My primary income is from freelancing. I do not consider myself a rookie freelancer, and neither does the IRS. This is why I believe I have the ability to write today’s blog post.
This is a blunt blog post. I want to get directly to the point. There are some freelancers who consider themselves professional when in all actuality, they are just rookies. There are even a few that I would not rate as a rookie but want-to-be freelancers.
In an effort to help, I am posting the 15 reasons you are still a rookie freelancer. Maybe by reading this, you can make the changes needed to become a professional freelancer.
1: You are using an unprofessional email address
Put yourself in the place of the client; you receive what seems to be a nice resume and portfolio, but you see their email: superdick@gmail or buzzardbreath@yahoo. So would you want to give an important freelance assignment to either one of these? Neither would I. I see nothing wrong with using a free email service, but use a professional name and not your nickname from Junior High School.
2: Not proofing and editing your work
Clients expect perfection. Now don’t get me wrong…I have sent material that has contained mistakes, and I am sure the best freelancer in the world has, but professional freelancers proof and edit their work before sending it. Sure, an error can slip through, but the rookie freelancer will have no chance of catching it, because they are not even checking for errors.
3: Not having a professional looking portfolio and resume
I can’t believe I have to even say this, but some individuals actually believe that they can get by without having a good portfolio and resume. While I am thinking about it, I am about due to update my portfolio and resume. It is a good idea to do so every 6 months if not sooner.
4: Not having a blog or a website
To be considered a professional freelancer, no matter your niche, you really need a blog or a website. By having one, you are showing that you have invested into developing a successful freelance business. You can start off with a free blog, but I do suggest purchasing a domain and web hosting. It is an investment into your freelancing future. You can put your portfolio, resume and other information so possible clients will know you are for real. I obtained my blog/website at:
5: A rookie freelancer fears negotiations
There is an art to negotiating. I rate it similar to the person who bids at auctions. You need to be able to explain to clients why you are charging what you are, and show them the value in your work. I know of a great course you can get that will help you with the negotiation process. You can find it below:
6: Not having a business plan
Professional freelancers have a detailed business plan. They set goals and objectives to meet those goals. The rookie freelancer just floats along with no plan, and they wonder why they are having so many problems. I suggest having, and using a day planner. Plan your business year, month and each day, and watch your freelance business become more successful.
7: Lying about skills or accreditation’s
When a person tells one lie, they will have to cover it with another lie. There is no reason to lie about any skills or accreditation’s. I really do not have a whole lot of college education, and I also don’t have certificates and trophies lining my walls, but clients still contract my writing services. Lying will catch you sooner or later.
8: Not investing
Whenever you look at any successful business, there is a common denominator. Successful business owners invest back into the business. If you have a freelance business, you do need to invest in tools and education to help grow your business. I mentioned the website earlier, and there are many other items you may want to consider investing in. One investment that I know you will find helpful is the time management system from Freshbooks; you can see it here. Also, many can be used as tax deductions.
9: Fearing communication
This is similar to fearing negotiating. Freelancing is a business where communication is a must! You must ask questions. You must call, email, Skype among other forms of communication. The professional freelancer does not fear communicating.
10: You don’t check in with former clients
When you examine any business, previous customers are what keep the business afloat and successful. It isn’t any different with freelancing businesses. Just checking in with former clients will show them you care enough about them to spend the time to contact them. You may be surprised how much business you will garner using this method.
11: Letting clients dictate rates
If you allow clients to tell you what they will pay you, instead of you telling the clients what you charge, you are doomed for freelance failure.
12: Never not accepting work
A rookie freelancer will take every single job that comes there way. A professional freelancer usually has so much work that they are forced to turn some work down. Not only that, if a client is unwilling to pay the rates you charge, you must say no.
13: No contracts
In this day and age, it is just foolish not to have a contract between freelancers and clients. I will admit that I have 1 client that I do not have a contract drawn up with, but I have also been working with him nearly 2 years and I have not had any issues. All others must sign contracts. There are just too many problems in freelancing; why add more to it when I have the control?
14: Not marketing yourself
Having a business means marketing your product. How would any business succeed if they did not market their products? In your freelance business, you are the product! To have success, you need to market yourself and your skills and talents. A rookie freelancer does not market their self.
15: Not meeting deadlines
This is a great way to “kill” a freelance business quickly. When a freelancer agrees to a deadline, it is imperative that he/she meets that deadline. In my years as a freelancer, I can count only 1 deadline missed, and that was because of a family emergency, and the client was very understanding. Do not be a rookie freelancer and miss deadlines!
So, do you fit the rookie freelancer category? If you do, change your pattern and come to the pro side. If you are not sure, you may want to have a freelance consultation.
Thanks for visiting, and please leave comments and questions below.
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