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Four freelancing mistakes to avoid

If you enjoy freelancing, you’ve probably Googled more “tips for new freelancers” than you can count. However, when you look at everything you need to do to excel, you may miss mistakes that could or ruin your career.

But fear not, dear reader, we have your back! Right here media update‘s Taylor Goodman unpacks four mistakes to avoid as a freelancer.

Ready, set, go :

Freelancing Mistake #1: Attacking Every Client

When you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you can be eager to take on every client that comes your way – but stop to the right there, pause and consider this. The more you have on your plate, the less time you will have to spend with each customer.

Spreading too lightly can cause you to miss deadlines and turn in shoddy work that doesn’t live up to your clients’ standards (and that’s not a good way to start!). Not only could this damage your reputation as an aspiring freelancer, but it could also make you feel burnt out.

To avoid this, describe what you ideal client looks like. Decide on the type of work you want to produce and align it with the clients you choose to work with. Also, make sure you are independent for people who respect your skills and your time.

By doing so, you will have more time to devote to each task, allowing you to produce high quality work that really let your talents shine through.

Over time, you’ll build a stronger portfolio and a strong customer base. And the more you write, the more confidence you will gain. Your figurative pen will pick up speed and more opportunities will be come around. So don’t rush! It’s about getting that experience!

Freelancing Mistake #2: Settling for Low Pay

One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is knowing how much to charge for their work and finding a clientele that respects your craft enough not to undervalue it. So if you come across merchants trying to get your price as low as possible, you don’t need them as customers.

In situations like this, it’s crucial that you hang in there and know what you’re worth! Because rates differ by industry, region, and individual, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much do you want to earn annually? When answering this question, you need to think about your ideal salary, taking into account your experience or the salaries awarded for similar positions.
  • What are your expenses? Take into account aspects such as the cost of internet, medical aid, taxes and electricity.
  • How many days do you plan to work in a year? Here it is crucial to take into account days off, sick days and holidays. Once you have an idea of ​​how many days you plan to work, you can figure out how many hours to work per day.

Once you understand the above, you will be able to calculate your billable hours.

For example, if you are a freelance journalist and you choose to work eight hours a day, you cannot spend those hours only in writing. Be sure to set aside time for administration, research, giving presentations, and attending meetings. Also, if you choose to work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., be sure to factor in lunch breaks.

Want more guidance on setting freelancer rates? Then be sure to read The South African freelancer conundrum: How much do I charge?

Freelancing Mistake #3: Accepting Overwork

When you want to succeed in your craft, you can often push yourself too hard. It’s especially common when you’re freelancing — 46% of freelancers believe it has a negative effect on their mental health.

Being your own boss blurs the lines between work and play, making it crucial that you learn to find a balance. You can do this by taking regular breaks and avoiding overtime when possible.

Sure, there may be times when you have to work around the clock to meet a deadline, but try not to make it a habit. Instead, stick to a realistic but still productive work schedule.

You can achieve work-life balance by:

  • be flexible with your schedule: The best part of being your own boss is being responsible for yourself! Do you feel overwhelmed or stressed? Allow yourself a break. You don’t have to spend your whole day chained at your keyboard to be productive.
  • make time for the things you love: Fancy a vacation? Do it! Have you worked hard and neglected your loved ones? Pick a day and clear your schedule for them. Always remember that there is more to life than work.
  • plan your week in advance: Planning your week will help you avoid overcommitting yourself to your work. Set deadlines and stick to them, but always make time for yourself.

Freelance Mistake #4: Not Selling Yourself

We’ve said it over and over again that as a freelancer, you are your own boss. This means that you are also your own business and must market yourself accordingly.

The first step in your marketing should be to showcase your work and build a portfolio. Everyone needs to see how talented you are, sure! This serves as proof of your skills that clients can verify when deciding if they want to work with you.

You can easily create an online portfolio on platforms like Behance, Dribble or Adobe Portfolio — which are all free.

Next, make sure you’re active on commonly used social networks. Whether you choose LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or all four, having a digital presence is crucial to succeed.

Why? Well, it will help you meet and chat with like-minded people and hopefully meet clients along the way. Moreover, you can use these platforms to discover trends and gather information.

Finally, you can market yourself as a freelancer by leveraging customer reviews. When you complete a job for a client, ask them to leave a brief review of your services. This could be posted later on social media or in your portfolio.

This will prove to future clients that they can trust you and assure them that you are capable of producing quality work.

Do you have any tips for succeeding as a freelancer? Let us know in the comments below.

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Want to know more about freelancing? So be sure to check out these Five tips for being a successful freelance writer.

*Image courtesy of Unsplash

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