10 Most Common Freelancing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

You want to start freelancing, but don't know where to begin? Maybe you're still working a 9-5 office job and are researching on how to freelance. Or perhaps you're already working with a few clients and want to make sure that you're doing things right.

Every freelancer has been burned a few times, sometimes by our own misjudgment. But the global freelancing community is a helpful one at large, and we strive to help others learn from our mistakes and experiences.

Here are 10 of the most common freelancing mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Underselling

Many beginner freelancers aren't sure how much they should charge and are too embarrassed to ask for the amount of money they want. In turn, they undersell their services and set their rates too low. If you spend hours working hard on a project, you deserve to be paid well.

One of the main reasons people want to work freelance is the ability to set your own salary. If you deliver what you promise and market yourself right, the sky's the limit. Don't fall into the trap of thinking $12 an hour is too much.

Create a professional website and portfolio that showcases your work. You can show this to clients as a means of translating the quality of your work, and it will make you feel more confident in yourself and, therefore, justified in your pricing.

2. Not Picking a Niche

While some freelancers are jacks of all trade, one of the biggest beginner freelancing mistakes is not defining your talents. Are you a writer? If so, what kind? Do you want to write content or copy? Are you a technical writer, a blogger for hire or a ghostwriter for novels?

There are so many avenues to take in any division of freelancing, and entering the industry with a solid idea of your skill set and career goals will serve invaluable. It will also make the hunt for your first clients much easier.

If you aren't sure exactly how to describe yourself as a freelancer, look to the pros for examples. Research freelancers as if you're a client looking to hire and see how they describe themselves on their sites and social media.

You'll start to gain a working knowledge of how to put your strengths at the forefront of your presentation and score the right type of clients for you.

3. Only Using Bidding Sites

Sites like Upwork skyrocketed to popularity because of their low bar of entry and ease of access. Millions of novice freelancers from around the world could create an account and bid for gigs. Unfortunately, this type of work environment perpetuates an endless cycle of low pay, lifeless work, and unappreciative clients.

While sites and apps like Upwork and Fiverr are a nice way to learn how to freelance, they aren't reflective of the reality of a prosperous freelancer's career nor do they offer an opportunity to grow.

Learn how to find clients as a freelancer through personal brandings, social media marketing, and official organizations like the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors.

However, to start off with, here's a list of 20 best freelance websites where you can find freelance jobs.

4. Not Setting Aside Money for Taxes

One of the most costly freelancing mistakes is not saving up for tax season. Because you are your own boss, you'll be taxed accordingly, which leads many freelancers with a hefty bill after their first year.

To avoid a majorly unpleasant surprise from Uncle Sam, start a savings account to pay off any expenses and learn about filing quarterly taxes. It's more of a hassle than filing only once a year, but it also cuts down how much you'll pay and leaves you with more money in your pocket.

5. Not Having a Contract

It's risky business to agree to do work for someone without any contract in place. You don't always need a lawyer draw something up, but it is good to make sure there is a defined agreement between you and your client before starting any work.

Here are five basic freelancer contract examples by The Balance to help you.

6. Not Tracking Your Spending

You'll want to start saving your receipts when you begin freelancing. There are a lot of tax deductions a self-employed person is eligible to write off, and you could miss out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings when you don't save your receipts.

Grab some organizing folders, use an app to track your purchases, and stay on top of your spending so you can maximize your refund (or at least avoid a big bill) next tax season.

7. Not Saving Your Work

When you look up how to freelance, the process is simple: You do work for a client. The client pays you for the work. End of story. Paychecks are nice, but so are portfolios. Don't forget to save your work so you can show future clients what you're capable of doing.

8. Never Learning About Intellectual Property

Since the majority of freelance work done nowadays is of the creative variety, it's essential to be fully aware of your intellectual property rights as a freelancer. Intellectual property is any product of a creative mind, and since it's your original mind doing the work in freelancing, the rights are yours even if a client paid you for the work.

9. Overlooking a Personal Brand

A personal brand is more than just your name; it's a coalescence across social media platforms and the internet that demonstrates a strong identity and capability to clients.

Start with a blog. You could begin to chronicle your adventures as a freelancer. You could discuss trending news in your industry. The point is that clients will appreciate someone who contributes to the conversation and demonstrates a lot of their advertised strengths in their personal writing.

Personal branding not only boosts your credibility but also makes you more recognizable and easier to market.

10. Accepting Every Project

If you've quit your job to fly solo, it's understandable that you need all the money you can get. But after a while, you should be earning enough to be able to afford passing up on projects that aren't going to be mutually beneficial.

It's easy to get sucked into the trap of saying yes to every offer because you don't want to come off the wrong way, but there's no shame in personal integrity and a firm grasp of your own worth.

Value your work and others will value you, too. We're all bound to make our mistakes on our journeys as freelancers, but avoiding these common errors will make your transition into your new field a lot easier.

Kushal is a content strategist for CyberChimps. A problem solver, has keen interest in analytics and always likes to keep himself updated with the latest trends in technology.
10 Most Common Freelancing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them Reviewed by sophia on 10:24 AM Rating: 5


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