For full-time employees and students, freelancing jobs seem worth perusing. And we are supporting you in this decision. In fact, we constantly cover topics like trends in freelancing, how to become a freelancer, what are the career options in freelancing, and so on.
So it’s going to be an extremely fruitful journey if you want to become a freelancer. However, there’s a caveat of course. There are multiple mistakes freelancers make during their initial days. These mistakes can have a mere or huge effect on your career.
And the size of the mistakes hardly matters but the compounding effects they have on your future endeavors. When new freelancers make these mistakes, they lose clients, opportunities and can even have long-lasting effects on their careers.
That’s why, for the exact same reason. We don’t want you to commit these mistakes that most new freelancer makes. We will not only cover about top 5 mistakes new freelancers make, but we will also provide the solution. Let’s begin.
1. Not building your personal brand
People who have already been in the industry for a long time understand this. They know that building your name and going for the long term is way more important than earning more money. New freelancers make the mistake of not building their personal brand but only think about how to land high-paying clients.
Although the answer lies in the same paragraph. That is, when you start building your personal brand, you don’t have to necessarily reach out to high-paying clients, but they will contact you in the form of inbound leads. Moreover, it’s a foolproof way to generate more leads as a freelancer.
If you are curious to know how to build your personal brand as a freelancer and how it can help you. We highly recommend you to check this article: Personal Branding on LinkedIn.
2. Not setting the right price
As a new freelancer, this might be your biggest freelancing mistake. Generating leads is one thing but being able to convert is another. And new freelancers mostly fail at that. Let’s say that your prospect is impressed by your pitch and profile and now it’s time to reveal the rates for your services.
Now, two things can go wrong here. You either offer a rate that is out-of-budget for your client and he might not even ask for lower prices and simply says goodbye to you. Or you might end up suggesting a low price which can also turn your client off since he might be expecting a higher price because he wants quality work. In both cases, you don’t make any business, and you’ll either lose money or a high-paying client.
That’s why you need to figure out a price point that works for both. To find out the best price for your services, you need to be well aware of your industry. Another thing you need to learn is negotiation. Negotiation will make sure that you’re neither losing money, nor clients. To learn negotiation, you need to go through this bog: How to Become a Better Negotiator.
3. Not taking care of the official paperwork
Legal work is probably the most boring part of the freelancing business. And because of the same reason, new freelancers often try to avoid creating a contract or not going through it before signing it. But this is a serious mistake a freelancer can commit. You are risking your safety and someone might cheat you because of this.
Therefore, always create some kind of contract before working with a new client. For example, when you are preparing an SLA document (service legal agreement), make sure that you clearly mention three things. These are quality, availability, and responsibility you’ll be providing as a freelancer under the contract.
This document will help you to get paid at mentioned time and you don’t have to worry about getting cheated anymore. Make sure that you are also keeping a record of all the invoices you sent. Having a strong understanding of these formalities also builds trustworthiness between you and your clients.
4. Not able to maintain work-life balance
Freelancing is a glamorous job from the outside, but from the inside, it can get stressful. The charming appeal that you get to work whenever you feel suitable—also works against you. It’s really simple. When you work in a corporate office, you are told to work on certain hours and days only. But in a freelancing world, you don’t need to follow that right? Wrong!
As freelancing helps us explore all the markets and opportunities to grab, we want to work on everything and all the time. As a result, this gets exhausting pretty soon. And you are doomed to burn out because you can’t see the difference between your working hours and personal hours. This gets all dirty and you’re left with no creativity or energy.
This is one of the most prevalent beginner mistakes made by freelancers. You should be able to maintain a sense of peace between both of your lives. Working hard and getting paid for it is totally worth it but you should also take a rest and live your personal life. Here’s a guide on How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance as a Freelancer.
5. Never saying no to projects
Like we mentioned, you’ve all the freedom to choose your work and projects. But we tend to make mistakes as a freelancer and try to work on everything. Because in the early days, we are uncertain that we’ll get new projects or not. And so losing a lead doesn’t make sense at that moment.
However, do not make that mistake—you’ve to play the long-term goal remember? In the long run, you must choose quality projects based on different aspects. Like what experience would you gain and how your freelance portfolio would benefit after taking this project. And not on how much money you’d get. Additionally, beginners try to work on gigs that don’t specifically fall under their niche. Ending up with a bad reputation when something goes wrong with the job.
Therefore, this is actually the easiest to implement. Choose your niche and take projects related to that domain first. And if you want to diversify, gradually learn more skills and then take new projects. Learn to say no if you already have enough on your plate and create a long-term strategy.
These were some of the biggest mistakes freelancers make when they start working. These mistakes will decide—how far you go as a freelancer and or even a business owner.
Many fresh graduates or young people get into freelancing without realizing the setback their mistakes will cause.
However, you don’t have to be in the same situation. Now you know what mistakes freelancers make and how to work on them and hopefully fix them.