8 Freelancer Problems [And Solutions to Overcome Them]
Life as a freelancer is great…until it isn’t. While we would love to imagine that every day of freelancing is full of sipping poolside margaritas as you bang out work on your laptop, freelancers have their fair share of problems to face too, just like anyone else. So in this post, we’re going to look at 8 of the most common freelancer problems as well as simple solutions to help mitigate their effect on your business and your life.
#1 Dealing With Unclear Instructions
Sometimes, you just get clients who aren’t quite sure what they want (or what they need). They might be looking to you to help them out. This can be a good opportunity for you to add value and win over a long time customer. But it can also take a lot of time out of the day.
Other times, you ask for very specific pieces of information, but the client fails to answer them all clearly. Their answers are incomplete or ambiguous, so you really can’t move forward on their project until you get clarity.
What’s the solution? A dose of patience goes a long way. And, if the client takes a while to clear things up, don’t be shy about asking for an extended deadline. But, if you feel like a client just isn’t giving you what you need no matter how much you ask, don’t be afraid to cancel the order if necessary. You don’t want to deliver inferior or unsatisfactory work.
#2 Dealing With Difficult Clients
A lot of non-freelancers will never know the struggle of dealing with difficult clients. They might be rude, and treat you more like an employee than an independent contractor. Or they might be micromanagers who try to control every aspect of your work. Some clients are just pushy and attempt to get more out of you than promised in your contract or service description. Whatever the case, tough clients are one of the freelancer problems we’ll all have to face at some point.
What’s the solution? Dealing with difficult clients is a lot like dealing with any other tough relationship. The only difference is that your income might be on the line. Every situation is unique and has to be handled accordingly. Just remember that you are a human and a professional and deserve to be treated as such.
#3 Saying No
Another one of the most common freelancer problems that you can probably relate to is the inability to say “no”. It can be tough to turn down work or requests because that old saying is often playing in the back of your head: “The customer is always right”. But sometimes, saying “yes” can be detrimental to your well-being.
What’s the solution? Understand your limits. Don’t be afraid to admit that your schedule just can’t fit in another order. Don’t be afraid to admit that a project is going to take more time than it is worth. And don’t be afraid to admit that you just aren’t a good fit for a client’s needs.
#4 Getting a Bad Review
You can’t please everyone all of the time. Sooner or later, a bad review is going to come around. When it does, you might feel like you got punched in the gut. But it won’t be the end of the world. Trust us.
What’s the solution? For starters, remind yourself of all of the good reviews you’ve gotten. There are likely a TON more satisfied customers than unsatisfied ones. Next, reach out to your unhappy client and ask if there is anything you can do to make things right. Be willing to admit that you messed up. But even if you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just good business to aim to please.
#5 Not Getting Paid
As a freelancer, you aren’t guaranteed a steady paycheck every two weeks that gets directly deposited into your bank account. And, since you don’t have an HR department to turn to, your financial wellbeing can often be at the mercy of clients who are halfway around the world. If they don’t pay, you don’t eat.
What’s the solution? If you are working remotely, your safest bet is to use a secure freelancer platform like Legiit. This way, you are guaranteed payment as long as you deliver what was promised. The client’s money is held in escrow until you complete their order, so you don’t have to worry about being left high and dry.
#6 Feeling Financially Secure
Since your income stream is so variable, another one of the most common freelancer problems is feeling a sense of financial security. You might make a killing one month and only half of that the next (here’s looking at you, December). But finding financial stability is important to preventing stress and living a happy life, so it’s a worthwhile problem to tackle.
What’s the solution? Check out our post on financial planning for freelancers for a full rundown. A big part of it is tracking your profit so that you can schedule yourself a regular payday. Additionally, building up your savings account and putting money aside for taxes will help you avoid sudden expenses that often throw freelancers for a loop.
#7 Finding Work-Life Balance
Most freelancers at least do some of their work from home. If you’ve got a family, you know how hard it can be to separate your work from your family life when this is the case. Likewise, since many freelancers don’t work set hours, they often feel the need to respond to client inquiries round-the-clock, even when they are out to dinner with friends or at their kid’s baseball game.
What’s the solution? If you work from home, try to set up a designated home office—a place where you can “retreat” from life when you need to get down to business. And if you struggle to switch off “work mode” when it’s time to relax, set yourself a work schedule so that your family and friends can count on you to be engaged in your own life and theirs.
#8 Taking Time Off
Part of finding that work-life balance is taking the occasional vacation. You work hard for your money, so you should get to enjoy it from time to time. The other freelancer problem that you’ll struggle with is taking time off when you’re sick. If you aren’t working, after all, you aren’t getting paid.
What’s the solution? When you are establishing your budget, you need to account for the fact that you probably won’t be working 365 days a year. Decide how much “vacation time” you want to give to yourself, and set aside that money in a savings account so that you don’t feel like you are going to go bankrupt every time you want or need to take a break.