Do you want to become a freelancer or have already started this career and want to know insights?
Here I’m going to tell you 51 common mistakes that freelancers make and probably, you also.
If you want to increase your productivity, profit and develop a career as a successful freelancer, then these mistakes you should avoid at any cost.
The mistakes that freelancers make are not examining the fundamental qualities of themselves and ignoring the things that can ruin the life forever.
I have tried to find out most of the mistakes freelancers make and have grouped them in appropriate category so that one can easily focus on his weak point and improve accordingly.
There are many mistakes that I had made in my past, but luckily I could get out of that. It’s not possible in every situation so being aware of them is a preventive measure.
After reading this article, you can easily find out which mistakes you are currently making and how to avoid them.
- A) Not Focusing On SWOT Analysis
- 1. Not Investing In Yourself
- 2. Not Working On Own Projects
- 3. Treating Freelancing Career As A Hobby
- 4. Sharing Just Words Not Work
- 5. Not Building A Portfolio
- 6. Not Updating Portfolio
- 7. You Don’t Like To Be Professional In Your Freelance Business
- 8. Not Respecting Yourself
- 9. Only Work Has Priorities Not For Your Personal Life
- 10. Not Learning New Skills
- B) Mistakes In Communicating With Clients
- 11. You Are Too Busy To Get Calls
- 12. Making Mistakes In Emails Not Only While Reading But Writing Also
- 13. Making Weak Contracts
- 14. You Are Weak In Negotiation
- 15. Failing To Educate Your Clients
- 16. Over Sharing The Unnecessary Things
- 17. Pulling Unnecessary Threads In Communication
- 18. Overpromising
- 19. Not Asking For Referrals/Testimonials
- 20. Not Taking Proper Follow-up
- 21. Not Interacting With Your Followers
- C) Time Management
- 22. Failing To Follow The Deadline
- 23. Not Have Work Calendar
- 24. Don’t Have Idea About Estimated Project Time
- 25. Not Giving Time To Improve Your Skills
- 26. Saying ‘Yes’ For Every Single Project Though, It’s A Crap
- 27. Not Delegating Work
- 28. You Are Little Available To Clients
- 29. Not Getting Mails Quickly To Show You Are Busy
- 30. Don’t Have Goals
- D) Customer Acquisition
- 31. Not Screening Clients
- 32. Leaving Unhappy Clients Side
- 33. Not Connecting Former Clients & Employees
- 34. You Are Thinking Client Is Always Right
- 35. You Are Little Available To Your Clients
- 36. Not Explaining Work Process
- 37. Not Working To Grab New Clients
- 38. Telling Your Client That You’re Only Genius Left On The Planet
- 39. Putting All Eggs In The Same Basket
- 40. Not Promoting Your Work
- E) Financial Operations
- 41. Not Giving Value To Your Freelance Income
- 42. Spending Everything
- 43. Not Charging Enough
- 44. Letting Clients Dictate Your Rates
- 45. Lowering Bid Below The Threshold
- 46. Charging Hourly Not Per Project
- 47. Your Rates Are Fixed Since A Long Ago
- 48. Don’t Have Payment Schedule
- 49. Not Asking Extra Payment For Extra Work
- 50. You Are Not Clear About Your Terms & Conditions
- 51. Forgetting The Mistakes That You Have Made In The Past
A) Not Focusing On SWOT Analysis
It’s a major step because here you are going to start your freelancing career. If you fail to examine your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), then the most probably you would be failed.
And, it’s not that difficult or complicated you might think. Just by observing your capabilities and weaknesses, you can easily do your SWOT analysis.
I’m not going deep in personal development theories, but it’s what you need to look for.
1. Not Investing In Yourself
It is the most common mistake freelancers make and I’m also one of them. Trust me; it may cost you very big.
Ask one question to yourself, why the people will give you their projects.
To work as a freelancer, you need to be skillful and highly knowledgeable. I’m not saying to be a generalist but a specialist.
The most common approach among the freelancers, especially the newbies is becoming a jack of all trades but the master of none. It will not only restrict from becoming successful but also results in paying very less than others doing the same job. It happens because you are not showing your expertise and only want to work for getting money.
Never make this mistake again.
Suppose, you are a freelance writer, invest in improving grammar, vocabulary and when you master it, go ahead on literature or books in your niche where you can find the good references for your copy.
Another one example,
If you are an SEO specialist, then try to improve your knowledge every day because you will find the updates in this industry and know that the SEO is an ongoing process.
You can get the knowledge from the web, like articles, videos, presentations & ebooks or through offline books. You can also hire a trainer/mentor or join the training classes where you will get extra wings to your strengths.
