Ever worry about freelancing?


Before I started in the freelancing world I had ideas about earning £50 an hour and the work rolling in?

Does anyone actually find this is true and do some days you worry about your future as a freelancer?

Do you think you would have been better in a full time job?

Some days when I search through freelancing sites and even some times when getting clients directly I find no one wants to pay the £50 an hour and the projects can come few and far between even at those rates.

The only way I support myself at the moment is by taking on proper contract jobs through agencies but I prefer direct clients.

what have been your experiences so far?

If you find no one wants to pay £50 p/h, maybe that is an indication for you to lower your rates, and then gradually raise them again when things pick up. It's all a balancing act. Basic business, supply and demand.
If you find no one wants to pay £50 p/h, maybe that is an indication for you to lower your rates, and then gradually raise them again when things pick up. It's all a balancing act. Basic business, supply and demand.

Well I have been paid £50 an hour for some projects I have done.

What I am saying is that on the web there are many articles making out like freelancers are getting continuous business at £50 an hour.

Like they can fill up 8 months of year with full time £50 an hour projects.
I take everything I read online about being a freelancer with a pinch of salt, there's a lot of people out there writing articles bullshit articles based on opinion rather than fact or actual experience. There's people who position themselves as experts in a particular field, but really are just regurgitating content they've read elsewhere.

What sort of work are you offering for £50 an hour? I don't know of anyone who would pay that rate for a web developer, but someone who specialised in a particular back-end language, or a consultant of some kind, sure. It could be that you're targeting the wrong market, or under-selling your skills and coming across as just an expensive web developer?

To answer your question I worry about bills every single day. I currently have over 3k in invoices outstanding, which sounds fantastic, but I have to wait until the clients get round to paying them. It could be within a week, it could be 2 months before I finally get them all paid. Meanwhile I still have to pay my living expenses for this month, take my cat to the vet, put petrol in my car and furnish my home office (a priority, obviously :icon_biggrin:).

I'm currently playing catch-up after a slow period before Christmas, and moving house after New Year. The money I had saved for emergencies has had to go on the deposit and such like because work was so slow beforehand. This 'peaks and troughs' effect on my finances makes it hard to budget for things I used to take for granted, like a holiday with my girlfriend. I have no idea if I'll be able to afford that holiday we talked about in 6 months time which means I'm reluctant to pay out for such things for fear of needing that money at a later date. Keep my home or go on holiday? I know which I'd choose!

On the other hand, I feel I'm in a better position than if I were in full-time employment. Sure I'd take home a wage every month, but job security is an illusion. I could be fired or made redundant at a moments' notice, and if I'd spent my career relying on an employer, I'd be in the situation where I'd be looking for a new job and likely claiming some form of income support to pay my bills. But because I work for myself, I never have to rely on an employer. If I have no work on the horizon, I go out there and find more. I've always found I can ask my previous or existing clients for referrals and chances are I'll get some work from them. Have you tried that with your previous £50ph clients?

The temptation to seek out full-time employment always looms, but I know I wouldn't be happy in a full-time position. And honestly the fear of having to pay for everything myself drives me on to work harder and accept new challenges. I don't think my career would be where it is now if I didn't go self-employed when I did. I'm learning a hell of a lot more about the industry than if I was sheltered in an agency 5 days a week.

I also take on agency work often when I can/have to. It's not as fulfilling as working for my own clients, but sometimes it's nice to just have to sit down and work through something. It's not always pretty or exciting, but it's relatively stress-free and it pays the bills.
As Paul says, don't believe all you read or hear. On the odd occasion I've earned £50 an hour for a couple of days, it's all weighed up against those crappy jobs
you get when you end up charging £20 per hour because something's gone wrong etc.

Freelancing is a juggling act. Some months you'll be stacked out but then you might not get a call for a couple of months. You have to weigh up the pros and cons.
When you're not busy you need to be networking or marketing yourself and finding new clients. Maybe think of a sideline you could do or learn new stuff. Pricing jobs is often
tricky but eventually you'll settle on an average rate of £30 or whatever, but you'll be able to tell if you can quote more by the size of the company or whether it's a rush job etc.
Eventually you will get to a nice place when you're working four or five hours a day and the rest of the time is up to you.
Knowing the kind of work you do, it doesn't surprise me that you spend a lot of time contracting through agencies as they've got the presence and complementary services to attract the type of clients who need your specialisms.

Would teaming up with someone be an option? They go out, meet the people, sell the services, maybe even do some of the creative, while you run the development end. I know a couple of guys who started out like that, 5 years on they're now employing 15 people and if they stopped work tomorrow, wouldn't need to work another day of their lives.

(If anyone's interested James' development knowledge makes corrosive look like a learner. lol)