I can relate to this. I think every freelancer has fallen prey to some of these at some point. Nice post, Chris.
My Top 5 Biggest Freelancing Mistakes
Posted October 9, 2007 in Business
It is often said we learn more from mistakes than successes. Sometimes it is nice to learn from another persons goofs rather than your own!
Every freelancer will have their own stories to tell, here are mine. I hope you find them useful and maybe you will share your own in the comments.
Most of us will have done this at some point, many of us still do. Money is a difficult subject for a lot of people. While I am better at talking about money now than I was, I still find it an uncomfortable topic. Problem is, while you might not find it easy it is absolutely critical.
You have a right to earn a fair price for your work, and doubly so when you are good at your job and have excellent experience. How do you know if you are underpricing? If you do good work but you never lose a bid then your prices are too low.
Also be careful about charging by the hour when you don’t have to. When you charge by the hour you are actually penalizing yourself for getting faster at your work! Also some jobs require considerable experience and expertise while taking little time to execute. As the old carpenter said when his customer complained at the price for fixing a creaky floor board, “That’s $1 for the nail, $999 for knowing where to put it”.
No one client has the right to monopolize your time, even if they do think they are paying well. When one client takes all your time that is a boss and you have a job, not a client and freelancer relationship. Remember as well as the job at hand you need time to market and network to bring in future work. Allowing one customer to dictate my hours was the worst mistake I ever made as when that contract was over I had nothing to fall back on. You ideally want to have four or five overlapping contracts plus some breathing room so the loss of one doesn’t set you back too far.
3. Failing to sell
After money I am guessing the next worst part of freelancing for most people is the thought of selling yourself and your services. Fact is though many times a client will know they want your help but will not know exactly what they want. Selling need not be about snake oil and ripping people off. If you can truly help someone out then offer your services in a way they will respond to. Make it all about them, their needs, what they will get out of it. Most importantly, listen more than you talk.
4. Always saying ‘yes’
Fear can cause us to do many stupid things. It took a lot before I started turning down requests. Some were easier than others. Requests to work for free still come but I am better at saying no now, turning work down is still tough but I can do it. You have to remember that a bad deal or bad client can damage you far more than the loss of the work. Be prepared to not agree to everything that comes your way and know that you can be nice and friendly without agreeing all the time!
5. Not following up
Past, happy clients can be your biggest source of new work, both with repeat business and referrals. Always get at least a testimonial when they say how happy they are. Even better if you can get them to recommend you. It doesn’t hurt to ask! Also it can be nice to send birthday cards, etc. You never know.
Like the rest of us, I am still learning about this freelancing lark, but having a great deal of fun doing it, mistakes and all. What lessons have you learned the hard way? Please do share in the comments.
Chris Garrett is a freelance blogger and internet marketing consultant from the UK. You can follow Chris on his blog where he shares his experiences, insights, and writes a ton of useful posts about blogging, freelancing, new media, networking and marketing.
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October 9th, 2007 at 5:06 pm
October 9th, 2007 at 5:33 pm
I’ve made simlar mistakes when selling seo services. It sucks but you learn your lesson after making each mistake, well at least I did
October 9th, 2007 at 5:38 pm
Not following-up would be my biggest foul as well. In the past I have collected some good contacts, only to not call them back. I have hopefully turned a leaf recently, but only time will tell.
FYI, thanks for this site. It’s helping me stay focused on how to be the best Freelancer I can be.
Ronny ZennOctober 9th, 2007 at 5:51 pm
Ach being freelancer…that i tried so hard and tbh didn’t work in the best way and i decided to cheat in some point. First registered a company, build a nice pro looking web site, now looking for an office. Just after I completed first two steps, I’d already started to get some offers…Still, it’s not easy and can’t say I make enough but better than how it was.Btw I should add, all these depends to country, when i was back in UK, it was much easier to be a freelancer than where I’m living right now.
I made every mistake written up there several times, still making time by time, but as saying goes…can’t learn without mistakes.
October 9th, 2007 at 7:11 pm
Very valid points, Chris.
Under-pricing is as bad as over-pricing. And the other aspect of under-pricing or being too anxious in getting orders is that your client is likely to think your blog may not be so popular, after all.
It’s like that resarch/test they conducted at some university: more than 80 percent of the volunteers chose a $100 tie against a $30 tie, while, in fact, they were both the same quality, style, etc.
That shows most people think ‘more expensive’ means ‘better.’ So thinking big, charging high and producing excellent content constantly will definitely help one improve one’s standing in the freelance market.
Just my 2 cents :-)
October 9th, 2007 at 9:23 pm
I can definitely agree to a few points up there. Reminds me of the little mistakes I have made along the way and a couple that I’ve actually made recently. The best point above, imho, the one about the client turning into a boss and eating up the hours you could be spending overlapping with other clients. So true as some people out there think they own you while others are way too carefree. I guess it’s our job to regulate that. Great post!
