Freelancing is a different experience for every individual. Becoming a freelancer can be an exciting and overwhelming phase in your life. Freelancing allows you to have more control over your work, explore new opportunities, and more freedom and flexibility in your schedule. And the market for freelancers is booming. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, about 36% of the U.S workforce currently freelances, and predicts that by 2027 that number will increase to more than half of U.S workforce. In addition, the report found that more and more large corporations are looking to freelancers to fill their talent gap. But to achieve all the benefits of being a successful freelancer, you need self-direction, creativity, and hard work.
Becoming a successful freelancer and getting a list of high-paying clients requires lots of time, effort, and patience. Making mistakes, in the beginning, is a part of the learning curve, and having a plan to tackle these mistakes can make your job easier.
If you’re just starting out in the field it’s helpful to have some tips and tricks on how to do freelancing. Here are some common freelancing mistakes most new freelancers make and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not Taking Initiative
In the freelancing industry, clients provide the background, rationale, and parameters for the projects. It’s then the duty of the freelancers to use their knowledge, innovation, and expertise to reach the project’s goals. But, don’t get stuck thinking you only have to do what your client says. Not taking enough initiative can leave you client wondering wondering why they hired you in the first place. Be attentive and take initiative every time you get a chance to prove your skills. Share your ideas with your client and explain how they can benefit the project. Taking initiative at your projects can make all the difference in your freelance career, allowing you to feature your strengths and meet potential clients.
Mistake 2: Not Showcasing Your Work
This is another mistake most freelancers make – not showcasing their work. No matter how much experience you have and how many clients you’ve already worked with, you are still competing against other freelancers. Freelancing websites, like Upwork, provide an abundance of freelance jobs and opportunities to new as well as experienced freelancers. With increasing job opportunities comes more competition so you need to present your professional skills to grab the attention of clients. Whether you’re a web designer, web developer, writer, or a digital marketing specialist, you need to have a professional portfolio before contacting a new client to show your capabilities. Your portfolio must include everything that can help you represent your potential and skills, e.g., links to business websites you’ve worked for.
Mistake 3: Accepting Every Client
Most new freelancers make the mistake of taking every job that comes their way. Applying for or accepting every gig you find to build up your profile only leads you towards missing deadlines, delivering low-quality work, and not fulfilling clients’ expectations. Accepting every client is never going to help you in establishing a strong profile on any freelancing platform. So, set your criteria and approach only those clients who need your skills and respect you as a freelancer. Focus on finding ideal clients rather than just working for everyone.
Mistake 4: Distraction
Distraction is a major problem in the workforce. Research by Udemy found that nearly 70% of workers feel distracted on the job. As a freelancer, you may have the freedom to work outside a noisy office, but this flexibility can still lead to interruptions in your day. For example, if you work from home, distractions, whether it’s your kids, dogs, or the TV, are sure to sidetrack you from your work. If you don’t want any barrier between you and your work, set up a proper office and make a schedule to have enough time to complete your projects for a successful freelance career.
Mistake 5: Miscommunication
Establishing healthy working relationships with clients is a crucial part of your job as a full-time freelancer. You should never assume you know what your client is thinking because this can result in misunderstanding and even end projects early. Remember to communicate regularly with your clients and make sure you understand their work goals. Choose the right platform (like Skype) and set time to discuss all the details of the project to keep them in the loop. It will help you receive positive testimonials from clients.
These are some common freelancing mistakes you need to avoid to make your business grow. It’s not possible to plan for every problem in advance, but the more aware you are of these mistakes, the better the chances of cutting them off before they happen. Leaving behind the security of your nine to five job may be the toughest decision you ever make, but taking strong initiative with your clients, showcasing your portfolio, maintaining a healthy amount of clients, avoiding distractions, and communicating openly with your clients will go a long way in helping your career as a freelancer and put you on the path to success.