Being a freelancer is challenging. On one hand you get to be your own boss, have full control of your schedule and are able to supplement your income. However on the other hand, you are faced with the ever changing sources of your income and the lack of employee benefits such as healthcare, 401k. 

I have been freelancing for a couple of moths now and have noticed a couple of habits that us freelancers tend to fall into.

Here are 5 things that freelancers should stop doing and how to manage them effectively.

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Underselling yourself

This is the most common mistake that we make.  As freelancers, we need to value our expertise. For example you have to ask yourself these questions: “Did you take online courses to be able to learn this certain skill?” ” How long did it take you to complete this project?”” Are you being completely aware of the amount of work that the project entails?” The answer to these questions are key to valuing yourself. It’s also important to understand that freelancing is a mutual agreement so you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate.

Tip

*Communicate. You have to be firm when asserting yourself. For example, you have to be clear on whether you charge more for any additional work.

Overworking yourself

As freelancers we are known to be workaholics. Because we manage our income, it’s easy for us to constantly look for new projects. We have this habit of saying yes to everything which is not reasonable. One only has so much time in a day.

Tip

*One thing I started doing is making a schedule. It helps me stay organized and have full control of my day. I include breaks, vacation days etc. It’s important for us to take time for ourselves. Overworking leads to frustration which can hinder our productivity. It’s more essential for us to be efficient with our time instead of being too hard on ourselves by taking on numerous projects.

-Stop looking for new clients; get too comfortable

Freelance work is very unpredictable therefore putting all of your eggs in one basket is not a good method for you to go about freelancing. You could find yourself in a situation where a client gives you a month notice for the end of the contract. It’s important to not get complacent. You should always be looking for new opportunities.

Tip

* Prepare a timeline for each project to make sure that you’re aware of the deadlines.

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-Start work without a signed agreement

This is the most important part of freelancing. Like regular employees, every freelancer should have a contract. You have to be able to protect yourself in case something goes wrong. It’s necessary to have pre-determined boundaries.

Tip:

*Sign before you start. Make sure that the agreement spells out in detail the contract between you and the client. This will facilitate communication and will avoid ambiguities regarding payment, schedule etc. If you need more guidance, don’t be afraid to communicate your concerns to a lawyer. They will explain to you in detail what the contract entails.

-Afraid to walk away

During your freelancing career, you will encounter difficult clients. It’s important for you to draw clear lines. Remember that you chose the freelancing career so you could be your own boss therefore you have the option of working with people that fit your desired work ethic. In addition, you have to keep in mind that the clients need you as much as you need them. It’s a mutual agreement so there should not be any ambiguity in terms of respect.

Tip

*Don’t let them walk all over you. You are a freelancer for a reason so you set up the way you want to be treated.

 

Being a freelancer is the new millennial sensation. Everyone loves the glamorous and flexible aspect of it. However there are many things to consider if you want to start a freelancing career. Even after successfully landing numerous projects, one has to be organized and self aware in order to maintain this lifestyle.

 

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Christy Joseph, Writer, Shortstints

 

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