Starting a Freelance Business? Avoid These 10 Mistakes.

American


You may already be an expert in your field, but when you move from the traditional workforce to the world of freelance it is easy to make a few newbie mistakes. Luckily, Sagegroupy is the freelancer’s friend and we want to help you avoid those mistakes and see you start off your freelance career in the right direction. We’ve rounded-up 10 common mistakes that new freelancers make so that you can avoid making them yourself.

1 - Establishing Poor Work-Life Balance

The world of freelancing offers freedom and flexibility, you can work anytime and anywhere. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of working all the time, everywhere. Try to establish work routines and build some downtime and self-care into your day so you do not end-up spreading yourself too thin and burning out. It may be tempting to accept every project that comes your way at first, worrying that the work will dry up, but this is not a feasible mind-set to maintain long-term and can result in rushed work that is of poor quality. Your reputation is everything in getting work; you do not want to churn out a bunch of work that is not up to your highest standards because you said ‘yes’ to too many projects. Establishing a solid work-life balance will pay off by allowing you to produce quality work and earn a good reputation with clients.

2 - Not Being Realistic about Finances

If you do not have a solid grasp of how much you need to make in order to pay your bills, you might end-up accepting a rate that is too low and having to work on more projects than expected, which will lead to burnout. You need to go into freelancing knowing how much your living expenses are, how much you need to pay in taxes, how much you need to save for retirement etc. Knowing what your income needs to be in order to maintain your current/expected lifestyle is the first step toward setting your rate and knowing how much you need to work to get by.

3 - Setting an Unrealistic Rate

You should be aware of industry standards and what rate matches your skill-level in your area of expertise. Sometimes a freelancer starting-out will advertise their skills at the very low-end of the payscale to land some clients, then a few months go by and they are still making that same very low amount and unable to pay their bills. If your price yourself way too low, maintaining the same rate for a long time is not sustainable. Telling your clients that your are doubling your rate is not something you want to have to do. Before you start looking for work, be sure to have a realistic idea of what your expertise is worth - either per-hour or on a per-project basis.

4 - Being Lax about Contracts

For every project you work on you need a contract. Contracts cement the project’s parameters, the client’s expectations, the pay, ownership and deliverables. Even if the job seems quite small and simple, make a contract. Do not rely on goodwill or what was said over a skype call, get it in writing and get it signed. There are many freelance contract templates online, it is simple to make one and it will help keep you and your clients on the same page. For more on how to make a contract check out our post on Freelance Contracts 101.

5 - Not Knowing How to Collect Money

Before you take on your first job, decide how you are going to charge your clients, whether via PayPal, e-transfer or otherwise, having a preferred payment method (or two) will keep things organized and running smoothly. Don’t forget about taxes, the government will also want to know how you are collecting money; having a system that does both invoicing and payment collection like Freshbooks or Paypal, will make this a lot easier on you.

6 - Having Poor Focus and Poor Productivity

Time management can be a struggle for those used to a traditional work-setting. When you work from home there are no set work hours and it can be easy to fritter the day away on distractions and household chores. On the other hand, it might be tempting to maintain a 9 to 5 mindset and keep work strictly within those hours even when projects demand a little more time. The most successful freelancers are not only experts at time management, they also maintain a spirit of entrepreneurship - meaning they do not waste time and are willing to put in extra hours when necessary to advance their business. You need to figure out how you are going to stay on track when you’re not in a traditional work environment, whether that means using a time management app, a timer, or alarms. For some helpful tips, check out our blog on Staying Productive When Working From Home. Make sure to budget enough time to produce quality work for your clients and have time to spend on business growth (all while maintaining work-life balance and not burning out)!

7 - Not Putting Enough Effort into Communication

Before you even get to the contract stage of a project, you should already know what the client wants and when they want it. Many new freelancers do not take the time to ask clients the right questions before jumping into a project. Never assume that one client will want the same thing as previous clients. Even though you’re the expert in your niche, each client will have their own thoughts and ideas about what they want to see as the end result. Good communication with clients is crucial to ensuring a smooth working-relationship and an outcome that everyone is satisfied with.

8 - Hesitating to Hustle

To be a successful solopreneur you are going to need to hustle your brand. We all have self-doubt sometimes, but it is important to trust that you are an expert in your niche and go forth and promote yourself. Freelancing is very competitive and with your competition spread out all over the world you need to establish your reputation and get yourself out there so clients can find you. For a little help, check out How To Advertise Yourself As A Freelancer.

9 - Missing out on Opportunities

While many new freelancers may be hesitant to hustle, they may also be hesitant to seize an opportunity. Opportunity might come in the form of seeing an area of a local business that could use your services, or knowing what a good follow-up project would be to the one you’ve just completed. Do not let these types of opportunities pass you by. Afterall, you are the expert so do not be afraid to pitch your services wherever you see they could be used.

