In one of the recent episodes of The Agency Show Podcast, our CEO, Yash Shah, hosted Preston Lee, the founder of Millo where they help freelancers level up their performance. Millo publishes articles, podcast episodes, guides, courses, and a lot more to help freelancers take their business to the next level.
In this episode, Preston talks about the common mistakes new freelancers make and how those can be avoided. So, if you've just started your freelance career and you wish to avoid some common mistakes as a beginner, check out the entire episode by clicking here.
Or, if you prefer reading over video or audio, keep reading! I will highlight the most common mistakes Preston shares that new freelancers make and how you can avoid them.
Let's get started!
4 Common Mistakes New Freelancers Make
1] Say No To Extra Money
Sounds bizarre, right? But hear me out. What I mean is saying no to scope creep i.e. extra work that your clients ask outside of the agreed scope. Basically, scope creep is any additional work that a client asks for - may it be more rework than agreed upon or an extra copy or design.
Preston says that scope creep can be a really good thing for your business - if you handle it correctly. He says scope creep without any additional revenue can be a bad idea as you'll be working extra for the same amount of money.
But here's what you can (should) do - when a client comes to you with some extra work, don't say no immediately. Accept the extra work and tell them how the timeline of the project and the budget will change. Talk to them about how much the extra work will cost them and what will you require from them and other details.
This way, you're just adding to your bill and earning extra from the same client. So, instead of just saying no to the work, explain how the budget will change and explore other options.
The clients may choose to say no, which is alright. But, if they agree with the terms, that's just extra money coming in for your business. Basically, it's a win-win situation for you.
“Don’t say no to scope creep. Just say no to doing it for free.”
2] Not Focus on Promoting Yourself
Whether you're a freelancer or an agency, there will always be a cycle of feast & famine i.e. there will be times when you have more work than you can handle (feast) and there'll be times where you're getting no work or no new clients (famine).
Preston shares that this is one of the most common problems that new freelancers face. To overcome this, you need to equally focus on promoting your services as much as you focus on getting new clients & bringing in revenue.
Because you're a freelancer, you're the only one that does all the work i.e. doing the client work, sending invoices, promoting your services, etc. So, what happens is, one month when you don't have client work, you'll put more effort into promoting your services so your marketing will be at the peak.
Now because of that, there'll be more clients coming in the next month so your sales (revenue) would be on peak. But, that month you won't be able to focus on marketing yourself, which may mean fewer sales the following month. And the cycle repeats.
That is why, Preston suggests that you need to figure out a way where marketing and promotion stay on peak - so you always have new clients coming in, keeping sales & revenue on the peak as well.
To do that, you may need to hire an extra pair of hands or use automation software for recurring tasks. For example, you can use CRM software, like Clientjoy, that can help you manage your entire client lifecycle - from leads to proposals & invoices to meetings to finally getting paid - all under one roof.
P.S. Clientjoy has a Free Forever plan - with all the features you might need to get you started! Sign up to try Clientjoy now.
3] Not Charge What You're Worth
Undoubtedly, you're going to charge lower rates when you're starting out as a freelancer. However, don't make the mistake of staying there forever.
In the podcast, Preston explains how he has seen people who have been working as a freelancer for a few years and yet price their services as what they were charging when starting out. And he says that it's okay to charge low when you're starting out but keep raising it as you grow.
Initially, low ticket gigs can be a quick fix when you are financially desperate. But it is important for you to grow and master your skills by taking on high ticket gigs.
However, it's not at all easy to get land high-ticket gigs. It takes patience and consistent hard work to build a reputation and land higher-paying jobs. And even after that, setting rates for your services can be complicated. Shoot too high, and you might lose the gig; shoot too low, and you'll wind up so overextended, financially and emotionally, and you won't be able to do your best work.
And then there's also the big question of how high should you raise your charges. To give a simple solution to this, Preston suggests freelancers raise their charges gradually. Year after year, start raising your price ad once you start getting some pushback i.e. don't get new clients that accept your price, you'll know the price you should set.
It's possible that you lose a couple of opportunities because of this and that's totally fine. But, don't be afraid to take another look at your rates, revise them, and negotiate accordingly — especially when you take new freelance jobs.
4] Not Have Set Processes
When you're a freelancer, you're the only one that manages everything - from onboarding new clients, doing the work, sending proposals & invoices, following up for payments, and all other aspects.
And all of this can be a bit overwhelming if you don't use automation software and have set processes. Efficient tools and processes can make your work more productive and profitable. It'll give you more time to focus on things that are more important and cannot be automated, like pitching to new clients or keeping the existing clients happy.
“The more processes you can have, the less overworked you’ll feel.”
Preston explains that building processes for your freelance business will help you in the long run as every time a similar situation comes up, you know exactly what you need to do. Or you might have already had automation set up.
For example, if you have more than one client and have regular meetings with them, you will need to go back and forth on email to schedule a meeting, unless you have automation set up. With Clientjoy, you get your own meeting link that you can share with your clients and they can use it to book a meeting with you.
You can set your availability as well, something like you're available on Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 7 PM. That way, you will have meetings according to your schedule and not out of your working hours.
Finally, Preston has talked a lot about how new freelancers can avoid these mistakes and a few other things that'll help you grow your freelance business. Check out the entire episode below. 👇🏻