Making money online, especially through freelancing, is not an easy job. But doing the work isn’t as much of the hard part as getting the work in the first place. It takes a lot of time to build up your reputation, and only then can you start getting jobs comfortably. In the process of finding jobs and building reputation, a lot of people, especially startups inevitably end up doing some stupid things they shouldn’t do. Such things could cost them their reputation, and ultimately their career. We are here to talk about some of these mistakes people should be avoiding.
1. Selling yourself cheap
I think this is the most common mistake people make. This might be explainable by their impatience to get into the freelancing business. But if you come to think of it, what happens next might just not be worth it. Selling yourself cheap, and doing some work for much less than its actual worth is not fair to you, or others in the first place. You’re doing much more work for much less value, or in other words, you allow yourself to be ripped off.
Secondly, such a practise is highly unprofessional, and also puts your future prospects in jeopardy. You might get jobs from then on, but you’ll most probably always end up working for less, or much less value, because you already have a history of doing so. And in all fairness, no one likes people who sell themselves cheap. They hint at low quality.
2. Don’t lie about your expertise
Lying about your expertise could be the worst thing that could happen to you. When you claim to be an expert in a field, you are automatically expected to deliver high quality work. And unless you deliver, you will end up in bad favor, and might also get a negative rating on a freelancing website. And once that happens, there’s no way out of it, unless you work hard on building your reputation again, which could be pretty tough.
3. Dealing with criticism
Criticism is an essential part of life. And while freelancing, you’ll likely see more of it. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel and act weird or dejected. Criticism should always be dealt with, and applied constructively. You should use it to improve yourself, not to de-motivate yourself. But while some people take it to heart, others act in a different way entirely. They wink, or make smileys when criticised. If anything, this is an even worse approach. Now I know people usually do it in internal self-defence, but it makes them look stubborn, something which clients don’t want.
4. Don’t overburden yourself
People usually do this on sites like Fiverr. They take in as much projects as they can get, in hopes of getting a lot of money. They might convince them otherwise, but this habit is essentially a quality-killer. When you have a lot of projects to deal with simultaneously, your focus shifts, and you are in a psychological state where your main preference is to get the jobs done. Often in this process, you end up producing lower-than-your-usual quality, which could be the deal-breaker for your client.
5. Don’t leave it for later!
Procrastination is always bad. How many of us have ever said “I’ll do it tomorrow”? I am sure most of us have. At least, I can vouch for myself :P. The point being, that in freelancing, you can’t afford to be lazy. You don’t have a normal office job where you can take a break from work, or call in sick for work. Here, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid, it’s as simple as that! So try to break up your work into phases, and meet deadlines before they’re up. It gives a good impression, and opens up more opportunities.
Avoiding these most common mistakes can help you become a better freelancer. Hope you learn from them, and have a successful freelancing career. All the best 🙂