3 biggest mistakes freelancers do
As a freelancer, you found yourself in a position of being a creator, sales person and manager in one. That’s why you need to develop many different skills in order to handle all of that. In this article, I’m giving you few tips on what to watch out for when you start out your freelancing career so you can avoid it and learn from my mistakes.
Don’t undervalue yourself
This is probably the most common mistake of all freelancers out there. When we start out, we think we need to do things for a very low price so our clients want us. In fact, the opposite is true. Cheap price just doesn’t look good in the first place and it might raise doubts in client’s mind, if you’re actually able to make it happen for this price.
Remember, if the price is high, you can negotiate to less, but if it’s already so low, there’s not much space for you to negotiate.
How other freelancers do it?
You need to do a research on other freelancers and agencies and know how much they charge for what. Then you can place yourself exactly where you need to be. You can also give the information to the client you’re dealing with and tell them you offer the best price for what they ask and they won’t find anybody else who’d do it cheaper and better.
Why you need to count every hour working?
If you make a quote, you need to count every single thing into it. Your travel expenses, the hours you email, meet and phone the client. As well as any possible changes and redos of your product. Also equipment hire, software hire and all the things you paid for to be able to start your business.
Should you work for free as a freelancer?
If you have no experience in the industry and no clients and portfolio whatsoever, then you should do few projects for free. But that’s where it ends. Get 3 big or 5 small projects in your portfolio, get testimonials from those clients and then charge from there.
Once you find a client who pays you, never ever go back and do something for free. There are a lot of people who want you to do something for them for free. But let me ask you, if you call a plumber, does he do anything for free? They get out of a car and they charge 40 pounds for it. You have to do the same.
You have the skills that you developed for years. You needed to buy the equipment for thousands of pounds. And now you do it for free? It’s ridiculous. Clients won’t even respect you if you do anything for them for free. It’s a funny thing, the more they pay, the more they respect you.
What’s your price per hour or day?
Estimate your daily fee no matter what the project is. I started at £200 and now I’m at £500. If my potential clients offer me £100 or £200 per day, I refuse the project because I’m losing money already with it. If I spend a day working on a project for £200, I have no chance of working that day on a project for £500.
Overdeliver but set the rules
Always try to give something more to the client even if it takes a bit more time. Over delivering is the key for a great relationship and most probably it will bring you another project from the same client. However, there is a difference on over delivering and doing it over and over again. If the client wants another version of the video, new titles in 3 different languages, versions for instagram and Facebook, new video thumbnails. You have to charge for all of this. Let me tell you, they expect you to charge but you are the one who has to say it. Don’t be shy and ask for what you deserve.
There are different types of clients, some will call you every day, some will not reply to you for a month. The bottom line is they all have to know that you value your time. Some clients will want so many things on top of the once that you agreed on with the initial price. And you have to stand your ground and either say no or agree on the price. They will not go to another freelancer after they already spend so much time dealing with you, so don’t worry.
Case study on a freelance project
I was working on a project for promoting a fitness equipment. Pretty simple task required me to do a subtitles for 6 videos. We agreed the price over the phone however I’ve been told that each video is 1 minute long. So the price we agreed on was for 6 minutes in total of final products.
However, I received the videos and two of the videos were 3 minutes and 30 seconds long. That means all of a sudden instead of 6 minutes, I had to do 10 minutes. It sounds like a small thing but 4 minutes for subtitles is pretty long time. Subtitles were in a language I didn’t understand so it took me time to really place it correctly.
The mistake I did was not to ask for more money and just get the project going anyway. It turned out, there were some grammar mistakes on their side and I had to redo a lot of things because of it. So it took me even more time which I didn’t get paid for.
Always get paid in advance
No matter what, before you even open Photoshop, take your camera in your hand or even write a screenplay, have advanced payment sorted out. 50% will do it, every decent client agrees on these terms because they know you start working on it. If you believe in people’s honesty, it’s a nice thing but you will get burnt at some point.
When the client pays you 50%, they are already committed to something and they won’t change their mind. If they do, you keep the money and cancel the project. If you find a client that doesn’t want to pay some amount in advance, then you don’t want to work with them. This is one the most important things you have to remember.
Most common freelancers mistakes
I can’t talk much about this topic but I’ve dealt with people who once were famous, or they are influencers and they just expect you to do something for them for free. Because they are somebody. You know them because they used to be or are still popular but they just want to use you and tell you – yes I will tag you and give you credit. NO. A big no. Unless it’s Robbie Williams or Madonna.
I’ve been approached by a person who wanted a music video from me. I liked his music so I agreed and at the meeting we set up the price for the video. However, few days later he changed it and said he can’t pay this amount. Later on, almost right before filming I mentioned I want advanced payment before we start filming. He backed down immediately. Sadly, I already wrote a screenplay and used my time for this project. Which right now is a wasted time which I never get back.
If people swim in the money, they have to pay. If they don’t have money, don’t deal with them and if they don’t have money but they are popular, forget them.