Freelancer Work – 7 Most Common Problems To Overcome

Online freelancer work can be both very rewarding and very frustrating depending on the day. This is because it is a job unlike many others since you don’t have nearly as much structure or protection as you would in a traditional job. You are very likely to get ripped off by a client or be asked to work beyond what is reasonable to expect on a project.

To understand if the freelancer route is going to work for you, it is important to understand what you are getting into. There are many common problems that freelancers face so chances are that you will too. To understand if it’s the right option for you to freelance you have to understand what the problems are.

There are many great things about being a freelancer online or offline and working for yourself, earning your own money. However, there are some drawbacks to this too. 

One huge concern for new freelancers and established freelancers alike is how to get paid and not get ripped off and taken advantage of.  

freelancer work problems
Some freelancer work problems can be solved at the beginning of a working relationship with clients.

Of course, this should never be an issue, but the disappointing thing is that it can and does happen. To help you as an online freelance worker, here are some of the best ways to prevent this from happening to you.  

Freelancer Work: The Problem of Disappearing Clients 

When you take on a project, most clients are going to be present for much of the project. In fact, many of them will be too present and want to micromanage the entire process.

You will be in regular contact with them for the entire duration since they are generally nervous and want to make sure that the project is done to their specifications.

However, they get very quiet and hard to find when it comes to when the invoice is sent. Then, they can often disappear and be hard to track down.

If you didn’t have a contract signed by them stipulating how much will be paid and when then you are probably out of luck if they decide to ghost you.

On the other hand, if you did sign a contract with them then you can take them to court if they don’t pay. You’ll need an HKM breach of contract attorney to handle this since this is what they deal with.

Your client is in violation of breaking a contract so you have legal recourse and eventually they must pay you.

Micromanaging Clients with Freelancer Work

It is a very good idea to have every last detail laid on in an organized manner as to what the freelance gig entails. It is also wise to attach some timelines to the contract so there is complete understanding by both parties as to the timing of when things will be done.

This is because some clients have to be involved with every step of the project. Therefore, they tell you how to do the job. By taking time to define the job and how you plan to do it you can usually circumvent this behavior by reminding them to look at the contract.

No one likes to be micromanaged and this can quickly lead to you firing the client. If you are spending way more time with a micromanaging client, you will not be profitable.

Avoid Scoop Creep with Contracts

It is also a good idea to clearly define the project in the contract so that you aren’t being asked to do work that wasn’t agreed to beforehand. This is because some clients will want to change the project on a whim or say that they aren’t happy with the results and want it redone.

This is called scope creep as the scope of the project is always slowly changing.

One of the best ways to protect yourself as a freelancer is to make sure that you have a signed contract with your client. 

Do you worry that you cannot print contracts out and get them physically signed?  A great alternative is to send out an electronic contract and ask them to include an e-signature on the relevant bits. Doing it this way makes life much easier.

Learn How to Trust Your Gut with Freelancer Work

If you meet a client (in person or virtually) and they don’t feel right in your gut, then there is a good reason for this.

Whilst those instincts and first impressions are not always correct, most of the time, they are.  Actually, they are going to help you to make decisions and protect yourself as much as you can.  

The important thing to remember as a freelance worker is that you are in control even if you work from home only part-time.

trust in yourself with freelancer work
Learn to trust in yourself with freelancer work, it will help you be more productive and happy.

Get a Deposit for Freelance Work 

Following on from your gut feeling, if you think that your new client will not pay you when the time comes, then get a deposit. I do this with new clients I haven’t done work with in the past.

Sure, it might feel uncomfortable asking them for this, but they should know that it is good business sense. It’s best to get some of the payment if not all of it.

Sure, it might feel uncomfortable asking them for this, but they should know that it is t good business sense. #freelancing Share on X

Set a Realistic Timescale for the Work

Of course, you will want to impress your new client as an online freelancer, but the important thing to remember is that you should always be realistic with your timescales.

If it is going to take you three weeks, tell them three weeks. Maybe even four. That way, when it takes less time, you are going to impress them.  

If it takes longer, this can lead to payment disputes. It will never be good news for you or your business. Give yourself that extra time to be sure you can fulfill the workload.

Simply because the work takes time, and it can cause you much more work than you will want to do. 

For example, if my freelancers can’t do the work in time I like it when they give me a warning. As a result, I can rearrange my day in advance. Then, I know I have to pick up the slack for a day. 

Life happens and we must give some slack but also run a business at the same time.  

The worst thing to happen is to find out the work hasn't been done. #freelancers Share on X

Freelancers Learn How to Earn Quickly with Leads

If you’re a freelancer, then you know that one of the toughest parts of the job is generating leads for more freelancer work. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help generate leads and grow your freelance business.