2. Not Working On Own Projects
I have seen this many times that working on the own project will give you more power than what you learn in theory.
Work gives a clear picture of our strengths, the actual time required to complete the project, total project cost estimation (the most vital part of freelancing career).
Not working on the own project would backfire you if you get a big project and fail to complete it due to poor planning or inadequate knowledge & skills required for that.
If you have worked with your project(s), it helps in negotiating with the client and make them feel you are really expert & have all skills to complete that particular task.
3. Treating Freelancing Career As A Hobby
Though you have started the freelancing career due to your interest in the particular field, like copywriting, marketing, graphics design, etc. but once you start getting clients, treating your freelancing career as a hobby will not make you successful.
Moreover, you should not expose yourself as a freelancer, but a businessman and behave like that.
Let me clear; I’m not saying this all about your interest or enjoying the work. It’s necessary to work on projects what you like but that all should be to bound to time and other aspects.
You must be professional rather than a hobbyist. This work is going to pay you in money and reputation helping to get more projects in upcoming days.
So, make sure you are giving quality through your work.
4. Sharing Just Words Not Work
Communicating with the clients may award you more leads but remember, only dry emails won’t work always.
Show your customer that which project you are handling and what value you are giving to that. No matter whether the project is a small or a big one.
Sharing your sample work, or a link to your project would give you more exposure and credibility.
It will not only help you to award that project but pitch more.
5. Not Building A Portfolio
Why would the people trust you for offering their valuable projects? Many freelancers are having same or better skills than you and why they award you the particular project?
Isn’t this a common question?
Any client may ask you about your portfolio, and you must have one to showcase your expertise. So, build a professional looking portfolio like a CV.
It’s better to have a professional looking website as a portfolio which is trending now. You can give a link to your clients and prove them how you are one the best.
Including a blog on your website has its own perks and do not hesitate to write something that you know very well.
It’ll add trust, credibility and increase chances to get more leads or projects.
If you want to build a professional website for your portfolio, then using a premium template and unique, but the attractive design will make the clients give more weight to your bids.
If you are not sure about this, you can try yourself on the freelance marketplaces for this point.
In case, you don’t have a sound knowledge of web design, hire someone to help you. You can get one professional looking site for a few bucks.
6. Not Updating Portfolio
In above point, we saw how much importance goes to the building a professional looking portfolio. But, it’s not something to set & forget. You Need to update your portfolio regularly.
Adding the latest project can build more credibility & trust among your clients, and you can easily pitch more value to your freelance work.
Once you have a sufficient number of projects under completed status, then pick & add only the best projects in your portfolio.
I’m sure that you will continue learning even after setting up your career & brand. So, you can easily add more skills in your portfolio.
If you are not focusing here, then clients may ignore you quickly even you are the most talented person to complete his project.
7. You Don’t Like To Be Professional In Your Freelance Business
Almost every freelancer follows his hobby & dreams before entering in freelancing. I mean, hobby makes people attract towards becoming a freelancer.
But, when you decide to work as a freelancer, it becomes your profession, and you need to behave like a professional, not a hobbyist.
Hobby is something that you do in a spare time where you don’t have any bosses. You are not accountable to anyone. If you don’t like anything, you can easily deny that particular work, and there is nothing to lose except your interest.
In a case, you are following the same rule for your freelance business; then you might be wrong. Here, you are accountable to yourself, and if you treat your freelance business casually, then the growth of business may lower down significantly.
Especially, when you are dealing with the big clients having a reputation in the market or focused on overall quality of the project, you need to be complete professional in everything from communication to payment invoicing.
I’m sure that you will not lose such awesome deals for the silly mistakes. Am I right?
8. Not Respecting Yourself
Why are you doing the job or the freelance business? Is it for money, healthy & wealthy life, for your future, life partner & kids?
Yes, you are doing freelancing for all that but where are you among these points? You also have a life & you need your space.
After a burden of the work & all related things, you must keep some time for yourself. Always remember that you are the central point of all these things.
So, respect yourself and love yourself.
9. Only Work Has Priorities Not For Your Personal Life
In the last point, you saw, how much you are important. So, you must prioritize your work accordingly.
Apart from priorities for projects, you should enjoy your life. Adequate sleep, proper exercise, and healthy food are something that you never forget. Scheduling the personal life is similarly important as you work.
You need not work all the seven days of the week. Be faster on the other six days and enjoy at least one day forgetting all the jobs. 1-day picnic to the nearest tourist spot with your family may bring you the joy which you can’t get through your work.
Taking break may refresh you and give a boost to start the new week with more positive energy & enthusiasm.