DanielOctober 9th, 2007 at 9:27 pm
I have just learnt the art of turning down unreasonable offers and pricing myself according to what I should be worth, rather than what I think I’m worth. I must say that it feels liberating to finally run with the big dogs.
The main lessons I’ve learnt are not to devalue yourself and to approach money matters openly and honestly.
SanjayOctober 9th, 2007 at 9:27 pm
I agree with your views
RickOctober 9th, 2007 at 9:29 pm
#0. Get the agreement in writing. Handshakes are great, but don’t pay the bills. If your client isn’t willing to sign a contract, odds are good you’re going to get screwed.
DavidOctober 9th, 2007 at 9:31 pm
Pure common sense.
JimOctober 9th, 2007 at 9:31 pm
These are all very excellent points that I’m beginning to learn as a freelance web developer.
I’ve done my share of projects now, and I have definitely noticed the impact of charging by the hour vs. by the project. Charging by the project without a doubt brings in more money than charging by the hour.
Another thing is that it’s a good idea to give a deal to people you know for a fact will give a good word to their friends, if they have them. For example, I had a client who is a local business owner, and I was aware of that, so I took advantage of it. I gave the guy a hell of a deal, and as a result I’ve received more clients than I can currently handle.
Now that I’m starting to flourish, I’m starting to settle in on prices and get the flow of the process, but from witnessing and talking to other freelancers in my town, it goes without saying that the “good ole boy” network is still around, and it sure as hell helps to be in it. If you are known by the business elite in town, you will get those contracts that pay the big bucks.
I guess to sum that up, it’d be to gauge your client and be flexible based on that gauge. If you make a client feel like you are giving them a deal or treating them special, you have no idea what kind of impact that will have on their outlook on you, and future recommendations.
October 9th, 2007 at 10:11 pm
Guilty as charged.
October 9th, 2007 at 11:27 pm
One more mistake, not make a clear agreement with the client. Freelancer sometimes does not make a clear requirements what actually client need. Client will change the requirements as they want. It will be never lasting development.
October 9th, 2007 at 11:33 pm
I feel the same way.
Unfortunately you cannot just pull magic numbers out of a hat, or think that you are the best thing since sliced bread.
To be honest, I think that your ability to pull gigs off should be the baseline of your quotes.
October 9th, 2007 at 11:50 pm
Wow, you really hit on 5 things I’ve experienced very well. kudos.
Underpricing gives the perception of lower quality. Pricing well shows you’re not desperate & know your worth.
One other tip from my experience:
Don’t be too proactive in terms of starting a project after initial contact from a potential client. Clients who are serious about spending their $$ on a site will actively reach out to you. The worst feeling is drawing up a contract, designing a concept, ready to start, only to have an unserious person pull out right b4 signing an agreement. It’s deflating.
October 10th, 2007 at 1:43 am
I agree with the underpricing, theres buyers who expect you to charge less the first time. You do it in the hope they stick with you however they do it knowing they;ll move onto the next person to give a cheap price.
October 10th, 2007 at 7:30 am
Make it crystal clear how you will handle the client changing their mind or dragging their feet. I once did a job for HP that slipped ONE YEAR, and I was still obligated to work for no additional money (I was young and kind and really stupid, mea culpa.) For this reason, I don’t bill per-project or per-milestone anymore. I bill for time. I give the client an estimate, then try my darnedest to hit it, but the risk is shifted to them. It gives them the incentive to be on their game.
October 10th, 2007 at 8:07 am
That is a great list. There are other mistakes that many free lancers do, but I think you’ve covered the main ones.
One facility which may help many of your UK readers is to suggest using the services of a business advisor from a business agency to help find flaws which may be holding you back.
The biggest problem in small business is the one of solitude. This is where the freelancer is not talking to enough people about their business issues. They are not going to talk to customers about them and they certainly won’t talk to competitors, so who’s left?
businesslink.gov.uk and businesseye.org.uk are both government funded directories of business support which are generally free and could help many freelancers who don’t even think they qualify for help!
For businesses in Flintshire, there is a website dedicated to helping people get out more!
There should be something similar in your neighbourhood!
October 10th, 2007 at 9:25 am
ALWAYS get the copy first. Starting projects without the photos you need, color schemes the client likes…etc.
If they want photos on the page, either let them know you can take them for an additional cost, or they have to supply them before price is agreed upon. Waiting to finish a project because a client isn’t prepared sucks.
October 10th, 2007 at 9:54 am
Too familier :)
Eventhough I regularly said ‘No’ to customers who obviously drain energy & time. I am now learning to turn down customers who come with impossible deadlines.
