to stretch your skills or learn new ones: Freelancers need to continuously diversify their products and services to keep up with the competition. You’ll need to adapt to new technologies, industry trends, and client preferences. In addition, because freelancers are small business owners, you’ll need to understand business techniques and strategies to be successful, like accounting, project management, legal issues, and more. The most successful freelancers are the ones who understand their weaknesses or lack of knowledge and find ways to overcome them. If you don’t see the need to learn new things, stay informed, and continuously improve your skills, freelancing may not be for you.
  9. You are risk-averse: Freelancing inherently involves daily uncertainty and risk. We’ve already discussed many risks, including irregular income, no benefits, and dependence on regular clients. You are essentially self-employed and responsible for every aspect of your business, including taxes, marketing, and client acquisition. This level of responsibility may be overwhelming for those who prefer a more stable work environment. If you have a low-risk tolerance, freelancing will not work for you.
  10. You are not committed to freelancing: To be successful, commitment plays a significant role in the success and sustainability of your freelancing career. Freelancing success does not happen overnight. Commitment to delivering high-quality work, meeting deadlines, and providing excellent customer service will help you build trust and foster long-term client partnerships. Freelancers need a high level of self-discipline. Commitment to maintaining focus, managing time effectively, and meeting deadlines is crucial for delivering quality work consistently. Freelancing is not a good choice if you give up easily or are looking for a quick buck.

So, wrapping it up, freelancing is like a rollercoaster ride – thrilling, fun, and full of twists and turns, But to be successful as a freelancer, you’ve got to know where the twists and turns are. For those who can handle the highs and lows, it’s a liberating game-changer. Imagine having the freedom to set your own work hours, pick projects that light your fire, and basically be the boss of your own career.

But the rollercoaster ride is not for everyone. The uncertainty and risk can be a lot to handle. Freelancing requires a unique set of skills and characteristics. If you are considering joining the gig economy, you should be honest with yourself about your personal strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. It might not be the adventure you’re looking for.

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