Freelance habits you should drop now!
As a freelancer, it’s only natural you want to impress. You want to put yourself out there and hold yourself to the best possible job quality and standard. It’s important. Quality is something nobody ever plays with and if you’ll make a name for yourself and have your clients returning, you’ll need to deliver a good job, one without mistakes. But dear freelancer, you’re a human being and all you have in one day is 24 hours. You should never be lazy, but at the same time, don’t overdo. An equilibrium must be struck. As such, here are seven bad habits you must drop now if you’ll succeed as a freelancer in this 21st century.
1. Taking up more or less than you can handle: Never bite more than you can chew!, I’m certain you have heard that before. As a freelancer looking for a living, you’ll be tempted to overpromise your clients. You will say you can type 2400 pages in word in 4 hours. How ridiculous! You must not allow yourself to get trapped in that web because it’ll ruin your reputation and business. Take only jobs you can do within a reasonable time. If you can do the job in 3 days, say it! If you can do it in 30 minutes, Good. But don’t overpromise. Know what you are good at and do it. If you’re too busy, just say so. If you can’t do it or are not sure about the expected time of delivery, please be transparent. Don’t give your clients a hyped or false image of your work rate and ability. People will value your truthfulness better and will know you’re reliable and always says the truth. That way, you will keep your clients. Also, taking up less than you can handle can destroy your productivity and reduce your chances of getting better at what you do. The secret is to strike a BALANCE between everything.
2. Procrastination: This is one of the traits you must drop as a freelancer. Procrastination will make you put off tasks you ought to execute urgently. This can lead to you losing clients and not making the best of your time which translates to losing good money you could have earned. If you work for someone, but from home, this can cost you your job. You can deal with this by putting up reminders to let you know you have something serious to do and try to be disciplined.
3. Not communicating effectively: This can ruin your business for you. One out of five freelance jobs that fail is due to ineffective communication. When you’re working physically with people, it’s easy to see that you’re doing your job. But when working online and doing a job for someone who’s halfway across the world, you need to keep them informed and up-to-date about what you’re doing and about the progress of the work. Nobody likes to be kept in the dark about something that’s important to them, let alone when they don’t know you personally. Don’t assume your client knows what you’re doing- inform them. Also, try to clarify what exactly the client wants before you take up the job.
4. Avoid acting unprofessionally: A freelancer is a professional and rightfully so and as such, you must hold yourself and your work to that standard. Avoid acting unprofessionally. If your client, for example, rejects your work after you’ve shown him and refuses to pay, you shouldn’t go about disparaging that client on social media and everywhere else. You should act politely and try not to lose your professional demeanor. As a matter of fact, how you act when you’re wronged goes a long way to prove how professional you are. So next time you are tempted to flare up, remember you’re a professional.
5. Changing your job quote: It could happen that after giving a particular amount as what you’ll take for doing the job, you discover that the amount you quoted is too small for the difficulty you face doing the job. At this point, you might be tempted to change the amount. This may make you seem like a fraud. Ensure that you correctly assess how much doing that job will cost you before you take up the job. This is to prevent coming later to change your quote. It won’t speak well of you and you might scare other clients away. You can ask for more pay if the client gives you more work than the originally-agreed job description. If you underbid, please make sure you complete the task first and then for subsequent jobs, give the client a higher quote. That is very professional.
6. Not improving yourself: This is one area you must do better at as a freelancer. The world is evolving and with it, online workspace. Your skills may have been well-appreciated some years ago but now, something better is in high demand. You should get better at what you currently do and also try to gain more than one skill. These days, people with more than one skillset get more jobs and ultimately earn more money.
7. Not taking out time to rest: It’s easy, especially as Nigerians to refuse to rest because we must make all the money there is to make. Sadly, this is often bad for us. A freelancer should have a time marked out for rest. Without a rest schedule or plan, you will discover a flow-in of your personal time into your work time, there will be no difference and your health will suffer. Dedicate specific hours to work and reserve specific hours for rest, adequate rest. Sleep deprivation will surely affect your work rate eventually, so why not make out time for rest?