6 Habits of Unsuccessful Freelancers


freelancing-mistakesMaking a move towards being a freelancer can be daunting for even the most talented people because there is so much more involved with being successful as a freelancer. A freelancer needs to be responsible for each aspect of his business. Unfortunately, these aspects are different from the actual coding work that typically creates the most significant challenges. Let us take a look at some common mistakes occasionally made by freelancers. These will help to prepare oneself and learn ways to avoid these pitfalls. 

So, are you making below mistakes?

1) Not having enough funds before starting as freelancer

a man in elegant dress with empty pocket

There could be no certainty about your income in first few months. You would, most likely, need to work very hard to find new clients. In order to avoid any financial problems and work-stress, there would be enough funds to cover initial struggling months.


2) Tendency to accept every project

more_projectAlthough it’s a natural reaction for starters to want to jump-start on every project that they get, however every project will not be good fit. Infact, they could cause work-troubles and headaches. It will be a good start to judge what kind of projects suit to your skills. This will help in judging which projects to bid and which ones to just simply go.

So, if you don’t want to let go of a project, you could quote a price so as to cover the loss of your time that you could be spending on other projects.


3) Not adhering to documentation procedure

no_documentationIt is essential to realize the importance of project documents like Project Contract. Contracts help in order to avoid any problems during project management.

The most common but most excruciating problem faced is of scope creep. Clients expect freelancers to work on things that were not originally part of project scope without corresponding increase in resources, schedule or budget. It results in overrunning of original budget and project schedule.

A contract helps to prevent scope creep as it allows to clearly defining scope of work along-with all the mentioned points in the project. So, in case of any additional work, contracts help to keep everyone on same page and for freelancers to charge additional amounts according to the extra required time.

4) Starting a Project Without Up Front Payment

no_upfront_payment (1)This is another of most common mistakes, usually done just to get the project. However, it results into increased chances of delayed payments at later stage also. Getting upfront payment ensures that you’ll be working for serious clients. Also, clients who have paid upfront will be more serious about the project completion and will not drag it unnecessarily.


5) Jumping in to the Work too quickly

no_researchBefore start working for a client, one must research to know the client, his customers, and the project details. Since each client is unique, it is extremely essential to invest proper time to get the best result.

It is good practice to establish relation with client either via online sessions or by face-to-face interaction. Although this rapport building takes time, it does improve your results.


time_management6) Improper management of time

Managing your time is most critical for your success. Time management helps to identify how much time is spent on different activities and what are the inefficiencies to be improved.

It also becomes very helpful in evaluating your work-rates. If you track how much time you have spent on a project, you can calculate the hourly rates earned by you on that project.

It will also give you a big picture of how much you are working on weekly basis and will help you optimize it.

Above pointers will surely help in effectively managing your works and will surely boost your productivity.

So, do you say that you adhered all above points and still didn’t get or lose clients?

You know, there are plenty of mistakes that can be made as freelancers which can become painful in long run. Fortunately, maximum of them can be avoided.

Let’s review below checklist of most common mistakes and how to avoid them:


Mistakes Reason Suggestions
1. Junky portfolio A badly built portfolio can decrease your chances of impressing potential clients. It might be that you uploaded old samples or didn’t highlighted skills that are currently in demand. Check over your portfolio and make sure to update it with latest works.
 2. Typographical mistakes Type errors on your website, samples and emails affect your impression. Clients hesitate in approaching as they think that similar mistakes will be made in their works too. Review anything that can be seen by your client and correct them at first go.
 3. Lack of recommendations Professional recommendations have now become an essential marketing aspect. They boost your visibility & trust amongst potential clients. Ask testimonials from your existing clients.
4. No exclusivity  Clients are unable to see value-proposition in hiring your for their projects. Pen down all the unique values that you can bring to your clients.


By paying heed to above pointers, you’ll be prepared to avoid them at the first go and proceed forwards. They will not only help in your daily operations, but will also help you balance your professional and personal priorities effectively.