You’ve got your computer, your structure, and everything is in place, but as a freelancer, you can make a number of key mistakes throughout the first 12 months.
There are common challenges and mistakes that will stop you before you can start. Let’s show you some things freelancers can get wrong and how to avoid them.
Inadequate Financial Planning
One of the most difficult parts of being a freelancer is getting paid. Having a strict approach to how you get paid is just as important as how much you charge. While you’ve got many tools at your disposal like an invoice template, you should also be ready for those financial bumps in the road.
One of the best methods to ensure that you don’t miss out is to guarantee payment from a client as soon as the work is done or within an agreed time scale. Many freelancers find that part of their job involves chasing people for money, and it becomes very stressful because bills need paying.
Ensure that you get your finances ready, but also be effective at communicating with clients, which can guarantee that both sides of the equation are happy.
Not Investing in Professional Development
Within a working environment, employees are encouraged to develop their skills. Freelancers can spend most of their time chasing clients, meaning their inability to adapt to industry changes can leave them lagging. Investing in ongoing professional development is critical. You need to stay up to date with industry trends.
For example, if you are a content writer, it is vital that you understand the latest changes to the Google algorithm to inform how you create content. Taking courses may seem like extra time out of your day; however, it is a business expense for which you can claim tax relief. If you are adept when it comes to changes in the market, this instantly becomes a major selling point when you are pitching yourself to clients.
Not Building a Brand
A personal brand is not just about setting up a website and a portfolio, but cultivating that overall online presence and showcasing your best work in a well-curated portfolio can speak volumes to potential clients who don’t just believe in your abilities to do the work for them. Still, you also have an inherent understanding of how people’s reputations precede them.
Not Setting Clear Boundaries
Boundaries with clients are essential because if you do not put the stops in place by defining the project scope, communication hours, and deadlines, you will find the work creeps into every aspect of your life. Many freelancers think they need to burn the midnight oil to be more competitive. This will only result in burnout, and you will be perennially dissatisfied. Clear work boundaries are critical for the client and your mental health.
The first 12 months of your existence as a freelancer will involve a lot of trial and error. But when you learn common pitfalls and take the right steps to avoid them, this will result in a far more fulfilling freelance career and a well-balanced life too.