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10 Avoidable Mistakes New Freelancers Make

Updated on May 15, 2016

1) Contact Information – One thing you should always get is contact information, in many forms. Addresses, phone numbers, and emails. On top of getting them, actually verify them. This will help you contact any clients that are a little slow when paying out. If you don’t do this step, you’re likely going to get scammed, out of a lot of money and time.

2) Contracts – Now that you’ve ensured you have the right contact information make sure there is a legally binding contract. This contract should benefit BOTH parties. You should be paid, and the client should be able to receive their work in confidence. Without a contract there is nothing saying that they have to pay you, nothing that has been signed or negotiated stating that you need compensation, meaning you can get scammed quite easily.

3) Not enough compensation – When you’re first starting out you’ll write anything to get a few cents on the dollar, but you shouldn’t be paid a penny a word. If you’re good at writing, charge more than that, even content mills pay writers better than a penny a word. Your work is worth more, and you shouldn’t have to struggle to advance in the freelancing world. Instead of selling yourself short, find a good rate for you (and your client) and go with it.

4) Passive Income – Most freelancers don’t see the opportunity for passive income that is before them. If you can write e-books, write your own e-books and publish them. This is just one of many passive ways to bring in a side income. Side incomes can assist you in the long run, by making you an extra 50-200 or more extra dollars a month, depending on how much work you put into it initially.

5) Distractions – When writing a lot of freelancers allow distractions such as Facebook, Stumbleupon, and Pinterest to distract them. Though these sites are great for ideas (especially the last two), they are leisure sites, and you should try to avoid them when it’s time to write. If needed have a trusted individual sit with you in your writing area, to keep you on track, or even disable problem sites during work hours.

6) Organization – Most freelancers when they’re starting out don’t organize their workspace. Where’s that article I was supposed to write? What was I doing? Who owes me money? See where this can be a problem? Organization is key to being able to ensure you’re paid correctly, on time, and that you meet your deadlines. It’s also key to making sure you have time to take care of yourself and your writing.

7) Becoming Overwhelmed – There is so much out there and many things you can try, but, taking on multiple things at once can hinder you. If you’re trying to work on seven different things at once, you’re bound to forget something, and may even need to tell a client you can’t work with them, when you thought you could.

8) Money Earned – Keep a constant record of money earned through freelancing, if it’s through Paypal or an Excel spreadsheet, anything is better than nothing. If you don’t keep track of your money, when it comes time to do taxes you could get audited because you didn’t report your income correctly. No one wants that, especially not when you’re a freelancer. If you don’t have a way to keep track, then you may not be able to give the IRS information that they may need.

9) Money saved – There are so many freelancers out there that start out thinking they’ll rule the marketplace. Sit back down, because you’re starting at the bottom of the barrel. This is why it’s suggested to have 3-6 months of income tucked away to start out because it can take that long to get a semi solid income coming in from freelancing.

10) Time to Work – This ties in with distractions a little but often time’s people at home will believe that since you work at home, you’re always free. They’ll believe your flexible schedule is flexible for them, and that if they want to scoop you away to the mall for a day that they can. This is not the case. You need to make it clear that work time, is work time. If there’s an emergency you can jump, but you can’t just get up and go whenever they call for your attention.


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