9 Reasons Many New Freelancers Fail (& How To Avoid Them)



  • Freelance does not suffer fools.
  • And it takes a certain type of person to make it successful in the long run.
  • When a freelancer fails, people often think it’s due to a lack of skills, but that’s not always the case.
  • Usually they fail because of a lack of business acumen or the discipline required to become a successful freelance writer.
  • Hard, but true.

If you’re on the rim right now, decide if you want to move from job security to a world you’re creating.

You can save a lot of time and trouble by learning from the mistakes of other freelancers.

Is there anyone wise enough to learn from the experience of others? – Voltaire

Let’s see why many new freelancers fail, then you don’t.

# 1 not having an organized workflow

Not having an organized workflow is a huge waste of time – and freelancers don’t get paid to waste time.

If organization comes naturally to you, you will quickly find your rhythm, but if you are used to working with someone else’s work structure, organizing your own should be your priority.

Good news, their application is there for that:

  • Invoicing Software – FreshBooks is a handy tool for streamlining your accounts, invoicing, and tracking payments.
  • Online Management Tools – TeuxDeux and RescueTime allow you to analyze your computer usage. If you waste time looking at unnecessary websites and social networks, you can block them.
  • Time Management Tools – Do You Know The Pomodoro Technique? It’s a simple online timer that many freelancers use to maximize their output.
  • Task Duration Tools – Toggl helps you monitor the time you spend on individual tasks.

# 2 Put all your eggs in one basket (have one customer)

It’s easy to get comfortable when you find a client who provides regular, well-paying work.

I did this for over a year, and while it worked for me, I was one of the lucky few.

Because customers come and go. Or there is a change in leadership and direction. Out with the old and with the new!

Lack of leverage:

Another reason you need more than one client is leverage. If they know they are paying 100% of your salary, you leave yourself little room to negotiate better terms.

Looking for other clients:

Part of your organized workflow should include a half day dedicated to finding new customers. Create profiles on job sites that match your niche, write a compelling bio, display your past accomplishments, and actively seek work.

# 3 Under-invoicing for work (doesn’t match hours and expenses)

You will still have work to do if you are the cheapest freelance writer around.

But how much is this job worth to you?

It can be difficult to find the perfect price at first. Charge too much and you won’t get any clients, charge too little and you won’t be a freelancer for long.

Successful freelancers set their minimum rate from day one and quickly adjust to estimated project deadlines. Both are essential for your freelance survival.

Calculate its value:

Use this equation to calculate your required hourly rate.

  1. Add up your estimated monthly expenses (every dollar spent to run your business) + the savings and profits you need. For example, $ 250 running costs $ 500 in savings and a profit = $ 750 per month.
  2. Now estimate the number of hours per month that you intend to work. Say 160.
  3. Divide 160 by 750 = $ 4.60 an hour before you earn a salary.

Now add the average hourly rate for your niche and experience level. This is what you need to charge to stay in business.

Application pricing:

  • Apps like Motiv help you automate your pricing process by calculating your hourly rate and providing an annual salary. And avoid low-paid customers because they’ll treat you like a throwaway, ask for more than they’re willing to pay, or disappear when it comes to settling in. And increase your rates as your experience increases; this way, you will attract customers who will appreciate your value.

# 4 not being consistent in your work (lowering the standards)

I’ve seen it happen, and it doesn’t end well.

As a freelancer cruises, demand begins to exceed supply, he gets comfortable, begins to believe he has done it all and takes his foot off the accelerator. Then they start to fly away a bit, submitting a job they would never have submitted on the first start.

Or subcontract to a cheaper third party.

The result?

The freelance world is small. If you have a reputation for providing substandard work, that will stick, and you’ll come back looking for work on job boards before you know it.

Keeping up appearances:

It comes down to your organized workflow.

Create a system that gets the best out of you, allowing you to get more done in less time. Set your goals for each day the day before and implement a strategy that ensures you achieve them. And remember, our brain is like any other muscle; they get tired and need to refuel.

When you take care of yourself and commit to providing better service than your customers expect, you will never fall short of their expectations.

# 5 Don’t build a unique identity (branding)

You have to create a brand and build a unique identity to stand out from your competition.

But more importantly, a well-designed branding strategy shows potential customers that you are serious about what you do. And allows you to connect all your marketing strategies, creating an established online presence, increasing awareness, helping you establish a strong foothold in your niche.

Personal Branding Tips:

  1. Website – It doesn’t matter your niche; you need a website so that potential clients can better understand your skills and make an informed decision whether or not to hire you.
  2. Logo – Your brand needs a logo. We are not talking about a standard Apple logo, but a logo that is suitable for your market and your target audience. You can create one in ten minutes using an online logo maker like Tailor Brands.
  3. Selfie – You are the face of your brand, so make sure it’s good! Smile in your photo, use an exciting background or props that give a glimpse of your creative nature and style.
  4. Colors – Colors are essential for setting the right scene. Use a color scheme that suits your niche, then infuse it into all of your brand marketing strategies.

# 6 Work so hard that you burn out

Don’t underestimate how quickly this can happen. I know, I’ve been there, I’ve done this and I’m still skating near the edge.


Because freelancers are often highly motivated individuals who take great pride in their work, striving for perfection at every opportunity.

This results in 5:00 am departures, weekends becoming opportunities to move forward, and broken promises of vacations and time spent with family and friends. Here’s the thing, if you’re a quality freelancer, you’ll still have work 24/7. But this is not sustainable nor worth it.

You are solely responsible for the management of your independent business; he needs you to look your best.

Give yourself time to recharge your batteries. If it’s just unrealistic because of the revenue, increase your rates!

# 7 not having a marketing plan

Few freelancers are successful without a clear marketing plan.

At first, creating one might seem more than a little complicated for your average freelancer, me included. But when you execute a customer-focused marketing plan, you’ll start to attract better customers with better rates. Then you can start cutting back on your old low-paying clients, freeing up your time to earn what you’re worth, and taking that all-important time off.

# 8 Don’t invest in customer relationships

When you love your customers, they’ll love you back, which creates long-lasting working relationships.

Freelance success isn’t just about earning the highest hourly rate possible. Of course, this is an essential and should be one of your end goals. But real success comes by investing in customer relationships.

Chances are, your client has plenty of freelance writers to choose from.

And when it comes to picking one, who do you think they’re for?

The cheapest freelance writer that’s hard to work with. Or a model that costs a little more but still goes the extra mile, delivering great results and easy to use.

Make sure customers choose you by making their choice obvious.

# 9 giving up too early in the game

“I am convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful entrepreneurs is sheer persistence” – Steve Jobs.

It takes the average freelancer 2 to 6 years to establish himself as a major authority in his niche. Become one of the few who earn a comfortable six figure income.

Only enter this game if you are ready to commit then play it because your financial life depends on it.


When you become a freelancer, you are solely responsible for your success.

And it’s an opportunity that most people never get.

Don’t waste yours doing one of the 9 Reasons New Freelancers Fail.

Good luck.

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