So, you’re a new freelancer. You’re here to see if you’re the one this headline is directed toward. Good news… even if you ARE making one (or all) of these mistakes as a new freelancer, I have the solutions for you.
Let’s get into it. What are some mistakes I see new freelancers making?
These two platforms or marketplaces are for gig workers.
Just like you’d go to Indeed and Monster for 9-5 positions, there’s a certain TYPE of job on UpWork and Fiverr.
Namely, low paying gigs with clients that just want the work DONE, not DONE WELL.
The real reason I advise you to stay away from these plaforms: You don’t have the opportunity to develop real, true relationships with your clients. You also don’t get much background on your clients, so how are you supposed to know their TOV, core message, mission, audience, etc.?
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Tell people in your network that you’re freelancing and use Facebook Groups to find new clients.
You’ll be able to develop a connection with your client, see their face, ask them Q’s, and get to know their struggles and goals.
This is a huge mistake I see new freelancers make a lot. When you’re charging this low, there’s no way for you to account for taxes or admin time in your rates.
You’re also undervaluing our industry as a whole when your rates are this low.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Educate yourself on the average rates in your industry and factor in your experience level.
As a starting point, if you’re working in the US, $30/hour as a freelancer is the MINIMUM I would price myself.
If you don’t feel comfortable charging that much, you need to study, take courses, and become an expert in what you’re trying to sell to your clients.
Freelancing is a career, not a hobby. Treat it as such!
It took me a year of struggling before I reached out for help.
It doesn’t need to be like that for you.
This is a big mistake I see new freelancers make. I hear this all the time:
“I don’t have the money to pay someone to do my website.”
“I can’t afford to hire someone to help me find clients. I need clients first!”
If you don’t invest in YOURSELF, why would your client?
Also, this is chicken and the egg here. You can’t hope a client falls into your lap if you don’t know how to find them. And you’ll spend months trying to find them if you don’t ask for help.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Find people like me who have been through it.
I know, especially if you’re in my industry (writing, social media, marketing), where the best places are to find clients because it’s what I use to find clients.
This doesn’t mean you should start messaging people you want help from and asking to “pick their brain.” They invested in themselves to get where they are and you should do the same.
Don’t confuse asking for help for getting free advice. Free advice can only get you so far. You need someone that knows your industry, struggles, audience, and goals that’s willing to give you the tools and offer strategies to get you where you want to go.
Don’t make this classic mistake as a new freelancer.
Yes, it will make it easier to schedule content or find the “perfect” time to send emails, but it’s also a cost you probably don’t need RIGHT NOW.
This isn’t forever, just for now.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Invest where you’ll see the most ROI.
Here are my suggestions:
I say a social media STRATEGY and not CONTENT CREATION because you can handle creating content at the beginning. What you’ll find more difficult is ensuring your content and message are speaking to your audience and accomplishing your goals… that’s what the strategy helps you with.
Short-term thinking will get you from point A to point B, but long-term thinking will get you from point A to point Z.
This mistake relates back to all the other mistakes new freelancers make…
Joining UpWork or Fiverr? You’re prioritizing one-off gigs over steady clients and true connections.
Charging less than $25/hour? You’re prioritizing your current situation over the entire industry’s situation.
Not asking for support? You’re prioritizing the money you have now over the money you’ll be making in the future.
Investing in expensive programs and software before you need it? You’re prioritizing looking professional before actually being professional.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Remember that YOU are a business. Freelancing IS a career.
Think about the activities you can do NOW that get you closer to where you want to be (I can guarantee you one of them is NOT buying Mailchimp Premium).
If you’re looking for tools, resources, and templates to get you through your first year as a new freelancer, look no further. The First-Time Freelancer Bundle is here! Click here to purchase and you’ll be on your way to working with clients in no time.