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Freelance Errors: The 10 mistakes not to make (detailed guide)

Do you ever wonder if you're doing things the right way? To help you, here are 10 freelance mistakes that beginners frequently make.

Updated on

30/1/2021

It's been a few days, months or years since you started as a freelance webdesigner, but you still feel like you're not moving forward. While the others are on their way to independence, you're standing there, twiddling your thumbs. Indeed, you see others bragging on social networks that they have no trouble finding their clients...

You can calm down, but this is too much. Doubts assail you: is freelancing for me? Can I make it my real job? etc.

But then again, have you ever wondered if the problem was you? Maybe you're not doing everything the right way yet. What if you're still falling for rookie freelance mistakes?

🌈Sondage

Do you think it's a good idea to just do what you're already doing or not?

I don't see what the downside is, as long as I'm making good money, that's enough for me.
I think that as a freelancer, you have to know how to surpass yourself. We have to try to go beyond our limits and so keep progressing.
Do you have another opinion? Feel free to share it with us!

Summary

  1. First freelance mistake: being impatient
  2. Work for free
  3. Procrastinate
  4. Isolation is a fatal freelance mistake.
  5. Saying yes to everyone
  6. Offering several services at the same time
  7. Relying too much on the opinions of others
  8. Loss of time with certain tasks
  9. Shy in proposals or advice
  10. Limit your vision

1) First freelance error: being impatient

In freelance work, clients don't come overnight. And even if they do, your turnover won't increase suddenly, as if by chance. You need time, and when I say "time", I'm not talking about one, two, three, or even six or nine months. It will probably take a few years before your business really takes off.

Time for what, exactly?

  • Before you can establish a process of your own, you'll need time. Maybe you will need to experiment with a few things before you find the perfect method.
  • Fine-tuning a sales strategy also takes a lot of time. Between studies, analyses and experiments, it's no easy task.
  • Building one's own network, one's own community is also a real job. And yet, this step is one of the most important. By doing it right, you are sure to attract customers to you. You also build your own notoriety.

These are just examples, but I'll spare you the list of all the things you'll have to do for now.

Not to discourage you, but to warn you. Knowing the realities of the freelancing business, you're not likely to give up anytime soon. Unlike those beginner freelancers who don't know what to expect, and who, at the slightest obstacle, think they have failed. For these people, freelancing presents a lot of risks. It's an unstable status, they say.

To conclude this first part, don't make the mistake of expecting great things from your first year of freelancing. Above all, be patient. Time will pay off. 😊

2) Working for free

Have you ever worked for free before? It can happen without you really realizing it (or not 😵). Here are a few examples:

  1. Let's say that before hiring you, your potential client asks you to do a free test. He then asks you to create a website for him. This is a great strategy as long as you really want to work with that client! Because, I do not advise you not to do it for just anyone!
  2. Now let's assume you've been working with a client for a few days (or months) already. As time goes by, you notice that he keeps assigning you new tasks (which may not be within your scope). If you are paid on a flat rate basis, you can say that you are doing these tasks for free, simply because when you signed the contract, you didn't agree that you would carry out new tasks over time.

As a beginner, you might have to agree to work for free. What you don't know is that such an attitude does not bode well for your business. Since the work is "free", don't be surprised if your client doesn't value what you do. He hasn't paid for it; it's normal that he's not aware of its importance.

On the other hand, if you set the record straight and charge "everything" for your work, you make your clients understand that your work is worth it!

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3) Procrastinate

Remember: "Time is money." Yet the more you procrastinate and procrastinate, the more you waste your time. Unfortunately, this is a well-known freelance mistake! We believe that freelancing = freedom, so we put off certain tasks until tomorrow, the end of the day or the weekend. These are usually the tasks we don't like the most that we decide to do at the last moment: calls, prospecting, appointments, etc.

But does it at least bring in something good? Are we really free? I don't know about you, but it wasn't for me. On the contrary, I stress myself to the bone until I finish the task in question. And since I'm stressed, I don't need to tell you that I'm not even productive.

So here's a tip: before you even start working, I advise you to schedule everything you have to do for the day. Some people even plan their week or even their month. But I recommend that you start little by little. While you're planning, try to prioritize the tasks you don't like in the morning, at the beginning of the week or month. At these times, I assure you that you are more productive because you haven't yet spent your energy on anything else 💪.

4) Isolation is a fatal freelance error

When you work freelance, you usually work alone, from home. It's just a choice, some people are introverted, some people aren't. If you like to have company, you can go to coworking areas, coffee shops... And even if you love to be alone, alone, in your corner, at some point, you will need company. In short, being freelance doesn't mean that you have to isolate yourself at home. It's even a fatal freelance mistake!

The more you isolate yourself, the lonelier you feel. A feeling that's not good for your business. Instead of moving forward, you'll only sink. To avoid this, find ways to connect with the outside world. Going to various coworking areas, business events... are examples, but in case this is not possible for you, virtual contacts are good for you too. Why not join specific groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, made up of people who share the same values as you (professionally speaking or not), who do the same activity as you do, who have the same vision as you do.

