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Why I hate Freelance Designing

why-i-hate-freelance-designing A lot of people believe that freelance designing is a life of luxury with late starts and early finishes while drinking several cups of coffee in between, If you really believe this is the life style of freelancer then you’re about to be enlightened.

You Can’t Just Be a Good Designer

Even though your main job role is designing as a freelancer it’s essential to have skills in other areas in order to succeed and generate any sort of income. It’s ok being a good designer but if you lack marketing/promoting skills it’s going to be near enough impossible to find and attracts clients to work alongside. As a freelancer you need to be a jack of all trades know a range of skills (accounting, writing, managing etc) rather than just been good at designing.


Good Reliable Clients Are Impossible To Find

If your just starting out perusing a career as a freelancer it can be weeks or possibly even months before you find your first client to work alongside because your yet to build up a strong portfolio, which means the chances of you working with high profile clients is unlikely. There are always clients which you produce work for and can be waiting for a very long period of time before you received your first pay check from them for the work which you have produced, which is time-consuming and time wasting chasing clients for unpaid work.

Picky Clients Who Are Impossible To Please

Working with clients can be very frustrating because they can be very fussy about how they want the direction of the design project to be go, which is the frustrating part because you’re the expert and that’s why their paying for your assistance. Why I hate picky clients is because they constantly required you to make tweaks and changes to the project, which can waste a lot of valuable time which could be spent working on other projects for higher paying clients.


Very long working hours

When getting approached by several clients at the same time freelancers will refuse to turn away clients, which can lead to designers working ridiculous amounts of hours a week in order to meet clients deadlines for projects which they have accepted. This is aspect of freelancing is one which I it hate because this means sacrificing valuable time with the family and it puts hold on your social life.

You’ve got a work 365 days a year in order to get paid

You’re required to work every day in every month in order to generate an income, where as if you work for a web design company if you’re sick or decide to go on vacation it doesn’t put a halt on your income because you will still be receiving a pay

Final Thoughts

Like all jobs freelancing has its pros and cons. Freelancing isn’t for everyone you’ll either love it or hate it. It’s a great chance to be independent and be your own boss , but comes with a ton of challenges, problems and constraints which you will face during your freelancing career.

Why not Share your Thoughts?

What do you hate most about freelancing? What did you think of this article? Feel to leave a comment you’re more than welcome to share your thoughts and opinions on the article.

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39 thoughts on “Why I hate Freelance Designing

  1. SOOOOO TRUE! Designing is only 30-40% of the job – you need to be able to sell yourself and your skills more. Then there’s all the other stuff such as invoicing, chasing payments (a REAL ballache sometimes).

    Unless you are an utterly incrdible designer you need a solid foundation of programming skills too – I mean, why employ a designer AND programmer when 1 person could do it all?

    I’m lucky enough to have a business contact who’s given me about 50% of my work over the last 3 years, so without him my life could be very different. I know other freelancer/self-employed designers who struggle to get work because they just don’t know how to network… I’m ALWAYS ready to offer my skills to people I meet, but I bloody love it and wouldn’t have it any other way……….. I could never go back to being employed and having to answer to some idiot boss!

  2. The joy of freelancing is the freedom. With working from home you can work when it suits you. I know you end up working more hours but you can take breaks and spread the work across the whole day.

  3. I agree with you on many points, oftentimes these reasons were why I left freelancing to get a stable job, but then I found the freedom wasn’t there.

    You get to be the boss, plus for me it has helped me become better in marketing my skills to others.

    It has helped me meet many people I would never have normally crossed paths with.

    There are pros and cons to just about everything, but in the end it’s all about enjoying the freedom freelancing gives

  4. I think part of being a good freelancer is putting yourself out there rather then waiting for clients to pass by and maybe ask for work done as Bren briefly mentioned..
    Hell, I seem to see horrible designers getting clients everyday simply because they’re good at networking….so I guess if anything..designing and good interpersonal skills go hand in hand in successful freelancing..

