The world of online work presents plenty of great opportunities, and many are considering freelance as an income stream that allows them to work from home. From money management to marketing, virtually every task falls on a freelancer’s shoulders. Challenges may arise since a freelancer has to wear many hats to make their freelancing career work. Since working online can be difficult and even risky, it’s essential to learn the most common mistakes freelancers make in order to avoid many of the biggest issues.
Because of the lower charge for assignments, freelancers usually have to work around the clock to make sure their bills are paid at the end of the month. Although it is reasonable to charge less in the beginning while you build your freelance reputation, don’t continue to charge less after you’ve gained freelance working experience. If you’re unsure of how much to charge, start by visiting other freelancer profiles on freelance sites or forums to see how much they charge. With the information you gather, see if you can find an average hourly wage that you’re comfortable asking for and consider that along with your work experience, knowledge, skills, and working hours. How much do you need to make each month to at least pay for your basic necessities?
Not Looking Over Work for Mistakes
Clients are expecting the freelancers they hire to complete work in a timely manner and have zero mistakes on the finished product. When freelancers rush at the last minute and don’t bother to review their work, they may be surprised to receive a disappointment-filled message from their client. The feelings of guilt and regret flood in and you’re stuck with an unhappy client and a risk of diminishing your reputation just because you didn’t review your work. Always double-check your assignment before you turn it into your client. Making the time to review and, if needed, edit your work will save time and frustration down the road.
Relying on a Couple of Clients for Work/Money
In the freelancing world, clients can be flaky in terms of both communication and supplying steady work, so it’s ideal to have 2-6 contracts under your belt that you can properly handle. With a variety of contracts, you’re able to supplement any lost time and money when you’re not working for a specific client. It’s not necessary to have just freelancing as your only money source, though, so find other ways to add more revenue streams. You can get a part-time job or write an e-book; you can advertise on a blog or sell a product. Don’t put all your eggs in the freelancing basket if you’re not yet capable of bringing in sufficient income that way.
Not Having Healthy Work-Life Balance
Many freelancers don’t set a schedule for themselves, which can cause disarray in their work and personal lives. Although freelancing is a liberating business venture, a poorly managed work schedule that has you scrambling to finish assignments at odd hours can lead to neglected relationships with loved ones. Without the support of friends and family members, work accomplishments mean less when there is no one to share that glory with. Know when your working hours end and turn off your computer, phone, and any other gadget that might distract you away from personal time. Be sure your clients know what times you’re off work so that they can get in touch around your schedule.
Not Getting a Down Payment
When working on a fixed-price contract, freelancers may not want to pressure the client into paying them immediately without seeing their work first. But what this does is not guarantee you any payment for the work you complete. What happens if the client suddenly disappears with the finished product you did and never pays you? Guarantee your pay and ask for a percentage of upfront payment or full payment on a fixed-price contract before you start your work. By doing so, the client feels more obligated to honor a contract with you since they’ve already paid.
Letting the Workload Pile Up
Freelancers with multiple contracts and tasks can feel resistant to working through the assignments they have and this procrastination often results in waiting until the last minute to complete their workload. Clients who neither know nor care about your total workload can add more unexpected work to the pile and won’t want to hear excuses when you struggle to meet deadlines. To avoid putting your projects off to the last minute, schedule your day in a way that allows you to work on each project for at least 30 minutes. Organizing your other assignments in order of priority is another way to help you feel in control of your workload instead of overwhelmed.
Even after learning the common mistakes that freelancers make, freelancers are bound to deal with unforeseen mistakes through trial and error. When that happens, be sure to see those issues in a positive light and learn from them. The payoff of freelancing and being your own boss makes it all worthwhile.