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50+ Myths About Freelancing

by Laura Spencer

on May 7, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Freelancing Life

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

Have you gotten the wrong idea about freelancing? If so, you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of freelancing myths out there. I hear (and read) the strangest things about freelancers and freelancing. Apparently, many people actually believe the myths that are out there about freelancing.

I thought it was about time to set the record straight.

In this post, I share my most comprehensive list of freelancing myths ever. Plus, I’ll explain what’s wrong with each myth.

If you like this post, you may also like 14+ Things Your “Client” Says That They Probably Donâ??t Really Mean.

Myths About Freelancing

Here are over 50 common misperceptions about freelancing:

  1. Freelancers can’t find any other work. Actually, many successful freelancers are freelancing by choice.
  2. It costs a lot of money to start a freelancing business. While there are some initial investments required, the start up costs for most freelancers are lower than the start up costs for many other types of small businesses.
  3. All freelancers sleep until noon. Actually, it’s to a freelancer’s advantage to be available when their clients are open.
  4. Freelancers have poor social skills. Successful freelancers must deal well with many different types of clients.
  5. You can’t trust a freelancer. Freelancing is all about reliability and having a good reputation.
  6. All freelancers have poor hygiene. While it’s possible to ignore hygiene as a freelancer, many freelancers find they feel better when they don’t.
  7. Freelancers always pad their quotes. Actually, the opposite is true. Most freelancers underestimate the amount of work a project requires and under quote on projects.
  8. All freelancers are from third world countries. Thanks to Internet globalization, freelancers come from all over the world including both developed and undeveloped nations.
  9. Freelancing is an easy way to get rich quick. For most freelancers, freelancing takes a lot of hard work.
  10. Freelancing is ideal if you don’t get along with others. If you don’t get along well with others in traditional employment, you probably won’t get along with clients in a freelancing environment.
  11. Your freelancer knows what you want without you telling them. Communication is key to a successful client/freelancer relationship.
  12. Freelancing is passive income. Passive income is income that comes with very little effort. Most freelancers put a lot of effort into their freelancing business.
  13. Most freelancers are teens who “work” from their parents’ basement. While a few freelancers may be teens, many are seasoned professionals with years of experience.
  14. All freelancers are broke. A freelancer who manages his or her money well and attracts repeat clients can earn a good living.
  15. If you are good at what you do, clients will automatically find you. Marketing your freelancing business is how you help clients to find you.
  16. Freelancers only work on glamorous and exciting projects. Actually, many freelance projects are not glamorous or exciting. Freelancers need to pay their bills.
  17. Freelancing is a romantic lifestyle. In the movies or on TV, freelancing is sometimes depicted as a romantic lifestyle. The truth is that freelancing means you are running a business.
  18. You can’t have a career if you freelance. As a freelancer you can most certainly have a career since you set your own goals and milestones.
  19. You can’t return to traditional employment if you freelance. People move back and forth between traditional employment and freelancing all the time. Freelancing is more accepted than ever before.
  20. Freelancing is easy, anyone can do it. Actually, you must have a marketable skill before you can freelance.
  21. All freelancers are desperate for work. Good freelancers may be booked up weeks or even months in advance.
  22. I’m not good enough to be a freelancer. A lack of self-confidence keeps many people from freelancing, but if you’re good at what you do and your employer likes your work chances are that you are good enough to freelance.
  23. You have to specialize to succeed at freelancing. While many freelancers prefer to specialize, it’s not the only way to go. Many successful freelancers are generalists in their field.
  24. If something goes wrong, it’s always the client’s fault. You don’t really believe this, do you? If you make a mistake, apologize to the client and fix it.
  25. You can work from absolutely anywhere. I’d call this one a half-truth. While there’s a lot of connectivity out there, you may find that working from a noisy restaurant or busy public area is not very productive.
  26. Social media is a waste of time for freelancers. Social media can be a waste of time if you do it wrong. Use social media to connect with others and build relationships.
  27. Most freelancers spend all day every day playing computer games. Freelancers don’t do this if they want to stay in business.
  28. It doesn’t matter what you do or say online. Actually, what you do or say online can haunt you for a long time. Be careful.
  29. You can earn a full-time living in just a few hours a week. While a few freelancers earn a full-time living putting in less than full-time hours, this doesn’t happen for everyone.
  30. You should never work with family. Some family members work well together and can successfully partner with each other on freelance projects.
  31. All freelance blogs earn a substantial income. Most freelance blogs are there to highlight the freelancer’s expertise.
  32. You can do whatever you want as a freelancer and still get paid. No, actually you can only get paid if you deliver what a client wants or needs.
  33. All freelancing gigs are scams. Fifteen years ago, I believed this myself. But the truth is that there are many legitimate freelancing opportunities.
  34. All freelancers subsist on a diet of soda and junk food. If you follow this diet, you’ll get sick and that will seriously undermine your ability to freelance.
  35. You’ll need to work 24/7 to succeed as a freelancer. Rest and relaxation are important to freelancers. Establish some work/life boundaries and stick with them.
  36. To succeed, you need to make sure your freelancing rate is less than anyone else’s rate. Never market yourself on the basis of having the lowest price. Instead, focus on quality and value added.
  37. Freelancers should never work for start-ups. Many freelancers hesitate to work for young companies, fearing that they won’t be able to pay. Actually, some start-ups provide great opportunities for freelancers.
  38. Freelancers should always work for start-ups. Freelancers can and should seek out companies of all sizes.
  39. You shouldn’t charge a client for meeting time. While it’s okay to provide some meeting time in your estimate, if a client requires you to sit in on meetings that don’t directly impact your project you should charge the client for your time.
  40. You don’t need a written agreement with your client. A written agreement or contract is a good way to protect yourself if something goes wrong.
  41. Never turn down paying work. Some paying work isn’t worth your time. Never hesitate to turn down a project is something feels “off” to you.
  42. You need special training to be a freelancer. You do need a marketable skill, but that doesn’t always mean that you need formal training.
  43. You shouldn’t freelance right out of school. New graduates can often use freelancing as their first professional experience.
  44. All cheap freelancers do substandard work. Actually, some underpriced freelancers are quite good and do quality work.
  45. All cheap freelancers are a good bargain. Unfortunately, many underpriced freelancers do substandard work (either because they are rushed or because they don’t have the skills).
  46. The more clients you have as a freelancer, the better off you are. You can be overcommitted. If you take on more work than you can handle, your freelancing business may suffer.
  47. As a freelancer, you need to do everything yourself. Actually, it makes a lot of sense to subcontract out work outside of your expertise or when you are too busy.
  48. Revenue-sharing gigs are a good deal. While there are always a few freelancers who do well under a revenue-sharing scenario, in general it’s not a good idea for most freelancers.
  49. Freelancers are more available for volunteer work than traditional employees. Sometimes community members think that freelancers should be called upon for volunteer work simply because they work from home. However, freelancing is a real job and it takes real time to do.
  50. If I’m in a famine period, I must be doing something wrong. Many experienced and successful freelancers go through a famine period so don’t beat yourself up over it. You can try changing your marketing strategy to see if that helps.
  51. Bonus Tip: The Person Most Likely to Hire You for Freelance Work Is Another Freelancer. Actually, many freelancers don’t hire other freelancers. Even if even if a freelancer does hire other freelancers, most don’t like it when a new freelancer contacts them out of the blue and asks for work.

Your Turn

What freelancing myths have you heard? Share your answers in the comments.

Image by UnorthodoxY

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Lauraâ??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.