Top 5 Reasons Why Freelancers Quit Freelancing

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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No one starts out as a freelancer with the plan to quit within a couple of months.  But sadly, the thought of a regular salary and health benefits that come with a job is too tempting. It fills a [struggling] freelancer’s head with dreams of stability swaying them to seek out a “real” job. One that includes working in a small office or being permanently employed at a company.

Quitting freelancing is a thought that comes upon almost every freelancer. I had those kind of thoughts too at some point. I don’t know about you. You may be thoroughly enjoying freelancing but someone else reading this post has already decided to thrown in the towel.  Let’s explore some of the reasons why freelancers end up quitting.

#1: Bankruptcy Is Drawing Nigh

Part of the reason why you got into freelancing was to meet your financial and basic needs. When your freelancing gig doesn’t help you achieve that, that can be such a put-downer.

This is part of the reason why some freelancers go back to employment, as they are unable to handle the feast and famine nature of freelancing. When it’s famine time, and  jobs are in short supply, the small payments simply cannot bank them out of their basic needs.

In short, the freelancer ends up toiling, amassing experience, but not cash. It’s futile. The thought of a regular salary taunts them and soon they seek employment in a lacklustre 8 to 5 job.

See Also:  How To Fail In Your Freelancing Business

What to do: Prior to starting out in freelancing, prepare  yourself psychologically to work extra hard and to put in longer hours.   Bid  aggressively on sites like Upwork – believe me there are clients who are ready to pay well for great work.  Be creative as well and diversify. You don’t have to solely rely on one set of skill to get you going. There’s a lot you can actually do online.

#2: When Rejections Become the Order of the Day

Freelancers will easily reconsider their source of income if all they ever get  are rejections. Rejections lead to uncertainty on the part of the freelancers as they’re unsure of where their future income will come from, which then makes them desperate – both emotionally and financially.

If rejections are what a freelancer only gets on a good day, it is time to seek employment at an 8 to 5.   Few freelancers can persevere for far too long in such a scenario without feeling the need to quit.

What to do: Don’t just venture into freelancing without having the necessary skill set to get you through. In my experience, I’ve discovered that people believe that online jobs are for everyone. They aren’t. A freelancer who has, for example, zero listening skills – who can hardly differentiate American from Australian accents – will have a very hard time working as a freelance transcriber.  I recommend you get training or perhaps a mentor to guide and mentor you into mastering and growing fully into the skill set you’re good in. Otherwise your lack of skills may very well earn you a string of rejections.

#3: Societal Pressure

There’s  astonishing power in societal  pressure. And this power can play a key role in discouraging an individual from venturing into freelancing. Peers, relatives and parents alike can exert pressure on a freelancer to seek a “real”  job that includes working in an office.  Many are the times my relatives have asked me whether  I’m still working at my ‘tu-computer jobs’ 😀

Do not allow yourself to be swayed by your friends, relatives, or parents ideas or values.  If you do,  you’ll certainly quit the lucrative world of freelancing and seek out employment.

See Also: Are You Really Cut Out To Be A Freelancer?

What to do: You have to stand your ground and say “NO” to social pressure like you mean it. If your ‘No’ gets rejected, back it up with a positive statement – be repetitive while at it. Learn to believe in your skills and abilities.  Freelancing is as pleasing as it is lucrative. Just acquaint yourself with all the ins and outs.

#4: Treating Freelancing Like a Hobby

Freelancing is a real job.   Until you start treating it like one, you’ll never make anything significant out of it. You can’t work on your client’s projects when you’re in the mood.      Self-motivation and self-discipline are key in this business.   Without that, you will eventually seek out employment for that regular [monthly] salary.

What to do: When working in an 8 to 5, you have a dress code and a list of other requirements related with your job. As a freelancer who works from home, equally create the same business conditions and find a working space that is really conducive and make it your office. Make the space tidy. Get all the tools you need (a laptop or PC, Internet connection). Then shut the door and signal to everyone you’re doing something “serious”… because freelancing is a serious business.

#5:  Getting Into Freelancing With the Wrong Attitude

‘I’ve heard that freelancing is all the rage and I want to venture into it’

‘ I have so much time on my hands now and I figured I’d try out freelancing’

These are just some of the things I’ve heard from people who want to freelance. And sadly, a couple of them have no idea which freelancing gig they are interested in either.

