Listening to veteran freelancers talk about their successes or reading about it can be quite enticing and motivating to make one choose to switch from a 9–5 job to freelancing. But, you see, if certain bits are not taken care of sufficiently, no sooner you switch will you start submitting your CV looking for another 9–5 job.
Let’s look at seven certain pitfalls that must be avoided if you don’t want to quit freelancing as soon as you come into it and return to a regular job, or struggle for clients as a freelancer.
1. Bland Profile.
The profile of a freelancer is his first ticket to courting any client. Never let your profile speak too little of you, and this is not to say that you should overhype yourself. It makes sense to get tips on how to set up your profile in a way that will land you jobs regularly. It is one of the common errors that truncate early the progress of many freelancers.
2. Prolonged Silence.
Keeping in touch with clients with updates on their work is a good practice, even when they do not ask for it. It portrays you well as a professional. Don’t join those who only communicate when clients ask them questions. Also, when long-term clients have become friends, make sure you remain professional in communicating with them regularly whenever there’s a project you are working on or for them via the means you would use if they were not friends with you yet. Include giving regular updates in your work schedule.
3. Don’t Start as a General-Purpose Merchant.
You are better off when you start with a niche that you are very knowledgeable in. It’s very okay to be the go-to guy on a specific subject or task when you are just starting; it guarantees your proficiency. You will find out that you will deliver jobs on time, and clients will always be happy with you.
4. Charge Clients Accordingly.
This one is a golden rule in freelancing. Always ask for what you know you are worth as a professional. Be sure to set your charges and be rational about them. Clients may negotiate, but never let them be the ones to tell you what you should receive. It’s not pride if you refuse to work with clients whose prices are too low. Such clients are often difficult and mean, and it’s better to just avoid them altogether.
5. Respect for Deadlines.
Imagine it will take 27 arrows to kill you as a person, each deadline missed is like one arrow shot at you. The more arrows that hit you the lesser relevant you become as a freelancer. It weakens your efficiency and professionalism, no matter how loud you keep saying you still got it. Disappointing with deadlines has a more debilitating effect on your profile as a freelancer than missing out on a few details of a job.
6. No Xeroxing.
There’s a fine line that separates being lazy and working smart as a freelancer. Copy and paste is outright laziness. It is never smartness. There’s no reason that can justify it. Always stamp your intelligence on any work you do. It’s the smart thing to do because it gives you bragging right.
7. Don’t Be Double Late.
The ideal rule is to work and deliver within deadlines. But in the case of unforeseen events and you fail to meet up, still, go on to deliver the job, and don’t be too late to do that. For instance, if you quoted two weeks to submit a job, but something goes wrong and you could not, a maximum of two or three days after the deadline is enough to turn in the job. Except what went wrong is enough to shut down your production for longer should you go beyond that. And, don’t fail to communicate the problem early enough.
These are the key practices many veteran freelancers keenly abide by which had been (and are) sustaining them as viable brands in their various fields. As you, too, are planning to switch to full-time freelancing, along with your well-honed professional skillset, make sure you embody these ethical skills that make life easy in freelancing.