In an economy with high unemployment and scarcity of jobs, many people have realized just how unappealing the continual search for work can be.  They might even figure that if they can’t find a good job or are tired of looking that they’ll just do their ‘own thing’.

But just what do they think their ‘own thing’ actually entails?

It might not be much different than the job they were doing before.  In fact, it could be even more difficult than previous work.  I know that I work longer hours and more days doing what I do now as a self-employed individual than I did as a director of finance in the hotel business, that’s for sure.

If you’re going back to school with plans of freelancing in the future, but don’t like looking for work, here are a few things to consider.

A Constant Search for Work

As a freelancer, I’m constantly on the lookout for work.  While I don’t always need more work, keeping a watchful eye out for opportunities can just be part of the job.

Freelance work is often fleeting, and what seems like a sure thing one moment could be gone the next.  Therefore, it’s an ongoing process to explore new income earning opportunities, which is much different than when I just had a regular job with a regular income upon which there was a reasonable expectation of it being there in the weeks in months to come.

Once You Find it, You Have to Keep it

I find that it’s often easy to discover freelance jobs, but not so easy to keep consistent work.  I have to continually prove myself, which in some ways is not unlike a regular job in which I was constantly tested; however, as a freelancer, there may be a variety of employers and jobs in which I must continue to prove my worth.  And unlike my old job, there’s no human resources department to consult, no boss from whom to seek advice, and no co-workers with whom to complain or commiserate.

There is a lot of freelance competition out there in almost every field.  With the economy hurting and unemployment high, people are looking to earn income in other ways than what was once considered a regular 9-5 job.  Therefore, freelancing may not be like a regular job where you have an offer and then a reasonable expectation of your work being there tomorrow, with your position being secured by employment laws and maybe a contractual agreement between you and an employer.  Instead, with freelance work, if a better deal or option comes along, you could be left out in the cold with little or no warning.

Maintaining Relations

I wasn’t always the best of friends with my bosses when I had an employer-based job.  We typically got along well enough though and I did my best to be respectful, so I was fairly confident that they wouldn’t fire me on this aspect alone.  It was a big investment to replace me, and there were rules and procedures in place that helped protect my job.

However, in the freelance world, there are not nearly the safety nets in place to protect your employment.  This means that a significant part of my work involves building and maintaining employer relations.

Uncertainty for Certain

One thing that I’ve found is a certainty in my freelance life is uncertainty.  Jobs that don’t seem like they’re going anywhere suddenly become important.  Meanwhile, jobs that seem like they’re the best work I could find suddenly become unprofitable or inconsistent.

While there is some amount of uncertainty in just about any field or type of work, freelance work can take that uncertainty to the next level.  And if you don’t like a bit of chance playing into finding, carrying out, and maintaining your employment, freelance work might not be right for you.



The author is not a licensed financial or educational professional.  This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or educational advice.  Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.