a guest post from Ashley Wilson
Leaving your 9 to 5 job to become a freelancer and pursue your dreams sounds pretty exciting.
There’s the freedom to pick your own hours and even work different days according to your schedule. You also have more control over the people you work for.
It’s no wonder that around 35% of the Americans are currently pursuing freelance work.
However, making the switch to freelancing does come with a few challenges to consider. There’s more to it than just handing in your notice and starting to work in your PJs. You need a strategy for how you’re going to stay productive and avoid potential issues.
Here are some of the mistakes you need to avoid making as a freelancer.
1. Taking on More Work Than You Can Handle
The more work you do as a freelancer, the more money you make. Since it’s difficult to know whether you’re always going to have a steady stream of jobs to do, when work is available, it’s tempting to take on as much as possible.
Doubling up on possible income when available can sometimes be a good way to prepare for anything. However, it’s important to ensure you’re not taking on more than you can handle. Overworking yourself or stretching your schedule too thin often leads to problems like missed deadlines.
There’s also the risk that if you’re over-working, you’re not giving enough time and attention to any single project. Then, the quality of your work suffers. Poor results will start to upset your customers, and you will acquire negative reviews and have less word-of-mouth promotion.
2. Arguing with the Client
As a freelancer, you have more control over who you work with. If you don’t like a particular client, or you don’t think you’d be comfortable with their project, you don’t have to take on the work. However, any customer you interact with needs the right treatment.
When connecting with clients, you need to choose your words and your actions carefully.
Telling everyone that you know better and refusing to take feedback into account doesn’t make you look like a thought leader. Instead, it’s just another example of bad customer service.
Take the time to listen to your clients and consider their concerns. Don’t be afraid to introduce solutions to any problems they might have, but remember that you are working for them at the end of the day.
3. Not Charging Enough
If you’re just getting started in the freelance world for the first time, you might think it’s a good idea to keep your price requests as low as possible.
Bargain prices are a good way to attract customers who aren’t convinced that you can deliver results yet. But, once people start to get used to your low prices, they’ll expect to get them long-term.
Anyone that your clients refer to you will also expect the same prices. This means that it’s much harder to scale up your costs to reflect what you’re worth over time.
Instead of trying to jump in at a low cost and work your way up, examine the market and see what kind of prices are typical for someone in your industry. Try to choose something in the mid-range if you’re not comfortable charging too high.
Make sure that the fees you charge are enough to support your freelance journey.
4. Not Having a Backup Plan
There are various kinds of backup plans you might need as a freelancer. First, you need to figure out what you’re going to do if your new venture doesn’t work. After that, it’s essential to consider how you can defend the work that you’re doing every day.
Backup plans also apply to your tech stack. Whether you’re a software developer, graphic designer, or writer, there’s a good chance that you’re storing a lot of information every day on your computer.
That makes your computer your bread and butter, and the information crucial to the continuity of your business. Ignoring taking precautions to protect yourself against issues is never a good idea.
If your system crashes and you can’t send your work within the deadline, you might lose the client.
Thus, treat your hardware and software like an enterprise would. Educate yourself on best practices. If malware or cyberattacks come your way, you need to have the right solutions in place.
Recent statistics on cyberattacks and the cost of downtime are worrying. Downtime means that you don’t just lose your work; you could also suffer a ruined reputation and less trust from your customers.
5. Poor Work-life Balance
Poor work-life balance is one of the most common problems that freelancers have. It’s easy to assume that you’ll have more time for life when you’re working the hours that you choose.
However, the truth is often the opposite. When you’re a freelancer, you’re continually searching for new clients and new opportunities.
Many freelance workers spend more hours on their job than anyone else. If you’re not careful, your career can end up taking over your life. When this happens, you suffer from problems like excess stress, bad health, and even relationship issues.
Make sure that you’re not overworking yourself and put plenty of time aside for recharging.
Pick a time to close down your computer each day and leave the room without looking back. Don’t let freelancing become the only thing you do. It’s essential to care for yourself.
Mastering the Freelance Journey
Getting used to a freelance lifestyle isn’t always as simple as it seems. If you want to excel in this environment, you need to have a good plan of action in mind.
Figure out how you’re going to protect your work-life balance and earn enough money without burning out will give you direction and peace of mind.
What’s more, don’t be afraid to adapt your working styles and learn as you go. The more time you spend in your new career, the more you’ll learn about what you need to do to stay one step ahead of the curve.
Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.