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Guide: Best Tips for a Freelance Beginner
If you’re still not sure whether to start freelancing, chances are you’ve thought about the life of a full-time freelancer. You’ve probably heard of the many great benefits of freelancing, but you still want to know if it’s really all sunny and greener “on the other side”.
Like most professions, freelancing has its own drawbacksHow you address these issues in your first year can determine how successful you will be in the long run.
In this post, you will discover the common pitfalls that freelancers stumble upon up during their early years at work and what you can do to avoid them.back to menu ↑
1. Get stuck with low rates
Determining your initial rates for your freelance business can make you feel uncomfortable. Overcharging puts you at risk of losing potential customers – overcharging makes it difficult to pay your own bills. So how do you make sure you are paid for what you are worth
What to consider:
Experience – The best way to determine the value of your services is to look at your experience. Did you go to college or did you take up an online course to acquire the skills you have? How many years have you been freelancing? What is the quality of the work you can deliver?Contest – Freelancing is a lot like starting your own business. You need to be aware of the highs and lows of your industry. To set fair rates, you need to look at your leagues. How do other freelancers recruit clients? How much do they charge?How much you should earn – Calculate the annual salary you would like to earn for your freelance business. How many hours do you want to work per week? Make sure your rate helps you earn enough to pay the bills and fund your lifestyle.back to menu ↑
2. Freelance burnout
Many freelancers work more than they should. Because lack of time management, they find themselves working all day and all night. And since they don’t want to run out of projects, they’ll likely say YES to any gig that comes their way.
If you overwork yourself, there will soon come a time when you will reach your breaking pointAnd even without a boss firing you, you still have clients that you will disappoint.
What to do:
Take plenty of breaks – Get away from the computer after long working days and refresh your mind. Even machines crash when pushed beyond their limits. Designate times for break and stick with it.Don’t stay with the same project too long – It can be exhausting working on the same project for weeks on end. As a freelancer you have complete freedom to choose your projects. If this is not possible due to your obligations to the client, you can try to alternate the repetitive work with something interesting now and then.Plan work wisely – If you are an established freelancer and get a lot of work requests, the next challenge is finding time for everything. It gets tough if you don’t plan everything in a feasible time frame. This also means knowing when to say no to a client who wants you to go to work with little money.back to menu ↑
Depending on your personality, experiencing isolation because of your freelance career can affect your mental and emotional healthIf you’re not an introvert who likes to be alone, chances are you will discover yourself starved for human interactionAnd unless you’ve rented a coworking space, you work alone
Even if you are with home, sometimes because of your hectic schedule you hardly have time to talk and spend time with family
What to do:
Set days off – Don’t let your social skills take a hit just because you assume homeLack of human connection can cause depression that can affect your job performance. So stop working every now and then and make time for your personal activities.Collaborate with other freelancers – Today, this is possible with the help of various sites that enable freelance meetings that host events and designate work environments for different types of freelancers. Co-working spaces created especially for independent contractors can minimize the effects of isolation that come with a freelance career.back to menu ↑
4. No Union or Laws to Fall Back on
Unlike full-time employees who can remind their managers of the payday or have the right to file a complaint about payroll theft, freelancers don’t have enough legal resourcesPart of this is because the work is done remotely and most contracts do not have binding jurisdiction accompanied by them.
According to a 2014 study commissioned by the Freelancers Union, approx 70% of freelancers indicated that they experienced being starred by a client at least once in their freelance career. So how do we ensure that no projects go unpaid?
What to do:
Research the customer or company – Before you say yes to a job, check the client first. Hopefully you will see good reviews and not stories from freelancers who were not paid by that company.Specify payment terms and contracts at an early stage – Never commit to a performance without a written contract. Your contract should include a detailed overview of the project, your rates and delivery dates. You should also mark the payment schedule along with interest charges for late payments.back to menu ↑
When you work from home every day may seem like a holidayIf you don’t have self-discipline, that’s easy lapse into procrastination and waste precious hours of work. Soon you will find yourself chasing deadlines and feeling so tired that you feel like giving up
The success of your freelance career will ultimately be the case depends on how well you can avoid these distractions to stay focused.
What to do:
Find a quiet work environment – Distractions usually come in places with a lot of background noise, such as TV, calls and music. When setting up your home office, choose a room or corner home where you can achieve full concentration.Gamify your productivity – Applying game mechanics to your productivity strategy makes the job a lot more fun. You can create your own game where you set your rules and prizes OR you can take the help of applications such as Habitica or SuperBetter that convert each completed task into points and rewards.back to menu ↑
A bright future ahead
“Freelancing is not for everyone, but it will happen soon”. The global marketplace is emerging with institutions and policies that make it more viable for people to pursue freelance careers.
“The old system, which binds people to a job for 40 years so that they can pay for their pension, is slowly fading.”
Now there are more and more ways to make money using your skills and experience. By avoiding the above pitfalls, and maintain good work ethics there is always a good chance that you can succeed in your freelance career.
Editor’s Note: This post was written for Hongkiat.com by Armela EscalonaArmela is a blogger and writer. She writes about technology, work and productivity. She enjoys playing chess, scrabble and watching history documentaries. Follow her on Twitter.back to menu ↑
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