Getting started as a freelancer is an exciting opportunity and one that holds a lot of promise. In fact, freelancing is only expected to grow in 2017 and beyond. However, choosing to get started with a freelance career and handling things the wrong way could end up costing you business and recurring clients.
It could also lead you to feel burned out and like you’re not achieving the success that you intended to when you started. This is why it’s so much easier to start off on the right foot as a freelance writer or freelancer of any type. What follows are the four biggest mistakes that freelancers make.
1- Not Defining a Marketing Plan
If you do not have a consistent marketing plan, you will be attempting multiple different avenues and not be sure which one is actually converting the most appropriate for you.
You can end up making a huge mistake by focusing on ten different marketing opportunities rather than honing in specifically on one or two. Think about the best way that you communicate. If it’s via the written word, then you may be more successful with cold emailing or submitting pitches on places like Upwork.
If you are a great verbal communicator, however, in-person networking events and cold calling may be more appropriate for you. Make sure you choose to become an expert at one of those methods.
2- Not Being Self-Reflective Enough About Your Work
Many people who come to me for freelance advice after they’ve been added for several weeks or months and had very little success are not reflective enough about the quality of their work samples, their pitch, their profile or their website. You need to be very critical of yourself just as you would be critical of a client’s online portfolio.
Make sure that your written work, and in particular your pitch and your work samples are exactly in line with the best quality work you have to offer. Outstanding work can trump experience and all other challenges being a new freelancer but you should always be growing and honing and refining your craft.
3- Convincing Yourself That a Headache Client is Worth It
Whether the client is paying you a lot of money or is giving you a tremendous workload, if someone is paying you too little you are going to end up burned out and possibly even missing deadlines or getting frustrated down the road.
Simply put, these clients are not worth it. If you’ve ever heard of the Pareto Principle, this states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your clients. Focus on developing that core 20% who always give you a good experience.
4- Not Maintaining a Relationship with Client
Even if someone hires you to work on a one-off project, you should always keep the channel of communication open. For example, if you stumble across an article that relates to their interest or their industry, shoot them a message and say something simple like, just wanted to make sure you saw this or touching base to see if there’s anything I can do to help.
I use this strategy all the time and it helps to reawaken old clients as well as to boost my business and continue that relationship. Clients want to feel that you are giving them personalized attention and that you care about them for more than just the opportunity of getting paid projects.