It’s been said enough times - being a freelancer is no easy task. Having the freedom to do anything you want at any time you please has its own disadvantages. Add to the fact that money no longer comes in a steady stream like when you worked at a corporate job and anyone would be stressed out. It’s easy to make mistakes especially when you’re just starting out, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could avoid making them altogether? That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes any newbie freelancer or start-up entrepreneur could make and how you can (and should) avoid them.
Limiting your working hours
Sometimes we get used to the 9-to-5 at a corporate job and we think that implementing these same hours in our freelance days could make sense. However, by limiting our day to those 8 hours we are also limiting our client-base. Remember that since income is no longer a sure thing, the more clients we get, the more money we get too. That’s why if you limit your hours you could be missing out on potential clients in other countries that work on a different time schedule. Not only that, you could have been taking in more work than you are. That being said, however, it’s important to know your limits. Which brings us to;
Spreading yourself too thin
It’s easy to say “yes” to any workload as long as it pays the bills. But accepting too many jobs can not only be bad for your health, but also for your work. Multitasking is known to be detrimental because not only would you be producing half-assed work, but you would easily feel burned out and that takes longer to recover from than if you had kept your schedule more manageable. That doesn’t mean you should reject any other offer that comes along. You could try setting expectations on deadlines with newer clients by letting them know that you have existing projects on your plate. That way they also know you know how to prioritize and you can give your full attention to them if they agree to your schedule.
Accepting lower pay
It’s easy to get excited over your first or even your first 10 clients. Remember that excitement can overpower judgment and you might end up committing to something that pays you way less than what you deserve. Keep a level head when dealing with any negotiations or bids. Although it is exciting to be getting new clients, make sure they pay you right too. Setting your base pricing early on is essential to earning even more in the future. Remember that it’s always easier to lower fees than to increase them so start off at a reasonable rate.
Not communicating enough with your client
Most clients you get might be working in a different time zone and would be limited to just talking through video call or chat. It’s a common mistake for most freelancers not to communicate properly and thoroughly with them. This can spell disaster because unlike working in a 9-to-5 where you have a boss that follows up on your progress, you’re your own boss, and that means the client will expect you to approach them 95% of the time. Don’t wait for them to follow up on progress and finished work, always be the first to let them know.
Mishandling your finances
It’s easy for starting entrepreneurs to get the wrong idea when it comes to dealing with finances when you start generating income. If you stick to your thinking as a corporate employee, you may find yourself out of cash really fast since cashflow isn’t as regular and receiving your first chunks of money can make you feel like treating yourself. Keep at your payment terms with your clients, follow up if a payment is late, and always keep your receipts for business transactions for tax write-offs. Oh, and taxes… do your taxes.
Not getting any healthcare
Just because you left your company doesn’t mean you should stop caring about getting healthcare and insurance. This time however you can have the freedom to choose any provider you want. Pro-tip would be to get a provider that focuses on getting healthcare for freelancers, something like ALLCARE.
In the freelance business, sometimes you have to be your own biggest fan. Doubting yourself would only bring negativity into it and this can lead to less productivity and creativity on your part. Keep your mental health intact and dedicate time to relax and pat yourself on the back. Appreciate the work you’re doing because no one else is going to do it for you. Follow your dreams and be unapologetic about it. And who knows, great things could happen!
There's a really lot to watch out for when you start freelancing. But no worries! You can scratch one off this list by registering to ALLCARE. With your membership, you'll get your healthcare benefits and many more!