Beginning your career as a freelancer can be exciting, and thankfully there is a lot of room for error. In creating my business, I discovered at least five common mistakes Freelance Writers make, including myself.
At the beginning of my business, I had no idea how to do many things. Such as creating my schedule or keeping myself focused. I was also incredibly exciting, causing me to embarrass myself with an editor.
Mistakes happen, especially when you are beginning. As small business owners, you also know that we like to do things “our” way. We have a particular way we love to do administrative things or even how we answer the phones.
The common mistakes we all make can cause frustration and prevent us from moving forward. Alas, you can recover from these five common mistakes that every freelance writer makes.
Five Common Mistakes Every Freelance Writer Makes.
You Don’t Have Set Procedures Set Up for Your Business.
I know that sounds funny, but if you are like me, you may be the only employee, so why do you need to follow procedures? The number one reason would be so you don’t forget something, and the other reason is to be successful.
So, let’s start at the beginning; what is your pitching process?
Do you have a plan for what happens after you send your pitch? Are you one of those writers that set goals for the number of pitches to send a day, send them out then wait for someone to get back to you?
We have all been guilty of this one; trust me. As an introvert, I am raising my hand. It was hard enough to draft “the pitch,” following up feels embarrassing, and I feel overbearing.
Traditionally, when applying for a job, you send your cover letter and resume to a future career, and you wait a couple of days before following up.
Freelancing is not any different. You don’t just send a pitch into the abyss hoping that something will stick. Contacting a potential client to follow up on your email increases your chances of actually getting the job.
Think about it, just like with any job; the prospective client is probably knee-deep buried in pitches, their regular duties, and whatever fires they must put out.
Which means your pitch may have gotten lost or forgotten.
Sending your follow-up email may catch the client as they are sifting through the countless other pitches, reminding them you are there and directing them to your pitch.
I recommend waiting about a week to follow up. Ask if the editor/client has already found a content writer, and make sure to mention that you are still available if they have not found a writer.
You Don’t Have a Project Management System.
Being organized is essential for a sole business owner and operator. Otherwise, things will get lost, forgotten, or even possibly neglected.
Simply setting up an excel or google sheet will help you with your client work, pitches, and finances. Trello is a great tool to help you with the process of planning out your article, especially if you are working with someone else.
They can keep up with what you’re working on, what still needs to start, or which due dates are upcoming.
Here is an example of my project management workflow using click-up.
I love the streamlined visual I get with click-up, and there are no tricky formulas that I have to play around with; I can just set up and go.
You’re Not Using Social Media, or You Don’t Know How
Social Media is two things, annoying and necessary for any business. While there is a lot of white noise on social media, you will save yourself from having a headache if you have a plan.
It would be best to think about a scheduling system; this way, you can manage times that work best for your blog/website/business. You can also see what posts perform better than others, which will help you to recreate those kinds of posts.
Tell your story. Many people want to know what you have to say; the audience needs to be moved. The more authentic you are, the more you will stand out and be successful on social media.
As a freelancer, the other question is which platforms should I be using?
LinkedIn is the number one platform you should be using if you want to be taken seriously as a freelance writer.
LinkedIn is a professional platform where you can find job listings, headhunters looking for potential employees for their clients, and business managers.
Make sure that your profile is used efficiently, with a clear headline about what you do. A bio that explains not “who” you are but what you are looking for and the skills you possess.
Remember posting on blogs, your own, or someone else’s, is a great way to get your portfolio started.
You don’t have any business plans.
As time-consuming and tedious as business plans may seem, if you don’t have one, then you might as well not have a business. The reason for business plans is to guide you, to provide you with direction.
There is no one else involved in your business to tell you what to do next or even what you should do. Plus, with a plan, you can stay consistent. Without it, you may implement procedures contradicting others, causing you a headache.
For instance, you may pull out of your head an amount you want to charge for a blog post. The client wants an article that is only 500 words.
You do some research and then write the blog post. Another client comes along, and you quote them a different price, but the work is either less or more. The client then becomes frustrated with the price you may have come up with, possibly because it is too high.
Or you were referred to this person by your last client, and they are not getting as much with the services you are providing them. So the client feels your services are not worth the trouble.
With a plan in place, you will have hashed out all those details and the know-how to charge accordingly.
You’re doing too much at one time.
This is your business, and you want to succeed. That doesn’t mean that you need to say yes to everything that comes your way. In doing so, you could be sabotaging yourself. What?
Yes, you are sabotaging yourself and your business. The quality of your work may not be at the level you would like it to be, and you may even find yourself burned out with all the madness of reaching deadlines and getting more pitches out.
Check out this article on Entreprenrur.com.
It’s ok to make mistakes as a freelancer!
In the end, taking on too much does not show how invested you are in your business. It is the opposite. Your business will not thrive if you are not thriving. If you’re stressed out, then you may find yourself avoiding the company as much as possible. After all, you didn’t get into the freelance career to be overwhelmed and stressed out with duties.
The most common reason we tend to take too much on is that we don’t consider our strengths and weaknesses. Sadly, sometimes our strengths or weaknesses work against us, as in a customer-focused business.
Take the time to understand what you can handle and say no to. There is nothing wrong with saying no, or not right now. You will not “look” wrong, and your business is not going to burst into flames if you let a job go.
As a freelancer, you have already established the mindset there will be great times, and there will be. The bottom line is it is your business, and starting is exciting, but it is also the tip of the iceberg. You are in this for the long haul; rewards will come.
Just allow them to and set yourself up for success.
Need more advice? Check out our post on 10 Easy Marketing Ideas For You to Try!
Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me using the form below or email me at email@example.com.