  5. Can’t there be a balance for both? I may be just an intern, but but the expereince of working part time and do freelance work, allows me to receive regular income from my internship and the freedom to do my own choice projects as a freelancer while experimenting on new techniques and technology.

  6. Nice article… here in Guatemala you´ll find that the freelancers are just a few, cause companies dont want to pay what a good design worth. Be designer here is hard cause pay is bad… I would like to become frelance soon or later I will

  7. I just started my own business and enjoy a cup of tea quite often during the day. If you’re good at what you do, the business will follow.

    I agree with you on a couple points, but for the most part, I have to respectfully disagree and say that if you don’t like it, get out of the business.

  8. I completely disagree with this article.

    Here’s my response to each point –

    1) Do the homework. Freelancing ain’t about blindly making money. If you need to shift from a cubicle 9 – 5 to being your own boss, it comes at a price. Learning accounting / mgmt. skills etc. is the ABC of any business. Deal with it, else quit and work like every other slave dedicating 8 hrs a day to make someone else look good.

    2) Strongly disagree. One good job brings another. If you have a strong advantage on skillset over anyone else in your area / market, then your work WILL fetch high profile jobs. NOTHING is impossible.

    3) Picky clients affect anyone and everyone. Freelance or not. Be smart, choose your clients.

    4) Long working hours, for a good reason too. Striving hard in the beginning really does pay off that vacation that isn’t bound to ANY annual contract.

    5) Like Doh. Money don’t grow on trees. Set a target every month and assess how much you make monthly and move on. If anyone has to work 365 days a year to make money, then something is really wrong – it calls for a career change.

    I feel this article is very negative and could stop anyone to consider freelancing. Negative vibes can do nothing better than putting off people who write it and read it. There are a number of individuals who made their way up by freelancing. Tough life, tough luck, but pays off when you can churn your way through.

    A freelancer.

  9. Very well put. I think you have to be very disciplined to be a great freelance designer. Some designers thrive best in a structured environment (in terms of work hours).

  10. All you say is so right… though I’ve just quit from my job to become a freelancer and I can tell you I’m realy enjoying taking my decisions and doing my planning on my own… Freedom !!.

  11. I agree with Nizam also. I am currently a full time designer for two companies owned by the same CEO and though it provides stability for finances (barely now – we just took a 10% pay cut) it also infuriates me.

    I am beginning to try and start my freelance business on the side because of my frustrations for working in the corporate workplace.

    I do not know many of the frustrations with being a Freelance designer without any supplemental income from a full time or part time job.

    I do, however, know the frustrations of going to a place of business every Monday-Friday, 8-5 and slaving yourself for someone else…who by the way, is not savvy, has no taste, and makes you create things that look like a kid created them, while your true talent wastes away because no one wants to hear your experienced and educated opinions.

    In the corporate work place its their way or the highway and more than none you end up leaving the office HATING your job.

    As far as working tons of hours, I would much rather work 60-70 hours a week knowing it is for myself and not the corporation I work for currently. Also, it has to make up for all the frustrations when you can charge certain rates that you are happy and willing to work for (unlike my company that hasn’t given a raise in 5 years and starts everyone out WAY lower than anywhere else). I know when I took the job I was just out of college and needing the experience, but now that I have been working for the past three years, it is definitely time for a change.

    All I know is compared to Corporate jobs I can’t wait to get my Freelance business up and running, keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to enjoy the freedom of Freelance very soon!

  12. I have a question for the author:

    Have you ever freelanced (recently)?

    Because your POV seems of a non-freelancer.
    So you wouldn’t actually know how it is.

    I am not saying that you have not been or is not a freelancer, but that it seems so. No offense.

  13. I think it is what you make it.

    Very easy to complain. Very easy to be miserable.

    I have got to a place where I tell the idiot clients I am not the designer for them.

    I’ve supported myself for 10 years and it’s hard, but so is life baby!!

    I have clients I’ve had for ten years and they respect me and leave to do my job.

    Yes, there are crappy parts, but they are self inflicted instead of being inflicted upon you by some up-himself arsehole senior graphic designer.

