Starting a Freelance Business? Avoid These Key Mistakes

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Starting a Freelance Business? Avoid These Key Mistakes

Postby N.Nicholas » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:55 am

New freelancers might be inexperienced and will probably make some novice mistakes. Here's some tips on avoiding them!

Undercharging for services
When it comes to rates, freelancers are in the sometimes challenging position of balancing their own financial needs with current market standards.

It might be tempting to offer discounts or lower your rates as a way to entice prospective clients to sign with you instead of the competition. However, make sure you have a clear understanding of the market conditions, and what sets your skills apart from the rest." Depending on your field, you should research what rates are standard. Professional organizations offer industry standards for specific services, and there are also open-sourced databases out there of what other freelancers were paid by certain types of clients.

Taking on more work than you can handle
When you can receive checks at any time, you might be compelled to take on every assignment you can. However, it's important to understand your own limits and reject projects. Since you're self-employed, you create your own schedule, so it’s easy to book too much work in short amount of time.
To stay on top of your workload, keep some sort of planner, whether it's physical or digital. This will help you keep track of assignment deadlines as well as make time for other important tasks, like managing invoices and filing taxes. This way, you can have an idea of how much is practical and realistic.

Slacking on business planning
No matter how much or how little freelance work you take on, you're still a self-employed business owner. If you want to be treated as a legitimate business, you can't treat your freelance work like a hobby. To operate like a business, you should dictate time towards developing a business plan, creating a legal entity, filing taxes, and maintaining accurate bookkeeping.
Additionally, stay consistent with contracts. Although many clients work on an informal, handshake-like agreement, it's best to keep everything professional and use contracts with every business transaction. You should keep your own contract template on hand, in case a client doesn’t typically utilize contracts with their clientele.

Lacking an online presence
Marketing is important for any small business. When you're a freelancer, your name and reputation become your own brand to associate with your services. You should have a website with the services your offer, a portfolio and contact information, so new clients interested in hiring you can find your page and contact you directly.
You should also utilize social media to your professional advantage. Consider creating a Facebook page, Instagram business profile, and Twitter account if you haven't already. If you get a knack for viral content on social media, you could easily recruit more, potentially higher-paying clients.

Counting on your current clients long-term
What would happen if any company stopped seeking out new sales leads and only relied on its existing customer base? Business would drop significantly, and the same principle applies to your freelancing career.
You have a working relationship with your current clients, which can sometimes mean people rather than businesses that change jobs. Although your clients switch jobs, you still have the freedom to follow them as a freelancer. They can also speak on behalf of your best work if you need a referral or recommendation for a new gig.
Plus, your current clients will understand the worth of your services. They're familiar with your work, and likely want to compensate you fairly. Rather than chasing down new clients, it's best to focus on the ones you already have. You might even be able to increase your rates with these clients in the long run as well.


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