Opportunities and Challenges of Freelancers

Freelancing and work-life balance


With the internet becoming part of our lives, the gig economy or freelancing has become a popular work setup. Unlike traditional employment, being a freelancer is essentially self-employment, where you can easily find a balance between your professional and personal life.

For workers in low-income countries, freelancing opens up opportunities for bigger pay as it has a more global reach for potential clients. Additionally, the freelancing work culture offers flexibility that is not available to employees in the traditional employment setting.

Despite these advantages, the freelance business is not for everyone. Like any work setup, it also has its set of challenges. From finding clients, networking, its unstable nature, and the unsure billing process, freelancing is as challenging as its alternative.

The Rise of the Gig Economy: Boon or Bane for Workers?

Below, we discuss the upside of freelancing and some of its most common challenges.


Complete control over your hours

Freelancing offers unparalleled flexibility in managing your working hours, which is a draw for many professionals. For instance, individual freelancers who work remotely can set their work hours and manage them so that they align with their peak productivity times or to accommodate personal commitments.

Balance work and personal life effectively

This freedom offers more efficient time management that allows freelancers to adjust their workflow so that it balances work and personal life effectively.

Moreover, many project management tools help in efficient organization and collaboration that help freelancers stay productive regardless of location.

These tools enable a freelancer to provide the services required by their clients, choose projects or add a new project to their list proactively, and manage due dates effectively.

With these, freelancers can tailor their environment to maximize their output and, at the same time, maintain a healthy work-life balance.

More income

Embracing a freelance career often opens doors to increased earning potential as you can work with multiple clients simultaneously. Unlike traditional employment, where income is typically fixed, freelancers can diversify their revenue streams by serving multiple clients at a time.

Build reputation and expand network

Since they can choose which projects to take on, freelancers can prioritize high-paying opportunities and maximize their earning potential. Additionally, freelancers can build their reputation, create a diverse portfolio, and expand their network to attract more clients over time.

Most importantly, freelancing means that there’s always the possibility of securing new projects. This then creates the space for continuous growth and financial stability in the freelancing business.

Meeting clients outside the office setting

One of the most appealing aspects of freelancing is the liberation from the traditional office setup. In a way, you are your own boss. The result of this autonomy is a healthier work-life balance and the freedom to choose where and how to work – while getting paid.

While some freelancers prefer home offices, others take advantage of co-working spaces. These spaces provide a professional environment without the constraints of a typical office.

Flexibility in holding meetings outside of the office

Additionally, freelancing offers the flexibility of meeting most clients at mutually convenient locations, whether it’s a coffee shop, a client’s office, or virtually.

Reclaim valuable time

By removing the daily commute and the rigid confines of office hours, freelancers reclaim valuable time. As a result, they have more opportunities for both professional endeavors and personal pursuits.

More time for skill development

Given that freelancing offers more free time to workers, it also means they have a unique environment that is ideal for continuous learning and skill development. Moreover, people can do this as a group by reaching out to other freelancers within the community.

Unlike traditional employment settings where you are more or less limited to the scope of your job, freelancers can work with professionals from diverse backgrounds and skills, and have in depth understanding of their expertise.

Knowledge exchange with other freelancers

This exposure expands their knowledge exchange and also inspires freelancers to explore new skills and techniques to stay competitive.

Added time for self improvement

Lastly, the flexibility of freelancing offers more time for self-improvement, whether it’s through online courses, workshops, or hands-on projects. In other words, embracing a freelance career encourages a culture of lifelong learning.

Freelancer problems and challenges

Though freelancing may sound like an attractive venture, there are reasons why many workers hesitate to go full-time on freelancing. Below, we discuss some of the biggest challenges that freelancers face to offer valuable insights into the realities of this work setup.

You need a steady stream of clients

One of the main challenges freelancers face is the constant need for a steady stream of clients to sustain their income. As such, securing new clients is a persistent worry for freelancers, especially those who are just starting out in the field.

