Last week, I wrote about the benefits of freelancing. I still stand by everything I said, but I also felt the need to cover some freelancing cons. That way, you can figure out if this is the right type of work for you.
For many musicians and creatives, freelancing is one of the easiest ways to start in your career. But it can take a lot of work, especially if you want to earn a lot of money from it.
Keep reading to learn if you can get past these freelancing cons for a life of freedom and flexibility.
No Group Health Insurance
If you’re in the United States, one of the biggest freelancing cons is that you don’t have access to employer-sponsored health insurance. This means you may have to pay a lot more for the same coverage as someone who’s an employee.
Fortunately, there are a few solutions to this:
- Stay on your parents’ insurance until age 26
- Get on your spouse’s insurance
- Check with your university alumni association
- Look for professional organizations with coverage
Of course, you can also buy health insurance individually on the marketplace. In fact, the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan includes increases in premium tax credits for 2021 and 2022. So you could save on your premiums.
No Minimum Wage
Another downside to freelancing is that minimum wage laws don’t cover this type of work. Depending on the type of work you do and how much you charge/clients are willing to pay, you may not make very much per hour.
However, you do have the ability to set your own rates. If you teach for a community music school or work for some sort of agency, they may set the rate. But you still have the option to decline opportunities that don’t pay enough.
You also won’t always get paid, even if you do charge more than the minimum wage. It can take weeks or even months for some clients to pay you. So make sure you have some savings to get by while waiting for client or student invoices.
No Guaranteed Work
Another one of the biggest freelancing cons is that you don’t have guaranteed work. When you have a normal job, they will pay you and give you hours, even when they don’t have as much for you to do.
As a freelancer, you won’t get paid if you aren’t working, unless you set up passive income streams. That means if you don’t have students, gigs, or clients, you won’t make money.
You have to be the one to get those gigs. Now, that can be a downside because it means you have to spend less time actually working. However, you can choose the gigs or students that you want. Then, you can enjoy the work when you do get it.
You can also diversify your income streams to help as well. If one of your clients needs a break or if you lose a few students, you can start to rely on your other income streams for a while.
Feast or Famine
On the flip side, another con to freelancing is that you may sometimes be super busy. If you get a ton of client inquiries or a ton of potential students at once, you may have to work a lot or turn down a project or two.
But if you’re just starting as a freelancer, you may feel tempted to say yes to everyone and everything. You need to make money, and you don’t know when you will get more opportunities.
However, you can create a waitlist for your studio or client roster. Then, when a current student leaves or you lose a client, you can go to that waitlist. The new client or student has already asked to work with you, so you don’t have to do much promotion to get them to start a contract.
Hard to Get Started
Another one of the most significant freelancing cons happens in the beginning. Before you make a name for yourself as a private teacher, performer, or whatever it is you do, it can be hard to get work.
It can take time to bring in a full studio of private students or a list of clients. And even then, you never know when a student may quit of a client may no longer need your services. However, it does get easier once you do get your freelancing career going.
After you find some work, you can be pickier about the students and gigs you accept. You can turn down opportunities that don’t interest you or that don’t pay enough. That way, you can start to make more money and have more control over your work.
Can Be Lonely
Another disadvantage that freelancers face is the potential for loneliness. When you work in an office or a music school, you get to see people all day, every day. While a private teacher working from home will see their students, it’s not the same as seeing coworkers.
Even as the pandemic ends, I know I’ll keep working from home for the foreseeable future. Some days, I can feel like I haven’t interacted with anyone or at least not for very long.
Now, I do consider myself an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I like being alone all of the time. We all need some interaction with others. And freelancing can make that difficult. But you can join a mastermind group or find a fellow freelancer and have a regular video chat with them to stay social.
While freelancing can be amazing, there are a few freelancing cons to consider before you quit your day job. On the one hand, you have more flexibility and control. However, you also have to find the work and build a career yourself.
Consider if the freelancing cons outweigh the pros or vice versa. Then, you can decide if this career path is right for you.
Want to learn more? Download your copy of The Freelance Solution!