What not to do as a freelancer

Freelance to don't list
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Christian Jacobsen  June 10th 2024
Table of contents

In every industry, every job, every moment of life, you are given instructions on the things you should do to be successful. But no one ever talks about the things we shouldn't do. Sometimes knowing what we shouldn't do in order to achieve success has much better impact, so in this article we will give you some tips on what not to do being a freelancer.

Don't be an allologist

What does this mean? Basically, don't close yourself off to the idea of asking someone else to do the things you don't want, or don't have time, to do. Here's our advice: Figure out how many hours a project will take you, then calculate what you would earn if you worked during that time and compare it to what it would cost you to hire someone else to do it. If the price is close, go for hiring someone. The difference in cost will be offset by the difference in quality.

Don't work for free

Thanks to the boom that influencers and bloggers had on social media and their impact on others' consumption, people got the idea in their heads that paying with exposure was enough. Sure, it works for some people, bloggers with impressive influence, but it's rare. Always remember this: exposure doesn't feed you and getting your name out there doesn't pay the rent. No carpenter, plumber, accountant, stockbroker, etc. would work for free, and no freelancer should either.

Don't underestimate or overestimate yourself

You are not as good as your best week/month/year nor as bad as your worst. Stay grounded and humble at the same time.

Don't take things personally

This advice is for your life in general. Remember what we said in our article about freelancers' reputation: one angry tweet can take you out of the market in two seconds. Rather, when you feel bad about something a client may have done to you, or a fellow freelancer, write it down in a notebook that is not exposed to the internet, and move on. In the working world everyone is trying to stay afloat, so don't take anything personally.

Don't forget to take care of your health

This includes eating right, getting your 8 hours of sleep and exercising your body. This advice is self-explanatory, remember that since you are the only employee of your company, if you fail, the job fails.

Don't wait for inspiration

It doesn't come while you are sitting and waiting, you better activate your mind creating and inspiration, from time to time, will speak in your ear.

Don't idealize work

This is your source of income, not the air you breathe. By separating your work from your life in general, you will have peace and can truly rest.

Don't cling to an idea being perfect

We know you're wasting time arguing with your inner critic about the ideas that come to mind. Will they be good? Will they be worthwhile? Will they be original? Sure, considering these points makes your work stronger and more impactful, but what actually happens is that you procrastinate way beyond the polishing phase to the point of wasting time. Trust your intuition, the more ideas you bring out, the more experience you generate.

Don't be afraid to say no

"No" is a powerful word. One that can get you out of many things, including projects that don't interest you, dealing with people that don't do you any good, being miserable, etc. Use it more in your day-to-day life and you'll see how much better you feel. We know that freelancing is hard, because you feel that if you say no, the doors will close. This is not the case. In many occasions when you say no, you are opening many more doors.

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