5 key mistakes all new freelancers make

As in every new workplace or position, chances are you will make mistakes. And it’s totally normal – you have to go through some lessons to become a pro and be confident with your own value.

When I started freelancing I wasn’t sure of many things – from how good I am at writing to how much I should charge for it. There are many ways to set how much you should charge for your services, but I think with all the right calculations at some point you just know whether it’s too high, too low or just right.

In my recent career of freelancing I learned that there are many more “small” mistakes freshly cooked freelancers make. Some might say they’re more like “individual style” rather than mistakes, but in my humble opinion, the following things are the ones you should give extra attention to if you’re thinking of freelancing.

Planning and scheduling

This is not a usual corporate job where someone will be there to guide you. The majority of new freelancers think they will have as flexible routine as they want, and in a way it’s true, it totally depends on you, but unless you start planning your work and schedule your days, with jobs coming one after another, you’ll be lost in no time.

To avoid that take your time to plan your tasks. Set the schedule and follow the deadlines. Learn to move all distractions away. If you need to focus, try, just try turning your TV off. It is very easy to fall out of schedule with so many work you’re about to face. That’s why you have to help yourself and create a nice workspace.

Know When You’re Working

When things really start to get going, it is more than easy to fall into 24/7 working circle. If you’re really productive, you’ll start to notice that you finish more tasks in less time, therefore you can do even more! But don’t forget that you can’t earn all the money in the world, and although the more you work, the more you earn, rest is essential component of working.

When you forget to rest, have a good night sleep or take your brain off your work life and completely relax, you, like any other “device” will eventually start making mistakes. And then it’ll take more time to do the same thing twice. And you don’t want that.

Getting distracted – moving from task to task

It is great to have multitasking skills or ability to start working on something urgent in a middle of a task. But not all of us have it. As a creator I need to take my time to put my thoughts together before I start writing. And there’s nothing worse if all of a sudden my work is distracted by another task.

In order to deal with this, I started planning, scheduling and writing everything down. It’s the only way to keep in line when you have multiple projects going on, and although it’s still very frustrating when something unexpected comes up, it helps to come back on track way faster and painless.

Letting the client name the price

The second you start to work like a pro and you know how to put a price tag on it, do so. Unless you look for freelance jobs online with a charge already set, don’t be afraid to name it before you start to work. You have to be sure of how much your work is worth, otherwise you’ll keep spending time like crazy, and we all know, time is money. So if you’re not earning, you’re spending.

I’ll be providing different calculation formulas in my upcoming blogs, so you’ll have plenty of information to use. There are different factors that sum up into your final price, but you have to know it and be able to be flexible if needed. Different tasks and different clients require different approach and charging. While some of the works may be useful more in a connection/experience way (therefore you might want to charge less or work pro-bono), some of the “bad” clients try to negotiate for a smaller price expecting you’ll work like a full-time employee would. It is important to know when to say “no” as well as be open for opportunities.

Thinking more is better or not knowing when to say “no”

So, you have your system planned, tasks scheduled, and charge set. Entering the next step might be tricky, because you’ll always want to do more/earn more. Try to think of it as food. We all love a good meal, but does that necessarily mean we have to eat, and eat, and eat again? I don’t think so. Having just the right amount of work and good planning, is what you’re looking for. As a freelancer, you probably want to have your own space and your own time. So allow yourself that. It is better to improve your work and start charging more that taking a lot of jobs that serve you poor financially and do nothing to your portfolio.

So here are just a few mistakes we all do. Yes, just a few. We’ll talk about the others later. But don’t get scared, this is something that you either have to go through yourself, or have in mind before taking any job offer. So relax, allow yourself to make those mistakes, but don’t forget to learn from them as well.

Better late than never, but never late is better.
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