We’ve all got our bad habits but when those are related to your business, they can affect the way you earn a living. It’s important to be aware of those bad habits so that you can start to overcome them and work towards growing your business successfully.
Here are a few bad habits that beginner (and more experienced) freelancers are commonly guilty of:
You’re sticking with Content Mills
Content mills are sites like Fiverr that pay freelancers very small amounts of money for a piece of work, even though that piece might take hours. Relying on content mills makes it extremely difficult to create a sustainable and growing business.
Some freelancers take content mills as an important learning experience, and others tell you to stay well away. Whether you decide to use them, most people agree that staying on them long term is a bad idea.
It’s bad for developing your confidence in becoming a business owner because you don’t have to go out and market to win clients. You get used to working for minimal amounts of money which leads to a hesitancy of charging higher fees.
You Avoid Marketing
You could be the greatest freelancer in the world but it will make absolutely no difference if you’re not going out there and finding your clients.
Some people think that once they’ve got a website and social media set up that the clients will suddenly flock to them. Not true. You need to go out and pitch to people, tell them why they need your services and how they’re going to benefit.
Marketing is a daunting prospect for anyone, particularly freelancers who are often more introverted. Unless you’re willing to hire someone else to handle it, the duty falls to you and you need to bite the bullet and embrace it.
You Boast Instead of Promise
Following on from the last point, you could be great at what you do but you need to think of this from the client’s point of view.
When you come to pitch potential clients, don’t just talk about how good at your job you are. That information alone isn’t helpful to a client. What the client wants to know is how working with you will benefit them.
So don’t talk about your skill, talk about how your product will add value to your client’s business or lifestyle. Think about results rather than simple actions. The best way to do this is to highlight past achievements and the positive outcomes of your actions.
You’re taking on Too Much
Many freelancers forget that this is their business and they can turn down work if they need or want to. You don’t have to say yes to every project.
If fact, it’s better if you do turn down work. If you’re too busy then the quality will start to suffer and you’re clients could be left unhappy. If you turn down a client, they may even see this as a sign that you’re in demand and good to work with.
One solution to dealing with busy periods is to increase your rate. Some clients will drop off but you can replace them with higher paying ones so that you won’t need as many to run your business.
Remember, even if your busy periods are getting to you, you still need to be marketing to keep the flow of clients steady in order to maintain the sustainability of your business. It’s better to have too many than too few clients.
You’re Too General
One common mistake that a lot of freelancers make is trying to cover all bases and appeal to all possible clients. The problem is, if you’re appealing to everyone, you’re not appealing enough to anyone in particular and not standing out.
Freelancers who specialise in a subject or industry are more likely to get hired and paid more because it tells clients you’re an expert in that field. Most clients would rather someone who was really good at writing b2b copy than someone who just writes a bit of everything.
What other bad habits are you looking to break? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.
Want to learn more?
Subscribe to our newsletter to get accounting tips like this right to your inbox
About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.