Thanks for great pointers!
October 10th, 2007 at 10:02 am
Excellent points! I’ve wrote a book on the same topic if people are interested.
Point #1 about being under paid is the biggest one for everyone starting out. Sometimes you have to know your worth. And NOT take jobs that don’t pay enough, even if you are not busy. You have to set standards for your self. Good read! thank you for sharing.
October 10th, 2007 at 10:13 am
One thing I just hate is when you submit a bid and they accept it right away. I mean, the work is nice and after all, I am the one who priced it, but it always makes me think I am leaving money on the table…
October 10th, 2007 at 1:17 pm
Excellent back-to-basics list, Chris. Like many of the others here, I have committed my share of these mistakes, and can add a couple of my own:
6. Not getting exact requirements/deliverables
7. Allowing scope creep due to #6!
Chuck GreenwaltOctober 10th, 2007 at 1:20 pm
One thing to keep in mind is, get a contract, gather all content, media, target audience, color schemes, products and additional art from the client before starting on a project. I made the mistake of accepting some design work for a programmer I know with only one color scheme and that they wanted a contemporary design. I asked for additional information and was told to just “throw” something together and to hand it off to him in html/css. 8 hours later the client hates the design and decides to go elsewhere which resulted in me not getting paid for my work. Always have a contract and ask for half up front! Always!
October 10th, 2007 at 4:15 pm
Over-commitment is a tendency I’ve been trying to curb now. More than over-commitment it was like mismanaging commitments because I was keeping track what was being committed to whom. Now that I maintain a calendar, I know how much time I can commit in the near future.
October 10th, 2007 at 8:16 pm
Yes, it seems that most freelancers don’t like to sell their services. I’d say all those failures can be attributed to poor marketing and salesmanship. It might help to get a partner (why not the spouse) involved to enforce those marketing/selling things. Though, the main problem with freelancing is, that you cannot leverage your time. Isn’t it just another from of employment (with probably worse terms)? –John
October 10th, 2007 at 9:48 pm
Underpricing is a big one … I’d rather be selling rolexes than timexes any day of the week.
October 11th, 2007 at 9:14 am
THanks for these tips. I find that I often make these mistakes alot. When you start juggling two or three clients and what their needs are it sometimes gets a little dicey. But do you take those little almost for free jobs that give you the experience? I know I have…I am rewriting a manuscript…the pay is cheap but I am getting the experience…so it will pay off in the end. (I hope!!) Also I try to find clients that will give me more work…I don’t like doing the one job and then struggle to find more work…
Thanks again. I could go on and on. I’m so glad that I’m not alone.
October 12th, 2007 at 3:10 pm
Very good points! Another thing you should throw in that may apply is expectation management. I do business marketing and have problems in this area. Dealing with what the client expects so you can address any misconceptions about your services, and what we expect from them in order to effectively do our job.
October 28th, 2007 at 11:19 pm
Interesting that my name and company appeared before I wrote anything here.
Listen, where questions about ‘how much “come up before you have even had chance to pitch your benefits, that you create for your clients objectives, demographic and that your creations get RESULTS, then steer clear of this ignoramous.
Ignorant punters are the worlds worst. They have difficulty seeing anything but “cost “.Take a look at http://www.thebaldchemist.com don’t worry its free , no buttons to press, no joining fees, and I am not interested in traffic. Its there just for educational purposes.
Take care my friends. The Baldchemist
October 28th, 2007 at 11:26 pm
As an addendum. Stop asking what your punter wants and advise them of what they need to reach the objectives.
November 12th, 2007 at 5:31 pm
#1 and #3 serious areas of opportunity :) Thanks for sharing such insightful and useful info
November 21st, 2007 at 6:55 pm
I think you covered all of the mistakes we make! They are the tough issues in freelancing.
I think the one I have the most difficulty with is pricing. I have tried to research some kind of standard pricing but cannot find much to go on. When I tried naming prices that I thought were truly fair, I got some horrified reactions. Of course, one woman wanted articles for $3.00. Horrible, isn’t it?
Once again, I enjoyed your post. Thanks!
November 26th, 2007 at 4:30 pm
I’m just starting out with freelancing and I can relate to all of these. If I can learn from such posts then maybe I can nip these various problems in the bud by recognizing them sooner…
December 6th, 2007 at 8:45 pm
When I first started out in consulting, I made a huge mistake that had me running out of money in no time: I didn’t spend ANY time on marketing. After the one or two smaller jobs I landed, there was nothing in the pipeline… and the well ran dry.
As a freelancer, you absolutely must spend at least part of every week (some days are just busier than others, so focus a week-by-week timeframe) doing marketing: networking with people who might have jobs, improving your web site, placing ads to drive traffic to your web site, placing listings in online directories where customers might find you, … pretty much ANYTHING to increase your exposure.
