It is always better to learn from others mistakes than wait to commit to those mistakes yourself and then learn never to do them again.
Freelancing is one such source of income where every newcomer and experienced freelancer is bound to make a mistake – knowingly or unknowingly, at some point in their freelancing career.
There are no formal or institutional systems to teach you the dos and don’ts of freelancing. You have to rely on your own experience, experience of fellow freelancers and above all, have faith in your skills. With this brief introduction, we move on to see the top 5 freelancing mistakes to avoid at any cost.
Mistake 01: Never Remain Underpaid
You will unknowingly fall into a never ending trap if you allow yourself to remain underpaid for your honest efforts.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a native or non-native freelancer; it is evident that you are going to begin freelancing with low earning potential because of one reason: lack of experience.
But even after this lack of experience translates into relevant experience, let’s say, after two years, freelancers begin to fall into the trap of getting underpaid for their work…
Why? 90% of the clients are never ready to pay sufficiently for freelancers efforts; on the other hand, freelancers are often afraid of asking for better pay rates because they fear the client will close the deal. Thus begins the vicious cycle. If you don’t believe us, visit elance.com, freelancer.com and odesk.com, and see the amount clients are paying freelancers.
For instance, you will see clients offering;
- $1 for 600-700 word blogs
- $0.50 for 500 word rewrites
- $50 for creating a 75-page high quality e-book
- $50-$60 for fully setting up WordPress blogs
Also notice the kind of experienced people applying for those freelance jobs. In fact, there are some freelancers out there who will readily sell you 500 word blog posts for $1 and the sad part is that those posts are often sold or are PLR content made unique through rewrite software; and again, such rewrites come with excessive grammar errors.
Think clearly – both the clients and freelancers are responsible for thousands of freelancers who are being underpaid at the moment.
Therefore, once you have relevant experience and you are sure that your work can justify demanding high freelancing fees, never look back. You may not receive high-paying clients immediately but the wait is worthwhile.
Mistake 02: Mistaking Freelancing as a Full Time Job
The primary reason you are a freelancer in the first place is because you don’t want to constrain yourself to a full-time job. But freelancers often tend to forget this distinction and take freelancing jobs as a full time prospect. Remember that no matter how much the client/s pay you, the client does not own 24 hours of your time.
In your freelancing career, you will undoubtedly get clients who demand that you spend every working hour collaborating with them, replying to every email instantly, that is, basically being on your toes 24/7.
While such clients may pay handsomely and you might feel tempted to give in to those demands, you should never forget the basic reason why you became a freelancer in the first place, that is, to own your time and work as much as you would like and not under unnecessary compulsion.
Therefore, it’s prudent that you clearly tell client/s the freelancing output they can expect in a given week. Also make it clear that a client should not take you for granted.
A word of caution – working on your own time doesn’t mean you become irresponsible and unprofessional with your work. Just try to create a clear line with regards to the expectations a client can have from you and refrain from becoming overworked as a freelancer.
Mistake 03: Turning Into a ‘Yes’ Freelancer
Turning into a ‘Yes’ freelancer is similar to mistake 02 in a number of ways with few additions like the number of freelancing projects you undertake in a period of time and the kind of service you are giving to your clients.
For instance, if you are working on multiple projects for one single client, you need to divide the time given to each project.
Or… if you have regular work from various clients, you need to control your work output to prevent stagnancy and burn out.
Moreover, try not to take work that demands 24-hour submission deadlines every day. Problems like Internet connectivity, computer crash or even sudden sickness can crop up at any time and not every client will understand your problems.
Further, understand what kind of service a client expects from your you. If the client contracts you for writing and uploading tasks, and later asks for directory submissions, proofreading/editing others articles, social media marketing etc. without even talking about paying an additional cost for your time, you should either politely refuse them or ask for additional payment. Chances are that you will not choose the second option.
Well then don’t blame others if you feel underpaid…
Mistake 04: Misleading Clients
Never mislead clients by false promises of service. Deliver what you promise you would. This way you will always stay in the client’s good standings. There are clients who will not mind paying extra to receive high quality work on time.
Another way of misleading a client is to outsource your work to content farms. An individual freelancer does not work under the category of content farming. Often it so happens that a client X commissions an individual freelancer Y to write content and that Y freelancer outsources to Z content farm at a much cheaper cost.
By doing so, a freelancer not only misleads the client and breaks professional ethics but also downgrades the freelancing industry by promoting cheap work ethics, forcing writers to remain underpaid.
Before taking work from a client, you should clearly state whether you are an individual freelancer or working for a company. That way, the client can also decide project deadlines and knows what to expect.
Mistake 05: Don’t Irritate the Client
There are clients who may wish to give you multiple projects one after another and there are clients who are interested in only one time deals.
In both cases, the undeniable fact remains that associating with the client will come to an end at some point of time.
So what is often recommended is to follow up with the client asking without sounding overbearing if there are any additional assignments available.
But what a freelancer should ALWAYS avoid is to repeatedly follow up with the client even when the client does not reply. This behavior is very irritating and closes any chance of receiving any repeat assignments. Follow up once or twice in a month or two, and then consider the business relationship closed for now.
Print out the mistakes above, paste it at your work station and remind yourself of these from time to time.
Please share with us your freelancing mistakes below.