Steer Clear: 5 Commonly-Made Freelancing Mistakes To Avoid

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Apr. 5 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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As you embark on this journey of independence and creativity in freelance work, it’s essential to navigate the freelancing landscape with caution. In this guide, we’ll uncover the top freelancing mistakes to avoid and provide tips on how to steer clear of them.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just dipping your toes into the freelance pool, I’ve rounded up insights on commonly-made freelancing mistakes I’ve learned along the way. I hope this knowledge pushes you to thrive in the gig economy:

Common Freelancer Missteps

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Underpricing Your Freelance Services

Charging too little can undervalue your skills. For example, a graphic designer may charge $20 for a logo that should be priced at $200. While this approach might seem logical for launching a business, it can create the perception that the quality of work is subpar or that the hired individual lacks confidence in their skills.

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Neglecting Freelance Contracts

Failing to use contracts can lead to misunderstandings or non-payment. For example, a writer might start a project without a contract and not get paid for their work within the expected time. By setting clear parameters within a contract, both parties have a clear expectation of what to expect with services rendered and payment policies.

Example: “Invoices must be paid net 30 days from time of receipt.”

This parameter should be extended to prompt invoicing upon project completion, detailing work, and due date to avoid client confusion during invoice filling.

Overcommitting To Freelance Projects

Taking on too many projects at once can lead to burnout and low-quality work. For instance, a freelance marketer might accept more projects than they can handle and fail to deliver on time.

The same can be said for failing to set boundaries with clients. This move can lead to overwork and stress. For example, a freelance consultant might agree to work weekends without realizing the toll it takes on their personal life; in turn, sacrificing self-care.

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Frequent Freelancer Pitfalls

While often seen as optional, addressing the following frequently encountered pitfalls should become a priority. Remember, you’re your best advocate when it comes to your success.

Poor Communication

Communication breakdowns can lead to misunderstandings and unhappy clients — which has the potential to sour a good thing. For example, a freelance writer might fail to respond to client emails in a reasonable amount of time, leading to frustration on both sides. Clients should also maintain clear expectations, establish feedback channels for clarification, and adhere to deadlines on a consistent basis.

Overlooking Self-Care

Neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. For instance, a freelance developer might work long hours without taking breaks, leading to exhaustion and reduced motivation.

Paige Slaughter, founder of Fruition Studio and a Mailchimp partner, encourages freelancers checking in with yourself from time to time. “If you’re not giving yourself what you need, you can’t show up open-heartedly, generously the way that you need to,” she told MailChimp. “The marketing skills have never been a challenge for me—it’s been all the mental stuff.”

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can set yourself up for success and build a thriving business.

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By: Truth Hawkins

Truth Hawkins, a seasoned wordsmith with over a decade of experience spanning entertainment, culture, and lifestyle news, navigates the dynamic landscapes of pop culture, lifestyle, and music. More than a reporter, Truth is a dedicated storyteller, unearthing narratives that deeply resonate with readers and invites them to engage in meaningful conversations.

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