The world is adopting remote work, and if you’ve decided to start a freelance career, congratulations. This is the perfect time. The number of freelancers has increased by 47% in the last three years. This percentage increase comes up to 1.5 billion freelancers worldwide.
To many freelancers, it is no more a side hustle or a career option. Freelancing has become a lifestyle choice because of its immense benefits. That is if you do everything right. 7 out of 10 freelancers quit within two years of starting out. Why? They build their foundation on freelancing mistakes.
In this article, I’ll address some of the most fundamental freelancing mistakes to avoid. If you’re a freelancing beginner, this is a must-read. Without further ado, let’s get started.
10 Freelancing Mistakes to Avoid as a Beginner
1 – Charging too little or too much
One of the most common freelancing mistakes is not knowing what to charge your clients. Pricing your services wisely is critical to sustaining your freelancing career. In the long run, setting an inappropriate price could impact your worth as a freelancer.
There’s a possibility that you’re charging too little or too much. You don’t want to earn money slowly or get rich quickly. Both don’t work!
To avoid this, you must conduct thorough research on market pricing. Consider critical elements such as market demand, competition, and your expertise. In short, experiment with different pricing strategies to cope with such freelancing mistakes.
Source: Freelancer Map
2 – Being a Jack of all Trades
While versatility is appealing, being a jack of all trades could have a negative impact. Knowing a lot might sound cool, but it’s also one of the freelancing mistakes you should avoid at all times, especially when you are a beginner.
Clients seek freelancers that specialize in a specific niche. To give high-quality solutions to your clients, you must first develop your expertise. Mastering one always beats knowing a lot. This allows you to build a reputation, attract quality clients, and charge higher.
I’ll put forth an example for you – Client X wants an Instagram ads marketer. He has two options –
- A freelancer who offers content writing, social media management, and Instagram Ads. He can do all but is no expert.
- A freelancer who is an expert on Instagram and Facebook ads and has solid proof of work.
Who’s an ideal choice here? … Exactly!
3 – Not raising your rates
Another element of freelancing mistakes to avoid is not raising the price of your work. Don’t try to mix it up with the first freelancing mistake on our list. That is mostly viable for the beginning of your freelancing career.
This freelancing mistake comes into play when you’ve gained experience and built a real-world portfolio. Not raising your price with time might result in burnout and a loss of passion for what you’re doing.
It’s critical to avoid a stagnant income as you gain expertise in your field of work. With time, most clients (good clients) recognize the quality of work and willingly increase their pay. But if they don’t, it’s your duty to ask!
4 – Choosing Quantity over Quality
On the list of freelancing mistakes to avoid, this one is the most likely to happen: failing to opt for a quality client. As a newbie, you tend to take on every project that comes your way, choosing quantity over quality.
As someone new to the market, you should keep in mind that a bad client can screw you in many ways. They can ruin your reputation, mental health, income, and so on. To avoid freelancing mistakes, you should spend time looking for quality clients. You can use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
You also need to understand the difference between a boss and a client. A good client respects your boundaries, recognizes your expertise, and respects your decisions. While a boss… never mind!
5 – Not signing a Contract
As a freelancer, hearing about unpaid work or runaway clients is unfortunately common. To avoid this frustration and protect yourself, a freelance contract is essential. It serves as a safeguard against dishonest clients and prevents misunderstandings.
A contract ensures clear terms and payment and provides a legal framework for dispute resolution. Without a contract, both parties are vulnerable to conflicts and unmet expectations. At times, situations may end up in legal disputes. Hence, sign a contract to mitigate these risks and establish mutual understanding.
Furthermore, a contract demonstrates your professionalism and reliability, fostering trust with clients. It signals your commitment to delivering high-quality work. This can lead to repeated business and positive reviews from clients.
6 – Not maintaining a record of your work
Failing to keep a record of your work is an assured way to ruin your freelance career. Even experienced freelancers face the consequences of this mistake.
Not keeping track of your projects, progress, and client interactions can lead to a state of chaos, missed opportunities, and difficulty in presenting past work. Scary, right? Well then, avoid it.
A well-managed track record results in a well-crafted portfolio. When you have a record of your previous work, important processes like tax filing, invoicing, and business planning become much easier. For starters, you can track all the work, delivery terms, and payments in a sheet.
7 – Not building a Personal Brand
Would you ever want to miss out on potential opportunities in your freelancing career? Clearly, no. However, it has been observed that having a weak personal brand might lead to the downfall of your freelance career.
To avoid this pitfall, build a strong personal brand on various social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. By doing so, you will be able to stand out from the crowd, showcase your expertise, and generate inbound leads.
Personal branding, in short: Create, Engage, Showcase.
Create valuable content, engage with your audience, and showcase your portfolio. You may also collaborate with other freelancers to expand your reach and establish yourself as a thought leader.
8 – Not Networking
The list of freelancing mistakes to avoid also includes a non-negotiable factor of networking. And I know you saw this coming.
As a freelancer, it is important to build a professional network of fellow freelancers and potential clients. This opens doors for referrals and inbound leads for your business, which is a significant and automated source of new clients and projects.
Moreover, networking can also help you to develop a strong personal brand. By attending industry events, meeting with other freelancers, and engaging with potential clients, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and build a reputation for excellence. This, in turn, can lead to more referrals, more inbound leads, and, ultimately, more business.
Yes, freelancing mistakes 7 and 8 are co-related.
9 – Poor Management
One of the most typical freelancing mistakes is poor management. Failing to manage your time, resources, and projects can result in missed deadlines, unpredictable schedules, and low-quality work.
As a freelancer, you must set realistic expectations with your client to avoid over-promising and under-delivering. Making such a mistake puts your reputation, client network, and professional growth at risk, and you surely don’t want that to happen.
10 – Exhausting Yourself
Exhausting yourself by overworking is a typical mistake made by freelancers. Being your own boss might seem fascinating, but it can also lead to several health problems if you don’t manage your work efficiently.
Working without taking regular breaks can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. Making such a mistake might lead to chronic stress and other mental health problems. To sustain a long-lasting freelancing career, you must take care of your health.
There is no denying that freelancing offers many benefits. Starting a freelancing career, most times is one of the most rewarding choices one can make. However, we just saw the other side of the coin.
The motive of this blog is to save you from experiencing that other side. I’ve addressed everything from not knowing what to charge to exhausting yourself. I hope that you will take the time to consider these points as you strive to become an outstanding freelancer.
I hope you’re not making the aforementioned freelancing mistakes! Stay FuelEd.