And don’t be afraid to spend money on marketing either! Well-placed for-pay ads can return 10x or more. Sure, it’s a bit of a gamble, but this is your business, and businesses need visibility to grow and thrive.
December 12th, 2007 at 4:47 pm
“How do you know if you are underpricing? If you do good work but you never lose a bid then your prices are too low.”
Its funny you say this b/c I just recently got enough exposure to start charging normal rates (as apposed to the slave wages I accepting when trying to build up clientèle) and my first worry was they’re going to think this is too high.
kevinJanuary 18th, 2008 at 9:21 am
I am thinking of increasing the price of my service now.
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January 25th, 2008 at 12:23 am
i always say YES when writing article to article directory…
and sometimes, i feel stupid…
March 2nd, 2008 at 6:01 pm
Thanks for the great article…!
As a beginner I had a couple of bad moves already. Once I began a project for a good friend I haven’t seen a while. I said my price and made the website . The problem arose when it came to paying. He said it’s not for him, it’s for a friend and so on.. Long story’s short I still haven’t recieved the money and I ended the project like in August 2007… I still have the problem with saying my pay rates and I don’t really know how to handle it.. Oh well… Thanks again!
April 15th, 2008 at 8:44 pm
Great article! I have a big problem with time management and estimating how much time a project will take.
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? It seems like more and more of my time is spent on the site theme and layout development issues.
April 25th, 2008 at 3:25 am
A good post for all new and old freelancers. I can completely relate to it, especially the last point. A lot of us find ourselves so happy and content with a satisfied client that we fail to follow-up. Will definitely keep these tips in mind.
May 26th, 2008 at 1:08 am
This article could be describing my business partner, his helpful attitude as well as under pricing causes him a lot of problems.
May 28th, 2008 at 9:09 am
Hey your blog is really helpful and informative, thanks for all the tips bc im thinking of getting into freelancing once i learn the programs enough. Great blog!
peace and love
May 31st, 2008 at 1:08 pm
I am always making the mistake of always saying yes, difficult to get around as I have a helpful nature, although I am aware it can be a negative in business
November 5th, 2008 at 6:28 pm
Easily my biggest mistake was undercharging a client… their scope turned out to be much bigger and time consuming than intended and I found myself spending all my time on them while at the same time not making any more money. If you figured out home many hours I worked vs how much I got paid, my hourly rate would have been dirt cheap, probably in the $10 a hour range :(
SeiNovember 6th, 2008 at 8:56 pm
One misstake I did the you don’t metion (I have done all the one you mention too) is not having a proper insurans AND a waterproof contract. I putted in 400 hours in a project and got ripped off – didn’t get a dime – and did not have the money or the insuans to be able to go to court. Layers cost a hell of alot of money….
Now, older and wiser (I fool my self to belive) I have both a proper contract, insurans and “layer” money in the bank so hopefully I will not loose 400 h of work again…
Keep up the good work!!
November 11th, 2008 at 2:55 pm
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November 18th, 2008 at 1:04 pm
By far my biggest challenge as a consultant so far is working out my invoices, just deciding on the format and payment schedules. I’ve found it very confusing and unfortunately I think it has affected my reputation with my clients (although I am only just beginning so hopefully I can put it behind me!) Be sure to understand the payment procedures and to be secure in your invoicing process!
November 28th, 2008 at 1:42 pm
Wow, I’ve experienced all of these things. I especially love That’s $1 for the nail, $999 for knowing where to put it. What a fabulous thought!
I’ve finally found the courage to turn folks away. I have also found the courage to start earning more. I still don’t like talking money, though. I guess I’ll always be uncomfortable in that area…
It’s taken time, but I’m learning to be more confidant and am forcing myself to follow up. It works!
Great post! Definitely worthy of a Digg.
DenisMarch 5th, 2009 at 2:48 am
Great Post.. Thanks alot
RhettMarch 20th, 2009 at 12:03 am
I’m in college studying for a Poli Sci major at the same time I’m teaching myself web design outside of class, so I’m trying to watch as many other people than myself make mistakes so I can avoid them. Two questions:
When you’re new you need to build a portfolio, but how long on average should one work in the industry before upgrading one’s rate? (or, how many projects should I have under my belt?)
I seem to see a lot of classified out there that promise future work: what happens if you offer said client too good a deal, at which point you start getting lowballed by all the client’s references? How can you tell when to pass on such an “offer”?
April 7th, 2009 at 5:27 pm
GuyFromPolandMay 4th, 2009 at 8:02 pm
So you ended up with $10 an hour rate and you complain?
$10 an hour would be quite a good rate here in Poland.
Definitely above the average salary.
