Editorial note: All Guest Post authors share their views and experiences, and do not represent Week of Saturdays.
We, freelancers, like to think of ourselves as superhuman but we’re human, and humans make mistakes. In this blog post, I share the common freelancer mistakes you should avoid if you plan to attempt full-time freelancing.
Let’s face it, sometimes, we know things are chaotic and not going very well, but we push the negative thoughts to the back of our minds and believe that everything will work out fine in time.
As a part time freelancer, this may work for you but as a full-time freelancer, it will serve you better to face the truth and listen to your gut feeling. Here are four common freelancer mistakes you can avoid.
Four Common Freelancer Mistakes
Like many things, there is an endless list of common mistakes freelancers make. In this article, we’ll share our top four; you may be amazed at how well you can relate to them.
1. Planning but never acting
Now, listen. I did not say you do not look for or get good jobs, but you want more out of your freelance career and you can’t seem to get beyond your current level. You learn a lot, and you allow yourself to think that just because you read a book or took a course on SEO-friendly writing, story-telling or business-writing, your earnings will automatically increase.
You may find yourself compiling a list of magazines and blogs you want to pitch to but you forget the idea immediately you leave your desk. All these are examples of what you may be doing, but here it is in plain words: You don’t shoot shots. You just play around on the court.
So what can you do instead?
My Two Cents
Know your why! Why did you choose to freelance or work for yourself? Why do you want to be a writer or be featured in magazines? Is it all about the money? Or is it a passion inside you? Why did you choose this path? If it’s independence, then you must work for it. If it is survival, you must work for it. Remind yourself what you are working for and it will push you to achieve it.
2. Not thinking out of the box
Now you may know why you are going into full-time freelancing. What next? You must find out how to achieve your goals, taking many peculiar things about your case into perspective. The many proven ideas of freelancing execution you see online are all products of other people’s experiences.
Understand that the end-goal of freelancing is to add value to your client’s business and think of ways you can do this. The best ways you come up with will utilize your strengths and weaknesses.
Another two cents
Ask yourself if there’s another way to get what you want from your freelance or independent career without having to follow the popular paths which don’t appeal to you. You can choose to:
- Join a freelancing community dedicated to seeing you grow.
- Submit a query to a blog in a niche you have experience in.
- Start your own blog. Focus on a specific niche. Your blog posts will serve as proof of your skills. An added advantage is you get to practise what you learn about writing on your blog with low risks.
- Think for yourself. Make a plan. Then validate your plan.
3. Working ONLY for money
You may be a profitable freelancer but you are not truly successful if your relationships are suffering. I’m talking about your relationships with your real friends and family. Has it occurred to you to invest time and effort into your personal relationships as well as your work? Ignoring our loved ones because of work is one common mistake freelancers make too often.
My two cents
You must always show love and affection to the people you are in a relationship with. Here are some tips to show you care.
- Give spontaneous gifts
- Send kind notes and instant messages to show you care
- Schedule a time to call or text them often.
It’s the little things that matter. You would most likely always be busy so keep the little drops of attention flowing
Okay now! Before the last recap, let’s recap all we’ve communicated so far.
- You know what you want from freelancing
- You know some creative ways to get there and how to use your strengths
- You appreciate and treasure your close relationships
Alright. Now the fourth common freelancer mistake:
4. Not relaxing
It’s hard to relax when you don’t know where your next pay-check is coming from or if you have chosen the right path into freelancing. You may find yourself working round the clock and still feeling guilty for taking a break. This is not sustainable and will wear down your health over time.
My final two cents
- Manage your finances well so that you do not get broke often. When you have cash stashed away, you can afford to take breaks without having a heart attack.
- Plan your time wisely. Be realistic with your time and energy management, and try to always stick to your plans.
- Stick to the time fixed for work. Yes. I’m saying this again. Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
- Sleep. Deep rest recharges the body, mind, and brain.
- Read between work. Reading does a lot to relieve stress.
And, there you have it. 8 cents in all. I could take them back, you know but I want you to have them.
When next, you catch yourself making these common freelancer mistakes, remember the 8 cents and maybe use one.
If this post inspired something positive in you, don’t hesitate to share with your network.