It's been a few days, months or years since you started as a freelance web designer, but you still feel like you're not making any progress. While others are on their way to independence, you're sitting there twiddling your thumbs. Indeed, you see others bragging on social networks that they have no trouble finding their clients...
You may calm down, but now it's too much. Doubts come to you: is freelancing for me? Can I make it my real job?
But then again, have you ever wondered if the problem is you? Maybe you're not doing everything the right way yet. What if you're still falling into the freelance mistakes of a beginner?
Do you think that sticking with what you already do is a good idea or not?
I don't see what the problem is, as long as I earn a good living, it's enough for me
I think that as a freelancer, you have to know how to surpass yourself. You have to try to go beyond your limits and thus, never stop progressing.
You have another opinion? Don't hesitate to share it with us!
In freelancing, clients don't come overnight. And even if they do, your sales won't suddenly increase, as if by chance. You need time, and when I say "time" I don't mean one, two, three, or even six or nine months. It will probably take a few years before your business really takes off.
Time for what, precisely?
These are just examples, but I'll spare you the list of everything you'll need to do at this point.
This is not to discourage you, but to warn you. Knowing the realities of freelancing, you're not likely to give up any time soon. Unlike those newbie freelancers who don't know what to expect, and at the first sign of trouble, think they've failed. For these people, freelancing is very risky. It's an unstable status, they say.
To conclude this first part, don't make the mistake of expecting great things from your first year of freelancing. Be patient. Time will pay off. 😊
Has it ever happened to you to work for free? It can happen without you really realizing it (or not 😵 ). Here are some examples:
As a beginner, you might be willing to work for free. What you don't know is that such an attitude does not bode well for your business. Since the work is done "for free", don't be surprised if your client doesn't value what you do. He didn't pay anything for it; it is normal that he is not aware of its importance.
However, if you set the record straight and charge for "all" your work, you make your clients understand that your work is worthwhile!
Remember: "time is money". Yet, the more you procrastinate and put things off, the more time you waste. Unfortunately, this is a well-known freelancing fallacy! We believe that freelancing = freedom, so we put off certain tasks until tomorrow, the end of the day or the end of the week. It's usually the tasks we don't like the most that we decide to do at the last minute: calls, prospecting, appointments, etc.
But does it do any good at all? Are we really free? I don't know about you, but that was not the case for me. On the contrary, I stress out a lot until I finish the task at hand. And because I stress, needless to say, I'm not even productive.
So here's a tip: before you even start working, I suggest you schedule everything you have to do for the day. Some people even plan their week or even their month. But I recommend that you start small. While you are planning, try to put the tasks you don't like first thing in the morning, at the beginning of the week or month. At those times, I assure you that you are more productive because you haven't spent your energy on anything else yet 💪.
When you work as a freelancer, you usually work alone, from home. It's just a choice, some people are introverts, others are not. If you like to have company, you can go to coworking spaces, coffee shops... And even if you love to isolate yourself, alone, in your corner, at some point, you will need company. In short, being a freelancer doesn't mean you have to isolate yourself at home. It's even a fatal freelance mistake!
The more you isolate yourself, the more lonely you feel. A feeling that's not good for your business. Instead of moving forward, you'll only sink deeper. To avoid this, find ways to connect with the outside world. Going to various coworking spaces, professional events... are examples, but in case this is not possible for you, know that virtual contacts are also good. Why not join specific groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, composed of people who share the same values as you (professionally speaking or not), who do the same activity as you, who have the same vision as you.
Speaking of common interests, you'll be more and more motivated, you'll have more confidence in yourself... All good things then! 😍
We tend to want to please everyone. That's why we often say yes, to anything and everything 😅 (at least for me). In the context of freelancing, this is still valid. There are those who don't know how to say no to their clients, especially when they give them extra tasks (the idea was already discussed in the second paragraph: working for free). In this case, the client is asking for your permission, but it is you who makes the freelance mistake of accepting without thinking it through.
Just remember this: you can't please everyone. What's the point of trying to please if all you're going to get in the end is scorn? There are two possible cases:
In neither case will your client be satisfied with your work. You will only have lost time, and eventually, his trust.
