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February 25, 2020

Common Freelance Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

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Everyone makes mistakes. It's part of human nature. Ideally, you learn from your mistakes, configure yourself differently and get back in the game! Remember: even the most successful people in the world started out as beginners and they made mistakes, too. Still, if you just started out in the world of freelancing or have freelanced for awhile but haven't grown as fast as you'd have liked, the please read on.

Do You Accept All of the Work You Can Get?

If you are a new freelancer, then it is completely understandable if you want to grab every opportunity you get to work. However, you could be making a fatal mistake by doing this as you might miss deadlines or lose sleep trying to get everything done on time. It won't hurt to say no every once in a while - remember that. In fact, it might be beneficial. If you get work from someone and complete it well and on time, that client will see how much attention you gave his project and he might potentially hire you for the long term. Most of my rent is actually paid for by long-term clients - clients that I have turned down other people's work for.

Do You Charge Enough?

Before you charge too little on your next project, make sure you do some research first. Yes, it can be hard to convince clients to pay a little bit more for your work, but send that higher estimate anyway. If you know what your services are worth, then ask for the amount you deserve. Never underestimate yourself or you will never make good money as a freelancer - remember that.

Are You Professional?

Don't worry; you can still do your freelance work in your boxers or in your birthday suit, if you want. However, you will have to act like a customer service representative whenever it comes to talking to your clients. It might be hard to find the balance here, but you have to be both professional and personable at the same time. Don't apologize for not getting a revision done, only to follow it up with "I had a hangover and couldn't think straight, and then I lost my wallet and my girlfriend yelled at me…" Although that might be the truth, do yourself a huge favor and just don't mention the reasons behind your failure to get the revision done instead.

Do You Miss Deadlines?

Everyone misses deadlines once in a while. After all, they can be hard to keep sometimes - especially when things get hectic. Well, whether you had too much work to do or simply overestimated the timeline for the project, missing a deadline could result in loss of work in the future due to unhappy clients. So, make sure you ask for all of the project specifications beforehand and actually read them as thoroughly as possible. This way, you will have a clearer idea on the entire project and will be able to come up with a more suitable deadline in the end.

Do You Follow Up with Clients?

It is important to follow up with clients after you've completed the job you did for them. In fact, you could get more work out of them if you do. A lot of the time, clients lose their providers' contact information or just forget to get in touch. So, don't miss your chance and handle those follow ups yourself!

Do You Use Contracts?

The majority of new freelancers don't use contracts because they think clients won't be interested in them. Well, this isn't true. A lot of clients appreciate professionalism, so they might actually be happy if they see you drew up a contract. Besides, if you end up going through a horrible experience in the future, you will end up wishing you had that contract drawn up and signed in the first place!

If you simply have no idea how to make one or what a contract should include, then sit down and list everything you would like your clients to know about your freelance work. Set your boundaries, and mention your limits and your pay rate, for example. Make sure your contract is detailed, too; but make sure you don't overload it with useless things, either. In a nutshell, try to stay precise and to the point!

Do You Return Calls and Emails on Time?

Remember: clients depend on you for customer service, so make sure you return all of their emails and calls on time. If you don't, then you might get a bad rep, which could then lead to the ultimate demise of your career as a freelancer. A lot of the time, unhappy clients will return for revenge, too, so get organized today and start emailing and calling your clients back every time. They will appreciate it, even if you have nothing much to say to them.

Do You Overestimate Your Skills?

When a potential client gives you his list of project requirements and you see that there are some aspects involved that you don't have any experience in, do you take the job anyway because the money is good? Well, you shouldn't. Above all things, you have to be honest with your clients and let them know when you don't have experience in a certain field. Sometimes, they might still give you the job and just contract somebody else for the field you are unfamiliar with, or they might hire somebody you know who has experience in that field to handle that part of the project. Either way, make sure you let your clients know the situation first. That's the most important thing.

Do You Invest Enough in Your Freelance Work?

Although you might be getting steady work right now, that doesn't mean that you will always have work available in the future - remember that. Because of this, you have to invest some of your income in your freelance work by looking into effective marketing and advertising practices. Remember: freelancing is just like running a business, so you have to put your back into it and work hard.

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October 27, 2011 - 9:08 pm
Its hard as a freelancer when you just start up - you want to get customers and people excited to work with you but have to make sure you dont undercharge for your skills. There has to be a balance.
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