10. Not Learning New Skills
Yeah! You have seen the right.
You may think, you are the master of a particular skill and teach others about that, then why you need to learn the new skills. Right?
Yes! You need to learn new skills because learning is a continuous process. Every person is a student for his entire life.
In the online world, things change very rapidly, and you must update yourself with the current technology.
Take a simple example;
You might use the Windows XP, but now you are using the Windows 10 or something latest version.
Why did you move forward & grab the latest one?
It’s because if you use the previous technology, no one will count you or offer a job.
The same thing happens in freelancing business. Apart from your work schedule & personal life, you should spend time on upgrading your skills.
You can go for live training or use the internet to learn new skills. In critical case, you may hire a mentor if you can afford. Finally, practicing has no option. To master a new skill, you must learn it & practice thoroughly on a regular basis.
B) Mistakes In Communicating With Clients
It is something where you meet & interact with clients and pitch them to offer you the projects. Strong communication heartline of freelancing career and works as connecting you with your clients either online or offline.
Mistakes in communication may destroy all your business reputation overnight, and you would lose all your money.
Grabbing the new leads & converting them into customers, educating them about the project to pitch maximum value and finally making repeated customers or establishing a network of referrals, all require a proper & professional but engaging conversation.
In this section, you can get the ideas about the importance of communication & what mistakes freelancers make here.
11. You Are Too Busy To Get Calls
Many people show that they are too busy and can’t get calls. It may be a real situation for a qualified freelancer, but others may be doing this to exaggerate that they are very reputed & have a ton of workload to pitch more.
It may work in a few case, but if there is a big opportunity opposite, you will lose that client. At least try to attend him & listen to his proposal. You may get benefited largely from such projects or in the best case; it would be a breakthrough for you.
I’m a web developer and deliver work in 5-7 days according to project need & charge min. $200 per project for a static website.
One day I get a call and client ask me to develop a one-page site for $100 with the free theme & stock images. It takes me only 5-6 hours to create an excellent website & costs around $20. It means I can make $80 profit in my spare time.
If I can do that, why not to do that?
It will add more revenue to my monthly income when I have the limited projects at that time.
Being too busy to get calls from clients is a bad sign of professionalism. Reject the offer if you don’t like, but at least show respect and courtesy to your customers even you have become successful.
It doesn’t mean you should accept each & every proposal. You can screen clients according to your business needs which we discuss in the upcoming point.
12. Making Mistakes In Emails Not Only While Reading But Writing Also
Email has become the strongest medium to communicate for B2B and B2C. You must have careful while reading the proposal i.e. terms & conditions, special instructions regarding the project and other important things that you must know.
Not only while reading but when you are writing an email, then you should be more careful. Having a separate email account for your freelance business may add advantage here, and chances of missing emails and mix-ups will reduce significantly.
If you are a big firm or heading a group of freelancers where you have hired someone for communication purpose, then be more careful and look for emails every day personally to ensure the person is working efficiently or not.
13. Making Weak Contracts
It’s a common approach for new freelancers to make poor contracts not only by money but terms & conditions also.
For short term project or initially to boost your career, accepting the possible project may be beneficial to build a portfolio but for a long-term contract and especially when you have become stable it may cost you a big.
At the time of signing the contract, make sure that it’s a win-win situation for both of you i.e. value for money at client side and also the value of your skills & work.
14. You Are Weak In Negotiation
When you work in the freelance marketplace, you set your rates for a specific type of work, like 500 words article writing for $25, etc. Sometimes, you can bid on a particular project and client awards a person who thinks capable of doing that work.
When you become more popular and build a reputation, you can raise your rates, but at a big project, you may need to negotiate with a client for a better deal.
Every client wants to get work done in a qualitative manner but the minimum possible budget. So, negotiating with such clients is also a necessary part of your job. Negotiation is an art, and you should learn how to pitch a customer to create a beneficial situation to yours.
Being weak in negotiation may lead you to work at very low cost, and finally, you’ll get a small amount to spend on your expenditures.
15. Failing To Educate Your Clients
As I said in the previous point, negotiation is a vital part of your freelance contract. Educating clients may improve your chances of the betterment of deal.
Clients only think about his project and estimate the cost. He wants to pay the cost based on front-end work, not the back-end. You should tell all the scenario so that he can happily hire you for his project.
You are a freelance web developer and got a project for a website design of a restaurant. How would you educate & negotiate with your client if he is saying to complete the project in $100?
Most of the people may think, it’s an excellent deal to build a website for $100 where many people are developing a website for $5 on Fiverr.
Am I right?
But, how to pitch a client to pay you more than $100 by educating him?
