In 2020, freelancers performing different freelancing jobs contributed a trillion dollars to the US economy, according to current market research. That is a 22% increase since the year 2019! This number will only increase due to recent world-changing situations that force us to stay more at home.
Whether you are a new freelancer or a seasoned expert, you always need to be adapting yourself to stand above the rest. The problem is that many still make common freelancing mistakes, and because of this, they are unable to dominate in their field of expertise.
The Most Common Freelancing Mistakes
You need to have clear in your mind what you are going to offer to potential clients or employers. You may think that going for a jack of all trades style will make you more desirable, but remember how that phrase ends, master of none. Specialize in one field initially and make yourself known to be skilled in that field.
Clients want a freelancer that focuses on their field of expertise. If you include a list of unrelated skills in your portfolio, that may show a customer you are not entirely invested in your area. But if you add skills related to your expertise, that shows you specialize in it.
Having that clear, we can move onto the seven common mistakes.
1. Where’s Your Portfolio?
The portfolio to a freelancer is like a medal to a soldier. Your portfolio lets potential clients know what you have accomplished. Of course, this does not mean you will be adding every single project you have ever worked on!
The point of having a portfolio is to show your capabilities in your field of expertise. That is why you should include snippets of your very best projects. You can do this by adding links, screenshots, or files.
Remember, you are not the only freelancer looking for jobs out there, so design your portfolio with the clients’ needs in mind. Also, be sure to ask for permission before including any past published projects!
2. Doing Too Much
A common mistake in the freelancer world is not knowing when to say no. At times you may feel you must accept another job, even though you already have three more waiting to be done because you think that it’s an opportunity. Set yourself a limit, especially at the start of your freelancing career.
Limiting yourself also means you must set yourself a boundary on how much you will do for a client. If you agreed with a client to perform a particular job, do not let them pressure you into doing a lot more than needed. By doing this, you will become less frustrated and more focused on doing a good job.
3. Losing Touch With Past Clients
One of the numerous benefits of freelancing is being able to choose your clients. As you meet new clients, make sure to keep in touch with those who have been professional and satisfied with your jobs. Of course, you shouldn’t ask them every week if they have more jobs for you.
Instead, make sure you let them know as you finish a project your availability. After that, periodically contact past clients. In this way, you can start to build a stable client base, something that all freelancers yearn to have.
4. Losing Your Professionalism
Since most freelancers work from their homes’ comfort, they may start to lose their professional touch. Set yourself a work schedule and make an effort to stick to it. At times, you can get out of your PJ’s and wear a more professional outfit, even if the client cannot see you.
Make sure to address your clients professionally, not only when speaking to them through the phone but also while emailing/chatting with them. There will also be times you may hear harsh criticism for your work. Remember to remain calm and to take it as a way to improve as a freelancer.
5. Limiting Communication
There will be moments where a client may be vague in what they expect in a job. If that is the case, ask questions! Not only will this make your job more comfortable, but it will also ensure that the client will get what they want. Imagine working vigorously on a project and then have the client tell you that’s not what they wanted, a tragedy!
Also, feel free to voice ideas that may improve the project. They are turning to you because they can’t do it, so help them. But don’t get upset if they turn your idea down!
6. Forgetting to Sign a Remote Contract
This tip will save you from having many headaches. We are not talking about a detailed fifteen-page contract; it can be a simple contract stating what you will be doing and how much you will be receiving. And yes, this is a legal document.
Having a contract also shows you are a professional in your line of expertise. Don’t perform jobs for any client that refuses to sign a contract! By failing to do this, the client may not pay you or make you work extra.
7. Pricing Yourself Too Low
A rookie mistake is to put your services a lot lower than the competition. Once you establish a low rate, then clients will always want that fee. And as soon as you raise your price, most may look elsewhere.
Don’t put your price as high as a veteran freelancer in your field. Preferably, find a middle ground where you can still eat a decent meal and have plenty of work. And as you improve and make your name known, you can slowly increase the price.
You Are the Boss
You choose to be a freelancer because of the freedom it offers. But if you don’t correct these common freelancing mistakes, you will feel frustrated, depressed, and even ready to go back to a tedious office job. An excellent place to start your freelancing career is to sell your services on unique freelancing platforms.
No matter your scope of expertise, you can join thousands of other freelancers who utilize our platform to gain clients.