5 Mistakes To Avoid While Freelancing!
No matter where you are in your freelancing journey. Let me save you from committing 5 common freelancing mistakes that can cause you years of struggling.
I started freelancing around 10 years back and have been helping upcoming freelancers scale their businesses in the last few years. Based on my experience both as a freelancer and a freelance coach, here are the mistakes you should watch out for.
1. Don’t ever work for free
That’s a NO-NO from day 1. As a new or struggling freelancer, you might come across people or companies who offer you to work for experience or recommendation or just exposure. Never entertain that, do not work for intangible gains like friendship, connections, or exposure. It is not sustainable and won’t work out in a long run.
When you work for free, you tell your client that you are not valuable, they remain disinterested in your work and unbothered about your learning, exposure etc.
Whereas when they are paying you, they have expectations and they care about your productivity, quality, and everything. You have deadlines to meet and feedback whenever required. This improves your work and meets the mutual goal and this is the experience and exposure you need.
Also, do not reduce your prices below a certain threshold. For example, if you quote INR 100 per hour when the market rate is around INR 1000 per hour, your clients might think that you are not good at the task. You may end up getting even lesser clients and what is worse is that you might attract a very poor set of clients.
In short, if you don’t value yourself, no one else will. There are 3 general ways that you can invoice your clients.
- Hourly basis
- Monthly retainer basis
- Per Project basis
What’s the best way depends on so many things including the client, the nature of the project, etc but If you are just starting out or still new to this, I would suggest you against an hourly basis.
2. Do not Over promise the client
One of the worst things that you can do as a freelancer is over-promising the clients. It is also one of the most common.
You can not work for a client if you do not know the client’s expectations. You must be well aware of the task at hand. You must not assume and clear all queries before starting the work. There should be clear expectations without exceptions.
It is always recommended that you underpromise and over-deliver. It is sure to get you testimonials and recommendations. Remember to be gentle, calm, and transparent while working with the client. This will help you win the trust and maintain great professional relationships.
3. Don’t try to master more than one skill at once
Remember, Freelancers are supposed to be experts. You cannot be an expert at everything. There is so much to learn and keep up with, trying to ace too many skills at the same time may cause distraction, confusion, and ultimately a disappointment.
For example, if you are trying copyrighting, SEO, and paid advertising together, you may end up forgetting the basics and techniques of each.
While you may aspire to be a T-shaped marketer or a generalist. Make sure you go about mastering one skill first completely before trying to ace the others.
4. Don’t Accept every Project
When you start freelancing, you might be tempted to work with every client who approaches you. However, that is not wise at all.
You must work with clients who are a good fit. Do not settle for “any client” and focus on landing the clients you really want to work with.
“What kind of clients do you enjoy working with?” “What is the size of their business?” “ Will you have the comfort you need?” “Are you satisfied with the pay?”
“Did it feel right?” “Will this help you move towards your goal?”
In short, you should aspire to work for a situation where you can choose the clients you work with and not be desperate and work with anyone you find.
5. Invest in self-growth
Digital marketing is evolving too quickly. Also, it is more experiential in learning than theoretical. An expert cannot afford to stop learning, constant learning is what makes one an expert.
If you do not invest your time in self-growth, you will stagnate in the industry. So use your time wisely.
What should you do with your time?
You should focus on building a pipeline so that you are never out of work. You should meet your deadlines and make sure you produce results for clients on time. You must learn to take out time for breaks and leisure.
Most importantly, Take out time to keep yourself updated with the latest trends in the industry. Do necessary reading, attend relevant workshops and take up new courses regularly. This sadly is not a habit for most freelancers and they end up compromising on optimizing their career.
Yes, Freelancing is a rewarding career but it is equally competitive as well. Life is too short to learn from your own mistakes, Every mistake costs you in terms of time, effort and money. Just as you draw inspiration from other’s success, keep referring to other’s mistakes for caution. Hope this helps 🙂