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When you’re freelancing, you’re bound to make mistakes. Making mistakes is a part of the learning curve. Sometimes, you make mistakes because of lack of understanding and sometimes, because of being reckless or ignorant. Forget the reason, these mistakes will eventually affect your relationship with your clients, your work and your reputation. Here are the 6 common but important mistakes that you must avoid making at any cost.

Mistake no 1 # Not knowing how and how much to charge

One of the most important things that can majorly impact your freelancing career is not knowing how to charge, and then, not knowing how much to charge. This can be especially challenging when you take up projects of different sizes. What most freelancers don’t know is whether they should charge on an hourly basis or charge according to the size of the project? Don’t just quote a random figure based on a few parameters but do some thorough research, figure out the market prices suited for your profile and work experience, understand how to charge for different projects and then send a quotation. While undercharging makes your clients doubt the quality of your work (even though everyone wants an economical option), overcharging makes you come across as someone who’s high-headed. So, know your worth, understand the value of your time, understand the requirements of your clients and most importantly what is the value – financial or non-financial that you are bringing to your client –

Mistake no 2 # Working on projects that aren’t your thing

So, you’re a Java coder, with just about some basic knowledge of Oracle, and you take up a project that requires you to code in Oracle – have you done that? Or – you love writing blogs, but you land up picking up an academic writing project; sounds familiar, doesn’t it? So, whether you’re picking up a project for money or you’re picking it up because you need to kill time, whatever the reason may be, don’t make the mistake of picking up projects that are not your thing. Chances are that you may land up being extremely unmotivated or disinterested to complete the project, which may further affect the quality of work. Instead, stick to a couple of work-areas and build your portfolio around it.

You gotta specialize in your field!

Mistake no 3 # Missing deadlines

Yikes! This one is the most common mistake of all. If you’re a freelancer who’s here to make it big in the big-bad-world of freelancing, then you must get all the basics right. Freelancing requires a hell lotta discipline and diligence. You must, must stick to deadlines, come what may. Freelancing gives you flexibility but you cannot take that for granted by dodging deadlines every now and then. Have a scheduler, mark important dates, make a timetable and stick by it, exert your will-power but please stick to your damn deadlines and deliver your projects on time.

You see – if you don’t deliver on time – you are making the client lose “his money” – and nobody forgives that. Clients observe and clients remember; so if you’re going to push your deadlines on a regular basis, it will have a direct impact on your image and your reputation, and you cannot afford to risk that!

Remember, if you don’t take yourself seriously, nobody else will.

Mistake no 4 # Overlooking opportunities

So, you’ve just completed designing a brochure for a client. You’ve been given your final payment and everything’s sorted. Don’t you think it would be a good idea to ask if they need your services to design your their website and flexes?

In most cases, the client wouldn’t be aware that you do that. So you need to ask! By not doing this, you’re losing out on the opportunity to grow organically, and strengthen your expertise. You never know the cost of this mistake! The client may refer you to other clients who have similar projects for you. Introducing your client to the different aspects of your work is only going to be beneficial for you! It will help you build a strong portfolio in a comparatively short period of time. Throw away those blinkers and welcome opportunities with open arms.

Mistake no 5 # Not taking an advance amount

My friend had gotten a call from a reputed institute for an urgent requirement for script writing. The person whom she was coordinating with told her that it is a one-day assignment and that she would get the cheque for the entire amount immediately after the assignment. Because that person was from a reputed institute, she agreed to this arrangement, because of the reputation of the institute and thinking that having the name of the institute on her CV would enhance it. Guess what? She got the payment only after a year; that too after calling the client incessantly. So, don’t make the mistake of not taking an advance amount – because that is what professionals do and you WANT to be seen as a pro. Also, please ensure that you will get the rest of the amount within an ascertained period of time, after the completion of the project. This will save you a lot of headaches in the future.

Mistake no 6 # Not branding yourself

If you’re not branding yourself and you think that it’s okay to not do that, well, let me tell you that it certainly isn’t. I would say, please do yourself a favour and start building a brand around yourself right away. There are numerous aspects to branding oneself – right from figuring out your expertise (what are you an expert at) to positioning yourself through the multiple options of website, facebook or blog pages, on-ground and online networking, so on and so forth. In today’s times, your website/page, is your calling card – it becomes easier to find you. So, to begin with, at least put up a website and put yourself out there in the market.

To know more about how branding can play a vital role in enhancing your business, read our blog – The ultimate hack to freelancing – establish yourself as a brand

Yes, freelancing can be daunting. But if done right, it can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding. There’s no escaping from making mistakes, but the beauty of it lies in the learning that happens after every mistake. However, be smart; be slick and be prudent enough to avoid making the aforementioned mistakes!

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