We believe that working as a freelancer is one of the best ways you can make money. There is so much to love about the freelancing lifestyle and the freedom it affords.
But that being said, every freelancer makes mistakes. After all, nobody is perfect. Mistakes are a part of life and can’t be avoided entirely.
Yet, we want to provide you with the chance to learn from some of the most common mistakes that freelancers make, so you can take the best and quickest possible route to freelancing success.
Mistake #1: Late deliveries = Loss of clients
No matter the reason for a late delivery, it will almost certainly lead to a deterioration in your working relationship with your clients. While there might occasionally be a justifiable reason for a late delivery, you need to ensure 99.9% of your projects are delivered exactly when (or ideally before) your client is expecting them.
Learning #1: Always deliver on time
It might sound like an obvious thing to say, but do your utmost to deliver all of your projects ahead of schedule. Given the competitive nature of the gig economy, if you consistently deliver late work, you will undoubtedly lose clients. And if you deliver a few days before your client is expecting the project, it allows for sufficient time for editing before the deadline.
Mistake #2: Complacency
There will come a time in your life as a freelancer where everything seems to be going your way. Your clients seem happy, and you’re earning a decent living. But this is also a time where complacency might creep into your deliveries. Whether it’s a slight drop in standards or tardiness in responding to messages, complacency will seriously affect the quality of your work.
Learning #2: Always look to improve
Complacency is caused by stagnation. Challenging yourself to be adaptable and constantly looking for ways to improve is an excellent way of warding off the dangers of complacency. If you find that you’re too comfortable, make a change and motivate yourself to do something slightly different.
Mistake #3: Placing all your eggs in one basket
One of the most common mistakes that some freelancers make is to put all of their eggs in the same basket. They might be drawn into a huge project with one client and neglect all of their other revenue streams. But when a particular project dries up, so does your primary source of income, which leaves you with a gaping hole in your earnings.
Learning #3: Diversify your client base
The healthiest portfolio a freelancer can have is one that’s incredibly diverse. Try and work with various clients in different industries so that you have different sources of income. Then, if work ceases from one client for whatever reason, you still have a decent flow of work from elsewhere.
Mistake #4: Pricing issues
When you’re new to freelancing, it’s so difficult to get your pricing right. After all, how do you quantify what your time is worth if you’re not used to charging per hour or per project? Because freelancing is new territory for most, it leads them to guess or estimate their prices, causing them to be too cheap or too expensive.
Learning #4: Conduct market research into your worth
It stands to reason that the best way to understand exactly what you’re worth as a freelancer is to conduct detailed market research into what other gigsters in your niche earn. Check out average salaries on resources like Zip Recruiter and check job boards for the current going rates. Getting your pricing right is so important, so don’t under or oversell yourself.
Mistake #5: Burnout
Entering the gig economy is extremely exciting. After all, you have so many potential income streams and a whole world of potential clients! But you need to be mindful of your workload. Lots of freelancers work so much that they end up burning themselves out, which is obviously bad for your health and wellbeing!
Learning #5: Establish office hours and stick to them
The best way to avoid burnout as a freelancer is to work out how many hours you are happy to work each day/week/month and develop office hours to reflect this. Holding yourself to account and working to your set schedule ensures that you will maintain a healthy work-life balance and succeed as a freelancer in the long run.
As you make your way as a freelancer, it’s impossible to avoid mistakes altogether. But being aware of these five common mistakes will help you plan your time and workload appropriately, so you don’t find yourself falling into some of the common traps that freelancers get stuck in.
As with all mistakes, providing you learn from each of them and use them to your advantage in the future, you can regard them as a positive part of your evolution as a freelancer.