Published August 24, 2020
Becoming a freelancer is exciting! Being your own boss is a freeing feeling, and one that few get to realize. But the road to becoming a successful freelancer can be long, and it gets bumpy along the way. Luckily, many of these bumps are common, fixable mistakes. We’ve put together 7 of the most common mistakes that new (and veteran) freelancers tend to make, and how to avoid them.
1. Time Management
Positive of being a freelancer: no one tells you what to do!
Negative of being a freelancer: no one tells you what to do…
When you work for yourself, it’s up to you to do the work. That may sound simple, but it can be a blessing and a curse. Learning how to manage your time is one of the hardest and most important parts of being a freelancer.
So, how should you organize your day? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to time management. You have to find what works for you, and stay committed to it. If you’re a morning person, get started early and finish early. If you’re more productive in the evenings, set aside the later hours to get work done. Don’t forget to reward yourself with a few scheduled breaks throughout the day to stay motivated and productive. Work-life balance is important, so set and stick to a schedule of working (and non-working) hours.
Setting a price for your services is intimidating. If it’s too high you’ll lose the client, and if it’s too low you won’t be able to pay the bills. How are you supposed to know what to charge?
As a general rule, try to set your price by project, not by an hourly rate. If you’re charging by the hour, you’re making less than your service is worth. Just because a project only takes you a few hours, that doesn’t mean a client is getting less value from it. Customers are paying you for the work, not the time.
But not all projects are equal, so don’t treat them like it! Different clients have different needs and expectations, so the price you charge should reflect that. Give them a range of prices you typically charge, and ask for their budget and the scope of the project they have in mind. If they’re willing to pay more, then ask for more! Collaboration with the client is key when it comes to pricing your service, so make sure you’re getting paid what you deserve.
3. Saying “Yes” to Everything
When you’re a freelancer, saying “no” can feel counterintuitive. You might wonder, “How will I make money if you don’t take on every job possible?” But spreading yourself too thin often lowers the quality of your work, leaves clients frustrated, and hurts your mental health.
If you have a full workload, don’t take on extra jobs that you won’t be able to handle. If you’re afraid of losing a potential customer by turning them down, phrase it in a different way than just “no” to keep future business in play. Instead of “No”, try something like “I’m not taking on any new clients this month, are you interested in starting 3 weeks from now? I’d love to work together if possible!” It will allow you to focus on the projects at hand, and line up more business to keep your income steady.
4. Working Without a Contract (or With a Bad Contract)
It’s happened time and time again. A freelancer connects with a client. The client seems trustworthy. The freelancer and the client come to a verbal agreement on services and price. The freelancer does the work. The client pays less than what was agreed upon. And there’s nothing the freelancer can (realistically) do.
Being too trusting can be the downfall of a good freelancer. It’s human nature, but it’s not good for business. Have your clients sign a services agreement or contract before you get started on the work, so you have a paper trail to point back to, and legal rights to the money you’re owed. It can be daunting, but don’t worry, there are enough templates out there that you won’t have to write your own from scratch.
5. Letting Bad Clients Stick Around
A bad client could be consistently late with payments, over-demanding, or any number of other negative behaviors. Remember, as the person providing the services, they need you just as much as you need them.
Having too many rotten clients can be bad for your business. If a customer is frequently making your life more difficult, don’t be afraid to change the terms, or even end the relationship completely. If they’re late with payments, then don’t take on the next project until they’ve paid your invoices. If they’re over-demanding, simply remind them of the project you’ve agreed to, and politely tell them that more work equals more money.
If you’re consistently receiving late invoice payments, check out our tips for preventing late payments from customers here.
6. Having No Backup Plan
Throwing yourself into full-time freelancing right away is courageous, but ill-advised. When you put all of your eggs into that basket, it’s better to know that you have enough clients to keep the lights on.
It’s great to go all-in, but do it the right way! Give yourself a safety net in case you don’t hit the ground running. Start small by taking on a few clients while holding down a stable job, whether that’s full-time or part-time. Additionally, make sure you have a bit of cash saved up once you do decide to go into full-time freelancing. This will ensure that you’re still able to pay the bills and stay afloat if business takes a while to pick up.
7. Making Payment Difficult
When you send a client an invoice, you want to make their payment as easy as possible. Easy payment process equals faster payment for you, right?
That’s why Invoice Home has set up payment links that you can easily send out with your invoices! We’ve partnered with Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net to help our customers get paid with the click of a button. When you set up a payment link with your payment information, your customers will be able to send you money instantly.
To learn how to set up your payment links, click here.
Avoid these common mistakes, and you’ll be a better freelancer. And when it’s time to get paid, send your clients an invoice that stands out. Use one of our more than 100 templates to create an invoice, and set up payment links to make receiving payments even easier!
