10 Common Mistakes New Freelancers Make

frustrated freelancer

Becoming a freelancer is a journey that, like many others, requires careful preparation before you set out. Being careful is crucial so that you don’t fall into mistakes that can lead you to failing in reaching your goals through your freelancing career.

Many people who have always dreamed of going it alone end up abandoning their new freelance career and hot-footing it to working in the office.

While admittedly, not everyone is cut out for freelance work, with some careful preparation, you can give your freelance dream a fighting chance. It helps to acknowledge that there will be a bit of a bumpy ride at first, just as there often is when an airplane first takes off.

After all, you have to get used to working for yourself, establishing a reputation, and building a clientele, as well as sorting out your own finances, paying taxes, and maintaining any equipment you will be using to run your freelance business. Remember though, never quit! Freelancers is the best way for you to live the lifestyle you deserve. According to studies, 84 percent of freelancers claim that their choice of working arrangements enables them to live the lives they most desire.

Okay, so what are the 10 most common mistakes that new freelancers make? Read on to find out more:

1- Starting out at the wrong time.

This is one of the biggest freelancer mistakes that can be made. Yes, there can be a wrong and right time to launch your freelancing career.

Many women, for example, find that starting a family gives them the space they need to take the first steps towards running their own business from home.

They are in receipt of maternity benefits of some kind to help with day-to-day expenses and have some free time in which they can do some research into launching a new career.

It is also helpful to consider having some savings to fall back on for at least the first 6 months while you are freelancing, to give you a safety net as well as maybe kitting out a dedicated place to work in your home or purchasing some new office equipment. So think carefully – are you ready to go it alone yet?

2- Not getting into a routine.

Think about it, most workplaces have a good routine and various systems of work in different departments to keep teams on the straight and narrow and achieve their goals. So as a freelancer it really helps if you get into a routine as well. Set your alarm clock for 7:00 am, for example, get dressed and make breakfast for yourself and any children who need to be leaving for school.

Open your laptop and ‘switch it on at the same time every day and answer all those emails that came in overnight. If you are experiencing a quiet time, go looking for clients yourself. Make some calls and chase leads until you get some work in.

Have you thought about opening a Worxmart account? We take the hassle out of chasing leads every day because jobs will start landing in your inbox without you having to chase potential clients. Giving you more time to spend on growing your all-important income!

3- Set up a system.

Not adapting your lifestyle to one that is suitable for freelancing is one of the biggest freelancer mistakes that can be made. You want to get work, earn money, pay taxes, and pay your bills. Maybe you’ll also be able to put a little something aside to go on holiday with or buy a new car. Make sure you run your office smoothly. Every time you get a job in, log it. Some freelancers use a paper diary and others use various online management systems.

Whatever your preference, log all your jobs and make a note of when you billed them. Get into the habit of putting some money aside to pay your taxes. Keep receipts for all your expenses and pay and invoice all your bills on time.

4- Not signing a contract.

If an agency wants you to start work for them without signing a contract, then feel very suspicious. There are a lot of bogus agencies out there, unfortunately, and you need to be always alert. If someone wants something too cheap, too fast and they aren’t offering you a contract, then all your alarm bells should be ringing. 

Worxmart‘s help gives you peace of mind because we deal with your clients, fix prices and make payments to you, and you sign a contract with us.

5- Charging too much.

Most agencies know what the going rate for a specialist is, depending on how long they have been working in their field and what qualifications they have, etc.

If you ask far more than the going rate without an outstanding reputation and years of experience to back you, then you’ll find it really hard to break into freelancing.

Prospective clients will simply ask someone else. It’s a good idea to do some research on how much to charge to avoid making this freelancer mistake, perhaps asking other freelancers on online forums such as LinkedIn to give you some input.

You’ll know you are roughly on track if your hourly rate works out at about the same as it did when you were working for an employer.

6- Charging too little.

It is well known that if you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys. This is no different in the freelancing world, and if you underprice your skills, the companies you really want to work for will probably pass you over, while those who only wish to take advantage of you might burn you out. In order not to risk being stretched to breaking point financially and emotionally, you need to charge the going rate for your experience and skills.

7- Onboarding with the wrong clients.

Freelancing, like anything else, is partly an experimental process. Sometimes we simply get landed with the wrong clients. They make exhaustive demands, fail to communicate or cannot provide a comprehensive brief, pay months after you have completed your work, leaving you with a ‘hungry gap’, cancel a project half completed, leaving you wondering what happened and whether you’re going to get anything for the work you have already done, pay just part of your fee, making an excuse as to why they don’t want to pay in full.

Don’t fall for this freelancer mistake. With time, you get to recognize the warning signs and you will find yourself falling into the trap of working with a bad client less often – or you could open an account with Worxmart – the client pays Worxmart for the service provided by a freelancer before the job is carried out, and the freelancer is then paid by Worxmart as soon as the job has been completed.

In the unusual case that the client decides to cancel their order part of the way through completion, they contact Wroxmart’s support center, which takes appropriate action to solve the issue to the satisfaction of all parties.

8- Poor attitude.

This is a really hard one to swallow for everyone who displays it, but poor attitude is one of biggest freelancer mistakes that can be made. Being brusque, over-confident or impolite is to be avoided at all costs. End emails with care, eschewing signatures such as ‘KR’ and ‘best’, which rank pretty highly on dislike lists. When speaking to clients on Zoom, try to look professional and call from a tidy room; if using the phone, always sound friendly and helpful and try to sort out problems or requests speedily and politely, when under pressure.

9- Missing deadlines.

One of the biggest freelancer mistakes that are made is not sticking to the deadline, which comes back to time-management. Deadlines Clients often make notes against freelancer names in databases, particularly if they deliver late, fail to communicate, or act in an obstructive manner.

The good news here is that if you do well and take a genuine interest in their projects they will also make positive notes against your name so that if they leave a company and a client account gets handed on to someone else, there’s a chance these positive comments will be seen and acted on when the new incumbent wants to use the service you provide.

10- Poor Marketing for your services.

Freelancing is like any other business, and once you have found a great client you like working for and who pays you what you deserve, you will want to think about how you can become more valuable to them. Don’t forget to tell them about the other things you do that they might be able to take advantage of. For example, if you are a translator, you might also provide desktop publishing or typesetting services in your target language. If you are a proofreader you might also be a copywriter, and a web designer could offer flyers and brochures for print. Your client has found someone they trust and like working with.

At Worxmart, the more you care about your services, the more clients you’ll attract. Creating a professional and complete service that provides all the information the client might need will make your service stand out among the other services.

There are many other mistakes a new freelancer can make, but using your common sense about business deals, communicating well and politely, and delivering your best work on time will take you a long way.

If you would like to find out more about working with Worxmart and taking some of the inevitable hassles out of kicking off your freelancing career, why not head over to our website here and open a freelancer account? The process doesn’t take long and you could soon be working with great remuneration that suits your qualifications and expertise without having to haggle. We wish you the very best of luck!


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