Freelancing is a very serious profession that enables a freelancer to work on his full potential. A freelancer has to deal with the client and complete the project on his own and this is a very important quality that he develops as he becomes experienced. Despite having enough experience many freelancers make some critical mistakes that harms their business. These freelancing mistakes lead to a bad experience for freelancer and client both. There are several situations that every freelancer wants to avoid, but sometime they just get messed into it because of a wrong decision. I am listing here 10 most critical mistakes that a freelancer often does that should be avoided for successful freelancing.
1. Not asking for payment in advance
There are several freelancers that take a project without asking for an advance payment by trusting the client’s reputation and value in the market. But not all big clients are good and there are some clients who have a record of non payment. As a freelancer it is very difficult to know about a client’s behavior about payment hence it is safe to ask an advance payment to make sure the client is serious about their project. This also filters the clients that hire multiple freelancers for a single project and then not paying them. It’s better to not getting paid rather than working and then not getting paid. The number of freelancers that have burned their hands in this way are huge and I am sure you won’t like to be included in them. A potential client that is serious about their project understands and respect the freelancers terms and agree to pay an advance payment hence always ask for an advance payment before working on a project.
2. Taking a rush project
Rush project is a reality, a project sometimes needs to be completed in very limited time due to several reasons and that is OK for them who can handle it, but in most cases it is very risky to take such projects. Due to extremely less time you will get to complete the project, the quality would definitely suffer, despite charging higher prices. This ultimately left a client in dissatisfaction because he has paid more, but got less what he was expecting and it is very hard to make some client understand about the quality difference between normal project and rush project that is obvious because of the limited time allowed. That harms the image of freelancer who performed well in the project.
3. Working on inadequate brief
This is a very common problem that freelancers have to face. Sometimes clients don’t have an exact idea what exactly they want and they are unable to visualize the final solution they are seeking. Inadequate brief is very risky and should be avoided strictly by conducting a comprehensive briefing session to make sure not any information left that may be needed at design & developmental stage. With inadequate brief the final outcome suffers & becomes less effective and it gets rejected by the client because it failed to meet client’s needs. This chain of developing new solutions and rejection continues just because of inadequate brief left a deep frustration for freelancer and a dissatisfaction for the client. A proper brief can solve this problem by collecting all necessary information from the client to provide a solution that matches the client’s needs and solves the purpose.
4. Not charging adequately in a project with a client
Each freelancer charges based on his expertise and experience what he gains during his work. Based on it his value determined and freelancer make growth in his business, but there are some freelancers who are starting work on extremely low price just to meet the competition and it ultimately hurts their image and business. No one expects an extremely good designer to work on very low price and potential client sometimes misjudge a designer and he may lose a potential client just because of it. Working on low budget does not mean you will get more business or will make more profit. More low budget work will make you tired and you will never be ready to work for bigger project hence avoid it.
5. Not charging on per hour basis
This is a topic of big discussion around the web and communities around the globe. How a freelancer should charge? Whether he should charge project wise or he should charge on per hour basis? Well, this depends on the personal preference of respective freelancer that in what he is comfortable working on. But in the long run I would recommend charging on per hour basis because a project is uncertain and you will expecting the project to be over then suddenly you receive a new request of a couple of revisions to be carried out and this continues for a long time. In such case if you have quoted the price on project basis, then the client would just keep asking new revisions and options and you won’t be able to get out of it. Sometimes you could not take a new project just because you are keeping receiving a couple of revisions each time when you send it for final approval to the client and it is a very difficult situation because the client won’t have to care about price because it has been fixed and now you cannot increase it because you had charged based on project.
When you charge per hour basis then no matter how long the project continues you will receive compensation for it because it is covered. Now the client has to worry about the project costing and they would avoid it because it is directly increasing their budget. Now each time they send revision it adds several hours of work hence increasing the project cost and client would like to avoid it. In such case you will also avoid unlimited revisions and a number of mock-ups demanded by clients because the client has to pay you hour basis and the more he ask, the more he will have to pay you.
6. Not charging for revisions
This is a common mistake that many freelancers often do. If you do not charge for revision, then some clients keep demanding for new changes without any specific reason because they know they are not going to charge for revisions. Hence, always make it clear that how many revisions you are going to provide in that budget otherwise you will be in trouble.
7. Working without a written agreement
There are many freelancers who do not use a written agreement because they are fortunate enough to work with descent clients hence they need not to use it, but in many cases a written agreement helps when things goes complicated. Based on written agreement you can inform the client about deliverable and number of revisions permitted and even you can also increase the project budget when needed. It makes you safe and avoid any unwanted situation because the client had agreed before starting the project.
8. Not defining project deliverable
This is a very minor problem that sometimes becomes complex when you had not defined project deliverable clearly and client is demanding more that expected. For example, initially you discussed with clients to provide two mock up of the design and, despite client agrees on it he can later ask you to do one more option and then you can say no because you have clearly defined the deliverable and one more option would need to be compensated.
9. Not charging late fee
When the project gets over you can take a deep breath of peace by expecting the payment that is supposed to be made by the client when the project completed. But what if the client does not pay on time? What if the client is delaying your payment, despite sending several reminders? In most cases this problem gets solved just by discussing or reminding the client because in some cases payment has to go through several phases of approval hence the duration of final payment should be discussed prior to start working on the project. Hence, a prompt reminder can solve the problem, but if a client is still delaying your payment, then you should have provision to charge late fee to avoid it. All this thing should be discussed prior to start working on the project.
10. Underestimating themselves
There are several awesome freelancers who are brilliant in their work, but still they underestimate themselves and their work. This is not a good habit and should be avoided. If you have been chosen for a project that means you are worth it and client know your value. Hence, do not lower your price just to get the project and maintain a professional attitude towards work. What is the meaning of freelancing and all these efforts if you do not make any profit from your work? Hence, do not underestimate yourself because you are good at your work.