Freelancing is a difficult thing to make a success out of. One of the hardest parts of freelancing is knowing that it’s all down to you. Most freelancers start off totally alone and their success or failure is just down to them.
Many people who start it end up going back to their day job for a variety of reasons. Sometimes freelancing just isn’t for them and sometimes they make some mistakes which make it harder to grow their business.
So here are some of the common mistakes that freelancers make:
One of the most important skills needed to make freelancing a success is organisation. As a freelancer you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’ll be responsible for organising your business, sorting out your finances and admin, marketing your business as well as doing work for clients.
A lot of freelancers underestimate the amount of work you end up taking on. If you don’t keep on top of it, you can easily become overwhelmed and let things slip.
Motivation and procrastination
If you struggle to motivate yourself to get to work, you’re going to find freelancing hard. Procrastination hits us all at some time but if you’re not fighting it you’ll find that you spend less and less time on your business and eventually panic when you run out of work.
Not marketing yourself enough
Yes you do need to market yourself because no one else is going to do it. Unless you hire someone to take care of your marketing, you’re going to have to get comfortable with self-promotion.
The key is to acknowledge that it’s uncomfortable and a bit embarrassing but to do it anyway. Eventually, it’ll become less horrible and part of your everyday business. The sooner you get to this point and turn it into the habit, the quicker your business can stabilise.
Not charging enough
This is probably the top mistake that freelancers make. The problem with this is that it means your business can’t grow at a rate that you’d like. You end up over worked but underpaid because you need more work to make ends meet. Sometimes this leads to people giving up and finding a job.
Don’t get into the habit of charging the same rate that you’d have as a salary in an office job. When running a business, no matter how small, you need to cover things like expenses and all the benefits you miss out on by not being an employee. This means things like maternity, sick and holiday pay as well as pension contributions. You’ll also have to pay a percentage of everything you earn for income tax and National Insurance contributions.
Not having clear goals
If you’re going to go freelance, then ask yourself why first of all. What is it that you want to achieve and is it realistic? A lot of people have this romantic view of what being a freelancer is like. Some people envision themselves on beaches with laptops but the reality is very different from this.
Once you’re certain you want to go freelance, the goals don’t end there. You’re more likely to grow your business faster if you’ve got concrete goals in place. This could be setting income targets or client sign ups each month. It’s up to you, but make sure you’re always sure what you’re working towards.
Have you ever made any of these mistakes? How did you overcome them? Please share your thoughts.