Looking back on when I started freelancing, I had no idea what I was doing.
Now that I’ve been doing it for a while, I can pretty clearly see some of the mistakes I made. Thanks to years of trial and error, reading a ton of content, getting advice from coaches and other freelancers, and a couple of great courses, I’ve been able to turn scattered freelancing gigs into a full-on business that allows me to travel the world and work with amazing women entrepreneurs.
Some of the mistakes I made definitely cost me valuable time, money, and business growth opportunities in the early stages. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
I Didn’t Buy Any Tools
When I first started out I didn’t want to pay for any tools. I couldn’t justify paying $10/month for an invoicing system. It took me a good 3 months before I realized that the time I spent manually calculating my hours and creating invoices was time I could have spent earning money. Eventually I signed up for Paymo and have never looked back! Invoicing now takes me less than 5 minutes a month.
I Didn’t Create Any Processes
Onboarding clients. Collecting feedback. Getting Referrals. Scheduling social media. I had processes for NONE of these things. I was wasting a massive amount of time talking to potential clients that I would never end up working with because it was a terrible fit. I never asked for testimonials that I could use on my site. I would have weeks of radio silence on my social channels. Once I finally realized that I could be prepared for all of these things, I set up processes and started making running my business so much easier on myself.
I Didn’t Market Myself Properly
I got lucky with finding good gigs on oDesk to get me started. I found good clients on the platform that I could build long term relationships with, and this allowed me to leave my 9-5 in only a few months. Outside of that, I didn’t do any marketing. I didn’t have a website, I didn’t blog, I didn’t tweet. I was severely limiting my potential to grow my business and be seen as a professional in my industry. As a result, I took low paying gigs for way too long and when I decided to branch out I had to start from scratch.
Build your brand, build your online presence, and build your audience. It’s the only way to truly grow.