Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit and feel comfortable working without restriction? Would you like to set your own goals, clients, and deadlines? Do you do your best work unencumbered by the burdens of a corporate environment? If so, you might just be the perfect freelancer. The riveting world of freelancing has become vastly different in the digital age. With the advent of the sharing economy and a globally connected digital community, earning a living as a freelancer is easier and more accessible than ever before. However, starting out as a freelancer can be a challenge if you don’t know where to start.
While the digital marketplace has made it much easier to become a freelancer, the multitude of freelancing websites has created a saturated marketplace. Whether you are a web designer, digital marketer, or content writer, there are millions of other freelancers available for hire. Furthermore, each freelancer is available for hire at the click of a button. It is thus more important than ever to think like an intrepid freelancer but act like a professional digital agency.
Co-working spaces now offer a great way to access a professional environment without the major overhead cost. Furthermore, freelancers can interact with other digital professionals in a creative, collaborative environment. Local networking events with other freelance professionals in your industry can also be a great way to learn, interact, and grow as a freelancer. You must also avoid the common pitfalls that can ruin your reputation and hamper your ability to gain freelance clients in a competitive marketplace. Here are 3 of the most widespread mistakes a freelancer can make that will cost you clients and hinder your digital career development.
The most glaringly unprofessional mistake most freelancers make is using a personal email address to communicate with clients. While “VaderFan666@gmail.com” may work just fine for the online message boards, it comes across as incredibly off-putting to potential freelance clients. Even using your name at a Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail address can seem formal enough, but these do not make you come across as a freelancing professional worth hiring.
Building a high-quality, premium personal brand can be the key to setting yourself apart in the world of freelancing. To gain clients worth building a lasting relationship with, using a professional email handle is a brilliant first step in this endeavor. This is perhaps the biggest problem with using the many unpaid freelancing websites available online. None of these websites offer a professional email address to use for proper communication with your clients. However, the new DesignStudio Network is currently being developed to assuage this very problem. Contact us today for a chance to join the beta, 100% free.
Clear, concise communication with clients is fundamental in building trust with clients. Try not to leave anything unsaid, and never assume a project detail is obvious to the other party. Clients come from many cultures and have a myriad of diverse needs, so assume nothing is obvious. The minute details are always worth clarifying, and they are often best put into writing. Make sure timelines, proposals, contracts, milestones, and scope are all clearly defined and understood by both parties before beginning work.
As you begin work as a freelancer, it is generally a good idea to communicate as much and as often as possible. Be accessible. Provide your contact details and the best times to reach you. Respond promptly to messages while observing the correct time zone for your clients. Practice clarification, paraphrasing, and reconfirming on all goals and objectives if you are unsure about any detail. Your client will appreciate your diligence and attention to precision. This will lead to better reviews, a stellar reputation, and referrals for more freelance work to build your career.
Do you have a highly desirable digital skillset and an impressive portfolio? You may receive an overwhelming amount of freelance work requests at the start. Do not take on too many of these clients at once. You will be overburdened, overstressed, and your work will suffer. Because you work for yourself and decide when to work, it’s very tempting to take on way too many projects at once. This is an incredibly common issue with freelancers, even experienced professionals. This issue is the well-known Achilles’ heel of our industry.
You can find yourself missing deadlines, losing clients, and losing confidence. Make sure to employ effective time management practices. Furthermore, set realistic timetables for submission of deliverables at all times. Take into account how many clients you currently are in contact with. Perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to turn down a project or client if it isn’t the right fit.
Did we miss a common freelancer mistake that you’ve experienced? Please share with our community by commenting below! Looking to enter the exciting world of professional digital freelancing? Please join us for our free upcoming mixer in downtown San Diego!