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10 Reasons Why It SUCKS To Be a Freelancer

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Previously on WebDesignDev, we posted an article that featured 10 reasons why it rocks to be a freelancer. Today we have laid out the negatives and put on the table 10 reasons why it sucks to be a freelancer.

Every job, including freelancing, has its ups and downs. Freelancing has great benefits, rather than the monotone 9 to 5 job, and the growth possibilities are huge, being your own boss, but it also comes with some risks. Here are 10 negatives about freelancing you’ll probably agree with.

Cross Browser Compatibility Can Be A Pain

When freelancers are asked to design for all browsers, this can be a big pain, especially coding for Internet Explorer. This takes up more time, and you have to manually check it in different browsers. Firefox and opera are usually the same, but Safari and Internet Explorer tweak little annoying things.

Picky Clients Can Waste Time And Lose You Money

Clients can be very fussy, and demand different things, redesigns, tweaks etc. This can waste a lot of time, and therefore cost you money.

reasons why it sucks to be a freelancer

No Security

If you are ill and can’t work, you won’t get paid. If you have holiday leave you won’t get paid. It’s your work and you have to do it to get paid. Unless you hire someone else to complete your projects.

Can Be Long Work Hours

Freelancers usually never turn down work. Money is money, right? But when the workload builds up, freelancers usually tend to find themselves working round the clock 60+ hours a week. This can be very exhausting.

Always At Work

You should expect to be on call all day long which can be a strain on personal life. You can go to work whenever you like. If you are sitting enjoying your TV and you get an email from a client asking for the deadline to be moved forward for extra pay, it can interrupt your personal activities.

freelancer working hours

Freelancing Isn’t Scalable

If you decide to go away for a month, you cant come back and find out you have earned more money than in the previous month. You have to constantly work to earn money. You won’t earn from it in the future and it won’t be your retirement.

Pay For Your Own Problems

For example, if the laptop / computer you use for web design breaks, it comes out of your profit to buy a new one. Whereas if you were working for a big company, you personally wouldn’t have to pay for a new computer, the company would.

Clients In Different Time Zones Can Be A Nightmare

If you are working with clients from another part of the world, and they want to chat live with you on a 9 am Monday morning, that may be 3 am in the morning for your time zone, thus making it very annoying when chatting to them live.

working freelancer

Finding Clients

As a freelancer, you have to find clients when starting up, and as time goes on and you build up your online portfolio and gain exposure, clients will find you. This can take some time, and many people tend to give up before this happens.

Your success is in your own hands

This can be bad and good. If you choose not to put much effort in, then you won’t survive as a freelancer for long. There are many other freelancers out there and your clients will just find someone else if your work isn’t up to scratch, or if you can’t meet the deadlines.

Iggy is an entrepreneur, blogger, and designer who loves experimenting with new web design techniques, collating creative website designs, and writing about the latest design fonts, themes, plugins, inspiration, and more. You can follow him on Twitter

29 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why It SUCKS To Be a Freelancer”

  1. “Working up to 60+ hours a week can be exhausting”

    I didn`t know that there are people that are that lazy.It`s just 5 hours a day in a week.

  2. I am sucked of the price, always have a lot of cheaper workers from India. It’s waste time to be a freelancer. I can’t charge more money because of these lower prices in the market.

  3. Cheap @#$ people and low pay is my biggest complaint. I make min wage allot of times for very time consuming highly complex work. It really sucks to be a web designer. I have dedicated myself to learning this profession and learning new things. The problem is people don’t care what it takes to learn. Everybody wants free work or forever updates.

    Also, the market is flooded with cheap competition. Everybody is a web designer now. Just buy a word press theme and your in business.

  4. Good ideas in this article, but it was so full of typos and bad spelling and bad grammar, that I had a hard time following it.

  5. I believe everything has its pros and cons. I am a freelancer and i might not have current contracts now but i don’t believe its a big problem, just work harder.

    There is no easy way, all is obtain through hardship.

