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  • Makeda Waterman

5 Mistakes to Avoid as a Freelancer

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Freelancing is one of the most desired ways to pursue a passion, earn an income and set flexible work hours. At the same time, without a successful mentor in the industry, it is easy to make mistakes at the beginning of a freelance career

Here is a list of mistakes to avoid before you get started.

Only Freelancing for the Money

Non-paid opportunities (when it is convenient) can open the doors of opportunity for freelance work that involves compensation. Also, blogging is one of the best ways to make writing a priority because it helps to improve your skill as a writer.

Here is the best advice you can receive. The more you read and write, the more experienced you will be as a freelance writer.

Accepting Breadcrumb Opportunities

What is a breadcrumb opportunity? It is a gig that requires a high number of work hours for a low rate of compensation. It is fair to believe this is the best way to gain experience. However, it is common for a new freelancer with a substantial amount of experience to be paid above new freelancer rates.

The best way to say “no” to a low rate job, is to thank the customer genuinely. Find a way to negotiate by proving your worth. Or kindly, walk away from the opportunity to free your schedule for a company that will pay you what you are worth.

Not Asking for What You Deserve

If you have worked in an industry for 5+ years, this is a substantial amount of experience to prove you are not a newbie although freelancing is new to you. With that said, it is an opportunity to ask for an experienced rate. I recommend researching rates for freelancers in your area by reviewing freelance website profiles on FreelanceMyWay, Guru or Upwork. It can be discovered by reviewing freelance profiles of people with your skill set or asking a writer’s guild or local web design association for recommendations.

Unprepared for a Recession

Most new freelancers forget that a recession can either increase or decrease business. You can prepare for a recession with the following helpful tips:

  • Set aside money for taxes and long-term savings (I.e., buying equipment, furniture)

  • Spend below your means

  • Use an Excel spreadsheet of daily expenses and include monthly income

  • Invest your money in passive income streams

These are a few ways to prepare for a recession. If you freelance in an industry such as real estate, food, entertainment or healthcare, there is a higher chance of not being affected by economic changes.

Being a Generalist Freelancer

Subject matter experts are invaluable in the freelance industry because they discovered their niche. For example, if you are experienced in nursing, stick with working with hospitals or health care centers. How can this help? Your name will circulate positively in the industry that you are the go-to person. Setting yourself up as an expert in your field can result in negotiating higher rates and working with large organizations.

Don’t be afraid to own your expertise. Clients and prospective customers will respect you. A generalist freelancer typically receives a lot of work because they accept anything that arrives in their inbox. However, being a generalist can reduce the amount of income you can earn if you stick to one niche to become a freelance writing expert.

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