Tough competition among freelancers

Unlike traditional employment, where you get work assignments from a single employer, freelancers must actively seek opportunities and compete with others for projects.

This constant hustle to attract new clients can be time-consuming and unpredictable, leading to periods of financial instability.

Moreover, freelancers must carefully choose the projects they take on and consider varioous factors. This includes payment terms, workload, and compatibility with their skill set and schedule. Building a client base from scratch can be particularly challenging for new freelancers.

Freelancing requires patience, persistence, and effective marketing strategies to establish credibility and secure long-term partnerships.

Susceptible to instability

While freelancing can indeed offer the potential for higher income, it is important to acknowledge that it also comes with instability.

Moreover, the degree of uncertainty can vary depending on factors such as the availability of freelance projects, project acquisition strategies, and the frequency of new projects.

Periods of financial unpredictability

While some freelancers may experience consistent high-income months, others may encounter periods of financial unpredictability. It can be dependent on things such as seasonal fluctuations in demand, competition for freelance projects, or the time required to acquire new projects.

Additionally, freelance work naturally often involves a cycle of project completion followed by the need to secure new projects, which means income streams are variable.

While gigs can provide opportunities for increased income, freelancers need to develop effective project acquisition strategies. On top of it all, they must also maintain a diverse client base to mitigate possible income stability.

Payment issues

While freelancers may receive higher pay, the payment collection period can sometimes be a dreadful time. For instance, late payments often plague freelancers, as this can cause significant financial challenges.

Delayed settlement

Despite completing work early, freelancers often find themselves waiting for extended periods to receive payment.

This then disrupts their cash flow and financial stability. While it is expected to have agreements beforehand, the actual payment for freelance work may be a different story, as clients may delay or overlook payment deadlines.

As a result, freelancers often have to actively chase payments, spending valuable time and resources following up with clients to ensure timely compensation. In some cases, freelancers may need to approach clients assertively, reminding them of their payment obligations and escalating the issue if necessary.

Additional work beyond agreed scope

Moreover, there are cases where a client asks for additional work beyond the agreed scope without offering premium payments, which can further strain the working relationship. This discrepancy in pay rate can leave freelancers feeling undervalued for their expertise and effort.

Irregular income

Freelancing almost always means irregular income, especially for those who are highly reliant on individual clients for financial stability. While a single client may bring in money for a period, the ebb and flow of freelance work can lead to uncertainty in income streams.

As such, acquiring and retaining clients is crucial for maintaining a steady income. This means actively seeking new opportunities to attract clients and expanding your client base. However, freelancers also need valuable connections to maintain income consistency.

Striking a balance is critical: having enough clients to earn a regular income without overwhelming yourself with excessive workload. This delicate equilibrium requires careful client acquisition management and effective time allocation to ensure financial stability in the unpredictable landscape of freelancing.


While freelancing offers flexibility and independence, it can also lead to isolation, impacting various aspects of your well-being. Maintaining productivity in isolation can be challenging without the support usually found in traditional office settings.

The absence of regular face-to-face interactions with colleagues reduces the opportunity for collaboration and feedback. Additionally, long periods of isolation may take a toll on a person’s mental health, leading to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Without the structure imposed by a traditional workplace, freelancers must rely on self-discipline to stay motivated and focused.

This can be difficult without external accountability measures. Therefore, freelancers must prioritize self-care, socialization, and establishing routines that promote both productivity and well-being.

Paying your dues

When you are a full-time freelancer, you are essentially self-employed. This means that is your obligation to fulfill things such as your taxes and government contributions.

In the Philippines, this includes registering with the Bureau of Internal Revenues (BIR) and applying for official permits, especially for business entities.

In addition, you are responsible for registering and paying government agencies such as PhilHealth, SSS, and Pag-IBIG should you opt in and receive their benefits. The same applies to benefits that usually come with being a full-time employee, such as health insurance, among other things.

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