I know a lot of folks who are into freelancing — web designers, graphic artists, writers and others. They are all self employed who enjoy being their own boss and the freedom associated with being a freelancer. The flipside, though, is that I’m also privy to the mistakes they often make in managing their freelancing careers.
If you want to freelance, here are common mistakes to avoid:
- Over-reliance on one client. When you find a great company to work for that pays well, often you stop looking for other clients. Afterall, you already have a great account so why bother embarking on marketing and bidding again? Alas, this attitude is very risky. Freelancing is a volatile occupation; and even with a contract, companies can let go of freelancers. A company downsizing for example would first fire their freelancers compared to their employees. It is always best not to put all your eggs in one basket, and get a variety of clients.
- Failing to Account for the Ups and Downs of Self Employment. When you are freelancing, you need to be prepared for the roller coaster ride of self employment: some months you may have several clients, and some months you may find it hard winning any accounts. That is simply the nature of freelancing. You need to prepare for the lean times and make sure that you have income buffer to ride out those difficult times.
- Forgetting the business side of being self employed. You may focus too much on the technical side of your occupation ensuring that you deliver high quality products that your clients expect. However, don’t forget the management aspects of being a freelancer, and that involves billing, collection, record keeping, tax paying, even marketing your services to other clients. Dedicate a certain percentage during the day to administrative and marketing tasks, or hire professionals to help you manage these tasks.
Check out the slideshow How to Build a Successful Freelance Business