When it comes to the life of a freelancer, a common story is often shared among those that have hustled and faced a lot of difficulties when trying to find work in the competitive job environment of today’s world.
With the arrival of the internet, freelancing has been made a little easy and has evolved in a number of ways adding on the vast number of tools and information available at our disposal on the world wide web, which is why many have taken on the freelance idea to make money and survive.
However, when starting out as a freelancer for the first time, many of us make common mistakes that lead us to failure and in the long run completely give up on the idea entirely. The story we’re about to share with you is one of a freelancer that experienced the hurdles that come with freelancing and why many fail at it.
This article was originally written by Cybdom Tech
5 Reasons Why You Fail As A Freelancer
1. Limiting yourself to Freelance websites
When I got started, one of the first courses I took about programming was: The Complete Web Developer Course – By Rob Percival. As a material for the course, we got a small Ebook called: How to earn 10 000$ while learning to code.
While I was reading the book and taking the course I started bidding on gigs on those Freelance websites, but there was and still is a huge problem with those websites:
If you have 0 reputations you won’t be selected for good-paying gigs
And to get the reputation you have to bid as low as other’s do (I saw people willing to work for as low as 1$/hour, and they say they can do Full Stack web and mobile development. Do you believe them? I don’t. But some people do!)
So, if you didn’t get very early on these websites or you just have an amazing luck/reputation it will be a nightmare to make a living using them.
2. Not charging as much as you should be
This is a real issue, coming from a third world country, I feel that charging $50+/hour is too much while it is NOT! For example, if you build an app that will generate +10000$ a month you shouldn’t feel ashamed to charge that much or even more.
I believe that the amount we should charge is directly related to the value we are bringing in. And please don’t try to compete with those people who say they are full stack developers and accept to work for 1$ / hour. You are much more valuable than that.
3. Neglecting social media
I have never been good with social media, I had Facebook and I only used it for messaging. But now I realize that social media can be a huge push forward. Take a look at these stats (It’s ego breaking to share this with the world but here you go it’s for the good cause):
Guess what happened at that spike? Someone retweeted a publication I made on twitter about one of my articles: Cloud storage manager App UI in Flutter (Source Code) and then the article got shared so many times I didn’t understand what was happening when I saw the real-time traffic on my analytics.
- Image credit: Cybdom Tech
Of course, this is nothing to brag about, as I said I am shy to share this with you it is stupid low traffic and it’s not generating any money but am just using it as an example.
4. Working on collaborations
This one is my personal favourite when you start to showcase your work online and people start to notice that you have some talent they come to you with their super mega IDEA of the century and all they need is you to do the work but of course, they don’t have any money to pay you! So, you do the job and once they get “Rich” they will eventually pay you.
In most cases, people who are doing this are people who get gigs from companies and they outsource the work to you. They get paid and you get NOTHING in most cases.
5. Not having signed contracts before work
This one also happened to me a LOT. You get selected for a task/job you are all excited about it and you work hard to implement everything the client “ASKED YOU” to do, and then you deliver it and you expect to be paid, and your client says:
Wow you did it so fast it’s awesome, can you add this other functionality?
And because you are a nice person, (or you try to give a good impression of yourself ? ) so you accept. Now you are caught in a vicious cycle, the employer becomes a vampire as they continue to get as much as they can from you, and by the time you say NO, THAT’S ENOUGH you get fired and you lose everything! (Real story).
These are the most common traps I fell into while doing freelance work and these are some bits of advice for you:
1. Bidding only on freelance website gigs
Don’t just bid on freelance website gigs, go out there and try to meet with business representatives in your area, contact them on LinkedIn. If you still want to work on these websites try to get a good reputation (I still don’t know how to do that sorry lol).
2. Don’t underestimate yourself
Don’t underestimate your value, ask to be paid a fair price, and don’t look at the minimum wage in your country or area. Online business is a worldwide business, worldwide business is paid in dollars. Give value to your work based on US standards. (Some of you may disagree, and I’d love to hear your opinion on this one).
3. Make use of social media
Use social media the right way, try to grow your online presence, write blog articles, share useful stuff, do things for free, one day it will pay off.
4. Working on collaborations
Just don’t work on collaborations, just say no. No thank you.
5. Always have a contract in place
For Gods’ sake, write a CONTRACT and clearly state what your tasks are, how much are you getting paid for the job, and every detail you can get. Have a copy with you and give one to your employer.
This is all I can think of right now, I hope you had a good time reading this, and you got some useful information. If you did please share it with your wannabe freelancer friends it may help them avoid these traps!
Did you fall in any of these traps? Share with us your story in the comment section. You can also check out Cybdom Tech to catch up on the latest from their blog.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.