You may have heard from one friend or another that they’re getting into freelancing. Perhaps, you may have even thought about getting into it yourself. By definition, freelance means to render one’s services to different organizations rather than just to a single one. Sites like Upwork, Outsourcely, and Freelancer have emerged wherein you can accommodate a diverse world of clients with arrays of tasks needing different sets of skills.
Look, we get it; with the boom of freelancing, its world became vast and it may come off overwhelming to research and tackle – and understandably so. Knowing what to look out for may ease some of your worries and may help you feel prepared to take that step. Well, fret not because we got you! We asked someone who’s experienced in the world of freelancing to share five mistakes that they’ve experienced so that you could watch out for them.
Nathalyn, 32, is a mom of two in her fifth year of freelancing. She’s done jobs as a graphic and website designer, as well as digital support where she maintains the integrity of a website’s security, updates, and website backup.
Mistake #1: Not knowing your worth
“Pricing your services will be your first challenge when you start freelancing,” she prefaces, “I [didn’t] have a pricing set up for my design services when I started and just simply accept projects that I know [are priced] less than what I deserve. There will be offers that will also ask you to do it for free or less than what you priced them for.”
The advice: “Having a set of pricing on the services you offer will help you and your business to thrive. And remember the clients who see the VALUE you can provide for their business will not be hesitant to pay for your skill sets.”
Mistake #2: Failing to organize
“I didn’t start with my signature process when I started and that exhausted me big time! I had to be [on] different platforms to communicate with clients. I message and email clients back and forth and it’s a total waste of time for my clients and myself.”
The advice: “This is a trial and error stage. Find out what will best work for you and easy for your clients to organize projects, contracts, and communication.” Since there can be numerous different fields when it comes to freelancing, noting what Nathalyn said about this stage being a “trial and error” is important since the organization required can be on a case-to-case basis.
“Having a streamlined process will help you to be more productive, organized, and will lessen your burnout. It makes you look professional and an expert.”
Mistake #3: Not having a strategy in place
“When I started, I only wanted to have an extra income for myself, nothing more. This is why I worked with 3rd party agencies and [got] paid less. When I decided to go full-time and find my own clients, I didn’t have any strategies in place. I’m always online on different platforms, I don’t have a website, I don’t have a process, and it didn’t help me find clients, and doubted I can have my own.”
The advice: While going through different platforms can be a good gateway for starting things up, Nathalyn suggests that creating plans and strategies can help one feel more secure and in control of where to put in the necessary efforts to build your preferred network. “I created a strategy for how my dream clients can find me. I focused on a social media platform where my dream clients are, I worked on creating a process, and invested in business assets like professional email, website, and social media pages, to showcase who I am and what I do.”
Mistake #4: Focusing too much on what YOU can do
“One thing that I’ve noticed when I started freelancing and finding my own clients is how I am focused on what ‘I’ can do and not what I can do to help my ‘target client’s’ business.”
The advice: “I shifted the way I promote myself on group pages, updated the content of my website, the way I communicated to potential clients, and highlighted the value I can do when they work with me. Things changed really fast when I did this. A client will always [want] to know first ‘what you can do for my business.’ Make sure you answer this in every place where your dream clients can find you. The rest of the process will follow.”
Mistake #5: Stopping the learning process
“If we are in the freelancing business already, don’t stop learning, and don’t be stuck to what you already know now. In the freelancing industry, you have to be flexible and always up to date in the industry/niche you are focused on.”
The advice: “Don’t stop learning. Invest in good online courses – there are so many options for free ones. The more you enhance your skill sets the more you can upgrade your level of clients, pricing, and become successful.”
Freelancing was Nathalyn’s sideline pre-pandemic when she got pregnant and was on maternity leave. However, she realized that going into freelancing was one of the best decisions she’s ever made since she’s able to spend more time with her family while doing what she says she now loves best: “being creative and helping businesses grow online!”
As a bonus tip, Nathalyn reminds the importance of building connections. “Don’t forget to establish rapport and professional [relationships] with other freelancers in different industries, I have a few freelancers who refer clients to me as well and I to them. This will help you gain more exposure and possibilities of gaining new clients. Build [a] great and professional relationship with your fellow freelancers.”