Let’s see the complete process (which I prefer).
First of all, send an email with thanks for offering you the project and nothing else.
On the next day, ask his requirement, everything in detail so that you can design project in a better way.
Sometimes, the client may forget a few required details where you can show your expertise by asking about that particular point that client may have ignored.
Now, the main part is the cost of the project. Tell your client about how much a premium theme & plugins cost. The graphical part is another thing. You may find here is the cost of project going beyond $100, then about your charges and why that. As you have to spend on your salary (though you are a freelancer), office rents, phone & electricity bills, internet charges, salary for the other freelancers in your team, taxes you need to pay, etc. all.
And, finally, tell him how you are unique or distinct from the other freelancers who work for $5.
If you educate, your client about his needs and how overall project will cost in such humble way, the most probably you will get the project. It’s not only due to your expertise or skills but due to communicating & educating your client.
16. Over Sharing The Unnecessary Things
I have discussed what the importance of educating the customers in the last point is. You should know about their requirement and provide a solution for that.
But, same time sharing the unnecessary things or over sharing may backfire you. Only tell those things which are necessary & relevant to your project.
If you try to overshare anything and client catch you, the chance of doing project may end up with the frustration. Or, the client may award his project for another company the best suited for his needs according to your suggestions.
Be aware that you are not losing project for especially upsells & cross-sells.
17. Pulling Unnecessary Threads In Communication
When you communicate with a potential customer or a person who have already deal with you, engage only in a professional tone, not in friendly one, though, it’s your repeated customer or a close friend.
Talk only about the project when you open thread about your work. Putting unnecessary threads in conversation may diverse your main topic and end with a weak contract.
If someone doesn’t like your approach, you may even lose the project in the worst case.
In the mail of project details, you should only talk about project requirement and relevant things and not about your portfolio because you have already got the project.
In a case, the client is negotiating with payments then you may open the another thread, but till then, the conversation must be streamlined.
You may have seen the poor reviews for a particular freelancer on a freelance marketplace. Why does this happen?
It’s because of overpromising or something you are not able to deliver.
You don’t know Photoshop or other graphics design suits, how would you make PSD templates?
Another one example, if you can’t write the article more than 1000 for a particular topic, then why are you bidding on 3000+ words elite article writing gig?
Make all efforts to get the project you can complete & deliver within time, but same time everything is not for you so, never overpromise anyone only to get the job.
19. Not Asking For Referrals/Testimonials
Actually, it’s a part of the customer acquisition strategy but similarly important during communication.
When you complete the project before the deadline with desired quality, the client gives you 5-star rating or at least four stars & above. If you would be successful to satisfy the client with your work, then send him another email and ask for testimonials or other projects if he has.
Asking pro-actively about more project may give you other similar project or the satisfied customer may provide the reference for his network.
Don’t ask desperately showing you are needy but pitch in such way that you are capable of delivering the better results.
20. Not Taking Proper Follow-up
Actually, follow up is a powerful digital marketing technique and you must use in your freelancing business.
Right from collecting lead in a traditional way or advanced marketing techniques, you should focus on nurturing every single lead to convert into a customer. Not only a client but a satisfied & delighted customer.
Nowadays, you can use email marketing tools automation to help you in that work, and these tools save your tons of time once integrated properly.
Initially, it may cost you few bucks, but when you scale your business, the email automation will become an ultimate tool to help you.
For the prospects having a high value, you can handle on a priority basis or a look personally without relying on automated tools.
This type of communication will build a long term relationship and costs a very less.
21. Not Interacting With Your Followers
You can build your follower base with fast pace online rather than the traditional way. You may have seen this for social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Google+, etc.
And, it’s same for the business account also. You would have thousands of followers but not interacting with them is not a right approach. Your fans expect something new for them or want you to share your experience & knowledge. Answering their queries and emails make them happy, and they take responsibility for your promotion.
Suppose, I like a person ABCD having expertise in copywriting and he answers my queries satisfactorily about writing an engaging copy. In a case, one of my friends asks me about the good online tutor in copywriting, which reference would I give to him?
It’s just one example. So, not interacting with your followers on a regular basis may give you a little value than your potential.
I interact with my followers, especially the prospects and you should also spare a few minutes daily to connect with your network, at least the professional one.
C) Time Management
I’m not a time management expert or a mentor giving you a dose of punctuality. You will find many so called Gurus and books to manage your time.
Here, I will tell you some of the mistakes that I was making and cost me my productive time & money both for the silly reasons. One of them is surfing the internet while doing work. It does not only cost me 10 minutes but 4-5 hours sometimes as I am avid internet surfer. You are feeling same like mine, aren’t you?
