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The Top 7 Mistakes Working Freelancers Make and How to Avoid Them

Top 7 Mistakes Working Freelancers Make

Freelancers face a lot of challenges. Here are the 7 most common mistakes and how to avoid them - so you can get back to what you love doing: working.

Freelancers face a lot of challenges. Here are the 7 most common mistakes and how to avoid them - so you can get back to what you love doing: working.

The freelancing life isn’t easy. If you’re new to the working-from-home game and have decided that freelancing is for you, now is the time to prepare. Freelancing requires diligence and resilience, especially when it comes to juggling tasks, meeting deadlines, and handling finances. Working from home can be isolating and taxing. 

Many freelancers find it challenging to meet clients remotely or leave the house for meetings without an impending deadline looming overhead. There’s also a lot of competition out there for writing gigs and marketing services – as such, standing out from the crowd is key. 

With so many things to consider before diving headfirst into this new lifestyle, let’s explore some common mistakes that working freelancers make, how you can avoid them, and what you can do instead.

Freelancing is an amazing career path, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some mistakes that freelancers often make and how to avoid them.

You Don’t Have a Written Contract

Contracts are an essential part of any freelance arrangement, formal or informal. Think of the contract as an outline for expectations and responsibilities. Having a clear outline will help you and your client navigate any sticky situations that may arise. 

For example, let’s say your client asks you to research their competition, but you’ve hit a research roadblock and can’t find the information they’ve asked for. Having a contract will help you clarify what is expected, and help you determine how to proceed in a professional manner.

 For your part, it is essential to have a contract in place with any client, even if you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of work behind you. This is an important sign of professionalism and will increase your credibility. It will also protect you from future issues, like non-payment or another misunderstanding.


You Didn’t Estimate Task Difficulty Beforehand

New freelancers often underestimate the difficulty of certain tasks. Recognize, however, that underestimating is easy to do when you’re first starting out. You might not have done this type of work before, or you might be rusty after a long break from a certain field of work, and it can be easy to underestimate the time or effort needed. 

For example, if you’ve been hired to create a website, but you don’t have any coding experience and the client is expecting something professional and creative, you’ll likely underestimate the difficulty of this task. 

For tasks that are especially tricky, or for those that are critical to your success, it’s helpful to have a sanity check with someone who’s been in the freelancing game for a while.

 A seasoned freelancer will be able to provide a more accurate prediction of the time and effort needed to complete the task.


You Don’t Track Your Time and Mileage

This is a mistake that many freelancers make – and it can be extremely costly. Time and mileage tracking will help you keep a record of the time you spend on each client’s project – and it’s important to do so. It will also allow you to make accurate estimates of when you expect to be done with a project. 

When you’re just starting out, it can be helpful to track your time and mileage even if you don’t bill your clients for it. This will allow you to see how long the average project takes and will also lead you to make more accurate estimates in the future. 

For tracking time and mileage, it’s helpful to use a digital method, such as a time-tracking app or spreadsheet. Be sure to note down the project, the date, and what you spent your time on.


You Neglected Networking

As a freelancer, you’ll likely spend a lot of time alone in your home office. While you’re working on projects, writing, scheduling appointments, and marketing your services, there are few people around to bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, or simply have a good old-fashioned networking session with. For this reason, it’s important to be proactive with networking. 

Whether that means joining a local Meetup group or signing up for an online forum, it’s helpful to surround yourself with other freelancers and working professionals in your field. 

You can learn a lot by simply observing other people’s methods and challenges. Plus, you may even forge new friendships and business partnerships with people in your local area or online.


You Didn’t Plan for Taxes and Overheads

When you’re just starting out, it can be easy to overlook the fact that you will likely be paying taxes and dealing with overhead costs. However, it’s essential to take this into account when estimating how much you will make in a given month. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to make $1,000 per month as a target goal. 

Now, let’s say you have to pay $100 in taxes and another $100 in overhead costs, leaving you only $700. While $1,000 per month is a great target, the $700 is a more realistic figure. This is an important consideration for new freelancers, as it can help you to avoid disappointment if you’re not prepared for these costs.


You Don’t have a Brand or Marketing Strategy

While you’re just starting out and don’t have a ton of work on your plate yet, it can be easy to forget about marketing yourself. However, it’s essential that you get started with marketing right away. It’s helpful to think of marketing as an ongoing process rather than an event. It’s something that you do every day, not just once a week or once a month. 

For starters, it’s helpful to have a website where potential clients can learn more about you, your services, and what makes you unique. It’s also helpful to have a social media presence, so that potential clients can follow your progress and see what you’re up to.


You Don’t have a Clear Business Plan

Freelancers often make the mistake of diving into the freelance lifestyle without a clear business plan. While it’s helpful to be flexible and open to new opportunities, you also want to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and where you want to go with your business. 

It’s helpful to sit down and create an outline of your business plan, including the type of work you want to do, how you will market your services, and how you will manage your finances. Having a clear business plan will help you to keep your head above water, even during those times when it feels like you’ve got too much on your plate and aren’t making any progress.



Freelancing can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s important to be prepared for the journey ahead. Before you dive headfirst into the freelance lifestyle, make sure you’re ready for the challenges that come with the territory. The best way to prepare for the freelance lifestyle is to make sure you’re prepared for everything that comes with it. This means you need to be ready for the ups and downs of the freelance lifestyle. You must also have a plan for how you’ll deal with finances, taxes, and client communication. Finally, you need to have a good brand and business plan in order to succeed at freelancing.


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