As a freelancer, you operate your own business how you want. However, there are some things you should avoid doing. These can cost you your time, reputation, and income potential.
- Avoid Working for Free
If you’re not landing clients or have a small portfolio, you may feel inclined to work for free or discounted rates. However, in doing so, you are undervaluing yourself and your work and will never get you to the pay scale you want to be at. Instead, work on other passive income opportunities to invest your time in.
- Avoid Spending Excess Money
As a freelancer, you don’t know for certain when you’re next dime will come in. This means you should create a budget and stick to it. Make your own coffee at home, drink more water, and stream movies online for free. Invest excess money back in your business for advertising and outsourcing tedious tasks.
- Avoid Working with Picky Clients
Unless you are charging hourly, a picky client can be more trouble than value. No matter how brilliant your work is, you can never satisfy a picky client. Unless they are willing to compensate you for your excess time, it’s time you fired them.
- Avoid Missing Deadlines
As the saying goes, time is money. Many clients realize this as well, and too many missed deadlines look bad on you and your client. You will suffer at the hands of bad reviews and never get the testimonial you deserve on your website to land future clients. Always pad your delivery time by an additional 2-3 days. It’s better to over deliver.
- Avoid Taking on Too Many Projects at Once
You’re looking at the money, but overworking yourself will cause you to miss deadlines and become overstressed. Be sure to plan out each day and never overbook yourself. Pencil in some “me time” on your calendar.
- Avoid Being Shy of Your Skills
As a freelancer, you may have multiple skills, so upsell them. Just because you’ve been hired as a website developer does not mean you can’t advise them on content they should have on their website. Upsell your skills in a manner that’s useful to your client. You are offering an invaluable service to them and saving them time since they won’t need to seek out other freelancers to do so. You are also increasing your cash flow with one client rather than two.
- Avoid Undervaluing Your Services
Don’t fall into the trap of undervaluing your services just to win a contract. Show your clients what you are worth by actually charging for it. Show them your portfolio and explain to them the alternative of cheap and outsourced work.
- Avoid Not Paying Taxes
Sure, there are many self-employed write-offs to take advantage of, however, wouldn’t it be better to receive something back than owe Uncle Sam? Pay your taxes quarterly, so you aren’t lumped up with any surprises come tax time.
- Avoid Not Asking for Referrals
Testimonials are as good as a bonus. Ask for testimonials from your clients on your website or LinkedIn profile. This is a free marketing effort and may work better than a portfolio in some instances. Potential clients want to see feedback.
- Avoid Word of Mouth Agreements
Trying to skip over a drawn up contract to quickly complete a project is a bad idea. You must protect yourself at all times. Draw up a general contract that can cover the basics and add an addendum in before your project is completed.
The above ten things should be avoided as a freelancer. In doing so, you’ll find you are saving time, money, and your sanity.