Let’s see a few common mistakes freelancer make in time management.
22. Failing To Follow The Deadline
Once you get awarded with the project, the client wants the gig delivery on time or before. So, estimating and planning work according to that is very important here.
If you are giving more value to the project, then you may ask the extra time to work on that specific requirement. Before promising someone about delivery time, make sure you have a properly planned calendar, appropriate workload or team to share your work. In the extreme cases, you may outsource the basic things and edit after you get back to you.
Most of the people are very particular with timely delivery and if you fail to follow deadline, then leave bad reviews or may cancel the project without any payment.
There are many small things like a problem with internet or electricity, etc. may lead canceling the project, especially when you don’t have alternatives.
So, set all up before starting to get projects and complete them before the deadline.
23. Not Have Work Calendar
To save yourself from the deadline problems or canceling good project due to deficiency of time you can opt for a work schedule, and you can manage your work with the ease.
When you get a project, decide the time require to complete that project and mark on your calendar. Similarly, follow the process for all days. But, make sure you are a living being and have a personal life which we have discussed earlier.
Work calendar will help you to identify your needs like which project to grab so that you get more value or ROI from your job.
Two projects per week with $500 profit per project and following the calendar can bring you a huge sum of $4K per month.
I know that it’s not possible for every freelancer, but once you got reputation & top level expertise, you can easily cross this mark.
Remember one thing, Respect the time, time will respect you!
I was making the same mistake for a long time, and recently I get to know about this. Now, I have understood what the importance of work calendar is, and that’s why I have prepared my work schedule.
24. Don’t Have Idea About Estimated Project Time
Having no idea about the estimated project completion time is the fundamental cause for failing to deliver the project before the deadline. It may happen due to lack of adequate knowledge of that particular subject or the required skills.
We have discussed this point earlier but mainly time requirement for research to actual work may differ from person to person, and you must calculate your time required for completion of the project.
If you are capable of doing the best, then the client may give you extra time to complete the project. You should tell that before starting the project.
Generally, the poor speed is not preferable, but if you are successfully convincing the client or educating about the scope of that particular project, you may get more than estimated time. Still, try to complete the project before deadline & keep extra time as grace for the worst conditions.
25. Not Giving Time To Improve Your Skills
It’s another instance where time management is essential and similarly your interest also. Spending time to improve your skills and upgrading knowledge is a part of your work that you can’t ignore.
Only working with project gives you experience and boost your speed but what about the updates in that particular field. Learning new skills is an important step in the freelancing business but working on improving the current skills has its own perks.
It not only boost your authority but the revenue also. An experienced and highly skilled person or an elite class freelancer may charge a huge sum, and people pay them.
Reaching this step is not that easy and here time management can help you.
26. Saying ‘Yes’ For Every Single Project Though, It’s A Crap
It’s another common mistake freelancers make. There is no need to say ‘Yes’ for every single project. Take work according to your capabilities and ask yourself whether you can complete all projects on time or not.
Though it’s not worth their skill and expertise level, most of the people work on every project they get.
Remember, working on a couple of quality project paying your $500 is better than cluttering your work calendar for 50 small projects worth $10.
Don’t you think so?
Instead of getting tired with a lot of workloads, only close a few jobs paying satisfactory and spend quality time on those specific projects. It will spare more time for your personal life or improve yourself as well as pay more than working on tons of crap projects.
Freelance work is not a boring job that you used to do while in your office. Showing your talent & creativity is the real freelance business.
And, never forget one thing, Quality always has a demand.
27. Not Delegating Work
Have you become successful and want to scale your business to the next level? You might be thinking about how to complete all the project and maintain the credibility.
Don’t worry! You are not alone here if you don’t have a problem with working in a team. Otherwise, I can only predict about scaling your business.
Once you start getting pickup and want to scale business, it’s better to hire someone to work for you. You may even outsource some of your jobs and only work on final edits.
Delegating work among your team members or employees whom you have hired can be more beneficial.
No one becomes successful without leveraging the others efforts. So, don’t hesitate to delegate your work. Only look whether the professionals have capabilities and interest in working with you or not and will they give the desired output, etc.
28. You Are Little Available To Clients
When a client offers you a project, he wants to communicate with you to discuss a few essential things. Initially, it’s fine to interact with them but wasting time only on chatting instead of productive work is beneficial.
I’m sure that you have thought the same.
Spending more time on the productive work is a good thing but ignoring client’s emails or call and being a little available to him may not always good.
It may hurt his ego, and you will lose the project or future deals.
Before getting the project or even after that try to build a positive relationship with your clients and complete all the required communication process as soon as possible.
