The popularity of freelancing as an alternative to full-time work continues to pick up steam. With over 1.1 billion people actively working as freelancers across the world, there’s no sign that this trend will slow down any time soon. 

There are so many benefits enticing workers to leave the comfort of their 9-5 and gravitate to freelance work or even starting a side hustle. Being your own boss, setting your hours, choosing clients, and spending more family time, just to name a few. 

But, with those benefits, there also come challenges. Many aspiring freelancers consider only the positive aspects of freelancing before diving in. This can lead them to sprint back to their full-time job when freelance isn’t what they expected. 

I recently left the comfort of my full-time gig to launch Gaenzle Marketing. I felt like I was prepared, but even though I had put together a strategy and considered some of the challenges I may face, there were some things that popped up that I did not expect. 

To help those of you who aspire to become a part of the 34% of the world’s workforce who fall into the category of freelancer, I’ve laid out three unexpected things you need to prepare for as you transition to the freelance life. 

But don’t worry, I’ve also added a few notes that helped me work around those things and enjoy freelancing success. 

Finding Work-Life Balance 

When you worked at the office, there was a clear line. Then at home, you were a spouse, parent, friend, or family member. When you left, you were at work, and thus you were off limits. 

Now that you are living the freelance life and working from home, the line between work and play is blurred. 

It’s so tempting to stop what you’re doing and play with your kids, take the dog for a walk, or simply turn on the tv to catch whatever movie might be on at the time time. At the office, these distractions weren’t a factor, but as a freelancer, they definitely can cause issues. 

If you aren’t able to find a way to walk the fine line between work and play, you can really create a negative work-life balance. To ensure you keep your work-life balance on the positive side, follow these tips. 

  • Follow a set work schedule 
  • Define “off limits” to your friends and family
  • Have a to do list (and follow it thoroughly)
  • Give yourself regular breaks
  • Take walks in nature
  • Join a local club for personal interaction

By putting the above things in place, you can create a positive work-life balance that allows you to enjoy both the professional and personal aspects of your life equally. 

Balancing Personal and Professional Finances

Many freelancers make the mistake of maintaining the finances for their freelance business in the same place as their personal finances. This can cause all types of issues. 

When you mix up your finances, you can find things like filing your taxes, paying vendors, budgeting for either personal or business expenses, and other aspects of your financial life to be very difficult. 

To alleviate any negative crossover, I highly recommend using a tool like Freshbooks, Quickbooks, or even PayPal for Business to keep track of your business finances. Some of these options come with banking opportunities as well, so you can send invoices, pay vendors, and take care of necessary expenditures all in one place. 

To keep your freelance business and personal finances separate, try these tips. 

  • Pay yourself as an employee
  • Have separate bank accounts
  • Get a business credit card
  • Set aside dedicated emergency funds
  • Use a small business finance tool to track your finances

If you are able to keep things separate, you stand a much better chance of success. You’ll be able to clearly visualize your business’ cashflow accurately, and you avoid the risk of any negative impact that could affect your personal or freelance finances. 

Making Changes to Your Living Space

When you make the shift to freelancing, one thing you may find is that your current living space no longer fits your lifestyle. 

One of the biggest issues with freelancing is ensuring you have a secluded, quiet space where you can focus on work or host video conference calls. Without this, life can become difficult. 

Your home or apartment may have been perfect for your pre-freelance life. Now, however, you’re feeling a bit cramped, and you struggle to find a place to get away and really get work done. 

If you’re in this situation, it may be time to start researching mortgage rates and looking for a living situation that’s more conducive to freelance work. 

To help you determine whether it’s time you make an upgrade to fit your freelance needs, ask yourself these questions. 

  • Can I work from anywhere? 
  • Do I need a space to meet with clients in person?
  • Does my current situation allow for privacy and focus?
  • Is there nature close by to refresh and recharge?

Freelancing opens up so many opportunities. You can really work from anywhere, so you may be able to get a bigger place, whether you rent a home or buy, and save some money by moving to a lower-cost geographical location. 

Just be sure your new pad offers all the space and amenities you need to be successful as a freelancer. 

Rocking Your Freelance Business 

If you go into your freelance business prepared with a positive mindset and all the solutions you need to tackle the challenges you may face, you’ll be set to start rocking and rolling. 

Failing to prepare for these challenges and others that will likely pop up can leave you in a bind. 

Give yourself the best opportunity to be successful as a freelancer. Be strategic in your approach, and only make the transition from your full-time job to your new freelance life when you’re 100% confident you’re fully prepared to do so. 

What other freelance success tips do you have? Leave your tips in the comments below.