Three Freelancing Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

And how you can save yourselves from the mistakes I made.

Three Freelancing Lessons I Learned the Hard Way
Image from Anangsha’s Instagram.

And how you can save yourselves from the mistakes I made.

I wish I had a blueprint on how to be a successful freelancer right when I first started my journey.

I began with no one to guide me and no solid framework that I could follow. As a result, I committed a series of glaring mistakes which pushed me back by several months with respect to my competitors.

However, these mistakes taught me some really significant lessons that made me aware of some pitfalls that no freelancer should ever fall into.

In this post, I’ll share the three most important lessons I’ve learned as a freelancer, as well as how you can apply them to your own life.

If you’re a freelance writer, this post will be extremely useful to you. Even if you don’t write, you’ll get a significant insight into all of the considerations you should make while working for freelance clients, irrespective of the domain.

1. When starting a new project, never dive in blind

At the start of my career, I took up multiple projects without fully understanding the company’s field of work. As a consequence, I had to devote a significant amount of time and effort to crafting articles that were ultimately rejected. And all this because my articles did not meet the company’s tone.

This led to some friction between me and my clients. After all, no company wants to pay you to learn, they want you to produce results, irrespective of whether you’re at the beginning of your job.

This is a harsh lesson to learn, but it’s one of the most important ones to learn early in your career.

Key takeaway

Don’t start a project until you know everything there is to know about the organization and its demands.

Don’t base your decisions on assumptions.

Keep in mind that the customer pays you to produce value, not to learn on the job. Don’t make them resent employing you because you don’t completely comprehend their needs.

2. If the niche isn’t relevant for you, say “NO”

I once negotiated a profitable contract with a business that specialized in healthcare products. I’ve never written anything on healthcare before, let alone anything keeping SEO in mind.

Needless to say, when I started on the job, I had to spend several hours researching the needs of such a company.

And when I did, I found that, despite the wonderful pay, I didn’t have any passion to write on such themes. As a result, I ended up putting in a lot more time and effort than I would have if the firm was in my own niche.

Key takeaway

Regardless of the size of a payout, if you don’t like the type of articles a firm requires, don’t sign the contract.

In the short run, it may cost you some money. But, it will free up your schedule. As a result, you’ll be able to get better clients in the long run with better work in the field in which you enjoy writing.

The prospect of earning a few quick bucks might be exciting, but nothing beats the frustration of signing a contract for a set number of articles and then hitting your head against the wall attempting to deliver on your promises.

3. Always deliver more than what you are compensated for

This is applicable for every project, especially if you’re at the start of your career. If you’re solely bringing your writing skills to the table, then you may be replaced by one of the hundreds of thousands of writers who offer their services on sites like Upwork and Fiverr.

However, if you overdeliver and provide the firm with ideas they didn’t even ask for, it will become evident that you’re being compensated not just for your writing, but also for the unique viewpoint that you bring to the organization.

Try to showcase your best work, beginning with your first submission. This demonstrates to the firm that you’re working with an objective, and are an invaluable asset, unlike someone who can merely spin some words.

You should show that you’re someone who’ll actually add value to the organization way beyond just their blogs.

Key takeaway

Think outside the box and come up with ideas that will benefit the organization in the long run. Not only will it make you a valuable asset, but it also ensures that your contract with the organization extends beyond the initial trial term for which you were hired.

Closing thoughts

As a freelancer, it’s easy to make mistakes, but it’s also simple to get back up and carve your own path when you fall, despite the odds being stacked against you.

I’ve made countless mistakes in my freelance writing career, but these mistakes have shaped my path and made me aware of all that must be avoided in this profession that I have chosen.

If any of the lessons I’ve shared here struck a chord with you, please share your thoughts in the comment section. And, if you are a freelancer yourself, I’d love to hear the lessons you’ve learned along the way that might benefit other writers.

Want to be a successful freelancer but struggling to find good clients? Check out my 90-day guide to finding your first high-paying freelance client. You’ll find 5 pitching secrets, 2 email templates, and a solid framework to get your freelancing career started.