Don’t let people eat your time and tell about that in very kind words. In a case of clients want to know the project status, then it’s an easy task where you should not compromise the entire project for a single call.
I have seen that a reputable freelance business has less communication about the unnecessary things and better service quality. You can follow that also.
29. Not Getting Mails Quickly To Show You Are Busy
Always keep in mind that quicker is the better, especially when you are a freelancer. In your business time, you should be available within a few minutes after getting mail in your inbox.
Nowadays, live chat has become more popular for instant messaging, and even when you are working on a particular project, you can answer your clients on the go. Just integrate the live chat service to your website and start talking with your customers without too much interference.
If you are not getting the emails quickly only to show you are busy, then you may miss a golden opportunity residing in your mailbox for a limited time.
30. Don’t Have Goals
It’s different than other points mentioned here still, relevant to the time management required in the freelance business.
Deciding goals and following them should be a part of your business. Without goals, you can’t achieve growth that you expect. It’s not necessary to have big goals like $5K per month after two months stating the freelance business.
Be practical & realistic. First of all, keep the small goals and try to complete them with a deadline and then scale your goals. These all things should be relevant to your business and niche.
If you are focused & working honestly to complete the goals, then you can easily scale your business and generate a large sum from your freelance work.
D) Customer Acquisition
You have definitely heard most of the times that customer is God, and it’s same here in freelance business also.
To acquire more leads and clients, you should work on the customer acquisition strategies. While trying to get more customers, some freelancers can make the silly mistakes which I have mentioned here.
31. Not Screening Clients
If there is an important exam, then a screening test is conducted to eliminate the incapable candidates to ensure the great results.
The same formula is applicable in freelancing. Once you start getting popularity, you would be one with tons of clients want to work on their projects.
But, you should not take every project. Screen the clients and work only with the few desired of them.
Find the best deals for your skills and say ‘No’ to the rest of them. Not screening clients may result in weak contracts or not getting paid by at least of them.
32. Leaving Unhappy Clients Side
Every person has not similar thinking. When a person offers you a freelance job, he wants to work only as per his instructions, and you should do that. Sometimes, you need to be practical, and the terms get a little compromised.
The client does not know what is happening back-end and criticizes you that you are not good. In such conditions, you need to work for satisfying the unhappy clients though it’s not your mistake.
You may need to work the extra hours without getting paid, but it’s worthwhile to intact your business reputation.
Unhappy clients generally put bad reviews and one or two-star ratings. That may cost you more than working for a couple of extra hours to complete the project as a client wants.
33. Not Connecting Former Clients & Employees
The client is not someone who arrives once and disappears forever. If you are not connecting with the people with whom you have done projects and your former staff, then you are making a big mistake.
The satisfied clients or your previous staff who have left your firm can give you many leads if you are connected with them. Never forget them as a client/employees or a person.
Word of mouth can give you better lead than any other marketing techniques because of trust.
Spare some time for this work to connect with those people on social media or by email. Still, being professional is good on the business matter otherwise, you may need to work for less amount due to excess friendliness.
34. You Are Thinking Client Is Always Right
It’s the biggest mistake if you are reputed freelancer and featuring in client’s project. Sometimes, people don’t know exactly how the process works for a particular job and make a general overview about it. But, internally the scenario is different.
In a case, your client is saying to do, and it’s wrong, let him know that he is making a mistake instead of continuing the project. You may think why to interfere with their needs, but when someone criticizes the live project, the blame would be redirected toward you eating your reputation.
When you sign a project, find the loop holes and tell the client about these irrelevant things. And, when you know complete picture and confident enough stay firm on your decision even client cancels the project.
I’m sure you never want to bear problems arising in the future for the silly mistakes at front-end, and especially that you have not made.
35. You Are Little Available To Your Clients
It’s again common mistake freelancers make while working on a particular project. For the small projects, there is a restriction of time, and fair communication is fine.
But, if you are working on a big project and/or has a long term contract, you should be available to your clients for every time, and in case it’s not possible, try to connect as early as possible.
The requirements of client or scope of the project may change for the long term project, and you may get extended work which is beneficial to you. The client’s requirements may changes especially for the dynamic projects and being available may add more credibility to your account.
Though it’s interference, you can use live chat features on your workstation for managing your time and work in the better way.
Yeah! It’s all necessary. Still, try to keep your phone away while working to achieve better productivity and focus only on the work.
36. Not Explaining Work Process
The Freelancing is very easy & simple is the most common approach among the people. They think freelancing is only a part-time job which is done for adding some extra money to the monthly income.
Is it true? Absolutely not.
