Being a freelancer gives you a lot of freedom, not just in terms of work hours, but also in location, services, and pricing. Being able to do something you enjoy and make money from it at the same time is certainly one of the biggest perks as well.
Freelancers can also choose to do several different things. Writing, designing, photography, video editing, and virtual assisting are some of the ways that you can make money.
A 2019 study even shows how fast the freelancing industry is growing. Even so, many in this field often find themselves making far less than they expected. It’s not always due to unrealistic expectations.
Many working this way, especially beginners, often make a few vital mistakes while trying to generate an income. Here are a few key tips to earn money if you’re freelancing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Demand Your Worth
Find out what the going rate is for freelancers in your chosen industry and get a good handle on what others are charging. That’ll give you an idea of what you can ask for while still staying competitive.
It might be tempting to continually take lower rates if you don’t have an extensive portfolio. Occasionally taking a cheaper job isn’t a bad thing, but don’t get caught in a trap of constantly undercharging and overworking yourself.
Avoid Content Mills and Free-For-Alls
Content mills like Guru, Elance, and Demand Studios can be extremely tempting to a new freelancer. The clients are already there, and you just need to bid as low as possible to get the job. The problem lies in that bidding process.
That’s not to say that you can’t make money from these websites. However, falling victim to a content mill means that you’ll always be undercharging as you try to undercut everyone else bidding on the job.
Another side effect of this is that you’ll constantly feel discouraged, and you won’t feel motivated to deliver the best possible work for a minimal reward.
We can’t emphasize enough how important this is as a freelancer. Depending on the work you do, you might end up juggling several design projects or writing jobs with competing deadlines. Soon enough, you’ll start missing due dates or dropping the quality of your work.
You need to be your own personal assistant. Keep a calendar, and make sure that you track your projects and deadlines. It’ll even help you break your projects down into more manageable steps and prevent you from missing important submission dates.
It’s a Business – Don’t Forget That
Just because you’re working for yourself or don’t receive a consistent paycheck, it doesn’t mean that you’re not doing a job. You’re delivering a service or product, and you’re getting paid for it. In other words, you’re running a business, and you always need to remember that.
You’re the marketer, the bookkeeper, customer service, project manager, and owner, all at once. It’s a lot of responsibility, and you need to know that going in. It also means that you need to be able to do what’s necessary to make your business profitable.
Is a client more trouble than they’re worth financially? Cut them loose, and rather focus on the clients that are paying you according to your effort. Get terms in writing, and be clear about project scopes, contract breaches, and deadlines.
Bonus Tip: Check the Tax Laws
The last thing you want as a freelancer is to be hit with a massive tax evasion fine because you haven’t been submitting your taxes. There’s a lot of confusion about tax as a freelancer, but many tips are available online. Tax planning is not only important but an ongoing process.
If you’re not sure what taxes you should be paying, try to get professional advice.
Earn Money as a Freelancer
Freelancing is becoming an increasingly popular career, but many fail because of simple mistakes. Not being organized, delivering sub-par quality work, and falling trap to content mills are just some of the reasons why they fail.
Remember, you wouldn’t expect Prada to give you a discount on something so that you buy their product instead of Chanel’s. They demand the price they’re worth, and so should you. You’re running a business. If you keep that in mind, you’re well on your way to making money as a freelancer.