Don’t become a freelancer because your friend is one or because you have time to spare.  Do some research first and then find out which skill set you can bring to the marketplace.  Passion goes a long way in helping you not to quit.  Most freelancers  quit when things don’t work out as easily or as quickly as they had anticipated, for example, they aren’t making the big monies they thought they would within a short time.

What to do:  Work on your mindset.  Be persistent, determined and decisive even if you’re doing it as a side hustle.  Realize that freelancing is not a get-rick quick scheme.  It IS a business. 

Conclusion

Although it’s not always greener on the freelancing world, the risks and stress should become a motivation rather than being a weight on your shoulders. Freelancing is not for the faint-hearted. Familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs, research various niches, learn the tips and tricks, find a mentor and expert, exercise a healthy amount of patience, frustrate tradition by being creative…. and you’ll surely make it. Don’t just quit. That’s too easy.

Though you may find comfort, array of benefits and a regular salary when working in a JOB, freelancing is equally lucrative and satisfying as well. Ask me.

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About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • Hi Sheeroh,
    Nice read especially for newbies like me who think sites like Upwork are for pros. I even had a look at the blog on How to Fail in your Freelancing Business and had a laugh or two.
    My Upwork profile [unfortunately] is still not 100% but I’m working on that and may even bug you for mentorship [ha ha].
    Anyway, that was a great and informative read as always. Thanks.

    • Bug me anytime Liz! I’m happy to be bugged. Upwork is a great site and my first love, if I may put it that way. If you are willing to send in those bids relentlessly, all the while writing great cover letters, it’s only a matter of time before you land your first gig.

  • Good piece Sheeroh,

    Looks like I’ve got no choice but to keep the foot steady on the gas.

    There’s no let up on this one. I’ve got to go the whole stretch.

  • Hi Sheeroh,

    Nice to read. We have to keep going even when it’s challenging for newbies.
    2 questions Sheeroh.

    1. How does one increase their chances for hiring, especially for newbies?
    2. What is a good bidding for a newbie. (or a starting point)

    • Hey Hellen, 1. If you’re talking about Upwork, you need to bid aggressively; regularly and consistently. I encourage newbies to bid twice or thrice a day, to suitable jobs. 2. Let’s talk about transcription or article writing jobs. You can place a bid of $15-20 per audio hour or $5 to write a 500 word article.

      • Hi Shie,

        Am a great fun, I feel lucrated by your blogs. These ‘real’ jobs sometimes can be really boring. Actually I find your loud thinking very critical when it comes to believing in one self. Am a nubie, but not a real one. Have done academic writing for some time and now I have just moved to a manager, and have to procure account, which are very expensive. Can u guide me on a site where I can freely open and bid for jobs without having to buy a platform.

        Will be absolutely happy.
        Regards,

  • You really know how to make everything look okay. And I find that very great. I have straggled a few times with thoughts of letting go especially on tough times like Jan and Feb in Academic Writting. But reading your blog and many others keeps me determined to keep going.
    Thanks for your post.

    • You are welcome Joshua. January can be an especially slow month and quite a few people quit during that time. The important thing is to diversify. Do NOT rely on a single source of income. That will provide a buffer during the hard times.

      • SHie please,

        when you talk of other substitutes in this work, what exactly do you refer to? Let us be informed so we can also inform others and make sustainable moves in this field.

  • Hi Sheeroh. The piece has just popped at the right season. Am placing bids now and every other time. U’ve pointed out on those who can’t clearly differentiate American from Australian accent, a victim is here (😄😄). But am impressed to hear that’s got a remedy. Nice piece indeed

  • Well put Sheeroh! Thoughts of quitting, have definitely crossed my mind, but they say, “Rome was not built in a day.” Just that, His Grace, and encouragement from mentors like you, keeps me going. You said, “Ask me,” so here it is, Is freelancing, to you as lucrative as it is the JOB? 🙂

    • It was not built in a day at all Patrick! We’ve been staying in touch and you have the ideal mindset to make it as a pro-freelancer. Just hang in there. Continue sending those bids, diversify and be patient. To answer you, freelancing is very lucrative. The fact that there is no price ceiling, not to mention the freedom I enjoy, is something I wouldn’t trade this for an 8 to 5.

