How to Avoid the Top 3 Costly Mistakes in Freelancing
1. Not having a Schedule
Being the master of my own time worked against me as I was starting out. I had just left formal employment where my time was monitored and where I had to be in a specific place at a specific time, performing a specific task.
During my first week as a freelance writer, I slept the entire day. I was so excited about having time freed up that I celebrated it by wasting it. The irony of this does not escape me and this was my first mistake.
As a freelancer, your time is not free. Rather, the responsibility is now yours to wisely manage and invest it.
Every freelance writer needs a schedule. Regardless of how roughly put together the schedule is, it is nonetheless, necessary. Here is why a schedule is important for freelancers:
- It brings to perspective the different tasks that you need to complete in a day, a week or a month. These include; marketing, blogging, networking, sourcing for new clients, drawing up strategy to enhance your growth and so on.
- It enables you to be more efficient. There is no need to be busy all day but have nothing to show for it at the end. A schedule enables you to focus your time and energy in a productive manner.
- It frees up more time to engage in other activities.
One of the things that drew me to freelance writing is the fact that it enables me to have time in the course of the day; to go to the supermarket, get some sun, attend a concert on a whim and so on. By focusing your energies on that which is important, scheduling enables you to have time to do the things that you enjoy.
2. Not Setting Goals
The first time around, I did not know what I hoped to achieve through my writing. My only goal was to get out of formal employment; and even though freelance writing provided a vehicle through which to do this, I needed goals to continually propel me forward… and upward.
If you do not know where you are going, any road can lead you there ~ Lewis Carroll. Set goals which are as specific as possible. I currently have the following categories of goals;
- Quarterly Goals- This incorporates that which I hope to achieve within the next 3 months.
- Monthly Goals.
- Weekly Goals.
- Daily Goals- These are often set the previous night as I review the activities of the day. They are mixed in with a to-do list and I have found it to be very effective.
The more you narrow down the time-frame, the more specific your goals become. The more specific your goals become, the more manageable they appear. The more manageable they appear, the more you are likely to act on them.
3. Not Setting a Premium on my Services
If you do not place a value on yourself, your time and your services, somebody else will; and it will be in their favor, not yours.
As I was starting out in freelance writing, I did any project that came my way. I did not have a vetting process or a premium for my services and this led me to;
- Spread myself very thin and as a result, become unable to please every client I had committed to.
According to James Karundu, a business entrepreneur, you should not be afraid that you will not get clients if you set a high premium on your services. I have found this to be true.
Essentially, what you are providing for your client is peace of mind. They do not have to worry about being sent mediocre articles or being conned out of their money. What premium can you place on peace of mind?
On the other hand, ensure that your product and service are exemplary. You want to be known and sought out for your excellence.
Read a follow-up to this article here.