May 6th, 2009 at 2:05 am
I am glad that I’m always do #1 mistake. Here is the work flow of mine in the past.
1. Under pricing
2. Over commitment
3. After done #1 and #2 with lots of struggle, Client comes with more task for the same quote.
4. Doing #3 with lots of uhs and ohs
5. Client come up with next job, provider refuses to take it (under pricing over commitment) :(
May 9th, 2009 at 8:05 am
Wow, I think you hit about every head on the nail with this post. Very insightful and a little too late… seems I have already had all those experiences. I am not sure any of those things can be avoidable even if told ahead of time that this could happen. I wish I could learn from others’ mistakes, unfortunately, I get too busy making my own!
I do love being my own boss and developing many wonderful relationships with new clients, previous clients, future clients and well, even those that don’t become clients. It’s really been a great ride and I don’t plan on getting off any time soon. Too much to learn and create out there!
May 11th, 2009 at 4:12 pm
Great article. Over-committing is probably the number one mistake on my list.
May 17th, 2009 at 2:55 pm
May 24th, 2009 at 9:25 am
Nice articles you have here… I’m thinking of becoming a freelancer myself.
May 25th, 2009 at 7:36 am
very good tips
June 5th, 2009 at 5:11 am
really I am half of this .. thanks for wake up !!!!
June 19th, 2009 at 11:53 am
I have gone through those mistakes and they kill my business and my profits. I typically tend to under charge people because I know they will be my client if I do. Nonetheless, the my profits go under if I do.
I really stress the importance of charging for good profits. Never undercharge yourself because it will ruin your profits.
June 29th, 2009 at 5:02 pm
Excellent blog, some very sage words. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
July 25th, 2009 at 12:44 am
I started to freelance because I wanted to own a business and be successful. You can’t be successful by charging just the right about to get the job. I have seen business owners struggle for years barely making enough money to pay the bills, BUT they had a lot of friends and clients! I would rather have a few GREAT clients/friends than a lot of people who know me and use me when they need something.
SUCCESSFUL – dictionary.com
1. Having a favorable outcome
2. Having obtained something desired or intended
3. Having achieved wealth
Research a word and sometimes you will see what you have to do to be that word.
August 26th, 2009 at 8:29 am
Excellent article – a must read for every freelancer. I think we all have done at least 2 or 3 of these at one point or another, if not all of them :) You live and you learn! Hopefully those that read this won’t make the same mistakes that we did.
September 13th, 2009 at 7:16 am
Ask for 50% money up front and don’t delivery the goods until final payment has been made. Make this clear in the contract too. Amazing how fast clients pay when they want their site to go live. Getting money up front proves the client is serious.
September 19th, 2009 at 7:37 pm
Another great post. I can’t say I’m ever disappointed here.
In translation work, the analogy of the carpenter is maybe even stronger. The client can argue about the high price, but if they end up with a poor translation from a cheaper translator, with less experience, skill or quality assurance, they will see how much a poor translation will really cost them. There are ample examples out there of dreadful, damaging translations which either misconvey the message or worse say the opposite.
Nic at CrossLingo
October 7th, 2009 at 9:37 pm
You have very well summarized the list.
Being a freelancer I always realize that we should make a friendly relation with our clients. That helps in many ways to get more work/clients.
October 21st, 2009 at 1:05 pm
Selling yourself is important no matter what you do. Self marketing can also be the most difficult to take a calculated approach to this is a great idea.
December 15th, 2009 at 1:22 pm
Brilliant article. I twittered it. Simple and precise, like a surgeon’s cut, it cut deep down. Thanks, Chris. I really liked what you said in #2, I regularly have that to fight the sense of urgency over which client gets priority.
AhmedDecember 23rd, 2009 at 2:34 am
I like part 4 exactly this is . Money comes and go but bad slap remains all the time and effects on us.
March 12th, 2010 at 10:22 am
Saying no is important. I had a whole week where I solely did favours for people. They were all silly little jobs that took less than 1 hour but it came as a shock that I had not done any productive work at all.
Now I say no to Friends and Family. I say no to rushed or last minute pressure jobs as typically these clients have not thought things out at all and don’t even have any idea of what they need! I also say no when I’m busy, I know how much I need to earn to live and as long as I stay in the black I am happy!
April 23rd, 2010 at 11:46 am
nice article…..useful read
May 1st, 2010 at 7:55 pm
Thank you for your explanation. There really useful information.
May 4th, 2010 at 2:07 am
your mistakes are my tips not to make mistakes:) thank you.
May 21st, 2010 at 6:21 am
Good to Know This
Thanks for Sharing
June 21st, 2010 at 2:12 pm
I want to get started freelancing, so this was very useful, thanks Chris.