    I would die now if I had to be told what my day consisted of by someone who was taking home all my profits.

    The real problem is accepting the joy you have, and not constantly looking at the greener grass, when you know it’s the most boring, painful, idiotic grass ever, that will end up giving you the shits.

    I had both my babies while I worked and kept my clients happy. No glitch in my career path, and that wouldn’t have happened at a studio.

    Join groups for freelancers that support them, and get out and chat with others. You are not alone.


    PS. Great, brave, and brilliant ideas Jennifer, go for it. Join heaps of associations and twitter like mad.

  14. I agree with some points for the pros and cons

    the thing I am struggling with at the moment is disciplining myself into using the day to work instead of going to the gym and doing outdoors stuff during the day, then trying to squeeze all my work into the evenings, meaning very late nights and a reducing productivity level!

  15. Yes you are correct, this may be called the consequences of being a freelancer. I was four years old began his career as a partime freelancer, with a few small clients.

    I plan to open a small studio at home, and do not work alone. I will collaborate with some friends as outsourced workers.

    So I thought it would save my life from things that you mentioned above.

  16. freelancing is honestly extremely difficult and your hours are way, way higher than a regular 9-to-5: there’s a reason why people apply so desperately for traditional positions of employment. clients can be a total nightmare and you really do have to have it all together in your head just to break even.

  17. I’m with Nizam. I am a new freelance designer myself and whilst it is a struggle just to get everything launched and learn to remember the many tips and practices that are essential, this can be said for anything really. This post seems a bit too negative and doesn’t even attempt to balance the arguments effectively. Freelancing isn’t easy but then again most things in life aren’t.

  18. It’s an honest account, but it doesn’t all hold true. The key to enjoying a freelance lifestyle is to change your attitude. Sure, it’s hard doing your own marketing and finding clients. It’s also tough having those clients not ‘appreciating’ your skills and wanting their own input – but remember, they’re putting their trust in you and spending their money. So be honest and put yourself in their shoes. How would you be?

    Working ridiculous hours is a matter of opinion. Being your won boss means you can pick and choose. If you set a high earning expectation, be prepared for a slogg. Keep things simple and your own costs down and you’ll relieve the potential stress of freelancing.

    It is only for a certain mindset, but for me, it beats working for someone else – especially if I don’t agree with their opinions and principles, or don’t respect them as individuals. Nothing is worse than having to deal with that and put up!

  19. I’m a freelancers and I’m finding that other freelancers can be a huge problem. In my case I feel that I looked as a threat to there business. Example I know of a designer he doesn’t do web design he can do a little print design. So this person wanted me to do web design and web development. When the project was done I asked him to let me use the work to score new cliental, his answer no because it was his client. Is this strange or just

  20. I’ve got some years in and to the point I’ve been brought on as a partner in businesses for my work.

    My advice to freelancers – take’em or leave’em

    Learn how to price your work correctly.

    Learn when to take equity and when to take money.

    Learn to program or learn to outsource.

    Give 24 hours before responding to a distressed email.

    Become friends with your clients. Learn about them and they will let you live normally and allow you to give reasonable timeline’s.

    Learn when to say no and when to say yes.

    Learn who you should always say NO to. Generally these are possible clients that tell you horror stories about past designers.

    Learn how to sell your design with research. Also if you have a tough client who thinks they know don’t worry about losing them. Tell them the truth and say you’ll circle back with them later. Most likely they will compromise.

    Remain stern and never compromise. You are the designer and that’s what they hired you for. If they could do it they would not be paying you.

    I have been making over 6 figures freelancing for the past 9 years consistently and get recommendations regularly from clients I’ve had serious fights with.

    Learning how to wait and mitigate risk is the key to freelancing.

  21. “As a freelancer you need to be a jack of all trades know a range of skills (accounting, writing, managing etc) rather than just been good at designing.” AMEN

    Freelancing for 9 years now, up’s and down’s. Pro’s: no boss / Con’s: gets lonely sometimes :)

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