Career Advice

4 Mistakes To Avoid In Your First Year Of Freelancing

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On paper, a freelancing career seems like a dream come true. And, in many ways, it is! Freelancing offers you the freedom and autonomy that you could only dream of in a salaried job. It offers you the chance to be your own boss, decide your own working hours and how you spend each working day. Need to take a half-day off to take your kid to the doctors? No problem! Feel like getting up an hour later? As long as you get your work done, nobody’s going to admonish you for it. And you can take a day off or a holiday whenever you like. 

Image by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

But there are certainly caveats to a freelancing career. The first year of freelancing will be a steep learning curve, and if you find yourself making one of these common mistakes, you may find that it’s much harder to build a lucrative career and enjoy the benefits of life as a freelancer.

Be wary of…

Doing all your work from home

At first, working from home feels amazing. What could be more satisfying than enjoying a leisurely coffee while frenzied commuters scramble to their workplaces on the street below? However, the home is not always the most conducive environment to productivity. Clutter, chores, and the allure of the TV can all distract you from your work. And the less work you get done, the less income you’ll enjoy. Instead of doing all your work from home, you may want to look into a workspace that offers hotdesking facilities like those at workfriendly.com.sg. You may find that your productivity and output eclipse the expense of the facilities themselves.  

Over-committing

This is a cardinal sin of which all freelancers are guilty at some point in their careers. In their zeal to establish themselves, they can tend to bite off more than they can chew. Not only does this result in long and miserable working days, the quality of their work inevitably suffers. This can make it harder to establish a glowing reputation- the kind that leads to regular referrals by happy clients. 

Not Having a Resume

There are several differences between freelancing and the traditional full-time job. Freelancing has its share of benefits, including working in your sweatpants, but sometimes it can create confusion, especially when trying to land your fast freelance gig. How does it work? What do I need to secure a project? Do I need a resume? If you’re a newbie freelancer, then you’ve most likely asked yourself the last question.

While you do not necessarily need a resume to become a freelancer, having one won’t hurt. When you’re running your own freelance business, examples demonstrating your experience, success, and previous references will be more important. However, a resume will be a great addition when bidding on a job with a large organization. To use your resume as a tool to attract more clients, avoid some of the common mistakes people make on their CVs.

Charging less than you’re worth

When you’re first starting out, you may assume that the only way to get ahead in freelancing is by undercutting your competitors on price. But this is a fallacy that can make it extremely hard to become profitable in the future. Clients will expect consistently good quality work at low pay, meaning you have to work harder and for longer hours while still making less. And you won’t want to risk alienating them by increasing your prices. Do yourself a favour and charge what you’re worth. 

Freelancing offers you the freedom and autonomy that you could only dream of in a salaried job. It offers you the chance to be your own boss, decide your own working hours and how you spend each working day.

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Taking your clients for granted

Finally, while you should never be afraid to drop a bad client (especially one who doesn’t settle their invoices on time), you should also never take the good ones for granted. Make sure you’re doing all that you can to keep them happy and that they get good value for money. You also need to consider that sometimes clients may need to drop you for reasons that have nothing to with your work (restructuring, for instance). This is why you need to maintain your online visibility and keep hustling for new work at all times.

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July 10, 2020 9:33 am UTC

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