The Three Biggest Obstacles Getting in the Way of Freelancers in the Digital Age

Being a freelancer definitely comes alongside its share of perks. To begin with, you’re finally your own boss, so you’re in complete control of what your workload looks like on a daily basis. You can work how you want, where you want, and when you want. The fact that you’re just one person can make the freelancing life really challenging though, especially here in the digital age. The following are some of the tougher obstacles every online freelancer eventually grapples with, as well as some tips on how to overcome each.


1. Time Management

One of the most common reasons freelancers decide to strike out on their own in the first place is a strong desire to say good-bye to the boss’s time clock once and for all. However, many quickly realize that setting their own hours is challenging in its own way. Some find out that motivation is an issue and have trouble focusing hard enough for long enough to get anything done. Others quickly find themselves overworked and burnt out because they don’t know when to say no, when to take time off, or even when to stop working for the day.

Set regular business hours and a weekly schedule for yourself that allows for a few free hours each day, regular days off, and the occasional vacation. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Look for ways you can manage your “on” hours more efficiently as well (e.g. better software or a more detailed calendar).

2. Unpredictable Income

When you freelance, your income is always going to be unpredictable to some degree, but this is especially the case when you’re first starting out. Good, reliable clients are harder to come by, as are projects that come attached to big payouts. When you work online, you can also run into roadblocks when it comes to both getting paid yourself and paying others, if you happen to be managing a team. 

First of all, it’s important not to let stress over money matters get the best of you. Avoid overthinking things too much, and be careful not to spend money you don’t have, especially in the beginning. Streamline the process of getting paid (and paying others) digitally with some solid, reliable money sending platforms. Solutions like PayPal or Square work well enough for money that’s changing hands within US borders, but for transactions to or from locations abroad, a solution like ShareMoney is going to be much more efficient. Such interfaces make sending money to South America, Mexico, and many more locations fast, easy, and safe. 

3. Persistent Creative Blocks

Many freelancers, especially those that offer creative services like content writing or graphic design, eventually find themselves dealing with creative blocks and getting stuck in ruts as a result. After a while, you can feel like you’re just rehashing the same old ideas over and over again, leaving you wondering if you’ll ever get your groove back. Once that happens, it’s all too easy to feel just as bored with your freelancing business as you once did working a traditional nine to five.

Keep yourself inspired by checking out what others in your field are doing, especially those who are considered the industry’s best and brightest. If you’re the type that likes a lot of variety when it comes to your work, actively seek out projects that break new ground or allow you to tackle something new and exciting from time to time. When you’re the creative type, variety often really is the spice of life, so don’t be afraid to mix things up.

At the end of the day, freelance work is ultimately still workso it’s important to treat it that way. However, that hardly means it shouldn’t also be fun, freeing, stimulating, and everything else you hoped it would be when you first started. Strike the right balance, and see what happens. 

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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