Freelancing is a full-fledged business and increasing day by day. It’s said that 40% of the total population of US would be in freelancing or working on similar contracts jobs by 2020.
Now, come to the point why I said that or what it has relation here.
Yes! I have explained this because many people don’t know the potential of freelancing. Telling them about the freelancing and complete work process is essential otherwise, they can start negotiating on useless points eating your time.
37. Not Working To Grab New Clients
It’s good to work with the trusted clients or on the long-term projects due to reliability factor. Still, you must focus on grabbing the new loyal customers to expand your business.
You need not work a lot if you provide the quality through your previous gigs.
There are many free as well as paid techniques to grab new customers.
38. Telling Your Client That You’re Only Genius Left On The Planet
Most of the freelancers are highly qualified and skilled in the field they have chosen. Not only education but the experience are their strong points. Still, no one is perfect and should not exaggerate about the skills, though he/she knows everything about that particular field.
If the opposite person knows the subject in a better way, then you may face a problem there.
39. Putting All Eggs In The Same Basket
Suppose, a company has signed a contract with you to deliver them monthly 15 gigs under a particular project. You are doing the work due to the long-term contract and job security.
What would happen if the company cancel the contract for some reasons or decide to go with the another freelancer?
You will have to work for searching and grabbing the new clients. If you have the single or a couple of clients only, then it would be very disappointing and frustrating to get new customers and make a strong comeback.
So, never rely on a single source of income working for all your project. Though you have found the eye-catching deal, don’t put all eggs in the same basket. Alternative sources of income or working with the number of clients same time is beneficial here, and you will get the wide experience of work also.
Diversify or divide your income sources among all of your clients rather than depending on one of the lucrative offers.
40. Not Promoting Your Work
Promotion is a part of customer acquisition, and you should not ignore it. Promotion can be done by various ways like social media marketing, guest posts on renown portals, referrals or word-of-mouth and some paid advertising methods, etc.
Using integrated digital marketing techniques can give a tremendous boost to your business, and it’s one of the trending methods of promotion nowadays.
Creating a website and writing the blog is one of the best technique not only to get customers but build the authority also.
According to Hubspot, the business having a blog and 16+ posts per month have 350% more traffic & 450% more inbound leads than that of publishing 0-4 blog posts per month.
The blog is an effective medium to reach all of your followers and others interested in your work. It can save a lot of time and same time helps you to get more leads.
E) Financial Operations
No matter what is your role or industry, money is the motive of freelance work for almost every person, and it should be.
But, ignoring the simple things may cost you very big, and in the worst situation, you may end up with not getting paid.
So, carefully read this section and decide your strategies to get benefited from your hard work.
41. Not Giving Value To Your Freelance Income
You have started your freelancing career as a hobby, and now it has become a business paying for your livelihood. So, it’s your responsibility to giving value to your business and revenue generated from it.
In a case, you are a full-time freelancer; you should be more careful. Right from money incoming to your account to the expenses and profit at the end of the month is one important thing that you should look for personally.
42. Spending Everything
It’s another common mistake freelancers make because freelancing is a career where you have less job security though you have many long-term contracts.
It’s not an ordinary 9-6 job where you know that you will get a paycheck at the end of the month.
So, spending everything is not a good habit.
There are a few expenses where you should not compromise like a cost involved in training, polishing your skills, new amenities & technology, and marketing budget.
Other things where you can save money and not having any potential benefit should be avoided. I would not recommend you a specific amount, but you should save at least 25-30% of your monthly profit as a reserve.
In case, you would not get any job for a couple of months or something happen where you can’t work; then this amount will help you spend your overheads without any tensions.
43. Not Charging Enough
To get a close overview, please visit the popular freelance marketplace- Fiverr. You will get tons of freelancers working in different industries only for $5.
Actually, I was thinking it’s a good source of income by using a simple rule of Maths.
According to my opinion at that time, only two basic gigs per day for 25 days per month would give me $250. It was more than my stipend when I joined the industry.
But, I was wrong there. Working for a little value when you have quality is a sign of the foolish person.
I realize that I can charge $250 or even more for a single project where I have to work for 3-5 days. I can screen clients according to my choice. So, why to work for $250 per month putting all my time & efforts.
Remember, the quality always has a demand as I said earlier. So, never hesitate to charge sufficient depending on your skills and project needs.
44. Letting Clients Dictate Your Rates
It’s another mistake that I had made in my past. I was very casual about my project and only wanted to get the job.
Luckily, the client told me to send reasonable quotes for my service, and I could manage my rates.
It will not happen in every case so, be professional during such kind of communication.
If client quote very less, then you may suffer to increase the price of the project at a satisfactory level. Instead of that, you tell them what you charge for a specific project. Don’t worry about whether client accepts you quote or not.
