People think that freelancing, as the word “free” suggests, has lesser work and responsibilities than other types of jobs.
But the truth is freelancing requires more passion for work than the average office job. This side of freelancing is something that many new freelancers fail to consider before they commit to freelancing.
If you want to become a full-time freelancer, you have to be 100% committed. Many freelancers failed in this business because they lacked preparation and planning. For a rewarding career as a freelancer, learn to avoid these common freelancing mistakes:
1. Leaving a Full-time Job Without a Plan
There are many advantages of freelancing, but there are drawbacks too.
If you have a stable job that pays well and you love doing it, don’t leave it right away. Instead, take time to assess what you will gain and what you will lose if you change direction. It might turn out that having a stable office job is more fulfilling than becoming a freelancer.
Tip: Try to test the waters first and do freelancing as a side-hustle. You can do it after office hours, during weekends or on holidays while you are still employed. Consider how much you earn per hour, and how you feel about your work in general.
If you think that you can earn more working as a fulltime freelancer and you enjoy doing it, that’s a good sign. However, if you know that your current job gives you more financial stability and you feel great working with colleagues, then maybe freelancing is not for you. Be very objective when assessing the pros and cons of leaving your fulltime employment to become a freelancer.
2. Starting to Freelance Without Financial Backup
Competing for a single job is becoming extremely difficult these days. It can take weeks before you get your first client. Because of this, it’s recommended that you go freelancing only if you have enough financial buffer to support the dry spell at the beginning.
Tip: Save at least three months of your income to cover for your expenses while you’re in the process of looking for clients. Take a portion of your salary to pay for your taxes, life insurance, rentals, food, and emergency expenses.
3. Targeting All Clients (Huge Freelancing Mistake)
Many freelancers think that the broader their scope of service is, the higher their chances are of getting hired. This strategy will not work because most clients are looking for experts in a specific area, not a generalist who can do a little bit of this and that.
They want you to help them solve a problem. So, if you describe yourself as Mr. Know-It-All who does freelance writing, transcribing, graphics, name it, don’t be surprised if no one seems to be interested in hiring you.
Tip: Determine what type of service you can offer to your clients. Focus on one skill first, even if you’re confident that you can provide something more. If you are convinced that you’re an expert in two fields, choose the area that is more in-demand in the freelancing market. This way, you will have more chances to land a job faster since there will be no shortage of clients who need your service.
Once you developed a good working relationship with your client, start “packaging” your service. You can politely ask your client to let you do other tasks related to your work. Upselling your service is one way to increase your value and your rate as a freelancer.
4. Not Setting the Right Rate
One advantage of working as a freelancer is that you can earn as much (or as little) as you want. You can dictate how much you are going to charge for your service, depending on your level of expertise, years of experience, and the duration of the project.
Don’t set your price either too high or too low. If you have a very high rate, only a few clients with a big budget can afford to hire you. If you price yourself very cheap, clients can abuse your service by giving you tasks outside your scope of work.
Tip: To determine your price correctly, take out three zeros from your expected annual income. For instance, if your goal is to get $100,000 in a year, drop the last three zeroes to give you $100, which should be your hourly rate.
Another way to set your price correctly is to join freelancing platforms like Upwork and search for freelancers within your niche. Check how much they are charging for their service and compute their average rate. Use that rate as a benchmark when pricing your service.
5. Thinking Like an Employee
Don’t treat your job like an ordinary day in the office without a boss. Consider your career as a business where you are more in control of your time and money.
If you want to have a stellar freelancing career, develop a businessperson’s mindset – acquiring more money, and automating as much of the work as you can. Don’t settle for clients that pay you less than what you deserve. Continue looking for clients who can see your real value and are willing to pay more for your service.
Tip: Put 100% of your effort in every project that you work on. At the end of the project, you want to get positive feedback and recommendations from your clients. Use their testimonials to get high-paying clients.
Don’t stop prospecting. If you have so many projects and you need help, you can create an agency. Delegate some tasks to other freelancers and pay them accordingly.
If you need help in changing your mindset about freelancing, sign up to the right course for freelancers. An excellent course will show you how to think like a freelancer and how to grow your business.