The Surprising Reason Why Freelancers Fail

What’s one of the biggest causes of freelancing failure?

You’d be surprised.

You might think freelancers fail because they did poor work. Or, maybe they missed a deadline. Perhaps they fail because they have no talent.

While all of the above factors can certainly play a role in some freelancing failures, there’s another, even more surprising cause of failure–not getting started as freelancer.

Often, we freelancers either don’t start at all or we quit before have a chance to really succeed. You can’t succeed at freelancing if you don’t start.

In this post, I’ll examine five of the biggest failure factors that keep would-be freelancers from starting. I’ll also share some links to posts with even more causes of freelancer failure.

Five Failure Factors

So why don’t some freelancers get started? Why do some freelancers quit too soon?

Freelancers often fail to get started or quit freelancing due to one or more of the following freelancing failure factors:

  1. Fear. Fear is a powerful demotivator. Fear can keep you from many good things. It can keep you from accepting a perfectly good freelancing project. It can even keep you from starting freelancing at all. And, let’s face it, it’s easy to imagine all of the things that could go wrong if you got started as a freelancer, or if you took on that big new project. The truth is that freelancing is risky. It’s far safer to not get started at all.
  2. Lack of confidence. Are you good enough at what you do to be a freelancer? The secret fear of a lot of would-be freelancers is that the answer to that question is “no.” What those would-be freelancers don’t realize is that many very successful freelancers asked themselves that same question before they started. While it’s true that freelancing requires a bit of confidence, the best way to find out if you are good enough to freelance is to just do it.
  3. Procrastination. When will your successful freelancing career begin? For the procrastinator, the answer is always tomorrow. But somehow, for these would-be freelancers, tomorrow never comes. Putting things off is no way to succeed as a freelancer. In general, freelancing requires people who go out there and get things done in a timely fashion. When it comes to freelancing, the chronic procrastinator is finished before they start.
  4. Poor Organization. Being poorly organized can keep you from freelancing success. It can keep you from even starting out as a freelancer. Freelancers need to find a system to keep things straight that works for them and stick to it. Losing things and forgetting things are not good business practices. Fortunately, there are many good organizational systems out there and there’s one that’s right for you.
  5. Not Prioritizing. Guess what? If freelancing is always your very last priority, then you’ll never get around to doing it. Now, I’m not saying that you should become a workaholic and center your life around work–there are things that should take a higher priority. But to have a successful freelancing career you need to assign a certain of amount time to your freelancing tasks. “Spare time” freelancers rarely get ahead and often don’t even get started.

As you can see, any one of these factors or a combination of factors can cause a freelancer to fail. The good news is that every one of these factors can be overcome if you are willing to try.

Of course, there are also many other reasons for freelancing failure.

Other Reasons for Freelancing Failure

Over the years, we’ve documented a lot of things that cause freelancing failure here at Freelance Folder:

As you can see, freelancing failure is common–even for successful freelancers. The secret to freelancing success is to pick yourself up from failure and keep going. Freelancing failure need not be permanent and it shouldn’t keep you from freelancing.

Your Turn

I hope that you were able to learn from these failure factors.

How do you keep yourself going as a freelancer? Can you think of other reasons that cause freelancers to fail?

Share your answers and tips in the comments.

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