Seven Lies Freelancers Tell Themselves

There’s no doubt that freelancing can be tough — freelancers face many obstacles. From finding clients, to meeting deadlines, to keeping skills and equipment current, all the way to being paid: freelancing just isn’t easy.

One of the biggest challenges that we freelancers face, however, is one of our own making. It’s the challenge of being totally honest with ourselves and accepting the reality of certain situations. Without overcoming this challenge, without learning to be totally honest with one’s self, it’s pretty tough to succeed.

You see, we freelancers have many excuses. Usually, we believe these excuses wholeheartedly — which is a bad thing. If we can’t recognize a problem, then we can’t take the steps necessary to solve it.

This posts lists the seven most common lies that freelancers use to fool themselves. Overcome these lies, and you’ll increase your chances for success dramatically.

Lie #1 — I don’t need to market my business

This lie is dangerous because it shortchanges your future ability to earn. Although you may have plenty of clients right now, that could change in an instant. All it takes to go from being to busy to needing clients is for one or two major clients to stop calling on you. Freelancers should be continuously marketing their services — even when they are too busy to take on new work.

Lie #2 — A high-dollar job is a good job

It’s important to always consider the scope of the work being requested with the amount of the offer. I’ve known of freelancers to commit weeks (and even months) of their time to a project that worked out to be less than minimum wage because they overlooked the scope of the work. A $1000 offer isn’t a good deal if the work takes hundreds of hours to complete.

Lie #3 — Clients don’t like being asked questions

Good client communication is crucial to running a successful business. Most clients understand this and are happy to answer questions if they are asked in an organized and respectful manner. If you can do so without compromising the project, try saving all of your questions to ask at one time. Asking questions shows that you want to get the project right, and is always good business practice.

Lie #4 — All that time spent reading blogs, it’s networking

So, you’ve been spending a lot of time reading a lot of blogs. Good for you! You can learn a lot from blogs. However, networking has two important elements: interaction and strategy. If you don’t ever interact with others and you don’t have a strategy, then you aren’t really networking. Actually, there’s another term for what you are doing. It’s called “websurfing.

Lie #5 — There is such a thing as a free lunch

Everybody would like to get something for nothing, and freelancers aren’t much different from anyone else. In fact, you’ve probably already read many advertisements that promise to teach you a “money-making system” that requires little effort on your part to achieve great success. Don’t believe it for a minute! Successful freelancers are those who realize that they have to work hard to earn what they have.

Lie #6 — I’m an expert, I don’t need to update my skills

No matter how much experience you have, how many degrees you have, or how well known you have become — there is always something new to learn. Don’t rest on your past experiences. If you do nothing to improve your skills, you won’t stay where you are. Instead, you’ll actually find yourself falling behind. No matter how busy or successful you are, always make time for additional training.

Lie #7 — What works for [Big Name Freelancer] will work for me.

It’s easy to believe this lie. You hear, or read about how someone else achieved success and assume that the same steps that he or she took will work for you. While it is a great idea to learn from others’ successes, you shouldn’t expect to have an identical experience. Each of us exists in our own unique freelancing environment. What works for one, won’t necessarily work for all.

Share Your Thoughts

What lies have proved to be obstacles for your freelancing business? What lies would you add to the ones above?

Share your experiences in the comments.

Top photo by Dyanna