Unfortunately, not all freelancing advice is good advice. I’ve been freelancing for years, and sometimes I just shake my head at some of the advice that people are offering.
If you’re relatively new to freelancing, or are considering freelancing, all the advice out there can be confusing. It can be hard to find the right advice for you.
In this post, I share ten pieces of bad freelancing advice. I’ll also give you a few tips on how to pick good freelancing advice.
If you liked this post, you may also like 5 Ways Freelancers Sabotage Their Success.
Goofy Freelancing Advice
So, what goofy advice is out there?
Here are some common examples of goofy freelancing advice:
- Don’t Worry About What the Market Wants. This advice sounds wonderful. Just do your thing and you’ll succeed. I wish it were true. Unfortunately, to succeed as a freelancer, you have to have clients. To have clients, you have to provide what they want.
- You Have to Start Out at the Bottom. You often hear this advice from bloggers and others who use it to justify working for free or for a ridiculously low rate. Don’t believe it. Even if you are starting out, you should set your wages to a living wage as soon as you possibly can.
- Don’t Worry About Local Clients. I don’t know why freelancers are afraid of local businesses, but many seem to be. Local businesses can be some of your hottest prospects. The best thing about a local business is that you can drop by to chat with them face-to-face.
- You Don’t Need a Resume. Some advisors claim that you don’t need traditional business tools like a resume (or a business card). While some potential clients are satisfied with just checking your LinkedIn account, you should also keep a current resume (and business card) for the others.
- You Can Pay Someone Else Pennies to Do Your Work. There is a popular misperception that goes something like this–hire a subcontractor to do you freelance work and pay that subcontractor practically nothing. Charge your client full price and pocket the difference. The trouble is this–if you exploit someone, you become part of the problem. Pay fairly and keep a clear conscience.
- Only Take the Projects You Love. One of the perks of freelancing is that you can pick your projects. However, you also need to earn a living. While sometimes you will be offered projects that you love, other times you will have to take less desirable work to stay afloat.
- Your Business Comes First. On the surface, this sounds like good advice. But it’s not healthy to always put your business first. I can think of several things that should come before your business including your family, your friends, and your health.
- What Worked for Them Will Work For You. You’ve seen the ads. They claim they made a fortune in a small amount of time and, for a small price, they will share their secrets with you. The trouble is that you are not them. What worked for them may, or may not, work for you.
- You’re Not Good Enough. Too many freelancers and would-be freelancers have a low opinion of themselves. Whether it comes from taking others’ criticism to heart or is a character trait, if you don’t believe in yourself you’ll have trouble in business. You’re likely to give up too easily or undercharge for your services.
- You Don’t Need a Blog. There are two variations of this advice. Some advisors will tell you don’t need to worry about blogging at all. Others will tell you that it’s a good idea to post the content you would have shared on a blog on some social media platform. However, your own blog is something that you own and therefore control.
In my opinion, these goofy pieces of advice sound good, but simply won’t work for most people.
Which Advice Should You Follow?
Here are some questions that will help you find the right advice for you:
- Does the advisor have experience? Some people who write freelancing advice are new to freelancing. Often, their advice is just a repetition of misinformation they heard from someone else.
- Is their background similar to yours? Some advice works well for all freelancers because it is based on general principles that are always true. But other advice only applies to freelancers in certain fields.
- Do they have a vested interest? For example, advice posted on a bidding site touting the merits of bidding sites would be suspect. Another example would be a post on the benefits of writing for exposure published on a site that doesn’t pay writers.
- Does the advice make sense? In the end, it’s up to you to decide which advice to follow and which advice to reject. Use your good common sense. If the advice doesn’t make sense, don’t follow it.
What goofy freelancing advice have you heard?