Top 8 Most Common Freelancing Mistakes To Avoid
Updated: Jun 24, 2021
Freelancing can prove to be one of the best career decisions you ever made or one of the most frustrating steps you have ever taken in your life. Freelancers with stagnated or receding careers know they are doing something wrong. Still, the tricky part is identifying what they are doing wrong. They often end up making several changes, which hurt their careers even more. Does this sound like you? When you identify the mistakes you are making, it becomes a whole lot easier to solve them.
Below is a list of common freelancing mistakes you could be making right now.
One of the most pressing questions a freelancer asks is ‘how much do I charge?’. The success of any career usually hinges on getting the correct answer to that question. Many freelancers often end up charging wrongly. Do some research in your field. This will help you identify the industry rate within your country.
There are two aspects to it: overcharging and undercharging. Both of which are equally bad. When you overcharge, you may end up going months without getting a client, and this can be very frustrating. When you undercharge, you may become emotionally and physically distressed because you are putting in much more than you are getting paid for especially if the role requires years of technical field experience.
To charge right, you first have to take into consideration the effort and time you are putting in. Talk to established freelancers in your field to find out much they charge, and take that into account when drawing up your price list. You should also consider how much your clients can make from your services. If all your client will make from the project is $1200 or thereabouts, charging $1000 is not smart.
Waiting for the Perfect Project
Many freelancers end up going months without a job because they keep holding out for the perfect project. An idea of a perfect project is one that pays very well and with very little stress involved. This is not often the case, especially when you are new to freelancing.
Don’t just turn down jobs because they are not the best possible. Of course, you wouldn’t want to work at a loss, but you also have to be reasonable. By taking smaller projects, you are increasing your chances of getting bigger ones. Don’t just take any project, but be prepared to make reasonable compromises. Start with the end in mind, if your goal is to have a managerial role in Customer Support it wouldn't hurt to start small then work up to the ladder.
Poor Financial Planning
The reason why freelancers, especially new ones, tend to run into financial problems is that their financial foundation is fragile. There is something known as the ‘feast-or-famine’ concept in freelancing. You may go weeks with very well-paying jobs, the feast. You may also go weeks or even months with low-paying or no jobs at all, the famine. Your chances of survival in the period of famine will be determined by how strong your financial planning is.
Ensure you start freelancing with enough money to sustain you even if you do not get a job for six months. Learn how to save. Spend money wisely. Don’t be too eager to project-hop especially if you're having doubts about the possible new role. Be smart about timing.
Poor Listening Skills
One of the fastest ways to lose a client is by ignoring the client’s demands. No client will come back to a freelancer who doesn’t listen to instructions. You need to listen to the client carefully before delving into the project. Understand that the reason you are doing the project is to satisfy the client, and as such, the instructions the client gives must be followed. Don’t shy away from giving your opinions on where and how the project can be improved but ultimately, the client’s needs should take priority.
Honestly, clients hate this. It is better to decline an offer than to lie, as you are tarnishing your reputation. If the job is going to take ten hours to complete, don’t call it thirty. You may think you are outsmarting clients and even get away with it a few times, but you are short-handing yourself in the long run. Know that you can’t get away with this forever, and when the truth finally comes to light, the damage can prove to be irreparable.
Always remember, people, talk. So, while the client may not say anything to you, there is a close-to-zero chance of him/her talking you up to other intending customers. In other words, keep things transparent don't lie about your flexibility or ability to complete the job.
A common mistake freelancers make today is doing a job lazily. Employers love it when freelancers are giving their all to the project. Believe us, we know! Do every job like your career depends on it because it just might. Many freelancers are in the habit of taking several jobs and working to the barest minimum on them. Know that it is better to do three projects excellently than to do six poorly. Don’t take gigs you aren’t confident of giving your all to.
Some freelancers are often in the habit of submitting projects past the deadline or showing up after their shift has started. There is a reason there is a deadline. It’s not just about what you submit, but also when you submit. Don’t be tardy in your response to clients/employers.
The trick is not to overload yourself with jobs. An overload of jobs is not always a good thing. Commit to work that you are sure you can submit within the provided time. You will lose lots of clients and build a bad reputation for yourself if you make submitting past the deadline a frequent occurrence, even if you're doing great in every other aspect of the project or role.
Not Asking for Help
Many freelancers don’t last long because they refuse to ask for help. It’s quite astonishing. If you need help, just ask for it. There are always people with more experience than you in a field. It’s crazy to fail simply because of your arrogance. There is valuable advice on specific issues that can only be gotten from people that have experience in those issues. Don’t rely solely on your wisdom every time.
As humans, mistakes are inevitable. But, crashing your career because of those mistakes isn't. Avoid the mistakes listed above and you can have a great career in the work from home industry.
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