In my experience as a freelancer I have found there to be several mistakes which all freelancers make. I myself have made some of these errors and have seen friends make some of the other mistakes. With this in mind I have compiled the common freelancing mistakes along with possible solutions.
Before Getting the Job
Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.
Lester R. Bittel (The Nine Master Keys of Management)
This is the first area where a mistake can arise. You must be prepared before the word ‘Go’. Here is how to ensure you get the best start
Fully understand the job
Not fully understanding exactly what the client wishes to achieve will lead you to make false calculations, resulting in your quote to be little more than a guess. As you progress through the job you will begin to realise your mistake.
Realising a mistake at a late stage will leave you with two ugly options. First, ask the client for more with an amended quote. Second, make a loss.
Personally I would rather make a loss than ruin my credibility which I took years to build up, but why end up in this situation? Do your research properly.
Professionalism with the client
Be professional when dealing with clients. That means to not become emotionally attached with them, or to share personal information with them.
This also means to be more mature with them when disputes arise and to control your anger. The use of profanities and general abuse will damage your reputation and lower you to a childish level.
During the Job
Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labour is immense.
A deadline is the line, which if crossed you are dead. That is not the official Oxford dictionary definition of a ‘deadline’ but rather it should be the freelancers definition.
If a freelancer misses the deadline he/she is in serious trouble. Overestimating project time is better than underestimating it. Underestimating a deadline and completing a project late will lead to loss of credibility and reputation.
Usually this is due to a slacking off or biting off more than one can chew. These two are freelancing mistakes of their own. Avoid procrastination at all costs by keeping your eye on the ball. No doubt, to be doing several projects has serious advantages, however don’t overwork yourself, as it will result in missing a deadline.
After the Job
If you have done a good job for the client, it would be a freelancing catastrophe if you don’t suggest follow up ideas or try to market your services to their friends. If the client or their friends need your services you ought to try and get these future leads.
Word-of-mouth marketing is an excellent marketing technique and perhaps the most reliable clients will come to us this way.
If you do make any of the above mistakes while freelancing, fret not. Remember what my favourite playwright George Bernard Shaw said:
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
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