One way to generate leads is by networking with other professionals in your field. Get involved in professional organizations or attend industry events where you can meet potential clients and get your name out there. You can also generate leads by cold-calling or sending emails to companies that might need your services.

Another great way to generate leads is through online marketing. Use SEO techniques to ensure that your website comes up when people search for keywords related to your business. Create informative blog posts or whitepapers that will attract the attention of potential clients. And make sure to use social media to spread the word about your freelance business.

Furthermore, you could use websites like Upwork and Fiverr to pitch your freelance services to make more money.

By following these tips, you can generate leads and grow your freelance business. So get out there and start networking, marketing, and cold-calling today.

A Bonus Tip for Freelancers from Brandon:

Your Turn: Online Freelance Work Experiences

What freelancer problems have you had?  It happened to me once when a client never paid me, luckily it was not for a lot of money. However, the lesson was worth the money in gold! That’s how freelancers learn from most problems- by experience.

I’d love to hear about your freelancing experiences in the comments below.


Lisa Sicard
  • Gail Gardner says:

    I encourage freelancers to collaborate with others in their niche. Then, when you are considering a new client, ask around privately to find out if they are known bad actors.

    Come clients will be good customers of yours for a year or two. Don’t get comfortable and let them rack up a big debt.

    I can think of at least four people who pay well for a while. Then they ask for extra time and more work. Once they owe for several months of work, they ghost the writer and never pay.

    One red flag is if someone has always worked with you directly and then puts a VA in between you and them just before they bail on what they owe.

    The same players have ripped off many writers. The writers are wise not to complain publicly, but they will tell you privately.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Gail, great tip. Most of my clientele is local and referrals but if I do work with others I don’t know I would check like you recommend here. That’s awful not to be paid for the work completed. I like your tip about the VA as a red flag, thank you! Very informative comment here Gail. Thanks and have a great rest of your day.

  • My experience in getting deposits did not work. I write business plans for film. I always give a specific due date for my work. I thought people would feel comfortable with paying a certain amount when the project was done. Unfortunately, one summer five people decided not to pay me. Since then I have gotten all the money upfront. Still to (30 yrs and 8 books later) some newbies don’t know why they should pay for my work. I tell them that business plans don’t raise money, people do. The plan is only a marketing tool.

    • Lisa says:

      Wow Louise, thanks for sharing your story here with others. And welcome to Inspire To Thrive. Good for you about getting the money upfront ever since. Congratulations on the 8 books. I love your quote that people raise money, not plans. Very wise. Thanks for coming by and have a great day Louise!

    • Gail Gardner says:

      During the 5.5 years I managed pay-per-click advertising, I charged 100% cash in advance and had all the work I could handle.

      My experience was the only people who complained about having to pay up front were the people who had no intention of paying at all.

      • Lisa says:

        Very smart Gail. And you make a great point if they don’t want to pay up front they may not pay at all. Thanks for the input here and make it a great rest of the day.

  • Hi Lisa

    Bloggers, online marketers and others who have businesses online often do a lot of freelance work.

    So this is all good advice to keep them on the straight and narrow.

    I find it’s especially important to get the deposit AND set a very realistic time schedule.

    It’s far better to get the work done AHEAD of schedule than to be late.

    Being ahead of schedule is sure to get you repeat assignments, referrals, and great testimonials.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Donna, Oh yes, and be careful how you set the expectation. Even with ads, I don’t set the expectation too high otherwise they will be disappointed. I agree getting it done in advance is much better than late by all means 🙂 Thanks for coming by and I hope you are enjoying the summer Donna.

  • Your gut gives you such a loud, clear message when ego chatter subsides that you will avoid getting stiffed. I love that tip Lisa because the few times someone stiffed me I ignored my gut; the inner guide told me to not work with these people. Sure enough, these bloggers bolted and did not pay. No worries though; that’s their deal. One was a high profile blogger many people would know; nice enough individual but I obviously do not associate with ’em anymore. One lesser profile blogger and one unknown individual also did a freelance dine and dash on me LOL. Lesson learned. Now I just sell stuff passively where the only way folks access my eBooks, courses, audio books, paperbacks etc….is by paying me first.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ryan, oh yes, you are right about that! I should have listened to myself at the beginning with this particular one. Now, I would not work with them or anyone else like them again. But I’ve been fortunate the rest of my clients always pay me. I love the passive income though, less intense and once the work is done, it is done. But the money keeps on coming in 🙂 Thanks for your input Ryan. Have a great day and hope your flight was A-ok!

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