10 disadvantages of freelancing from the point of view of a developer freelancer who has been working from home and as a freelancer for more than a decade.
There are two sides of every coin, and freelancing is no different. We have seen the advantages of freelancing. So today I will share the dark side of it aka the disadvantages of freelancing.
I have been working from home as a freelancer for a decade, so you can count me in when it comes to experience any disadvantages as a freelancer.
What are the Disadvantages of Freelancing?
So let me share all my experience with you. Let us look back at some of the disadvantages of freelancing and being a freelancer as opposed to working for an employer and doing a job.
1. Move over to Wrong Technology
Freelancing gives you the power to work for whatever you like at a price; you feel satisfied. It means you can choose the clients that are willing to pay you the price you demand.
So, it is straightforward for a freelancer to move from one technology to others. If you have an Upwork profile, all one needs is to send a few proposals for clients in the new niche.
If I share my example, Writers is one of the highest paying freelancing skill for a long time. As a blogger, I can always move over to being a writer than being a developer.
But, I prefer to remain as a developer because my decision to be a blogger is giving back to my readers and encourage them to freelance. Additionally, I enjoy programming and development.
Once the decisions are financial, it can mean the freelancer is more likely to make a choice of hot technology than the one he enjoys working.
2. Unethical Billings
I have seen freelancers charge clients for moving the mouse.
The way it happens for any freelancing marketplace, including Upwork, is, there is an option for automatic payment for billable hours. To opt for automatic payments, you install the app and start billing for a particular client. For time to time, the app takes screenshots and uploads them.
In such a scenario, when the tasks aren’t as long as initially thought, I have seen people keeping the app open and moving the mouse to bill more hours to the client.
It is completely unethical.
So, for all my client, I always ask to allow manual timing. For clients who aren’t able to trust my hourly billing, there is no point in working for them either.
3. Varying Workloads and Income
As an individual freelancer, the workload often takes a waveform. There will be times when you have a few clients in the pipeline. At other times, you may be looking for clients.
I have found some creative ways to remain busy in between projects. However, varying workloads is part and parcel of being a freelancer.
Moreover, variation in income is also part of the process. One has to learn to live with it. The best part is, the lower end of the income variation is still much higher than when I was doing the job.
4. Become Workaholics and Lose Work-Life Balance
There is no boss. Clients want you to get the job done as soon as possible. Moreover, more work means more money.
Additionally, freelancers work from your home, which means there is no clear boundary of start time and end time.
I had many 16 hours of work-day when I started freelancing. Over time, I had to make a rule not to power on my laptop (no matter what) once I called it off.
One needs to be a lot more disciplined to not only to keep you driving but even to stop you.
You won’t realize and become workaholic and lose work-life balance.
5. Isolation or Being in Non-Productive Environment
One may think – what else can be more comforting than working from home?
But one has to do the work from home environment is productive. When kids are around, it can be tough to focus on things.
Moreover, humans are social animals. As a freelancer working from home can mean you become lonely. By lonely, I don’t say family-wise, but if you don’t have anyone to talk about your work achievements in the coffee breaks.
So you manage to solve a very complex problem, you can’t say it to your wife if she isn’t technical. Or if you compiled an excellent article in a niche no one around you understands it can be annoying and lonely.
It happens to me all the time. But because I am an introvert and doesn’t like to talk much, I am okay with it.
6. Too Much of Accountability
Being a freelancer means you control everything from profit and loss to computer maintenance.
So you are not only a freelancer but an accountant, the admin guy, the marketing manager at the same time. As a freelancer, one has to prepare mentally for all the responsibilities.
Additionally, as a developer freelancer, when I am stuck at something, there isn’t anyone to fallback. It means I have too much responsibility. As a new developer opting to freelance, it can be overwhelming.
Finally – Is Freelancing a Good Idea?
I will still iterate – the best part of being in the digital era; one can be a freelancer.
One has to see if the disadvantages of freelancing are outweighing the advantages and then consider to be a freelancer.