    And freelancer is sooo good, i mean, i get to save time (Time is very valuable) and save money(fair cost, etc).

    If you love the work you are doing as a freelancer, then it is really great! Thou
    I cannot fully agree with your statement about clients being picky. You can go drop the project or pick yourself a client. as for me i have my terms and agreement.

    And your success is your own hand. what the hell, should we rely on someone else or what? maybe you should try to review what being free lancer means..

    if you can’t be independent and handle problems on your own, then don’t involve yourself in the field of freelancing


    Any employee will face this issue, not just a freelancer. The best part is, if you are freelancing, nobody will force you to correct it! So you can take your time.


    That’s where experience counts. For an experienced freelancer, that’s never an issue. But yes, PINKY COMPANIES can make you lose time and money, even if you have Great experience.


    Would have been better if you had talked about insurance and all other benefits offered by a company. But for your point: If you waste time like that in a company, you get FIRED. As a freelancer, that’s ok, you can still find a new client to work for.


    True for both. Freelancing is enjoyable if you are loving the work.


    Not a problem for those who love their work. It’s good to stay involved. You are in a continuous process of learning. This point suits sounds best from lazy workers who have been dragged into freelancing. Hope you are not one of them.


    Try taking big holidays from a company. Freelancing is definitely scalable if you can manage your work properly


    Try breaking your company’s computer and see the result. You would love it!


    And why will you choose to work with a client like that?? The world is a BIG place and rotates around the sun to give 24 hours per day!


    Now I am pretty convinced you are jobless, hopeless and lazy lazy lazy. I guess finding clients is the RICHEST part, not for money, but experience-wise! You learn how to become a great salesman and a consultant!

    A human has three resources remember? Time, money and experience??


    Dear oh dear! Who hired this author? Kid, this statement is true for both employment and freelancing! In job, success doesn’t lie in your BOSS’s hands does it??!


    You are definitely frustrated. Somehow I think that you did work for some company and got fired, then you chose to be a freelancer but you somehow ended up hopeless because you are lazy. You could not find clients. You could not earn the money. And now you end up here, being thrashed by other freelancers real bad.

    My suggestion- first learn proper english, then try to be organized. Open your eyes. You will know the truth. And never “lose” the balance between the three resources. If you choose to give a higher priority to either one, you lose self-control and will get even more frustrated.

    Good luck

  7. Great point.. really lovely, informative and useful Post.
    Point no. 9 i.e Finding Clients.. its really a big hurdle for me 🙁

  8. There is a lot of validity to this post! Freelance work is not easy by any means, and it’s MUCH more difficult than just a standard 9am-5pm job. You have to constantly market your skills and look for more work.

    The downside to being a freelancer is that you have ZERO health benefits and not a dependable income!

    I’m a web designer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Web Design and I’m currently a freelancer. I would MUCH rather have a steady hourly job that I could depend on.

    Plus, in today’s economy you’re dealing with people who want work, but they want it for dirt cheap. At some point, if you keep turning down clients who want cheap work, then there is no work for freelancers. It’s a tough situtation to be in.

  9. No need to apologize for shining a light on the challenges….tell it like it is. I’m all about encouraging the independent spirit, but it’s important to be honest and realistic. Freelancing, entrepreneurship, and owning/running a small business, is not for the faint of heart.

    • Oh really? So, I guess you’ve never worked with Internet Explorer 6 then? Most everyone has issues with IE and CSS, it’s a constant battle with browser display.

  10. The paying for your own mistakes part is a definite drawback. Oh to have insurance…haha. My biggest one is picky clients. I always seem to get the clients that change things last minute.