July 14th, 2010 at 5:11 pm
Has sending birthday cards, etc to past and current clients worked for anyone?
July 20th, 2010 at 12:19 pm
kareem shaikhJuly 22nd, 2010 at 1:51 am
Thank you, Nice Article,
Let me post my question .. what abt that client who promise to pay, and after they got the work they didn’t reply. Mobiles are switched off or not answering and no reply for e-mails.. If freelancer continue like this he might loose his time and money..
What do u say abt it. How to deal such clients..?
August 25th, 2010 at 8:03 am
That’s really true I am recalling my previous days when i have started to bid on some freelance resources and i did the same mistakes to get my first project and i repeated this but at a certain time i got to know that i should stop doing this now and now i am working and communicating with the client in a professional manner.
August 31st, 2010 at 5:43 am
Great post, even i have gone through these things early in my career and sometimes still do the same mistakes.
I would recommend your post to all the people who are into freelancing
September 6th, 2010 at 6:49 am
Hi Chris, in my early years as a freelance, I made all the freelance mistakes you have mentioned and more! The thing is, when you’re starting out, you are desperate for work, and your portfolio is thin. This makes you under-price yourself, and you say ‘yes’ to all kinds of requests. In a way, you will be desperate to please your clients, but in doing so, you end up short-changing yourself!
One mistake I have made once is not thoroughly discussing what a client wants. Some clients only have a vague idea of what they would like you to do. They provide a brief outline. As a freelancer, it is very important to get the client to tell you as much as possible about their requirements. Time spent discussing with the client the project and desired outcome is well-spent. Brain storm with the client, let them do the talking or let them send you as much info as possible.
There will always be clients who haggle – but it is important to know the value of your skills and your experience, as well as your time. If a client is not prepared to pay you what you’re worth, then you’re better of spending time looking for a better client or job, instead of taking on a project where you’re underpaid.
September 29th, 2010 at 2:43 am
love this in such a rich color!
October 22nd, 2010 at 4:28 pm
This article is so good, I had to read it a second time. I definitely think it is easier to give quotes when you have (1) more experience and (2) enough income that losing the prospect is not a big issue.
‘Til then, you do the best you can for yourself.
November 3rd, 2010 at 11:52 pm
YES!.. usually for customer/client sake, we will say Yes, Off course etc..
We should give a tolerant limit when we have bad Client..
November 17th, 2010 at 7:57 am
I would say the biggest freelancing mistake is a lack of USP (unique selling point) especially online it is imperative that one differentiates them self from the rest of the crowd.
December 17th, 2010 at 10:18 am
Always saying yes and under-pricing are the biggest ones we see!
January 20th, 2011 at 5:22 am
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January 26th, 2011 at 2:04 pm
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January 31st, 2011 at 12:31 pm
It’s silly, but I’ve made the mistake to wait the client to respond… Always, always stay in touch even if you need to iniciate it.
February 14th, 2011 at 9:17 pm
We at NetCare have found that one of the biggest issues people have is not setting up the correct IT infrastructure, regular backups and datastorage, especially designers that have to archive PSDs, photos, logo files, etc.
March 1st, 2011 at 4:19 pm
Being too passionate about your work can be a freelancing mistake. I always go beyond the requirements of the job to ensure each client get more than they ask for, and in some cases does lead to more business or recommendations. Some clients will take advantage of this and will expect you to all manner of extra things at no extra cost.
March 8th, 2011 at 10:26 pm
Thanks for this really good article – freelancing work is never easy, especially the concept of saying “yes” all of the time because you are too worried that you might not get other work. It is not easy to stand firm on pricing either if you are new to the field, but that is what makes articles like this one really useful.
April 11th, 2011 at 3:32 am
that’s true, a freelancer always do these kind of mistakes, i am also did but now am i learn my mistake and try to don’t repeat these again ,also freelancing need dedication some time freelance feel lazy because there is no boss ,so some time the feel lazy and result the delays in projects. always remember you are the boss of yourself, so always make target for yourself n get them.
April 12th, 2011 at 9:05 am
Great article one that has to be read again and again
Thanks a lot
April 16th, 2011 at 8:11 am
Some clients will take advantage of this and will expect you to all manner of extra things at no extra cost!!
April 16th, 2011 at 1:40 pm
This post pretty much sums up my first year on my own. Every day/week/month gets better though, especially after ADMITTING these mistakes to myself!
May 9th, 2011 at 4:31 am
Great post will keep reading it many thanks
June 10th, 2011 at 12:53 pm
I am also did but now am i learn my mistake and try to don’t repeat these again ,also freelancing need dedication some time freelance feel lazy because there is no boss!!
July 1st, 2011 at 1:16 pm
I’ve made all these mistakes (and more…), but those hard lessons are the ones that stick with you. This is a nice, concise list of the top mistakes that probably have the most impact on a business.
