3 Freelancing Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur

Do you have times when you don’t find freelancing easy?

If so, you’re not alone.  It can be hard going, especially when you’re first starting out because there are so many things to think about:

  • Marketing your products and services
  • Meeting your customer’s expectations
  • Managing your cash-flow and finances
  • Keeping a work life balance

But there are some things that I’ve frequently seen freelancers do that make it even harder.  Some common mistakes that are easy to make and will really trip you up and make you look like an amateur.

Want to know what they are?  Keeping reading, I’ve got three common mistakes for you to watch out for.

1. Taking Too Much Work On

It might sound like a strange thing to say, how can too much work be a problem, it’s all money isn’t it?

The problem is when you have more work than you can realistically cope with and how you deal with it.

For a moment, imagine a machine, producing a product all day long – it can be whatever you like, I’m going to say chocolate bars (yum!)

The machine can produce a set number of chocolate bars in a day.  The amount will be governed by the speed of the machine, the total available time to run the machine, and the complexity of the product.

Now I could stand next to the machine and huff and puff, I can even do a dance around it, but the machine won’t produce a bar more than it’s maximum capacity.  What’s more, if the machine is pushed to it’s limits too many times, it will start to suffer maintenance problems, need servicing and become unreliable.

So it is with you as a freelancer or Micro Business owner.  You can only work so many hours in the week, and you can only deal with so many clients.  Take on too much work and you’ll burn yourself out and your body will force you to take time out.

Workout the maximum amount of time you can put to client work or the maximum amount of clients that you can work with.  Know your limits, and when you get to them stop and find other ways to help the additional clients.  This could be taking some of your knowledge and turning it into a course so that people can follow it without it taking as much of your time.  In some instances you could also refer business to another friendly freelancer you know or create a waiting list.

But don’t work beyond your capacity, you’ll burn yourself out and risk lowering the overall quality of your work and falling short of your clients expectations.

2. The Cobblers Children’s Shoes Problem

Have you heard the phrase “cobblers children’s shoes” before?

It refers to the idea that the cobbler tends to everyone else’s shoes but never has time to sort out his own children’s.

When you’re running a Micro Business or working as a freelancer your shoes are the things that you really should be working on a little each week but struggle to fit into your schedule.  For instance your marketing, because you are so busy with client work.  It’s easy to think that it won’t matter this week because you have so much work on that you can do without more marketing for a few days, but this is a real mistake.  Likewise it could be putting off your invoicing because your busy doing the work.

It’s such a mistake because in both cases it will come back to be a real problem.  No marketing will mean you don’t have as much business in the future when you might not be as busy and you get into the feast and famine cycle.  Putting off your invoicing will mean that your cash will dry up and that’s never fun is it?

Ensure that you fit time in every week for the important aspects of your business that you need to get done, make them a habit and don’t put them off – if you’re not careful putting things off will become the habit rather than getting them done.

3. Not Expecting Success

The third mistake is not believing in yourself and expecting success.

Take a moment and think about this – is your business going to be a success, are you going to be able to fulfill your dreams?

Your answer to that question needs to be yes, for two reasons.

Firstly if you don’t believe it how are you going to spur yourself on?  How can you motivate yourself to move forward, through the easy times and the hard times and make a success of what you do.

I’ve met some freelancers and Micro Business owners with fantastic products and services but they still have a feeling that they won’t make it.  You need to focus your mind on the fact that you will make it, that you will achieve your goals, as Tony Robbins has said:

“Passion is the Genesis of Genius” – Tony Robbins

Second it’s so important that you outwardly express that you expect success when you meet others.  I don’t mean be arrogant but when you meet a new client present yourself and your products and services in a way that expresses that you know what you’re doing and that you are the right person to help them.

If you come across as expecting to be rejected, that’s what will happen.  If you show that you believe in what you do and that it has a real benefit for the people you work with, others will believe it.

What would you add?

Those were three mistakes I’ve seen freelancers and Micro Business owners make.  What would you add?  Please add any others you can think of in the comments and join me for a discussion.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Take a few moments to review these mistakes.  Are you taking too much on?  Do you have time scheduled for the important tasks that will drive your business forward?  Do you believe in your own success and are you expressing this confidently when you meet clients?  Write down the areas that you could improve and schedule time to take action.

Robert Peters

Robert Peters is a small business advisor, coach and consultant. Through his Fresh Eyes Consultancy he helps micro business owners grow sustainable and profitable businesses. Sign up for a free copy of his guide on how to avoid the feast and famine cycle and take the stress out of micro business sales.