6 min read

The insecurities a freelancer goes through

“Freelancing is glorified very often,” says Abby who sat down with us to have a discussion on insecurities freelance workers face. “Whenever I read articles related to freelancing, I see people throwing heaps of praise on it as if were some Utopia. Yes, freelancing gives you the freedom and flexibility to work on your terms, be your own boss and all that but not all gold is glitter. We, freelancers, feel insecure, a lot of times, and the height of insecurity is just way too much when you are starting out. I remember feeling afraid when I started out. It was a lot to handle. In fact that insecurity became so intolerable at times that I thought of going back to my normal old job in the office. But, of course, I didn’t do that.” (laughs)


“See, the thing with job workers is that they have the stability. They are not going to go to the office the next day and be told they are fired. Their jobs last a long time. On the other hand, we, the freelancers, don’t have any such stability. After we are done with one project, we are unsure when the next one will arrive. That uncertainty of the future is quite daunting and tough to deal with when you are starting out but you learn to deal with that feeling over time.”


“Add on to that is the fluctuating income. Since you don’t know when the next project will happen, you can never be sure of the income. I remember that I did four projects one month for a client and the next month I was hired for only two. This happened when I just got into freelancing. Over time I have learnt how to balance my income, make it stable. You learn where to source the clients from, where you can find work and of course, you have old clients that get back to you when they want some work done.”

Dealing with clients is another tricky aspect. Before coming to HireCream, I was completely dependent on platforms where you had to negotiate with the clients for how much they will pay you. Again, going back to my initial days, I didn’t know to which extent I should negotiate. On one hand, I wanted a good pay for the hours I put in, and on the other, I wanted the client to give me the work; I was really desperate for work at that time. Initially, I did work at rates below what I wanted but as I talked with more clients I learnt the art of negotiation better. Believe me, negotiation is a skill that is tough to master!”


It is evident that freelancers who are new to the business are plagued with self-doubt and inhibition. If not dealt with these feelings can impact the overall well-being resulting in depression, stress and quitting thoughts. So, how did Abby not let her insecurities affect her?  “You learn to deal with them with time, or I guess you can say that you get used to the insecurities,” Abby tells us. “As I told you, the insecurities bothered me when I was new to freelancing; I was afraid I wouldn’t do well and disappoint clients but I was confident about my skills. And it was that self-confidence which helped me break those barriers of nervousness. I kept reminding myself of my abilities and that is how I pushed myself through that phase.”


“You are bound to feel nervous whenever you are doing something for the first time, be it learning a new skill, going to your first job, or getting on the rollercoaster for the first time. You feel afraid and that’s natural. But then as you keep doing that thing again and again, you eventually find out that it wasn’t frightening after all. So, I think experience is what teaches you to deal with any type of insecurity.”


We asked Abby, “You have been freelancing for a very long time now and you have helped many become solopreneurs. Do you have any advice for freelancers just starting out?”


“Yeah, there are a couple of things.”


“Number one, keep in mind what I said about the insecurities and fears. They are only there in the beginning and then everything settles down. You learn to deal with things.”


“Number two, choose your work platform wisely. Make sure the platform you choose offers some kind of working tools. The dashboard is quite important I believe. There should also be a messaging system or something for communicating with the client. Also, ensure that the platform has a support system. Some platforms that I worked on had support only for the employers and not the workers, so make sure the support is there for the workers too. Lastly, and most importantly, choose the platform that gives you the best visibility so that your chances of being hired are the most. You guys (the HireCream team) are doing a great job here, you check all of my boxes and HireCream is what I recommend to everyone.”


“And number three, communicate clearly with your employer. Really important. Before you begin working for the employer, ask them what expectations they have of you, how frequently they want to be updated of the progress and what is the deadline. If you want something to be adjusted then tell them that, don’t be afraid. Most of the employers I have worked with have acknowledged my interests and we have been able to figure out a workflow that suits us both. If both you and your employer have their demands and interests met then lesser problems arise.”

Freelancing can seem arduous at first and it is. There is a lot to take in when you begin this journey but as Abby says it is smooth sailing after the few initial hiccups. We would like to thank Abby for taking out the time to talk to us and educating us what a freelancer really goes through.


Note: The name of the freelancer was changed on request to maintain anonymity.