I recently read this comment from a pessimist in the freelance community:
“Freelancing is a joke! There is no money in web design unless you are employed full-time by a company making a salary. Nobody pays real money anymore. They just go to any of the big template shops and pay $60 for a design, or hire some college kid for 100 bucks to build a site.” (If you disagree with this stance, please spread the word on this post with a tweet, or share on linkedin or facebook.)
That is a simple response for some, but to that I have to say… You get what you pay for.
Being your own boss and working independently sure beats the constraints of a regular 9-5 job, but is freelancing full-time a joke?
Here’s my concise answer: freelancing is not a joke, it’s just a lot of hard work.
There are naysayers in the freelance community, and it’s more than likely a result of their failed attempt at freelancing.
Success will not simply present itself to you. If you’re making the jump into freelance here are just a few mistakes to avoid that many failed freelancers have made.
Mistake #1: Fear of competition
There are countless cocky creatives out there starving for work, and yes your job can be replaced by a $30 template, so that’s why you have to convince your clients to work with you.
You can’t let fear or anything stand in your way of reaching your goals.
Perseverance, dedication and passion will get you to where you’d like to be in your career.
I read this somewhere and I absolutely love it: when fear is viewed in the right perspective, it’s actually a signal that you need to do something.
Mistake #2: Not enough motivation
Freelancing is definitely a self-motivating job.
If you aren’t promoting your latest project or searching for your next gig, then you’re going to go without a paycheck.
You need to be doing everything in your power to reach success, even if that means making a few sacrifices.
Every day you should be meeting deadlines, crossing off to-dos and producing some form of content.
Mistake #3: Poor service rates
One of the biggest and most common questions asked about freelancing is how much should I charge?
The hourly or per project rate you choose to charge should be unique to yourself and based off of your experience and the client’s budget.
If you’re underselling your services then you’re just setting yourself up for failure, and if you’re overselling, then you just might lose the job.
With some experience you’ll eventually be able to quote your time accordingly and negotiate projects effectively. Which brings me to my next point…
Mistake #4: Lack of negotiating skills
Be prepared for when the time comes to win the client over with your design services.
While it’d be nice to refuse negotiating rates, you’ll for sure need to find a win-win situation between the client and yourself.
If the client’s budget is nowhere near your rates, then reevaluate the project’s description and try to provide a solution that is in their budget rather than simply turning down the job.
Mistake #5: Giving up too soon
It’s too easy to just throw in the towel. Nothing comes easy. Especially something like your career.
I can promise you that if you hustle every day, keep creating and sharing, that with time you’ll see the growth and be rewarded for your efforts.
Put your passion before results, because results often follow passion. [tweetable]
What are some other mistakes to avoid that could set your freelance career up for failure?
Are you currently struggling with something in your freelance career?
There are a lot of smart readers here willing to help, including the GDB team so don’t be shy! :)