About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent eight years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people escape the office. Read more >

Building a freelance business feels liberating because you’re ripping off the shackles around your ankles put on by your employer. These are the common mistakes freelancers make.

Let’s not pretend that finding clients who respect your skills isn’t difficult. After freelancing on and off for nearly five years, here is a list of big mistakes new freelancers make and how to avoid them.

Mistakes New Freelancers Make (and How to Avoid Them)
Waiting for Clients to make the First Move

Waiting for potential clients to contact you will not result in building a successful freelancing business. You must be proactive when starting this journey and put yourself out there.

Online networking is enormous, and this cannot be stressed enough. It’s a skill that takes time to learn, but you will see results.

Start by reaching out to potential clients on Twitter and LinkedIn. Don’t spam. Instead, add value to the conversations by asking and answering questions.

Write up your ‘Power 100’ list. Think about the companies and entrepreneurs that you would love as your clients. Choose one or two each week to focus your time networking with them. An article on networking will be coming soon, so watch this space.

Don’t Include the Value

Most new freelancers will focus on how long it will take to complete a project. They neglect to think about the value that they add to the client.

Is the service that you are offering going to increase their revenue? If yes, make sure you add that value to the quote. The perfect client will realize your value to their business without being put off by the rate you charge.

Adding value to the quote will eliminate the cheap clients who focus not on valuing your skills but on how much you charge.

This leads me to the next mistake.

Undervaluing Skills

When you’re new to freelancing, it feels like you have to offer low rates to acquire your first clients. The mistake is that your low rates are attracting them; believe me, these are the worst type of clients.

These clients will disappear when you increase your rates to what you should be charging. Instead, think about how much you want to earn each week and how many hours you want to work.

Also, factor in the cost of services and products you must use to complete the work. Many new freelancers slip up because they don’t think about every aspect of the project.

Take your time to complete the quote and break down the costs for the client. They then know what you are charging them for, so no assumptions are made about the price to complete the project.

Don’t Package Services to Offer Value

Many freelancers miss a massive opportunity while offering only a one-off service. Instead, package your services and get creative to add value for your clients. If you are multi-skilled, then think about how you might be able to package up your services to make them more attractive.

Let’s pretend you’re a writer and a designer who loves creating social media graphics. Package these together and offer a 1000-word article and a graphic promoting the article for Facebook and Instagram.

The content and graphics will increase engagement and click-through rates on the client’s website, resulting in potential sales.

Giving them something they weren’t expecting adds value and means they do not have to hire someone for graphics. Make sure you factor in the additional work and the value it will deliver.

Relying on Freelancing Platforms

Getting sucked into freelance platforms like Upwork and People Per Hour is easy when starting as a freelancer. It’s true that these are good places to gain experience and find new clients, but don’t make them your primary focus.

The issue with these platforms is that clients focus on the rate you charge, not the value you can add to their business. Build your independent client base instead of putting your livelihood in a third-party platform you cannot control.

When you’re in the freelance industry, you hear it all the time – people get banned or suspended from the platform for a reason out of their control, resulting in income disappearing overnight.

If you’re considering becoming a freelancer, check out our guide on how to start freelancing while working full-time; you will find lots more advice and tips.

Share This Guide

The Essential Quick Guide for Remote Job Success

Embark on Your Journey to Remote Job Success Today!

We bring you actionable strategies and in-depth advice. All curated from an experienced remote work coach – delivered straight to your inbox every month.

  • Learn best practices for job applications
  • Receive more interview invites

  • Stand out amongst other applicants

  • Access subscriber only content