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Freelancing Fail: Why Do Most People Fail In Freelancing?

Why does it seem like most people fail in freelancing? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016, more than 53 million Americans were self-employed, and that number continues to rise every year. If more people are turning to freelance as an independent business model, why are there so many freelancers who end up failing? And how can you make sure that you succeed? Let’s take a look at some common reasons that freelancers fail and how you can keep these pitfalls from interfering with your new business’ success.

By TestPublished 2 years ago 6 min read

Failure happens. To everyone. And you can survive it.

Thinking about freelancing for a living? There are plenty of reasons to take that leap — but you should know what you’re getting into. Sure, being your own boss is pretty great, but there are also some big pitfalls.

For example, on average 50% of people who go freelance fail after one year and 80% fail within three years. That number’s high because most newbies have never worked for themselves before and don’t plan accordingly.

When you make a living as a freelancer, you are your own boss. You decide your deadlines and how to get stuff done. Sounds great, right? Well, sometimes it is — and sometimes it isn’t.

The important thing to remember is that failure happens. To everyone. And you can survive it. Everyone fails at some point, but if you’re willing to take a step back and evaluate what went wrong, you’ll be able to apply your lessons and succeed in your next attempt.

It doesn’t matter if it’s work or personal life — loss is something we all face sooner or later, and it helps us grow if we can learn from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again! If you want to give freelancing a shot but don’t want to regret not giving it your best try, here are some useful tips on how not to fail at freelancing.

The real reasons people fail

Almost anyone can learn to freelance, but just because you’re capable of setting up a website and offering your services doesn’t mean you’ll succeed in your chosen field.

Building a freelance business is all about trial and error; there are so many ways to set yourself up for success, but it’s impossible to find out what works best until you test out different strategies. Mistakes are inevitable — just remember that as long as you keep learning from them, they’re not really mistakes.

1. They don’t know why they started freelancing in the first place. Sure, if you quit your job to follow your passion and see where it leads, you could succeed. But how many people do that? (Answer: not many.)

2. They don’t have a plan for making money — or a fallback plan, an emergency plan, or any other kind of plan for coming up with income beyond what they get right away. 3. They forget that it takes time to find clients and build relationships — so they wait around and hope work will fall into their lap while they stress out about finances and wonder why everything is taking so long.

4. Anyone can start a freelance business, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stay in one. The vast majority of freelancers quit within their first year on their own. While failure isn’t inherently bad — after all, failing to learn is failing — it does mean that you aren’t getting ahead financially.

As such, we wanted to know what was pushing so many people out of being independent workers, and why people were failing at freelancing in general. The answers weren’t good news for anyone looking for a way to earn more money or quit their job.

Learn from your mistakes

Don’t just blindly jump into a new job or business. While it can be tempting to dive in, resist for a moment and ask yourself: How would I handle things if I failed miserably and couldn’t pull in any money from freelance work? You may think it’s obvious that you’d find another source of income but think about how you would go about actually doing that.

Would you have enough money saved up to take time off to look for something else, or perhaps family members who could help out financially or logistically if you had kids? And what about your clients — would they still want to keep working with you after months of missed deadlines and quality problems?

Many freelance jobs require you to have skills in a variety of areas. For example, you may need to be able to create marketing content, design websites, write articles, and so on.

That’s fine if you’re highly skilled in multiple areas and possess years of experience. But if your experience level is low, it will be challenging to get hired as a freelancer without going through an extensive vetting process that can take weeks or months of work.

When you’re starting a freelance business, there are a lot of roadblocks you’ll face. You’ll have to overcome client burnout, competition from other businesses and maybe even a lack of customers. To avoid those problems in your own business, be sure to look at what’s worked (and hasn’t worked) for others in your industry before starting your own freelancing business.

It doesn’t matter if it’s similar or unrelated — when it comes to learning from others’ mistakes, all bets are off. You may even discover entirely new ways of doing things that will make your company stronger!

Don’t quit your day job

A big reason why freelancers fail is that they spend all their time looking for freelance work instead of actually doing work. Many freelancers have to supplement their income with other part-time jobs, so it’s important to be realistic about how much you can really earn on your own.

One quick test is to figure out how much money you made freelancing per hour, and then compare that rate to what you make at your day job. Chances are, as long as there isn’t a significant difference between those two numbers.

Working full-time at a day job will still bring in more cash than freelancing alone. Don’t forget that being a great freelancer requires more than just talent — it also requires planning and persistence.

While it’s perfectly fine to start freelancing as a hobby on nights and weekends, don’t quit your day job to freelance full-time until you have enough clients coming in. This is especially true if you are just starting out and don’t have much experience.

If you start freelancing while still holding down a full-time job, it can be tempting to put in as little effort as possible on your side gig — after all, you have to pay your bills. But don’t fall into that trap; giving freelancing a half-hearted try will only slow down your efforts to land better gigs and make more money doing what you love.

Stay positive and keep moving forward!

Successful freelancers have a mantra that might be a little bit cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true — they’re persistent and they keep going. Sometimes freelancers need to network aggressively to get projects, sometimes they need to promote themselves and reach out to find customers.

They don’t let rejection stop them or beat them down; they learn from their mistakes and keep trying new tactics until they start succeeding at what they set out to do. At first glance, freelancing might seem like an easier way of making money than working for someone else. But like anything else in life, success takes work and perseverance.

If you’re a freelancer, you probably already know that it can be difficult to stay positive. You’ll have plenty of days when things just don’t go right and everything seems to go wrong.

That’s okay! Sometimes all you need is a reminder that it will all be worth it in the end. Even if your business doesn’t turn out how you planned, there are still valuable lessons to learn and growth to experience along the way!

Always strive to stay positive and move forward, even if you get a couple of rejections. As long as you have faith in your ability to write a great piece of content, you can’t fail.

Lack Of Skills

Make no mistake, finding clients is hard — but it’s only one part of being a successful freelancer. If you don’t have the skills necessary to do good work, that won’t be overlooked for long. Either put in the time to improve your skillset or don’t quit your day job!

Find clients by marketing yourself and building relationships within your industry, not just cold-calling companies hoping they’ll bite (this rarely works). You should also spend some time pricing out projects and figuring out how much you need to charge to make a living.

The problem is that many people want to become a freelancer, but do not possess all of these skills. For example, if someone does not have digital marketing skills, he might be more likely to fail in his job as a freelancer.

Also, if someone is working as a business analyst and decides to become a freelancer later on without acquiring new skills first, it could lead to failure. Therefore, you should develop your skills before becoming a freelancer so that you have a better chance of succeeding in your career.

The greatest obstacle to succeeding in freelancing is, by far, a lack of skills. As we discussed earlier, before you start searching for projects, you’ll need to learn how to do what you want to get paid for. This takes time and effort, which means (1) it won’t be easy money, and (2) your competition will have an advantage.


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