Avoid these 3 Common Freelancing Mistakes | FreshGigs.ca

Avoid these 3 Common Freelancing Mistakes

Avoid these 3 Common Freelancing Mistakes

The traditional workplace is gone. All hail the era of freelancers.

People are making the jump from traditional office settings to freelancing full-time in droves. The appeal of breaking away from the shackles of your desk, limited vacation time, and management, to becoming your own boss and having all the freedom freelancing provides is certainly appealing. But it’s not all flowers and sunshine—working as a freelancer full-time does come with challenges.

If you don’t freelance at the moment, or freelance part-time and are thinking of making the leap to freelancing full-time, there are a few things you need to be prepared for that new freelancers often overlook. Here are three common mistakes made by those new to freelancing, with a little help from Brennan Dunn, author of The 5 Most Common Mistakes New Freelancers Make.

1. Not Treating Freelancing Like a Business

As a freelancer, you run your own business. You are the CEO. You know what your strengths are: if you’re a writer, you write; if you’re a designer, you design. You’ve transitioned to freelancing full-time because you want to focus on these strengths and work with clients in need of your services.

But you might burnout if you forget that it’s your business, and you’re not just an employee for the clients you work with. Clients might start treating you like an employee (because they have employees themselves) and set the expectations, prices, deadlines, and more. You’re the one with ownership of your product and service—your voice is equally as valuable in the relationship with your client(s).

As a freelancer, you run your own business. You are the CEO.

Besides taking charge, you also have the ability to pick and choose your clients. Instead of working with five clients and making $50 week from each of them (for example), try charging more and working less. It’s a straightforward concept, but new freelancers are often afraid of charging what their services are actually worth in fear of a client balking at the prices, and this leads to working with too many clients for too little money. Be confidant in your services—quote what your services are worth (or quote higher and see what happens) and work with a smaller number of clients.

You can then use some of the income you get from your improved pricing and invest in services that are valuable to any business—online invoicing and bookkeeping services, for example—that will help you manage your time better and remove some of the more tedious freelancing responsibilities.

2. Not Understanding Your Needs

A regular paycheck comes with a traditional job. The paycheck is steady, it’s predicable, it’s safe. It also makes it easy to do some window-shopping and take a few trips throughout the year, as you know there will always be a paycheck waiting for you every two weeks or every month.

But things are different as a full-time freelancer. You need to plan ahead and figure out your needs and wants for the entire year and plan accordingly—and keep in mind, there’s always a chance that your client in June will no longer be a client by the time August rolls around. There’s more unpredictability and uncertainty as a freelancer. There are also things that are just so commonplace—paid vacation time, for example—that don’t exist when freelancing. If you haven’t planned your expected expenses for the year, you’re going to be charging clients the wrong amounts, undervaluing your services, and possibly even be living beyond your needs.

3. Not Being Proactive to Build a Client List

As a freelancer, you need to do it all: sales, marketing, accounting, account management, and more. This is all in addition to what your core service offerings are.

When freelancing full-time, you can’t assume that deep-pocketed clients will always be lined up outside your front door. The traditional rules of meeting people (in hopes of finding new clients) still apply. You need to network as much as possible, have business cards, have a website (remember, you’re running a business now), and have a defined target audience in mind. Go after the clients you want. If needed, start with a few small clients in order to build a portfolio, and then use this portfolio to attract some bigger, better fish. You might not have a marketing background, but you need to put yourself out there and be seen and heard in order to have a truly stable and successful career as a freelancer.

  • All of these mistakes eventually lead to a failure. It’s funny how many people failed at freelancing and still claim it’s not their fault, or that other cheaper freelancers are stealing their job when it’s mostly them who never learned how are actually things working in the freelance world.