Becoming a freelancer is exhilarating! You finally get to work from home, make your own schedule, and set your own rates but for some reason you feel like you keep hitting a roadblock (or multiple roadblocks for that matter). When you first start your freelancing journey there is so much to learn and navigate. You want to make this a reality but for many newbies, it is likely you are making one, two, maybe even all 5 freelancer mistakes I see beginner freelancers make when they are first getting started. Today I am breaking down those five mistakes and sharing how you can avoid them so you can build a successful freelancing biz.
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Mistake #1: Not Setting Boundaries From The Start
When you land a new client, you’re on cloud nine. You feel like you are on top of the world and you are so happy someone agreed to work with you. Am I right??! As a result, you probably forget to put boundaries in place starting from day one?
We have all been there, myself included. We feel so grateful for the opportunity that we neglect to put ourselves first. This is the one of the first freelancer mistakes I see. Although many clients are respectful of your time and are understanding of when things come up, there can and will be those that think their business is the most important thing in the world and will try to take advantage of you if boundaries are not set from the beginning.
I highly recommend lightly bringing up your boundaries during your initial discovery call. I would then highlight your boundaries in your contract along with your welcome packet. Detail out the hours you work, how long it will take you to respond to emails, and the holidays you will be taking off. The more you can lay out, the better.
Mistake #2: Agreeing to Work for Less Than Your Desired Rate
You haven’t had someone inquire about your services in months or you have been networking in FB groups for weeks with no leads and then all of a sudden you land a discovery call. On the call, you are going through all of the ways you can help this business owner and then the topic of what you charge for this service comes up.
You tell this business owner, your hourly rate is $35 but they tell you they can only do $28 and you agree because you feel desperate at this point. Eek!!! BIG mistake! Agreeing to work for less than your desired rate will leave you resentful of not only the work you are doing but for the client as well.
Instead, I would stick to the fact that you charge $35 an hour and figure out what items you might not be able to deliver on so you still are able to work together. The client still gets most of the work done but not all because they are unable to afford it in the moment. More likely than not, they will realize that you are a lifesaver and will figure out how to add hours on.
Mistake #3: Giving Away Strategy During Discovery Calls
Another freelancer mistake I see is when you turn your discovery call into a strategy call. You love what you do, you are passionate about the services you offer, and you really want to land this client, so you end up going into a ton of detail behind what you will do for their business. Basically giving them a full strategy plan. BIG mistake!!
You may want to impress this client, but if you give them everything they need during this one call, why would they feel the need to hire you? The goal is to highlight the services you offer but save the strategy for when the invoice is paid and the contract is signed.
Mistake #4: Trying to Show Up in All The Places
When you are just starting out, you might feel like you need to show up in all the places to be successful. You see others on Instagram, so you think you need to start an account. Your freelancing buddy just landed a client on TikTok so you think you need to be there too. Others say LinkedIn is a great place to connect so you give that a go as well. Then you hear you need to start a podcast, have a blog, and create videos on YouTube…Oh My!!
Basically you’re leading yourself down the fast track to burnout. Instead of trying to show up in all the places, I want you to focus on money generating activities instead. Think about where YOUR ideal client is hanging out and stick with that. Don’t create blog posts just because or a podcast thinking that will be your golden ticket to clients. Find where your people are and stick with that.
Mistake #5: Neglecting to Put Systems in Place
Are you continuing to put off putting systems in place? Systems such as CRM’s like Dubsado or Honeybook to manage clients and project management tools like Trello or ClickUp to keep your business organized? At first, you might think systems are something you can put off until you have an abundance of clients but to be quite honest, you need them in place BEFORE that happens.
The last thing you want is to have a waitlist of clients and no way to manage them or book them quickly as you become available.
Having streamlined systems not only save you so much time but they also make for a seamless client experience. And with that comes referrals and never ending clients. Something we all want.
My recommendation is to pick one CRM either Honeybook or Dubsado and learn how to use it in a capacity that works best for your service based business. Then pick one project management tool, Trello, ClickUp, Asana, Monday, etc. and transition everything you are doing on paper and pencil into a digital format. From there just watch how much time you save.
So there you have it, the 5 freelancer mistakes beginner freelancers make when they are first getting started. If you are looking to learn the ins and outs of becoming a freelancer and want coaching to support you along the way to avoid these mistakes then join me inside The Prep 2.0.
Until next time,