March 15, 2022
6 Freelancer Mistakes Newbies Make and How to Avoid Them

Are you thinking about becoming a freelancer?

Perfect! You’re about to join one of the fastest-growing industries in America.

Upwork shares that non-temporary freelance workers grew from 33.8% in 2020 to 35% in 2021. With this number expected to rise further in 2022, freelancing presents itself as a great career choice.

If you’re a web developer, blogger, copywriter, or SEO specialist, the freelance market is full of opportunities. But if you want to succeed, you’ll have to avoid some pitfalls and freelancer mistakes that can ruin your efforts.

Read on to discover:

What Are the Biggest Drawbacks of Freelancing?

While freelancing is one of the most rewarding paths you can take as a professional, it does have its disadvantages.

Common drawbacks include:

No Employment Benefits

While becoming a freelance blogger or content creator, you give up attractive full-time employment benefits. You don’t receive any employer health insurance, vacation allowances, or 401K.


Freelancing often comes with a lack of socialization, primarily if you work from the comfort of your home. You may feel a lack of human connection because you have no employees, supervisors, or management to interact with.


As a freelance writer or web developer, you’re responsible for your successes and failures. You’re accountable to yourself and no one else. If you’re used to having people structure you, it’ll hurt at the start.

You need a high sense of self-motivation and drive to keep yourself going. That means setting your own goals and tracking your habits, which can be pretty tough.

Mistakes New Freelancers Make

  • Taking on too much work or too many clients.
  • Doing just enough to get by.
  • Taking low pay.
  • Ignoring your mental health.
  • Putting up with bad clients.
  • Poor financial management.

As a new freelance developer or copywriter, you may make mistakes that cause enormous problems for your freelance career progression. Below, we help you identify them and offer practical solutions to help you avoid them altogether.

Taking On Too Much Work or Too Many Clients

Spreading yourself too thin is a mistake new freelancers make. Usually, it has a noticeable effect on the quality of your work.

And your clients will see it as you end up:

  • Missing deadlines.
  • Delaying project timelines.
  • Delivering rushed or half-baked work.

Only take on new clients or a workload that you can deliver within your planned workweek. It improves the quality of your deliverables and communicates professionalism.

Doing Just Enough To Get By

As a new freelancer, you may sometimes deliver precisely what the client asked for and no more. While there’s nothing wrong with that, you should try to exceed your client’s expectations.

Go the extra mile. Take an interest in the success of your client. You can also offer your clients advice to improve their products or suggest new projects. It will win you more work and make you a successful freelancer.

Taking Low Pay

Offering work at a low rate — a common freelancer mistake.

You’ll be tempted to think that offering discounts or charging lower rates will attract customers and keep them.

You’re partly right. But you’ll paint yourself into a corner as you grow. It becomes harder to deliver high-quality work for a low rate once you figure out that you can — and should — charge more.

High-value clients associate expensive rates with quality work. As they want to get the most out of their money, they’ll pay your worth — or more.

Do some research on hourly rates. Know your worth, and price your offerings accordingly.

Ignoring Your Mental Health

You’re also human. Your mental health is as essential to your success as anything else. Take it seriously. You’ll experience burnout and fatigue if you work too much.

Here are some tips to help you manage your mental health while working from home:

  • Take short breaks in-between your workday. Take a walk, play a computer game, or go to the gym.
  • Take a three to four-day vacation every two months to refresh.
  • Change your work location often.
  • Eat well and get plenty of rest.
  • Try outsourcing your work to other freelancers.

Putting Up With Bad Clients

You will deal with both good and bad clients. Some clients will set unrealistic demands and ask too much of you. Others will delay your payments or fail to pay you altogether.

Here’s how to deal with bad clients:

  • Use contracts to define expectations between you and your clients.
  • Screen all your potential clients and reject anyone who fails to meet your criteria.
  • Fire your client as a last resort.

Poor Financial Management

If you have a poor money management strategy for your freelance business, you’ll be out before you know. As a business owner, you need to have functional systems when managing your money.

Lay out a marketing plan. Establish a legal entity for your business. These two components are essential, especially for tax benefits your small business will enjoy. And monitor your profitability by keeping organized books.

Advice for Newbies To Avoid Freelancer Mistakes in Marketing

Here is how you can avoid common freelancer mistakes while marketing your services:

  • Make yourself available on platforms where your ideal clients look.
  • Maintain an up-to-date online portfolio with testimonials and templates of your work.
  • Use social media or join freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
  • Always follow up on feedback and reviews from clients and experienced freelancers.
  • Pitch your services to businesses that can benefit from your services.
  • Use referrals to grow your business.

Final Thoughts: 6 Freelancer Mistakes Newbies Make and How To Avoid Them

Over 44% of freelancers earn more in freelancing than in their traditional jobs. You can be one of them. Once you figure out these challenges and get ahead of them, there’s no telling how outstanding your outcome will be.

Ready to begin?

Build a portfolio website and establish your authenticity using Nexcess’s StoreBuilder today.

Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman

Maddy Osman is a WordPress expert, WordCamp US speaker, bestselling author, and the Founder and SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith. She has a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Iowa and is a WordCamp Denver organizer while also operating The Blogsmith, an SEO content agency for B2B tech companies that works with clients like HubSpot, Automattic, and Sprout Social. Learn more about The Blogsmith's process and get in touch to talk content strategy:

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