On the other hand, if you know how to refuse and you explain the reasons why you are doing so (it is not in your line of work, it is not stipulated in the initial contract...), your client shows you even more respect. He knows your values, your true skills. He will have no choice but to trust you more.
To earn more and more money, freelancers are often tempted to offer several services at the same time. Webdesigners think for example that they can also offer services in logo design, graphic design, SEO... simply because these areas are more or less related to the creation of a website.
As an experienced web designer, however, I would dissuade you from making this ultimate freelance mistake! Tell me, is there any possibility that you could excel in all these areas at once? Frankly, it's impossible. You risk becoming "good at nothing" (I think this term illustrates very well what I mean: instead of mastering one or two of them, you master none).
However, by specializing in a single field (web design, in our case), you have the time to train as much as possible. This way, you will be able to proclaim yourself as an "expert" and then, earn more money. Your work will have a real value. And your clients will recognize that. They will respect you.
If I were to give you one piece of advice, it would be this: choose a niche where you will focus all your attention and specialize.
Before you started freelancing, what did you do? If you had another job, maybe as a salaried employee, in a big company, chances are that your entourage will be perplexed when they see you taking the plunge. It's a big change in your life, and it's normal that they are worried about you. Especially since the world of freelancing and digital is something new (different from traditional jobs). Believing that going into freelancing is a mistake, they will probably try to dissuade you in every possible way. Usually, they sow doubt in your mind. They start criticizing your new world...
And then you have a choice between listening to them and letting them influence you, or listening to them and continuing to believe in yourself and your plans. I would go for the second option 😌 I would tell myself that if others could accomplish it, why not me? Tell yourself that as long as you are happy, believe in yourself, it's okay!
If you want to succeed in freelancing, you need to have a sense of priority. Define what is important to you and then make decisions based on that. So start with the "smallest" decisions, for example: planning your schedule. As I often say: time is money (which is even more true in the freelancing world). We might as well dwell on that.
Don't waste your time on trivial things. To take a step back and see if you don't, list all the tasks you have to do for the day. When you try to do them, time them. Then, take the time to analyze your day. What kind of assignments are you wasting your time on the most? Are these assignments really worth spending a lot of time on?
Once you're past this stage, what decisions do you need to make? If you have found that there are tasks that are taking up a lot of your time, but that don't make sense for your business, you will have to eliminate them from your routine or delegate them to others.
Whether you are a beginner or not, the fact that you have started in webdesign means that you master this field. Maybe you have followed a webflow training or you are self-taught. This is already a good reason to be confident and not to be shy.
Being shy (whether in proposals or advice) has a negative impact on your image. You will appear as a liar, a person who doesn't even know what they are doing. A person who is not trustworthy. That's when your clients decide to take the reigns. They tell you what to do and how to do it, even if they're wrong. And since you are too shy to offer your ideas or correct them, you let them do it. And he, little by little, finds his ease; he continues to give you orders. Once the project is finished and if it doesn't work (because you agreed to do everything wrong), your client will blame you. After all, it was you who failed to advise him on what to do and what not to do.
On the other hand, if you don't hesitate to show that you are the one who masters your work better than anyone else, without even realizing it, you define your place. You are your client's collaborator, not his employee.
Last but not least, the 10th freelance mistake: limiting your vision.
In reality, it's not just up to you. The people around you also play a role. Remember when I told you not to isolate yourself? That you have to surround yourself with people who have the same activities as you? Well, you have to do it carefully. The people you choose will have an impact on your long-term vision.
If they don't want to move forward, you might not want to either. But if they are ambitious and have great plans for the coming months or years, this attitude is contagious. As you interact with them, their visions will automatically be passed on to you.
Now that you've identified the 10 most common freelancing mistakes, I'm sure you can continue to develop your business with peace of mind. Because yes, in the world of freelancing, you need to have the right mindset.
It's not enough to have a client who pays you regularly. You have to think like an entrepreneur (because that's what you are). And entrepreneurs, they are always looking for ways to move forward, to move their business forward. By the way, if you have read this article to the end, it means that you already have the will. All you have to do now is to apply all the advice I have just given you. Don't hesitate to tell me more about it! 🙂