5 mistakes I made in my first year of freelancing

Jul 15, 2016

Over the course of my first year, I made a lot of dumb mistakes and didn’t reach out for help. Why? I was thinking like a customer rather than a Boss. I wasn’t looking for a need to fill, I was filling my own needs and forcing them on others. I wanted to fit in or to be like someone else. I followed instead of lead.

I want to share with you some mistakes I made the first year of freelancing so you can be on your way to success – not doing the dumb things I did!

I almost quit.

I almost quit probably 5-6 times in the first year of freelancing. I wanted to give up because I thought everything had already been done. I didn’t realize that there’s space for many specialists within a niche and each brings his or her unique perspective to the table – and that my unique perspective is just as valid as anyone else’s.

I wasn't focused on the sale.

Ask yourself right now – “What is the first word that comes to mind when I think of freelancing?” No really, do it. Did you do it? The first word that should come to your mind about freelancing is "sales."

As a freelancer you are either selling yourself or selling your products at any given time. When you want to land your next job designing, you sell yourself to them. Ready to launch a new product line? SALES.

When you work in your 9-5, you want to work up within the business. Where do you usually start? Customer service. You learn to sell.

I didn't find a mentor right away.

I spent the first year of my freelancing career completely clueless. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing and how to do it. I was scared to ask for help from others until I met a wonderful connection which changed my whole look on freelancing.

My mentor questioned my decisions and challenged me to think things completely through. He held me accountable for my actions and guided me towards better paths.

Mentor with someone who know has not only successfully established a freelance business, but who has also achieved the “next level” – whatever that means for you. Find a mentor who you want to be like and break down their process to becoming successful.

I tried to be a Super Boss Lady too early.

You don’t need a logo right away. You don’t even need to know the name of your business right away. You do need to have a plan.

Careful planning will ensure that you don’t spend a ton of time and money upfront on things like logos and taglines.

Spend some time planning and researching about your niche and follow successful people who have done it before. Follow their steps and find out what THEY were doing at the stage you’re in right now.

I didn't know how to ask for help.

Thinking like an employee instead of a boss is a really great way to go no where. Employees want and look for guidance in their jobs to do their jobs how the boss requires. When it comes to freelancing, you have to be a leader.

Leaders know how to ask questions of other leaders. Be vulnerable and open up your mind to new things. What can you do better than others in your niche? What are the successful ones doing? What WERE they doing at your level?

I could literally go on for friggin' ever about the mistakes I made when starting as a freelancer. Now, I've been freelancing for 8 years I’ve created my own kingdom out of what at first seemed like nothing. You have more resources than you know – you just have to be a leader, be yourself, and be vulnerable.

Megan Kathleen

I'm Megan, Freelance Career Coach. I teach women how to build successful money-making careers out of passions and empower them to become leaders