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3 Harsh Truths About Freelancing That You Should Wrap Your Head Around From The Start

It will save you from drowning in disappointment

By Chau TrieuPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
3 Harsh Truths About Freelancing That You Should Wrap Your Head Around From The Start
Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Freelancing is exhausting, let's be real.

You probably have seen too many articles claiming that "being your own boss is the most freeing thing in the world" or "quitting my 9-to-5 job to freelance is the best decision ever" for your own good.

The truth is, those people are the exception, not the rule. Not everyone who chooses to freelance will make it. Freelancing is not all rainbows and sunshine.

So if you decide to enter the world of freelancing, you are better off knowing the following things, because more often than not, these will happen to you.

You might not get paid for what you did

I had a recent Upwork gig where I was initially hired to write five 1000-word articles. After I sent over the first article, the client told me that he got the topic wrong and asked me to write it all over again.

Then, once I submitted the rewritten article, he sent me a ridiculous text:

"Someone is already taking over this article so why don't you move on to the next?"

I mean, literally, WTF?!

While I was furious, I didn't want to get on his bad side because I needed the money and the positive feedback. So I kept working on the remaining four articles.

Unsurprisingly, I was not paid for that first piece, which I spent half a day on, and that stung.

Some clients will just disappear into thin air

Another client on Upwork I worked for stopped replying to my messages after a week of constant communication. I kept sending texts every three days hoping she would respond.

She never resurfaced.

But it didn't matter, because Upwork's policy will allow you to be paid if the client doesn't release the payment after 14 days. That's why beginners need to start working on credible sites and building a client base there before working on their own.

Some clients will stop replying to your messages altogether for unknown reasons and unilaterally end the collaboration. Knowing this will help you prepare for what to do next in such a situation and protect yourself from being exploited.

Ridiculously low-paying gigs are more common than you think

A lot of freelancers at the beginning of their journey will settle for less than what they deserve, in return for good reviews.

You'll be surprised to know many people would write a 2000-word essay for $5.

That rate is an inaccurate and unfair assessment of businesses on freelance writers, especially the ones from developing countries and I sure hope this changes in the near future.

Whether to accept such a gig or not is entirely up to you. But my stance on this is if clients are offering to pay you $1 for a 1000-word article, they are not only demonstrating their bad judgment but also their disrespect towards writers.

Agreeing to this rate does more harm than good. It will mess with your ability to judge your potential and make you shy away from increasing your rate in the future. Moreover, your future clients might also feel a bit wary when choosing to hire you, because such a low rate might dictate low-quality content production.

Know your worth. Value your effort. Charge what you truly deserve. Don't compromise and stoop so low for a few bucks.


Freelancing is as difficult and tiring as any other full-time job. It will also cause you annoyance and irritation due to:

  • not being paid for what you did
  • unresponsive clients
  • ridiculously low-paying gigs

Knowing these facts will prepare you better for this challenging yet exciting, insightful, and formative journey. Good luck!


About the Creator

Chau Trieu

Trying to create daily...

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