- 3 Tips For Enjoying Summer, Even When You Have to Work!
- 7 Ways to Prevent Work-From-Home Burnout
- How to Get a Customer to Pay Your Invoice
- New Year’s Resolutions for Small Business Owners
- Holiday Gifts for Small Business Owners
- Why You Should Use an Invoice Template Software
- Managing & Engaging Your Remote Employees
- How to Deal With Difficult Customers
- How to Send an Invoice
- 4 Simple Steps to Start Freelancing
- You’re Setting the Wrong Goals for Your Business
- How to Get Over Your Phone Anxiety
- Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a Business
- 4 Steps to Take When Taking on a New Client
- Introducing Cash Receipt Templates!
- How to Make Your Small Business More Professional
- 9 Invoicing Documents, and When You Should Use Them
- Common Mistakes Freelancers Make
- How to Network Without Leaving Your Home
- 6 Signs That You Might be Ready for a Side Hustle
- 8 Financial Blogs Small Business Owners Need to Read
- How to Prevent Late Payments on Invoices
- Top 10 Countries by Startup Ecosystem
- 5 Reasons To Use Paperless Invoices
- How to Avoid a Toxic Workplace
- Why You Should Upgrade to Unlimited Invoicing
- Tech and Economy: How Tel Aviv became the Start-up City
- The Importance of Customer Service
- What is an Invoice?
- 5 Plants to Minimize Toxins & Maximize Productivity
- M-Commerce in Developing Countries
- Customize Your Invoice
- 9 Ways to Vacation Stress-Free
- How to Get Your Laptop Spring-Ready
- The Truth About Failure
- 5 Women You Should Know About
- The Most Expensive Super Bowl Ads of All Time
- Top 10 Cities for Female Entrepreneurs
- Jobs That Didn't Exist 20 Years Ago
- Gifts for the Entrepreneur in Your Life
- How to Secure Your Small Business
- Unique Ways to Thank Your Customers
- Best Cities to Live in With a Salary of $50,000
- How Your Business Can Profit From Halloween
- How to Separate Yourself from Your Business
- How to Manage Your Mental Health as a Business Owner
- Books to Read Before Starting a Business
- 5 Ways to Get Loyal Customers
- Why You Should Take a Staycation
- Businesses You Can Start While Working Full Time
- Should Freelancers Ever Work for Free?
- How to Stay Active at the Office
- Best Business Ideas for People Who Love to Travel
- How to Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
- The Best Places in the World to Work Online From
- 5 Businesses You Can Start for Free
- How to Organize Your Desk for Maximum Productivity
- How Your Business Can Profit off the World Cup
- What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Business
- How to Become a Wedding Planner
- Why Veterans Make Perfect Entrepreneurs
- Why Every Day Should Be "Take Your Dog to Work Day"
- 3 tips For First-Time Freelancers
- 3 Tips for a Stress-Free Vacation
- Spring Cleaning in The Office
- 5 Tips When Starting Your Business
- New to Invoicing
- 3 Tips on Last Minute Tax Filing
- Characteristics of a Successful Business Owner
- Accomplishing Your 2018 Goals
- How to Set and Achieve Your New Year's Goals
- Tips For Boosting Your Productivity
- Motivational Quotes to Get You Through Any Day
- New Flags on The Template Gallery!
- Be Featured on Our Site!
- How to Create Your First Invoice
- A Helping Hand on the Road to Success
- How Wine and Invoicing Go Together
- How to Use 'My Reports' as Statements
- 1st Day of Summer
- A Faster Way to Organize and View Your Documents
- 3 Ways to Wrap Up Your Month
- 5 Activities You Have Time for While Using Invoice Home
- Creating a Partial Payment
- What Invoices and Technology have in Common
- Get an Invoice that Suits You
- Need more details in your Invoice? No problem! Use the Advanced Form.
- Ready to bill your client? Awesome! Time to convert your Estimate into an Invoice.
- Stay organized! Bookmark customers, unpaid.. Here’s how!
- Need Two Taxes on One Item or a Compound Tax?
- Providing discounts? Effortless work-flow here!
- 500 Free Business Logos for You!
- Introducing 300 awesome Invoice Templates - Make your Business Shine!
- Invoice faster, write less. Copy items like this!
- Faster invoicing? Use the ‘Copy’ button. Here’s How.
- Don't mess with passwords anymore!
- Invoice paid in cash? Set it as “Paid” manually.
- Invoice customers faster with the ‘Email’ feature!
- Self-Organized Invoicing is Here!
- See why the New Invoice Home got a 5 Star Rating!
- 100 Professional Invoice Templates to promote your Brand
- Taxable and Non-Taxable Items on One Invoice? Here’s How!
- Get paid faster with Payment Links! Here’s how.