4 Freelancing Mistakes You Should Avoid
Freelancing is the single best answer to non-capital intensive, location-independent, global business opportunity you’d ever get your hands on. It’s the best answer to be on your own and never have to sell your soul, mortgage your home, and go neck-deep in debt.
It’s also disaster-prone.
If you don’t get your marbles in the bag right from the start, you’d be spending a lot of time wading through the muck your mistakes would leave you in.
While doing mistakes in freelancing isn’t expensive money-wise, they can damage the energy, gusto, and the enthusiasm you started with (plus, a lot of time and a little money here and there).
Here are some freelancing mistakes you should avoid:
Not marketing yourself enough
Freelancing is less about your skills and more about marketing. Apple wouldn’t have been what it is today (especially with the thick of the dust clouds that its competition kicks up) without brilliant marketing. That applies to Starbucks, AirBnB, and many others.
Freelancing unshackles you from the misery of a day job but it still pushes you to do something you’ve never done before: sell.
Marketing for a freelancer isn’t about ramping up pitches, cold emails, cold calls, networking, bidding, and applying when the projects aren’t there. It’s about doing it all the time, no matter what.
Selling yourself short
“Thanks for your proposal. Please do this free trial for us to complete this application”
“You are too expensive for us. No one we are interviewing currently is charging the rates you do”
“Work with us for a week, for free, and we’ll then consider your application”
Run for cover if you see (or hear) any of the above. Go hungry and wing it without projects if you have to but don’t ever sell yourself short.
Consider this: if you were a writer, you’d have to work hard and produce “excellent”, “impeccably-written”, “original”, “magazine-style” content anyway. You’d have to do that whether you are being paid $5 per article or $50.
You are better off doing the $50 post for that effort, right?
Learn to “fire” customers
Too many freelancers get “stuck” with deadbeat clients, low wages, and other obvious come-ons such as “scope creep”, disrespect, and more. The reason why you chose freelancing is because you could be on your own, choose clients worth working for, call your shots, and be a boss.
Freelancing isn’t slavery. Don’t ever take any sign of disrespect from clients.
Strike one or strike three, learn to fire your clients at will. There’s always another one around the corner.
Contracts, NDAs, and the Legal Stuff: Do it
Freelancing contracts are saviours. While providing you legal protection for not getting paid on time or not getting paid at all, they are also ways for you to protect your own craft — be it legal documents, NDAs, receipts, invoices, or credit notes.
Keep everything organized and handy. You never know when things turn nasty. When you find yourself facing clients gone underground or when legal nastiness shows up, it’s these boring documents and signatures that’ll save your skin.
What mistakes are you doing in your freelancing career? Share it with us.
Originally published at peerhustle.com on August 5, 2015.