Even if you are a very talented designer, the transition from being an employed designer to a freelancer can be very intimidating as there is a lot that a designer need to have in order to be a successful freelancer. When you are employed, you only have to take care of your work whereas it’s different for a freelancer. A freelancer has to take care of all the aspects of business himself, from communicating with client, settling the terms, do the work and handle the finances. And it is the aspects apart from work that makes freelancing the most challenging. This transition can be made easy if you learn how to do it properly and look at the mistakes made by newbie freelancers.
Our article today is designed especially to let you know of the most common mistakes that new freelancers make and how to overcome them. The purpose of this article is to help the ones like you who are passing through this transition phase or considering switching to the world of freelance. Having knowledge of these challenges before time can prepare you better to avoid them for yourself.
Not Keeping Aside Enough Money before Starting Freelance Work:
This is one of the most common mistakes. If you are switching to freelance full-time, you might have to face a lot of uncertainties in regards to finances especially in the first few months of the business when you are struggling to find well-paying clients. In order to avoid the stress entailing the lack of finances and overcome the money problems, it is an ideal practice to set aside some of your savings for such contingencies and for times if your work progresses slowly in the first few months of your business.
Lack of Proper Planning for Taxes:
Taking forward the financial theme of the last point, taxes become a significant factor when you switch from being employed to starting your own business. Working freelance, you won’t get already tax deducted paychecks. There are a number of freelancers who underestimate the importance of paying taxes on their income or are just too non-managerial to consider paying taxes seriously.
But you have to prepare yourself to pay taxes and set aside some money with discipline for the taxes as you will have to pay taxes every quarter of the year all through the year, or is the case for many freelancers. The tax situation is not the same for everyone. So it’s best that you take guidance from a professional tax person who can help you in setting out a proper tax plan. This way, you won’t have to face the unexpected amounts of tax to pay at the end of the year and won’t have to pay the penalties arising from such situations.
Accepting Every Other Project Head-on:
When one of starting a career as a freelancer and are in need for clients, the natural instinct becomes to accept every project that comes one’s way, in fact, the situation is that the freelancer jumps into the project of every potential client. However, it doesn’t mean that each of that projects will be good for you. To save yourself from the troubles, take out time to think whether a certain project will be worth taking it up or not.
You may not learn it in the beginning but now that you know, it’s best that you be selective in taking projects. Now it also doesn’t mean that every project you are rejecting is ‘bad’, in fact, it only means that it is a project not fit for you. Sometimes it happens that the amount you are charging for certain project does not justify the time you are spending in the project. In such a case you end up with a lot of wasted time that you can use in doing something productive.
It can work well if you think beforehand what kind of projects you would like; it will help you decide quickly when a project comes at hand. It could mean that a project of a specific industry would be more appealing to you; whether it’s a certain type of design, a certain content management system or a specialization in some website. Even if you don’t want to pass on a certain project, you should at least quote a price that is justifiable with time spent on it.
Not Working with Contracts:
Almost every freelancer faces the problem in the beginning of not using a contract for a project and learns when they have faced an issue or two. You should know the importance of contracts so that you don’t face any difficulties later.
Some clients try to push the boundaries of the project by giving you more work which is called scope creep. This is where a client gives you work that exceeds your given decided upon tasks and you do them as there is a matter of payment at hand. A contract therefore allows you to clearly define what tasks are included in the project and sticking to it. Contracts also protect you from the scope creep and allow you to charge more if the work exceeded the decided tasks. Moreover, contracts also set out rules for payments, deadlines to be met by designer and the client both or rights to the intellectual property.
Not Collecting the Upfront Payment:
This is the mistake concerning the financial side of the business and results in you not getting paid for the work. If you don’t take the upfront payment, you are increasing your chances of not getting paid as if there is not contract, a client can forge your payments and you can’t do anything about it. Although clients can also forge the final payment even after the upfront is paid but in that case you are secured with a certain percentage of the payment.
After an upfront payment, a client also gets committed as he has invested some money in the project as well and you also are assured that you are working with a serious client and not someone who will drag the project just to delay the payments. Moreover, the upfront money helps you to pay for stuff that may be needed during the project.
Plunging in to the freelance business is not a difficult task but it can get tough if you start off facing difficulties, resulting in a low morale regarding work. If you can gain a proper guidance like the one that we have just provided you, you can have a good start. People have a potential to learn from mistakes therefore the most common ones are highlighted so that you know what not to do as knowing what to do is much easier.
One of the important things that you need to remember is keeping a track of time so that you are not delayed from the deadline and also don’t spend more time than necessary. All of these points may seem trivial when you look at them but they lay the foundation where you can start off your freelance business on strong footing.