When you’re new to the freelancing world, there are many possible traps you can fall into. While you can overcome any obstacles on the freelance path, it’s much easier to set off on the right foot if you’re aware of the potential hazards. So, today we’ll look at the five most common mistakes that I see newbie freelancers make when they first start out on their freelance journey.
#1 Doing what other people suggest
All too often, I see freelancers asking questions, like “What’s the best freelancing website?” or “What area should I freelance in?” without realising that the answers to these questions depend on the individual. The answers they get back are prescriptive and not necessarily right for them. Of course, it’s great to get input from successful freelancers, but we’re all different people and one size does not fit all. So much about freelancing is figuring out what works for you personally.
#2 Having unrealistic expectations
People seem to expect to earn a decent income quickly from freelancing, but unfortunately that isn’t how it works. Freelancing is not an overnight thing. It takes time, effort, and patience to build up great feedback and establish a reputation to compete for the best market rates. As such, entry-level freelancers don’t tend to earn much money, because it takes time to land well-paying clients.
#3 Putting all of their eggs in one basket
Most of the successful freelancers I know gain work through a variety of methods and don’t discount any possible ways to find work. A mistake I see lots of new freelancers making is only looking for clients via one method—be it one freelancing platform or only cold-emailing. Rather than listening to what methods have worked for other freelancers, see which methods work for you.
#4 Starting in a brand-new area
A common question I get asked is “What freelance skill should I learn?” or “What skills are in demand?” However, becoming a freelancer is hard enough without the added difficulty of trying to learn a new skill. It’s also incredibly difficult to compete against established freelancers when you’re a newbie freelancer and not skilled in your area. It’s far better to choose something that you’re already skilled and knowledgeable in.
#5 Only thinking in monetary terms
Finally, I see lots of new freelancers only thinking in terms of the money they could make, asking questions like “What is the best-paying freelance skill?” For me, this is missing an opportunity. Freelancing provides the chance to get paid for what you love doing—and all freelancer areas can be lucrative if you’re great at what you do. If you only look at in terms of financial reward, you might end up choosing an area that you don’t enjoy or aren’t skilled in.
Have you seen these traps in action? Which of them are you at risk of? And how did you overcome them? Comment below or get in touch.