5 Mistakes Many Freelancers Make


When you first start freelancing, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Nobody is born with the ability to run a freelance business.

Starting a new freelance business might be a complete blur. You’re getting new clients, increasing your income, and doing work you enjoy!

But there are certainly a few things that might be overwhelming.

The hustle is real in the beginning. You’re attempting to figure out how to market yourself and use social media while hustling for business. You’re taking care of client relationships, your new busier schedule, and your new money. That’s a lot.

However, you don’t want to be in hustling mode indefinitely. After all, you likely chose freelancing because of the freedom and flexibility it provides.

I made a lot of mistakes when I first started out that prevented me from growing my business from hustle mode to a level that was more sustainable and allowed more freedom. And, after years of collaborating with other freelancers, I’ve seen a few frequent mistakes.

I’m sharing what I’ve learned today so you can avoid the problems that keep you in hustle mode and develop a profitable, sustainable, and freedom-giving business.

The following are five common business mistakes that novice freelancers make

#1 Not defining their target market

When most people first start freelancing, they will take any job that comes their way. Don’t get me wrong: this is a great place to start, especially if you’re unsure about the type of work you want to do or the cleints you want to work with.

It’s fine if you do it for a time. Working with a range of clients is sometimes the greatest way to sort things out. However, you’ll need to define your ideal client and narrow your target market at some point.

Even after only a few clients, you’ll begin to see the types of work and clients you enjoy the most.

Why Should You Choose A Target Audience?

The ability to define who you want to work with and what services you want to offer is critical to your freelance success.

By getting crystal clear about your target market, you’ll be able to:

  • Learn how to communicate with your audience more effectively (and make your copywriting convert like crazy!) by understanding how they speak and think.
  • Work faster and smarter since you’ll know how to address your clients’ challenges.
  • Increase your fees by becoming an expert in that niche.
  • Increase the number of referrals in your niche.

Choosing a target audience, in essence, can make all elements of running a freelance business easier. You’ll be able to work more effectively, smarter, and faster. Plus, because all of your tasks will coincide with your skills, interests, and values, you’ll like your work. Win-win-win situation.

To make your marketing more effective, choose a target market as soon as possible.

#2 Not charging enought

It’s difficult to put a price on your time, but selling yourself short is the shortest road back to your 9-5.

Setting your freelance rates may look hard – When market pricing range from $3/hour to $10,000 per project, how are you supposed to know what to charge?

There is no secret formula for determining your freelance rates, but there are a few elements to consider to get a sense of what you should charge.

Industry Research

Start by looking at what others in your field are charging. Because you and your experiences are unique, this shouldn’t be your only consideration, but it’s a great place to start.

Look for freelancers who provide services that are similar to yours. Examine their degrees of experience, portfolios, client list, bios, and locations.

Your ideal client

Your clients may be willing to spend more or less money on your services depending on who they are. Working with major corporate clients will require a far larger budget than working with a solopreneur.

Consider the budgets of your clients for your type of job. Is $500 more than their quarterly marketing budget, or is it a blip on the radar?

Your value

Your work for a client does more than save them from having to do it themselves. It helps them solve challenges and grow their business.

For instance, if the landing page you create generates 10 new leads for your customer, the value of your job could be equal to the value of 10 leads, not just the hours you were paid for.

Consider the real problems your work solves for your clients and how important it is to them. Is it profitable for them? Help them save time? Teach them anything new? The fastest method to charging more and landing clients faster is to be able to present the value you deliver.

The most critical aspect of determining your freelance rate is to be comfortable with the amount you’re charging. Clients require your expertise and unique perspective, so you should charge for it.

#3 Not building a website that converts

Every business, especially freelancers, needs a strong online presence.

When a potential client considers working with you, they want to feel comfortable with you. They’ll most likely check up your previous work, ask for references, and look through your portfolio. All of this helps them get a sense of who you are and how you work.

If you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to establish the “know, like, and trust” element that is so important in developing relationships with potential clients.

A website will help you convert more clients, whether you’re bidding on freelance job sites, cold-pitching, or gaining business through referrals.

Your freelance website is the first step toward attracting clients. It’s your ‘digital storefront,’ your brand, and your portfolio. A website raises your profile and elevates your brand from “$10/hour UpWork contractor” to “business owner.”

A strong freelancing website highlights your skills, worth, knowledge, and the type of work you do. Both in content and design, it should speak directly to the types of clients you want to deal with.

The most important factors for your website:

  • Speak directly to your target audience and their problems
  • Clearly state what you do and how others can collaborate with you
  • Make it simple for people to contact you or schedule an appointment
  • Showcase your best work in a portfolio
  • Use testimonials as social proof

Psst… do you need help creating your dream freelance website? Reach out and we’ll get you set up.

A well-designed freelance website will work for you 24/7. It has the ability to attract and convert ideal clients, as well as fill your calendar with client work.

#4 Not creating systems and processes

Although systems and processes may sound tedious, they can save you time and money in your business.

By automating common tasks, you may spend less time on administrative work like email and bookkeeping and more time on growing your business and making money.

Here are some areas of your business where you can use a time-saving process:

  • new customer onboarding
  • submitting bills and getting paid
  • contacting clients to schedule meetings
  • keeping track of income and expenses
  • actions in marketing and social media
  • Getting testimonials

Track everything you do for 2-3 days to start systematizing your business. I mean everything. Create a log using a time monitoring program like Toggl to track how much time you spend on each activity. Make a list of any tasks that are repeated; these are the tasks that you can automate right now. Begin by finding a strategy to automate the most time-consuming process.

It’s also a good idea to keep track of the steps you take for each of these activities so that you can engage a virtual assistant to handle them for you later. Onboarding employees onto your team will be a snap if you write a process paper today.

#5 Not thinking like a business

Just because you call yourself a freelancer doesn’t mean you’re not operating a legitimate business.

Many of us are just getting by and taking enough gigs to pay the bills in the beginning. Thinking bigger from the start will help you achieve more success and get off the monthly money roller coaster.

Freelancers that think like entrepreneurs do things differently:

  • Set goals for themselves and action plans to attain them
  • define their niche and create tailored services and marketing for their target audience
  • establish different income sources instead of merely maintaining the status quo
  • focus on initiatives that will grow the business
  • maintain greater control of their expenses
  • invest in themselves and their business to create opportunities for growth

Business-minded freelancers have a more consistent and long-term income. It pays to consider long-term and make wise decisions for the sake of your business’ health.

Create a business plan to start thinking like a business. It doesn’t have to be long; all that matters is that it’s something you’ll use. It may seem absurd to view yourself as a business when all you do on weekends is work on your laptop, but you know what they say: dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

You must make the change if you want to get off the income rollercoaster. You’ll be able to charge what you’re worth, focus on tasks you enjoy, and truly build your business after you’ve done so.

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Hey there!

I’m Imad, the content creator and online marketing strategist behind The Guemmah Freelance Hub. My mission is to help more freelancers grow themselves, their business, and their profits.

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