Starting your own business online can be a great way to make money from home, but maybe you are looking for something a little more flexible. If so, a freelancing career could be the perfect solution for you.
Congratulations! Going it alone can be a great way to gain control over your work life, setting your own hours and earning potential.
But before you take the plunge, make sure you’re aware of some of the most common pitfalls of freelance work. Not everyone can have a successful freelance career – it takes a special mix of skill, motivation, and business savvy.
You may be a great writer or artist, but if you’re not also good at marketing yourself, you may have a hard time finding work. And even if you are good at finding work, you need to be able to manage your time and money well, or you’ll quickly find yourself in over your head.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common pitfalls people face in their freelancing career, and what you can do to avoid them.
What are the Common Pitfalls of Freelance Work?
As a freelancer, you are your own boss. This can be great, giving you the freedom to work when and where you want. But it also means that you have to be very self-motivated. It can be easy to let yourself get sidetracked or to procrastinate when there’s no one to answer to but yourself.
If you’re not careful, you may find yourself working fewer hours than you would in a traditional job, and earning less money as a result. A freelancing career is not for everyone – it takes a special type of person to be successful at it.
So, here are four of the most common mistakes freelancers make, and how to avoid them:
1. Not being clear on the scope of work.
When agreeing to take on a freelance project, it’s important to be clear on what exactly is expected of you. Make sure you have a detailed conversation with the client about the scope of work before getting started so that there are no surprises down the line.
Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. There are a few reasons why this can be a challenge.
First, it can be difficult to estimate how long a project will take, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before.
Second, clients may not be clear about what they want, or they may change their minds partway through the project.
Finally, you may be tempted to take on more work than you can realistically handle to make more money. However, doing so can quickly lead to burnout.
2. Not setting clear boundaries.
One of the challenges in your freelancing career is setting clear boundaries. It can be easy to let work consume your life, especially if you work from home.
Without set office hours, it can be hard to know when to stop working. As a result, many freelancers find themselves working long hours and sacrificing their personal time. This is one of the disadvantages of freelancing, and for some, it can be a dealbreaker.
There are a few reasons why this happens.
First, when you work for yourself, there’s no one else to hold you accountable for your work. You’re responsible for meeting deadlines and ensuring that your clients are happy.
Second, it can be easy to get caught up in the work itself. If you’re passionate about what you do, it’s only natural that you would want to spend more time doing it.
Finally, many freelancers feel that they need to work longer hours to make ends meet. While it’s true that you may have to work hard to find success in a freelancing career, working yourself to the bone is not sustainable in the long run.
So, how can you set clear boundaries and avoid common pitfalls?
Start by setting office hours and sticking to them. Decide when you’re going to start working each day, and when you’re going to stop. Then, make sure you respect those boundaries.
If you find that you’re working longer hours than you’d like, try setting a daily or weekly limit. Once you reach that limit, stop working and take some time for yourself.
I always plan my days in advance, setting a schedule for when I’m going to work on each project, when I have breaks and when I’ll be done for the day. In the evening, I write down what I need to do the next day, take a little walk in the beautiful streets of Tampere, Finland and go to bed at a reasonable hour. This way I can be fresh and rested for the next day.
3. Not being proactive about communication.
Not being proactive about communication with your clients will lead to problems later on. There are a few reasons why this happens.
First, freelancers are often working on their own, so they don’t have the built-in support system of a traditional office. This can make it easy to become isolated and out of touch with what’s going on in the industry.
Second, freelancers are usually juggling multiple projects at once, which can make it difficult to keep track of deadlines and communication needs. A proper project management system can help with this, but it’s not always enough.
Finally, many freelancers are introverts by nature, so they may not be comfortable reaching out to clients proactively. Of course, this is not always the case, but it’s something to be aware of.
The solution to this problem is simple: be proactive about communication. Make sure you’re regularly checking in with your clients, even if there’s nothing specific to update them on.
If you are not comfortable reaching out to clients on your own, consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to help with this. A VA can handle communication and other administrative tasks, freeing up your time to focus on billable work.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. A quick email or phone call every week or two should suffice.
4. Not being organized.
As a freelancer, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and let your organization slip. Suddenly, your to-do list is a mile long, and you can’t find that important document anywhere.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry – you’re not alone. A lot of freelancers struggle with organization, but there are some simple things you can do to get yourself back on track.
One of the biggest challenges of a freelancing career is that there’s no one else to keep you organized. In a traditional job, there’s usually someone else who is responsible for making sure things stay in order. But as a freelancer, it’s all up to you. This can be tough, but it’s also an opportunity to learn some new skills.
To this problem as well, the best solution may be a project management tool. There are a lot of different options out there, so take some time to find one that works for you. A good project management tool will help you keep track of deadlines, tasks, and communication.
Continue Reading: Freelancing vs Agency Life: which one should you choose?
So, what have we learnt about common pitfalls in freelancing?
Freelancing can be rewarding, but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself and be systematic. This way, you can avoid some of the most common mistakes, get over the disadvantages of freelancing, and set yourself up for long-term success.
By holding the threads in your own hands, you’re in charge of your destiny. But this comes with great responsibility. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to make some common mistakes that may jeopardize your business.
Use these freelancing tips to guide you as you navigate the freelance world. There’s always room for improvement, so keep learning and growing as you go. Remember, the best way to avoid making mistakes is to be prepared for them.
About the Author
Oscar Rodriguez is a passionate blogger, investor and software enthusiast. He currently lives in Tampere, Finland and writes about building your online influence and business in his personal blog.