  • Whoa! It’s like you read my mind, I decided to break away from freelancing because of all the mentioned reasons but now I think I was wrong to give thought to those naysayers. Thanks Sheeroh this message was so timely to help me get back to freelancing

    • Forget about the naysayers Betty. Some of them may mean well but they have no idea what freelancing is all about. I, for one, miss you too much 🙂 Come back! 😀

  • Awesome as always, this is good stuff. For me i think am just lazy, lack of motivation , saying i will do it tomorrow or the next hr and i have all i need to be working online throughout. Am actually praying about it waaah. for real. I always push the important things to the next min, hr,day while am doing nothing important.
    Thanks for this article teacher Sheeroh. Pray for some of us as well. I know you are a woman of Faith.

    • Lol. Prayer is awesome but there comes a time when one must take action. Let me encourage you with this quote from Leonardo da Vinci “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Being willing is not enough, we must do” Keep your WHY before you and kill that procrastination monster!

  • Hi Sheeroh, all this I believe is from your immense experience. And as clear you have have put it, I find no reason why anyone who wishes to have a successful freelancing career would not follow your advice. But as it always is, it is not for all. Thank you for educating article,be blessed. You are a mentor to many I’m sure.

  • I’ve also been putting it off for a couple of weeks now. After a couple of crazy weeks due to a few issues here and there, I can’t seem to bring myself to starting. I keep saying that tomorrow is going to be the day but here I am. Sitting as idly as I’ve done the past couple of months. But this article is God sent. I felt like you were speaking to me directly. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Nice piece shie,

    It got me glued as u precisely spoke my mind. I hope to go far in freelancing. Though I may sometimes get it hard to keep going, you carry me at times when am not able to hold on to the journey.

    Thank you and keep encouraging us who are faint hearted.

  • Hi sheeroh,
    Your article did strike a chord with me I’m going through what you’ve written there. Yes one does feel like giving up especially when your family and friends advise you to leave the ‘tucomputer’ jobs and get a real job because they don’t see freelancing as sustainable

    • They don’t see it as a serious business at all, most of them. But hang in there. One of these days, they will be amazed at the progress you will have made and they too will want to venture into the same ‘tucomputer jobs’ or they will start referring guys to you. Believe me, I know.

  • Wow! Great piece Sheeroh.

    I must say I’m a victim of social pressure. No one around me believes in online freelancing. At the moment I need to juggle both. Full time job to keep the peace and transcription part time coz I enjoy it.

  • Hey Sheeroh,

    It has been a while since we chatted, but I have not quit. I am actually embarking on this in a bigger way. Have been in employment that was keeping me from proper freelancing and yet had no courage to leave the “comfort zone”. Also had an issue with my ID that had expired and couldn’t bid for any work. That made me loose momentum, but here am, back in full swings. Got my new ID today and submitted it right away and can’t wait getting their approval. Thanks for being a great mentor. Keep well and blessed.

    Betty

  • Good piece. Am yet to hack Upwork but I have done well on iwriter, starting from the scratch. I think as freelancers we work even past the 8 hours. Above all, it’s fulfilling. Thank you once again.

  • Thanks for the valuable information. Finally I’ve decided to quit my regular job and concentrate on on-line ventures, transcription on the top list.

  • Hi Sheeroh,

    Queen of procrastination here! I’m actually going through all the training material and advice plus blogs one year later! I’m so amazed at all the positive responses from people here and I feel motivated to roll into motion! For sure I’m killing this monster plus all the shadows that come with it today! No idea why I’ve had fear of starting but really, what better way to know? Thanks for never giving up on us and God bless you big!

    • That monster called procrastination rears its ugly head every now and then – even for me! But good to see that you have dealt one good blow on this monster. Keep it up!

  • hi Sheeroh.
    Am glad to have finally met someone who can mentor me in this field. I hope and pray that I’ll be positive during the high and low seasons. Looking forward to learn more and make my life better.
    God bless you.

  • Hi Sheeroh,nice piece.Indeed at times things are not moving and the only option one can imagine is quitting.But I’m encouraged now.I wanted to ask,must one have paypal account before starting to bid for these jobs?

    • Many sites have Paypal as a payment option so it’s advisable to set it up as soon as possible. And it’s not hard. Just sign up and then verify your account.

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