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5 Ways Freelancers Sabotage Their Success

by Laura Spencer

on April 25, 2013

in Freelancing Basics Marketing

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

Are you a struggling freelancer? Do you feel like your freelancing business is about to fail? Are you having trouble figuring out what went wrong?

Don’t be embarrassed. Most of us have been there at one time or another. You may be sabotaging your own freelance success without even realizing it.

The good news is that most freelance failure can be reversed if you know what to do.

In this post, I’ll explain five ways that freelancers sabotage their own success. I’ll also explain how you can fix each problem.

If you liked this post, you may also like The Surprising Reason Why Freelancers Fail, which describes five more causes of freelance failure.

Are You Guilty of Sabotage?

The first key to freelancing success is to identify and stop self-sabotage.

Here are five things freelancers do that cause them to fail, with suggestions on how you can fix each:

  1. Charging Fees That Are Too Low. The dangers of low rates have been widely publicized. If you don’t charge enough for your freelancing work, you’ll have a hard time finding enough work so that you can earn a living. You will find yourself working long hours for many different clients. Plus, your administration costs will increase because you will need more customers to earn the same amount of money.

    The Fix: Raise your rates. While this can seem scary (and you may lose a few of your cheapest customers), in the long-run you will find that charging higher rates greatly increases your freelancing success and reduces the number of bad clients you encounter.

  2. Failure to Get the Agreement in Writing. While freelancers may understand the value of having a contract, many fail to get one before they start work. Sometimes this is due to not understanding how to set up a good freelancing contract. Sometimes it is fear on the part of the freelancer who is afraid that the client will hesitate to give them the work if they ask for a written agreement.

    The Fix: Make it a policy to always get the terms of the freelance project in writing. While a contract is best, a detailed email can be an effective record of what was agreed upon. Also, if the client presents you with a contract, be sure to review it carefully to make sure your interests are represented.

  3. Not Negotiating. Most freelance clients are more flexible than many freelancers give them credit for. For example, when it comes to the budget for the project most clients have a range rather than a set figure. Also, project deadlines can often be moved if you ask. In fact, nearly every term can be negotiated before you reach a final agreement with the client.

    The Fix: You’ll never know how flexible the client is unless you ask. If you make a reasonable change to the client’s proposed terms, most clients are happy to accommodate you. This is especially true if you point out how the change will benefit the client.

  4. Stopping Their Marketing Efforts. Have you ever been so busy with freelancing projects that you forget to market yourself as a freelancer? If you answered “yes,” then you’re like most of us. It’s easy to forget about marketing when you have plenty of work, but don’t fall into this trap or you’ll get caught up in the freelancing feast or famine cycle.

    The Fix: Create and maintain an active online presence including a portfolio that you update regularly, active social media accounts, and a blog for your freelancing business. Schedule at least an hour of every day for your marketing efforts.

  5. Procrastinating. Do you put off projects until the last minute, and then rush to get them done in time to meet the deadline? If this describes you, you are probably a procrastinator. Too much procrastination can have serious consequences for your freelancing business. Rushing to get a project done at the last minute can lead to mistakes and sloppy work.

    The Fix: There are many ways to overcome procrastination including better time management. One little trick that works well for me is to act as though the project is due a few days earlier than it actually is. That way, I’m covered if something comes up to delay the project (and I often get the work turned in before it is due).

Your Turn

What self-sabotaging behaviors have you struggled with? How did you overcome them?

Share your answers in the comments.

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 LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.