Things to Avoid as a Freelancer

published Sep 05, 2019
2 min read

Work from Home

Freelancing Can Be a Hard Business to Break Into—Here’s Five Things Not to Do (Hint: Not Get Cloud Storage ASAP.)

Being a freelancer sounds like the gig of a lifetime—you get to work from home, be your own boss, and do something you love. And while those things might be true, freelancing isn’t all comfy clothes and coffee shops. It’s a lot of hard work.

This is especially true when you’re first starting out, trying to establish your brand and build your client base. No matter how talented you are, you’ll most likely still have a tough time landing contracts due to a lack of experience.

The last thing you want to do is come off unprofessional, but if you’re unfamiliar with the industry, it’s easy to inadvertently reveal yourself to be an amateur. That’s why we’re here to help.

Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut set of instructions for being successful in freelance. But we’ll give you the next best thing: What not to do as a freelancer.

1. Wait for Jobs to Come to You

In order to succeed in freelance, you have to go out and find work for yourself. This usually means having to convince someone else that they need your work, not the other way around. Basically, you can’t be timid—you have to be bold, tenacious, and, sometimes, a little annoying.

Finding work as a freelancer isn’t always as straightforward as sending out an application—you’ve probably heard this before, but you have to sell yourself.

Luckily, there are some online services that you can use in order to make it a little easier to find work. With a website like UpWork, you can create a profile and browse freelance jobs from web and mobile development to marketing and writing.

2. Expect to Call It Quits at Five O’Clock

Freelancing isn’t your typical nine-to-five job. A lot of the time, you’ll be juggling multiple projects—each with a different deadline—at once. This means you won’t always be able to have a set schedule or an assigned time to clock out.

With freelancing, the workday isn’t over at the same time everyday. It’s not always an eight-hour day, either.
There’s definitely an ebb and flow when it comes to working as a freelancer. Some weeks, you might be overwhelmed with projects, while others you might be struggling to find work.

Time in the Office

3. Neglect Backing Up Your Files

For some people, one of the most appealing aspects of freelancing is the freedom to work remotely. However, this also means that the majority of your work will be done on a computer.

Even if you’re a tech wiz, there will most likely come a day when something goes wrong—your computer crashes, a program malfunctions, your cat steps on your keyboard and exits out of the window you have open, etc.—and you’ll lose a file. Unless you have it backed up, you’re pretty much doomed.

Avoid having another “I can’t believe I just did that” moment by using cloud storage.

The good news is that in the modern age of the internet, backing up files is easier than ever before, especially since the introduction of cloud storage. Before, you had to externally store files on a flash drive or disk. Now, thanks to platforms like Dropbox, you can back up a file simply by uploading it to your account—and then be able to access it later from other devices.

4. Take Too Much Advantage of Being Your Own Boss

Being your own boss is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you don’t have to answer to anyone, and you have full control over every aspect of your work. On the other, you’re fully responsible for disciplining yourself and staying motivated to meet deadlines.

It’s time to step up and become the leader you deserve to be —just don’t use being your own boss as an excuse to slack off.
You also have to start thinking of yourself as the boss, not just another employee. This means giving 100 percent effort all the time because you can’t afford to slip up.

5. Stop Believing in Yourself

It’s a lot of work and takes a great deal of patience, but in the end, you’re doing something you’re both passionate about and good at. Just remember that becoming an established freelancing is a gradual process and can take some time.

And if it turns out that freelancing isn’t for you, that’s okay! At least you gave it a shot.
The freelance business can be a lonely one, but you can use Facebook and other social media sites to connect with nearby freelancers in your area or even just to chat online. Giving up on yourself is the biggest mistake that you can make.

This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.