Under-pricing is something I see my colleagues do, but I’ve always raised my rate a bit every year as a standard practice. I’ve seen no fall-off in business, and can now work less and make more than when I started my consulting business.
I started my blog (http://www.StartMyConsultingBusiness.com) to help others start their own consulting businesses, and I talk about tips, tricks, tools, and techniques to start and run a successful consulting business on the cheap. I just released my first ebook (FREE), titled “Your $100 Professional Website”, and have other nuts-n-bolts topics on my blog as well.
August 9th, 2011 at 8:58 pm
I went and placed my business with another company and was given the deal I wanted.
August 16th, 2011 at 3:08 am
Always saying yes has been a major problem in my freelancing career. The moment i accept any project that comes my way i lose my concentration and experience stress. It becomes very difficult for me to create a schedule that i can follow to finish each project before deadline. Now i am learning to reject some offers and i am slowly recovering from the stress i have been through. Thank you so much for pointing these mistakes out. You have helped someone like me.
September 27th, 2011 at 8:41 am
One of the biggest things that come in to mind is first off not writing down every little change that we make for clients outside of the project scope. These changes you make you never really think about what they add up quick.
October 8th, 2011 at 1:06 pm
Guilty, guilty guilty!!!
Thanks for this great post. I think #3 really hit home.
And how about GETTING PAID?
Andrew John Gallacher
October 18th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
“Always saying yes”.
Yes. I fell victim to this several times – BIG TIME when I first started my business. I was so afraid to lose a sale that I would just continue making concessions in order to get them in the door.
Now I still say yes, but yes now comes with a higher price tag.
October 18th, 2011 at 2:51 pm
I still run into problems with overcommitting. I have a few clients that continue to monopolize my time and the amount of money coming out of it doesn’t justify the means. I need to also look at point number 3 and start saying “NO” more often.
October 24th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
Very nice article.
Probably there isn’t freelancer that didn’t smile while reading this list, because he remember some of this mistakes in his career.
October 31st, 2011 at 6:55 am
Good article.. this is very help full for beginner freelancer to make good woks.. thanks for share….
November 21st, 2011 at 5:46 am
Hey its been really a very good and informative post to read on. I will keep these points in my mind from now onwards, hope will not commit mistakes
December 7th, 2011 at 5:12 am
Thanks for giving us fairly new freelancers your perspective on what your mistakes were. I always find it interesting what others wish they would have done differently. Taking time to read articles like yours can save a lot of people headaches in the long run.
December 9th, 2011 at 1:45 pm
I am sure every once in a while every freelance falls prey to such clients who think that hiring a freelancer is like getting a 24/7 team at your disposal who will not charge for discussing irrelevant things as he or she has all the time in the world because they don’t go to an office or they are “Freelancers”!
December 19th, 2011 at 9:46 am
Oops! I am making one of these mistakes. Thank you for pointing.
TerranceDecember 23rd, 2011 at 12:14 am
As i am a senior but i also do some of these mistakes, like some time i offer free work to my clients but your are right we have to be professional with nice and friendly nature. Thank you Chris.
January 2nd, 2012 at 6:34 am
Thank you for providing such a valuable information and thanks for sharing this matter.
January 2nd, 2012 at 6:10 pm
Yeh, I don’t follow up. When I am in the money and living the good life, I simply don’t think about maintaining people from the past. There some people who have 300 contacts and seem to spend half the day just saying hello to them all. I just can’t be bothered to do that. I rather go have a beer when the sun is shining and then deal with povery when I got nothing else to fall back on.
January 5th, 2012 at 2:29 am
Very detailed info. I’m really glad to read this entry. Thank you for sharing us useful posts.
January 6th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
Thanks for the pointers, and yeah weøve all done some of those at some point.
January 12th, 2012 at 12:50 pm
I agree with your view. great blog!
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April 26th, 2012 at 6:09 pm
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April 28th, 2012 at 10:52 am
During my first few months of freelance writing, I have committed mistakes 1, 3, and 4. Until now, I still find myself on the brink of committing these mistakes out of fear of losing clients. But I realized that if I wanted to make this a serious business and for clients to take me even more seriously, I would have to be firm in making these changes.
May 13th, 2012 at 8:12 am
Nearly all of my own qustions continues to be awnsered.thanks
MJuly 22nd, 2012 at 9:15 am
I’m a beginner freelancer and I’m about to enter a partnership with an unknown person. Any good advice on that? Thanks!
July 31st, 2012 at 6:32 am
Very good post, im a freelancer myself and can relate.