  11. 1) Cross browser compatibility can be easy if you use safari as your main browser
    2) Picky clients should be avoided, if you can not agree with the terms of service with your client from day 1, it would be better not to agree at all
    3) Security is mostly a supertition – Hellen Keller. If you fall in the shower you may die!
    4) Can Be Long Work Hours, it is always long work hours, until you are better at what you do.
    5) Always at work. You are always at work anyway. Even when you sleep you dream of that, that is our curse.
    6) Freelancing Isn’t Scalable, meet my friends: Web 2.0 Practices
    7) Pay For Your Own Problems: Yo are making more money, it is an investment.
    8) Clients In Different Time Zones Can Be A Nightmare: Not so much to here! So long this is the only point I will not argue about
    9) Finding Clients: Being social is the best part of freelancing.
    10) Your success is in your own hands: This is only bad when you are not ready to be free lancer, I have but watch the michael jordan video on failing!

    We need to encourage people with positive realistic articles. I love your posts most of the time they are great. This one, mhhh is quite negative. Encourage people in a realistic way, that is our goal as entrepreneurs.

    • There is nothing negative about this authors post. He is simply stating the truth! As a web design college graduate and freelancer, I can relate to his experiences.

      Why should we try to sugar coat everything? That makes no sense…we (as freelancers) need to know what the big world of freelance design is like. No job is a piece of cake or a trip to Cancun.

  12. Altho there are some negatives to being a freelancer, I think the positives FAR FAR outweigh them. I’ve been an independent for 10 years and I can’t imagine ever going back to a “real” job.

  13. @iwpdesign and @Iaxx Page

    This is a very negative article, but that is why we wrote 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be A Freelancer…


  14. Last Point, “Your success is in your own hands”, is the driving force in Freelancing!!…..Some of us cannot accept anything else other than success.

  15. Thanks dude, just want to add a few more thoughts………

    “Picky Clients Can Waste Time And Loose You Money” <=– this applies to any web designer, Freelance or not. If you don't lose $$$ then it's your company losing it. 🙂

    "No Security" <=– being employed also mean they could be dropped any time.

    "Can Be Long Work Hours" <=– it happened to non-Freelancers anyway. Same goes to "Always At Work" – I'm sure you know there are clients that call you like 5 days before their SUPPOSED deadline and it's all rush for you!


    Anyway – you can be both! I run my own Web Design company. Best part about that is I can be a FREELANCER any time I want too!

    😀 Some people I come by only want FREELANCERS, so fine – switch to my alternate FREELANCER identity!! Woohoo!! – now engage my service! 😛

    • Great tactic! I have an interview im posting up on the blog tomorrow of a freelancer who also ownes his own web design company. Does both.

  16. goldfries is right! Any self-respecting web-designer practices good coding for cross browser platforms.
    Many of these “problems” can be remedied simply by doing a bit more studying in the area of programming, as well as having a greater grasp on how things work in the business world.

    For instance, don’t take on any clients who are unwilling to sign a contractual agreement stating the what the business agreement will be and how much the price will be. Even if you work by the hour a contract is a great tool to have on hand!

    expenses come with any job, nothing in life is free… so deal with it, thats how I look at it. Having to pay for your own problems isn’t a big deal either; you provide good service you get paid good as well.

    Honestly, I would have kept the 10 things that rock about being a freelancer and not worried about this one, cause they really aren’t downsides…they are only downsides if someone doesn’t know the ropes or hasn’t studied up enough on web-design to know the basics. 🙂

    • I disagree with you on every level! Not having health benefits or security is part of a downside of being a freelancer. There are never health benefits when you’re a freelance designer.

      Plus, no matter what, you always deal with cross browser display issues. It’s inevitable with being a web designer. You can’t avoid it. It’s called working with CSS and IE. There is no escape. Sure, you can become better prepared and experienced with handling these issues, but they don’t go away.

      • I agree about health benefits. I moved to the UK from the US, and now I get free health care from the NHS–it’s still hard for me to believe! It sucks to be a freelancer in the US because you have to pay an insane amount of money to get health insurance for yourself. Or you go without, which is a really scary position to be in. I really thought this would have made the list.

  17. Cross Browser Compatibility Can Be A Pain <=– eh, this one is relevant to ANY web designer, no? 🙂 It's not something confined only to freelancers.

    Any self-respecting web-designer would practice cross-browser compatibility, or at least have the site appear well with the common web browsers.


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