If you have been freelancing for a while you maybe made some mistakes. If you’re a new freelancer, maybe you haven’t made all the same mistakes yet, but you probably will before long. The thing is, even with all the technology, tutorials and web sites out in the world today, there is one thing that people can not avoid – human error. And not one of us likes to admit it, but we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are small and insignificant; others can end up costing us a lot.
We are bound to make mistakes. It is part of our nature, it is part of our growing process. And there is no way to avoid every single mistake if you’re trying to succeed. Today i will warn you about 5 mistakes every freelancer makes.
5 Mistakes Every Freelancer Makes
Paula Scher, the talented designer behind logos like Microsoft 8, Citi and The New York City Ballet, once pointed out a very important truth about mistakes in design: “It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”
Not knowing when to say no
Many will argue that the client is always right. Others will argue the opposite. Regardless of this sometimes you need to say no. You may be asked to work less than your regular rate or the client may add tasks to your current work pile. It’s good practice to say no to clients that could harm your reputation, try to barter on pricing and companies with a bad reputation.
Before starting work for any client you should research their business. How do they treat their customers? What are their work ethics like? Answering these questions will help you get a better understanding of the project and also give you an idea of what to expect working with them will be like. If you decide to say no, don’t regret it – there’s plenty of more potential clients.
Appealing to everyone
When you’re new on the scene it’s easy to go for every job that comes out. You need work, and income. You rationalize that you just want the experience, and that you really can’t afford to be picky. But the sooner you can sort out the type of clients and work that gets you excited about work in the morning, the better.
If a potential client doesn’t corresponds with you before the contract is signed, they may not be your ideal client. And, with freelance contracts often being one-time projects, there’s a good chance the the relationship won’t have time to develop and improve over time.
Having no formal contract
Having no contract or formal agreement in place when working with a client can mean you doing more work than you expect to and some clients may take advantage of this. A contract should make everything clear about your services for the client. This means you should spell out everything about your services from payment schedules to the amount of revisions you’re willing to do.
You don’t have to be a lawyer to get yourself a contract, there are plenty of templates and samples out there to help you set your terms and conditions for your clients.
Working too much
Working freelance means you’ll get to choose your own hours. And, for the most part, this can be true. But it won’t always feel like you’re choosing your hours. Especially if you’ve just started working freelance.
Your clients need you. Their websites might need to be set up, or maybe their websites have stopped working. Their online presence needs to be marketed, their articles need to be written and / or edited. Their logos need to be designed, their store needs to be set up. Their advertising needs to work.
And your business needs you. Your reputation needs to be built. Your name needs to be known, new clients need to be contacted. Your services need to be marketed or advertised and your promises need to be kept. You need to do research to gain more clients, learning to stay up-to-date with the latest software and techniques.
But most of all, you need to take a break.
It is far too easy to work yourself into exhaustion when you’re working freelance. It starts with a plan to “quickly finish this up” and before you know it, you’ve been working 10 hours and you haven’t eaten lunch, you haven’t stretched or you havent seen your friends so long.
Many self employed people regularly put earnings into a savings account so that when it comes to take time off for whatever reason, they have the money to do so and not have to worry about losing out on income.
Charging too little
This is probably the biggest mistake you can make. Of course, determining your worth won’t determine the exact amount that you should charge for your services. But it’s a good start. There are some other factors that you should consider when trying to determine how much you should charge for your services:
- Your costs to get the project done, such as electric bills, buying any needed software or hardware, buying basic supplies such as paper or ink, Internet costs, phone bills, and everything else.
- Your costs to get paid. Every online payment system, such as Paypal, charges you money when you receive payments. Even if you have clients writing you checks, your bank may charge you money to cash that check. Credit card companies charge money to process credit card transactions. Freelancing sites such as Elance or oDesk have their own fees associated with their payment systems.
- General opperating costs to continue your freelancing endeavor. Some freelancing sites charge you for your membership, others charge you before you can even bid on a project. Time spent marketing yourself or searching for potential projects can take hours away from your work day.
And, of course, what good is working if you’re only getting paid enough to continue working? There are living expenses that your income needs to be able to cover – otherwise you’re not going to get very far.
This infographic shows 5 mistakes every freelancer makes. You must learn them and avoid in the future. Is there any mistake you would add to list?