“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never learnt anything new”– these are the words of great genius Albert Einstein and they are true from every angle. One learns and grows by making mistakes but it is also true that some mistakes cost us a great deal and if we are not aware of them and keep on repeating them they can give us a hard time. Well, we make mistakes when we are negligent or in a hurry or lack understanding. But when we don’t have anyone to guide us the chances of making mistakes grow in an exponential proportion. Moreover, we may often not realize that we are making mistakes and that they need to be corrected. Freelancers are a lot who can relate with this fact because they don’t have anyone to guide them as they go about their work life; completing the assignments and projects of their clients. The biggest mistakes freelancers make include a host of things and the list can really take you by surprise. If you too are a freelancer, you need to keep this fact in mind that you are quite prone to committing mistakes and hence, it would do you good to be aware of them and avoid them. Minor mistakes can be tolerated and would not bring major harm to your career but if you make the grave ones you are bound to suffer. These are the biggest mistakes freelancers make and you must avoid them:
Wrong Determination of Your Worth
Many freelancers feel baffled when confronted with this issue because they are unable to recognize their worth. Determining one’s worth is a very crucial issue and needs careful informed treatment. Underrating and overrating, both need to be avoided. You might feel tempted to under charge thinking that the competition is tough or you might ask for an unreasonable amount if you are overconfident of your skills and do not have an understanding of the market. Well, what adds to the confusion is the fact that clients are also not sure regarding the cost of their project. To make sure that you do not make mistake on this front, get a good hold of the market scenario and then quote an amount depending on your skills and experience. Never settle for an amount lower than what you deserve.
Not Understanding Your Clients
Freelancing is a risky world and if you don’t have a good idea about the clients you will end up making a fool of yourself. There have been instances when freelancers were not paid for their work and also ended up working for wrong people. So, it is very important to do research on the client before you start the project. Understanding of the client is also essential to meet deadlines and give quality work. Each client has his own style of functioning and if you understand them you will be able to meet their needs and requirements to the optimum level.
Neglecting Planning and Organization
A freelancer has got to be systematic in his approach while doing his work because then only he can expect to meet deadlines and produce quality work. Working from home is no excuse to deal with assignments and projects in a haphazard style. You must learn to manage your time and work according to a schedule. Otherwise your work will suffer and so will your career.
Taking Criticism in a Negative Manner
When you plunge yourself into the freelancing pool, you must keep one thing in mind that this is an overly competitive field and clients are quite demanding. Therefore, you are bound to face criticism which is not a bad thing if you take it in a constructive manner. Clients are paying you for your services and hence, it is only fair enough that they point out their concerns when they feel that you are not delivering what they want and what you had promised. So, don’t get anxious or rude if you are asked to alter anything. Do it the way they want it to get done.
Not Using Proper Contracts and Agreements
Proper documents are essential when you agree to work for a client, no matter even if he/she is your friend or relative. Granted, freelancing is an informal business but to avoid negative situations such as frauds, underpayments, etc. you must get everything sorted out clearly. Most of the projects are done by freelancers without meeting the clients in person and everything is fixed over a phone call or email. Therefore, you need to be alert and attentive when you enter into agreements with your clients. Read between the lines and sign it only after you are sure of its authenticity.
Not Having Time for Oneself
You might not feel that this is a mistake but in reality it is no less than a blunder. As a freelancer, most of the time, you are busy in your work and since home is same as office, you end up limiting yourself to a cocoon. This is detrimental for your mental and physical health. It can lead to burnout or depression and in either of the cases; you will be the one who will be at the receiving end. Therefore, you must avoid them and indulge yourself in recreational exercises. You must hang out with your friends and also give time to your hobbies and interests. Remember the adage- “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and dullness is a recipe for disaster in the freelance business.
You cannot afford to make these biggest freelancing mistakes because they are fatal in nature and can deal you a severe blow if you don’t keep them in mind. It is always advisable to learn from the mistakes of other people. The mistakes that we have enumerated above have been listed after going through the experiences of a lot of freelancers from different fields. These are professionals who have been through tough times and have struggled in their career because they didn’t have anyone to guide them. If you too are a freelancer, we are sure you would not have a guide or mentor but you don’t need to worry. Treat this article as your guiding light and avoid these mistakes at all costs. You will never find yourself in a tight spot.