10 - Giving up too Early

Freelancing offers freedom and flexibility but it is not easy. Building a successful freelance business takes time so be prepared to play the long game. You will have a higher chance of being successful if you enter freelancing with realistic expectations and avoid making the mistakes you have seen here. If you do not have a financial cushion to rely on to take you through the initial phase of freelancing, in which you establish yourself as an expert in your area and build a good reputation, you might want to think about easing into freelancing. Do not be afraid to start freelancing as a side-hustle to a traditional job in order to lay the foundation for a long-term freelance career.


Set yourself up for success by avoiding the mistakes on this list, doing your research, and following along here on the Sagegroupy blog to get helpful hints and tips on your freelance journey.

Authour: S.Suzuyama

Posted in Freelancing For Beginners, Freelancing Tips on May 06, 2019

Follow Sagegroupy

    Recent Posts

  • Agency or Freelancer: Which one Should I Hire?

    Posted in Business Tips on Jul 12, 2019

    When hiring remote workers for a project, businesses have a choice between hiring an agency or hiring individual freelancers. It can be hard to know which direction is right for your project, so here is a look at the differences you can expect to see between agencies and freelancers.

  • Why Small Businesses Fail And How You Can Beat The Odds

    Posted in Business Tips on Jul 05, 2019

    Having a great idea for a product or service that you think people need is step one in becoming the proud owner of a small business. However, starting a business is hard and before you invest your time and money into a new venture, Sagegroupy wants you to know why businesses fail and how you can best the odds.

  • How to become a Freelance Copywriter

    Posted in Freelancing For Beginners on Jun 28, 2019

    Many people want to write for a living and would like to become freelance copywriters. The good news is: thanks to the internet and businesses needing writing for their websites and more, there is an almost endless amount of work available for copywriters. The bad news is: there are many copywriters already out there so it is hard to make yourself stand out from the pack and get work. Do not be discouraged, SageGroupy is here with some steps to get you started on your path to success as a freelance copywriter.

  • What Small Business Owners Can Do Today to Improve Sales Tomorrow

    Posted in Business Tips on Jun 21, 2019

    Whether you’re just starting out as a solopreneur, or you’ve been running your own business for awhile, it can be difficult to know what to do now in order to promote growth down the road. Here are five things that you can do today to ensure the success of your business tomorrow.

  • Social Media For Freelancing

    Posted in Resources, Freelancing Tips on Jun 14, 2019

    Social Media isn’t just a time-sucking way to stave off boredom, the various types of social media platforms can be useful tools for freelancers. Solopreneurs can use social media as free marketing to get their name out into the world and to connect with potential clients. However, in order to use it effectively, freelancers need to follow some basic rules and play an active role for social media to be useful.

  • What You Need to become a Full Time Freelancer

    Posted in Freelancing For Beginners, Freelancing Tips on Jun 07, 2019

    Building a successful business takes time and it is hard to be patient when you're passionate about your work and eager to spend more time on it. Here are a few things that you should have in place before you become a full time freelancer.

  • How to become a Freelance Financial Advisor

    Posted in Freelancing For Beginners on May 27, 2019

    As a freelance financial advisor, you can work with individuals or small businesses who do not have the resources available to hire full-time financial advisors. Freelance financial advisors offer in-demand skills and have the potential to be successful solopreneurs, here are some steps you can take if you think you would like to be one.

  • How to Interview a Freelancer

    Posted in Business Tips on May 20, 2019

    If your business has never worked with freelancers before, it might be difficult to know what to look for and how to interview them. Do not worry, Sagegroupy is here to help with advice on how to interview a freelancer, what to look for and what questions to ask, so that you can find the best fit for your project.

  • Keep an Eye on these Business and Tech Trends

    Posted in News on May 13, 2019

    Freelancers and business owners alike can benefit from being on top of the latest trends in business, tech and beyond. With all your projects and your business-growth goals, it is hard to keep on top of the latest trends in business and technology. Luckily, Sagegoupy is the freelancer’s friend and we are always here to lend a hand. Just in case you missed it here are some important business and tech trends, and a few things to keep an eye on.

  • Starting a Freelance Business? Avoid These 10 Mistakes.

    Posted in Freelancing For Beginners, Freelancing Tips on May 06, 2019

    You may already be an expert in your field, but when you move from the traditional workforce to the world of freelance it is easy to make a few newbie mistakes. We’ve rounded-up 10 common mistakes that new freelancers make so that you can avoid making them yourself.


Tags


Comments

Please sign in to comment!