Speaking of common interests, you will be more and more motivated, you will have more self-confidence... So many good things! 😍

5) Say yes to everyone

We tend to want to please everyone. That's why we often say yes, to anything and everything 😅 (at least for me). In freelancing, this is still valid. There are those who don't know how to say no to their clients, especially when the latter entrust them with additional tasks (the idea has already been discussed in the second paragraph: working for free). In this case, the client asks for your permission, but it is you who makes the freelance mistake of agreeing without enough thought.

Just remember this: you can't please everyone. What's the point of trying to please if in the end you'll only get contempt? There are two possible cases:

  • You don't like your new assignment, but since you've already said yes, you have to go through with it. Since you don't put your heart into it, maybe you don't want to, maybe you don't have the quality.
  • You are not in control of what you are doing, so there is a good chance that the task in question will not meet the customer's expectations.

In neither case will your client be satisfied with your work. You'll only have wasted time, and eventually, his trust.

On the other hand, if you know how to refuse and you explain your reasons for doing so well (it's not within your grasp, it's not stipulated in the initial contract...), your client shows you even more respect. He knows your values, your real skills. He will have no choice but to trust you more.

6) Offer several services at the same time

To earn more and more money, freelancers are often tempted to offer several services at the same time. Webdesigners think for example that they can also offer services in logo design, graphic design, SEO... simply because these domains are more or less linked to the creation of a website.

As an experienced webdesigner, however, I dissuade you from making this ultimate freelance mistake! Tell me, is there a possibility that you excel in all these areas at once? Frankly, there is no way. You might become "good at nothing" (I think this term illustrates what I mean: instead of mastering one or two of them, you don't master any of them).

However, by specializing in a single domain (web design, in our case), you have time to train as much as possible. This way, you will be able to call yourself an "expert" and then earn more money. Your work will have a real value. And your clients will recognize that. They will respect you.

If I were to give you any advice, it would be this: choose a niche on which you will focus all your attention and on which you will specialize.

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7) relying too much on the advice of others

Before you started freelancing, what did you do? If you had another job, maybe as a salaried employee, in a big company, chances are that your entourage will be perplexed when they see you take the plunge. It's a big change in your life, and it's normal for them to be worried about you. Especially since the world of freelancing and digital is something new (different from traditional jobs). Believing that getting into freelancing is a mistake, they will probably try to dissuade you in every possible way. In general, they sow doubt in your mind. They start criticizing your new world...

And then you have the choice between listening to them and letting them influence you, or listening to them and continuing to believe in yourself and your plans. I will choose the second option 😌 I would say to myself that if others could accomplish it, why not me? Tell yourself that as long as you're happy, as long as you believe in yourself, it's okay!

8) Loss of time with certain tasks

If you want to succeed freelance, you have to have a sense of priority. Define what's important to you and then make your decisions accordingly. Start with the "small" decisions, for example, planning your schedule. As I often say: time is money (which is even more true in the freelancing world). We might as well dwell on that.

Don't waste your time on trivial matters. To take a step back and see if you don't, list all the tasks you have to do for the day. When you try to do them, time them. Then take the time to analyze your day. What kind of tasks do you waste the most time on? Are they really worth the time you spend on them?

Now that you've taken that step, what decisions do you have to make? If you've found that there are tasks that take up a lot of your time but are not good for your business, you'll need to eliminate them from your routine or delegate them to others.

9) Shy in proposals or advice

Whether you're a beginner or not, the fact that you've taken up web design means that you've mastered this field. Maybe you have followed a webflow training course or you have trained yourself as a self-taught designer. This is already a good enough reason to have self-confidence and not be shy.

Being shy (whether in proposals or advice) has a negative impact on your image. You will appear as a liar, a person who doesn't even know what they are doing. A person who is not trustworthy. That's when your clients decide to take the reigns. They tell you what to do and how to do it, even if they're wrong. And because you're too shy to offer them your ideas or correct them, you let them. Little by little, he gets comfortable; he keeps giving you orders. Once the project is finished and if it doesn't work (because you agreed to do everything wrong), your client will blame you. After all, you're the one who failed to advise him on what to do and what not to do.

On the other hand, if you do not hesitate to show that you are the one who masters your work better than anyone else, without even realizing it, you define your place. You are your client's collaborator, not his employee.

10) Limit your vision

Last but not least, the 10th freelance mistake: limiting one's vision.

Actually, it's not just up to you. Your environment plays a role in this, too. Remember when I told you not to isolate yourself? That you need to surround yourself with people who have the same activities as you do? Well, you have to do it carefully. The choice of these people will have an impact on your long-term vision.

If they don't want to move forward, you might not want to either. But if they are ambitious and have big plans for the months or years ahead, this attitude is contagious. By talking to them, their visions will automatically be passed on to you.

Conclusion

Now that you have been able to identify the 10 most common freelance errors, I am sure you can continue to develop your business with confidence. Because yes, in the world of freelancing, you have to have the right mindset.

It's not enough to have a customer who pays you regularly. You have to think like an entrepreneur (because that's what you are). And entrepreneurs, they are always looking for ways to move forward, to move their business forward. By the way, if you read this article to the end, it means you already have the will. All you have to do now is apply all the advice I just gave you. Don't hesitate to tell me about it! 🙂

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