But, one thing will definitely happen that you can work with the loyal clients who agree your terms and no issues with finance.
45. Lowering Bid Below The Threshold
There are many freelance sites have bidding system to grab a project, especially Freelancer.com. You need to set your price for a particular project, and finally, the client chooses the freelancer with whom he wants to work.
To get those project, especially high-value (in money) deals people tend to lower their bids below the threshold that I never recommend.
This approach is excellent for the small projects to get an entry in the system and collect some high rated reviews. For large projects, it’s very wrong to lower bids if you can do that particular job with the desired quality.
The businesses behind those projects care about quality rather than budget, so work on that instead of stealing the deals with shorthand low-bidding techniques.
46. Charging Hourly Not Per Project
The freelancer who works privately charges per hour instead of a project. With the close mindset of earning money, it’s quite beneficial because you can extend 4-hours of work to full day and charge for that. It’s simple.
From the business point of view, it’s complete silliness where you are actually losing money by doing this. You will definitely love my explanation why to charge per project and not by hours.
Suppose, you are a specialist in website speed optimization and got a project where you need 4-hours to complete the task. You charge $25 per hour, and the client is ready to pay whatever your charges are.
Now, here is the catch.
If you charge hourly, then you will get $100 for 4-hours or need to extend the work for 8- hours to make $200 (though it’s not right approach).
But, if you charge $200 for the project you can complete the work in 4-hours which is almost half of the time than that of the first case and still, legit as the client has agreed to pay irrespective of time.
(I have assumed that you are expert and knows in-depth about that particular issue. Sometimes, a few critical problems may arise, so that decide your charges accordingly after reviewing the gig).
47. Your Rates Are Fixed Since A Long Ago
Even the plant grows with time, then why not your rates. If you have not raised your prices since the last few months, you should do it now.
Tell your clients about that especially your repeated customers because they bother about such things.
Market changes often and the costs for your business too. Providing better quality, and for investing new things, you need more money. By working more, you can raise funds to the limited level, and beyond that, you should think about increasing your rates.
Be realistic and honest about your financial terms while raising the rates. Do it after a regular interval not only for to improve the financial status but to screen the unwanted clients also.
48. Don’t Have Payment Schedule
What will you do if the client refused to pay your charges? That may happen, especially when you are working privately. Not getting paid for the hard work may lead to a bad effect on your business and your mind. (It may happen).
So, ensure a clear payment schedule before starting the project. Ask your client to pay at least 30-50% of total project cost upfront before you touch to the project.
The client can also negotiate on the same point for trust factor so that using the third-party services like PayPal is a good option for both of you because it offers seller’s protection as well as buyer’s protection policy.
You can have another payment options, and it’s completely on you.
For the long term contracts, ask your clients to pay twice in a month (5th & 25th of the month would be a better option here).
Never compromise on payment schedule and delays more than a couple of days.
49. Not Asking Extra Payment For Extra Work
How can I ask $50 for extra work on $500 job? It’s the common misconception among the most of the freelancers.
The client may also request you make small gigs as the byproduct of a large project. I think it’s a scamming and you should not be part of that.
Whenever you complete a job and get paid for that work, your work has done. Only providing support if stated in the contract is the formality for the denoted period.
Except that you should not do any work for free investing your skills & resources. If a client asks for an add-on gig, ask him to pay extra.
Keep your pricing table dynamic and work only according to that. You are not a freelancer to work for free, mind it!
50. You Are Not Clear About Your Terms & Conditions
I have kept this point at the end because it’s important and you must always remember it.
The terms & conditions are the bases of your freelance business. Anything from financial to project duration should have mentioned in clear words.
Mode of fund transfer, project delivery, revisions, included work and scope of the entire project are few terms you can place in front of your client before starting off. Otherwise, you need to end up with undesirable compromises or leaving project giving an unprofessional reason (may result in a legal matter).
It would be better to search the web for more terms & conditions or freelancing business policies depending on your specialty.
I would not suggest going legal in every case but at least follow the technical terms & conditions around your job.
51. Forgetting The Mistakes That You Have Made In The Past
It’s all about you read here. No one is perfect, but forgetting the mistakes and repeating them or making avoidable mistakes is something you need to avoid.
Writing diary (a blog online) is the best practice where you can refer the mistakes that you have made in the past and easily improve them to scale your business.
I know, it’s one of the lengthy blog posts I have written but worth if you have read carefully and got something positive.
If you want to be a successful freelancer, this article will definitely help you. All mistakes mentioned here are not my own, but I have added them because you can get all of them at a single place.
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