Why freelancing isn't for everyone

January 6, 2019 - 5 min read

All my friends are always telling me how fortunate I am to be a freelancer, to work when I want, have time for myself and be able to charge a good hourly rate in comparison to our country minimum wage (I have friends who in some jobs were earning 3.5€/hr, a little less than $4/hr). But all that it's bullshit.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that I can pay my bills right now doing a few hours per week of programming, but I don't think everyone understands that freelancing it's actually a lot more than doing "whatever the fuck you want to do" (Yeah, some people think that).

Clients

I am happy with my current clients, but when you're starting out and don't have too many options, you will often get shitty clients. Late payments (or excuses to not pay), absurd deadlines, scope creep...

Being a freelancer means owning a business working for other people. So don't get into freelancing with the mindset of "I want to work for myself".

Money

For each 1.000€ I earn, I have to pay around 300€ of business taxes in Spain (you have to pay just to be able to work for yourself here, fucking annoying) and around 30% of taxes like most countries, no complaints there.

You also have to take care of insurance, the software and hardware you use (usually your company pays for that), internet, maybe a co-working space so you don't feel lonely every day... Point is when you're working in-house, you forget about taxes and a lot of things are taken care for you.

Time

It is true that you can, more or less, decide the hours you work when you're freelancing. But hear this, things will break and users will find bugs and shit you have to fix. Summer? Christmas? Week away with the family? You will probably have to work.

Sure thing, sometimes you might be able to decline, but again, like most of us, more often than not, you'll need those extra hours and will say yes to the client.

Final thoughts

It looks like I don't like freelancing or it doesn't have any good points, but that's not my intent. I'm just venting a little and as I said it on another post, you should do what you love. Freelancing is not for everyone, but if you like it, you can make a good career out of it.