Freelancing sucks! Before you judge me, hear me out.
If you want to venture into freelancing (or if you are already freelancing), there are three possibilities:
1. You are excited about freelancing, the benefits it purportedly offers, the romantic idea that you could avoid commute, work anywhere you want, and more.
2. Just started freelancing and wondering if it was the right decision or what your future might be like, or how to manage your freelancing business (and everything that comes with it)
3. Already deep into freelancing (a freelancing veteran?) -- been there, done that, and lived it up. You are close to the burnout stage or itching to do something else (maybe you are already here and you don't even know).
Regardless of where you are in a typical freelancing business spectrum, freelancing sucks big time, if you do the following:
Work for free or for cheap
If you work for free (no matter how you choose to justify this stupidity), you'll not like it. You could have a million reasons to do it (and that's totally understandable). The end result is simple: freelancing sucks for you.
You won't like it. Your time just went out of the window. Your "free work" didn't get you anything you thought it would (like the proverbial foot through the door thing).
Most clients don't last long enough (so, why did you even work for free?) and most clients are not trustworthy (everyone has to earn their share of trust; not just freelancers).
Don't believe idiots on Twitter who keep harping about "Work for free" and all that. You are a professionals. Professionals never work for free.
You don't value or respect yourself
Racist clients? [Yes, that's a thing too]. You just go with the flow.
Client talks down to you? You seem to take it in your stride.
Scope creep? You accept it (at least until a certain point).
Every time something like these happen (and they happen all the time), you just roll with the punches, bathe in mud, roll over, and start another day of freelancing.
Understandably, you keep thinking that you "need the money". Bills have to be paid. The lights have to be on.
In the process, however, you'll only hate yourself in the long run (for some it happens sooner; for others, it'll take time to realize this).
When your soul gets eaten away slowly, you'll know it.