5 mistakes that freelancers make and how to avoid them

June 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

Mistakes are something that everyone is bound to make. Its very important that we all learn from our mistakes and move forward. Same mistakes affect us more than the others and therefore its very crucial to make sure that we don’t repeat mistakes that have high impact on our professional lives. Its a highly competitive world out there are sometimes even the smallest of mistakes can cost us a lot. Here are some of the most common mistakes that every freelancer makes at some point or the other.

1. Under Pricing

This is one of the most common mistakes that a freelancer is bound to make. Pricing is one topic that a lot of people are uncomfortable with. Definition of the right price for a project/job might be different for different people. A freelancer living in India might calculate costs differently than a freelancer living in the UK or US.

New freelancers usually charge less than the average in order to get some work and create a protfolio. This is okay but once you have a decent reputation and recommendation you should start charging somewhere around the market rate.

You can find the right hourly rate by taking into account the number of hours you work, your expenses, the profit that you want to make and the average market rate.

2. Over Committing

Working for a single client full-time for long duration is another very common mistake that freelancers tend to make. Imagine if the client drops you for some reason without any notice. You’ll have nowhere to go. Make sure you spend time marketing yourself, updating your skills and finding new work.

Every freelancer should make sure that he has more than couple of overlapping projects. This will make sure that you have some steady income.

3. Choosing wrong clients/projects

Every project and client out there is different than the other in its own way. If you think you can work with any kind of client, then you are wrong. As you work on different projects with different clients, you’ll realize that each experience is different than the other. Some good and other bad or very bad. Over a period of time you’ll figure out how to differentiate between the good ones and the not so good ones. This probably is one mistake that you’ll commit more often than the others.

Consider, the complexity of the project – your skill level, time line – your availability and budget – your estimates, in order to make sure that you choose a better client.

4. Procastinating

As a freelancer you’ll be doing much more than just working on a project. A freelancer needs give time to marketing, finding new work and admin activities. All this with no supervision, one tends to become lazy and the deadline slips away. This can prove fatal a lot of times. Delay without any genuine reason puts a dent on your reputation. You’ll very quickly see your income coming down.

Make sure you create a daily schedule and stick to it. That doesn’t mean you compromise on your freedom and flexiblity. At the end of the being productive is the most important thing.

5. Not researching about client

Its very important for a freelancer to know about his client and its requirements. Finding out more about the client is always good before contacting him or proposing anything to him. Using the internet its really easy to find out more about the client, the kind of work it does etc. Sometimes the client might just be a middle man and therefore he might not know much. You’ll need to handle such clients differently.

Not knowing about the client might reflect in your conversations and that might be disappointing. It will tell the client that you have not done your homework very well.

Its going to be a year since I started freelancing full time and I am enjoing every bit of it. I am making mistakes and learning from them. So what mistakes have you made?

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