DRCAugust 3rd, 2012 at 2:30 am
I had this client that I designed the entire site and had it all ready to go….. kept telling them to give me the content for their site and the e-commerce info … so I waited… and waited and nothing. They paid a decent amount for this site so I was committed to getting it done. They never fulfilled their end of the bargain by giving the rest of the info needed to continue on w/ the site. So ultimately they became all upset and when I reminded them hey you remember…. OH yeah.. and thus they calmed but I ended up ending the contract as it was time for renewal anyway and I had gotten fed up it wasn’t worth it. worst of all it was a friends shop. I didn’t want the friendship to hurt the business relationship and vice versa…. TIP NEVER do biz w/ a friend unless they have their “stuff” together!
August 11th, 2012 at 2:44 am
This article help lots of people.
August 17th, 2012 at 6:30 am
Some very good points. I agree with the money situation, always a difficult subject. Though I started off under priced quite a few years ago to gain more business than local competition, then increased prices as my business grew.
Always saying YES. hmmm if you are a nice person then we all tend to say yes to keep people happy, but there are times where I and I am sure many others should have said no.
August 23rd, 2012 at 5:27 am
Great common sense article. I’ve been guilty of most of these, but i’m betting better all the time. I think in the end it all comes down to self confidence. If you believe in yourself and you’re confident in your skills you’re far less likely to make these kind of mistakes.
August 30th, 2012 at 4:52 am
I agree with you Chris.
The most common one I have noticed ( i did them myself when I started ) is under pricing and over omitting to a project.
September 5th, 2012 at 3:59 am
Learning from others mistakes is indeed a good way to learn things and change direction but sometimes we really need to experience those mistakes by ourselves to be able to learn the lesson the hardest possible way.
This post is an eye -opener for freelancers to really know their true worth. Thanks!
DanaSeptember 9th, 2012 at 9:36 pm
I’m majoring in graphic design as we speak and hopefully, one day, be a freelance designer. Your pointers from personal experience has definiately gave me insite on what not to do when your first starting out.
September 18th, 2012 at 9:06 am
Huh, 4 out 5 that I am guilty of. Kicking myself for two of them right now. Good times.
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October 3rd, 2012 at 10:46 am
Thanks for supporting the idea of 360 degree feedback. I’ve seen it create division in senior teams when handled incorrectly and seen transformation happen when used elegantly. It’s all about the intention and skill of those who facilitate the process.
AnjOctober 18th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
You can add one more to this list – How about underestimating the time it takes to do a job?? I’m working on a project that has been taking me tons more time than I thought. Kicking myself!
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December 13th, 2012 at 11:22 am
The biggest freelancer mistake is working for friends for free!
December 28th, 2012 at 4:57 pm
Thnaks for share this Article :)
February 12th, 2013 at 2:10 pm
I agree with the people who talk about underestimating the time a job will take to complete. It seems like I am constantly doing this. I guess with more experience and practice I will get better at estimating the actual time it takes to complete the work.
March 18th, 2013 at 5:34 am
This is really good post, I would like to thank for sharing this information. sometimes we don’t know which freelancing mistake can affect us, so it’s such good information who are doing freelancing work.
March 28th, 2013 at 1:23 am
I would like you to keep up the good work.You know how to make your post understandable for most of the people.
April 21st, 2013 at 6:44 am
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April 22nd, 2013 at 7:22 am
Some really good tips in this article, should help me avoid making the same mistakes, thanks!
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June 15th, 2013 at 3:54 pm
In regards to the pricing. For longer term jobs I will always try to hit the price where it doesn’t make sense to try to replace or get rid of you. In my opinion its better to get paid a little less per hour or for a job if you reliably know that jobs will keep coming. Great post!
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September 5th, 2013 at 1:54 pm
Always saying Yes and under pricing… How harsh we can be on ourselves?
Excellent job with also pointing out to not charging by hour. It just destroys your workload.
September 16th, 2013 at 5:09 pm
Ha, what an awesome list. When we started out we made every one of those mistakes!
October 1st, 2013 at 10:10 am
I’ve committed all of these mistakes when I was just starting years ago!
October 8th, 2013 at 12:53 pm
My biggest problem is taking on too much at one time. I tell myself all the time, “don’t do it”, but every time a new job comes along I always try to bid. I also under bid my competitors in hopes of landing the job, but end up doing twice the work for half the money because I am doing several lowest bid jobs instead of one where I am being paid what my services are worth.
It is tough as a freelancer for law firms and attorneys, but I have to start believing in the value of my skill set or nobody ever will.
November 4th, 2013 at 12:32 am
Thanks for sharing these mistakes!!! I bet this will help people with their career!!!
November 27th, 2013 at 9:03 pm
Well done,Chris.when you made a mistake, you learn from that, then you won’t make that mistake again.It’s a good habit to reflect on your own errors and draw some experiences.Of course,we can learn from other’s mistakes.
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