The biggest freelancing mistakes
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By 11.6 min readLast Updated: 19. September 2022

Your guide to avoiding the biggest freelancing mistakes

Freelancing is a great way to make money and be your own boss, but the free freelance life doesn't come without its challenges.

There are many things to think about when you work as a freelancer – from finding clients and projects, to completing the work within the deadline and making sure you charge the right price for your work. 

Making mistakes when freelancing can be a costly affair. This can cost both time, money and customers. 

Here are the 18 most common mistakes we see new freelancers make, and of course a checklist on how to avoid them.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

1. No system to keep track of expenses

When you are a freelancer or self-employed, it is important to keep track of your expenses so that you can deduct them from your taxes. 

Even if tax is not your biggest headache, keeping a watchful eye on expenses will help ensure healthy finances in your business.

There are a few different ways to keep track of your expenses. You can use a simple spreadsheet, an app like Mint or YNAB, or even just a notebook. The important thing is to find a system that works for you and to be consistent with it.

2. Not getting (enough) paid

One of the most common mistakes freelancers make is not charging enough for their services. 

When you're just starting out, it can be tempting to lower your prices to compete with other freelancers or get more clients. 

But it's a mistake that could end up costing you more in the long run.

Charging too little means you'll have to work more hours to earn the same amount, and it also devalues your services. 

If you don't charge enough, customers also tend to think you're not worth the investment, or your quality follows the low price.

3. Not having a contract

Another very common mistake new freelancers make is not having one contract with their customers. 

A contract protects both you and the customer by outlining the scope of work, deliverables, payment terms and more. Without a contract, there is no clear agreement between you and the customer, which can easily lead to misunderstandings and conflicts down the road.

To avoid this, always have a contract in place before you start working with a client. 

If you're not sure how to write a contract, there are plenty templates and resources available online.

4. Lack of reconciliation of expectations

Many – especially new – freelancers make the mistake of not setting clear expectations for their clients. This can lead to misunderstandings about the scope of work, deliverables, deadlines and much more.

To avoid this, you need to be clear about expectations from the start. Outline the scope of work in your contract and be sure to communicate with the client regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

5. Not meeting deadlines

One of the most frustrating things for a client is working with a freelancer who doesn't meet deadlines. 

If you consistently deliver your work late, it's only a matter of time before you lose the client. 

To avoid this, be realistic about the timeline for each project, and also be willing to add some buffer time. 

If you are not sure you can meet a deadline or things start to slip, contact the customer as soon as possible and see if there is some flexibility on the other end.

6. Not being professional

Just because you work from home in your pajamas doesn't mean you can slack off on professionalism. Freelancers who are unprofessional risk losing out customers and not least damage their reputation.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you act professionally. 

First, you need to be responsive to your customer. If you are not available immediately, let them know when to expect a response. 

Secondly, dress the party - even if you "just" work from home, dressing for work can help you get into the right mood and mindset. 

And of course, be respectful and courteous in all your interactions with your customer.

7. Don't set boundaries

When you freelance, it can be easy to let work fill more and more of your life and everyday life. 

You may find yourself working late into the night or on weekends because you feel it is required to get ahead. But you will change your performance over time, and this is a strategy that will often lead to burnout.

It is important to set boundaries between work and private life – and then stick to them. 

This may mean that you only work within fixed working hours or take a fixed day off each week. 

Whatever it is, setting boundaries will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

8. Work for free

When you start as a freelancer, you can stay tempted to work for free or at very low prices. While there's nothing wrong with doing a pro bono project or two, you shouldn't make it a habit to work for free.

Working for free devalues your services and makes it harder to justify what you're worth down the road. 

If you're just starting out, you may need to offer discounts or lower prices to attract customers, but don't make a habit of giving away your services entirely.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

9. Not preparing for the slow periods

Freelancers often make the mistake of failing to plan for the slow periods – also known as freelancing dryspell. Some periods just have more coal on them than others.

Just because you're busy now doesn't mean you always will be. It's important to have a plan for what you're going to do and how you're going to get through the slow times so you don't get caught with your pants down. 

One way to do this is to set aside a portion of your earnings each month so that you have a net to help you through a drought. 

The slower periods are also ideal to use as an opportunity to focus on marketing and networking so you can bring in new clients.

10. Lack of communication

Communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important in a client-freelancer relationship. 

Not communicating clearly with your client can lead to misunderstandings, missing deadlines and even a loss of business.

To avoid this, make sure you communicate regularly with your customers. 

Set up a communication plan at the start of the project and stick to it. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and your customer will not experience unexpected surprises along the way.

11. Not keeping track of your time

If you don't track your time, you may be working more hours than you realize. 

This can lead to an unnecessarily stressful everyday life and also means that you are probably not invoicing your customers accurately.

Tracking your time doesn't have to be complicated. You can use a simple spreadsheet, an app like toggle or RescueTime or even just a piece of paper. 

As with point number 1, the most important thing is to find a system that works for you and stick with it.

12. Not taking breaks

When you're freelancing, it can be easy to get so wrapped up in work that you forget to take breaks. 

It's a classic mistake that steals your productivity over time.

Be sure to schedule breaks into your day, even if it's just a few minutes here and there. Get up and walk around, go outside for some fresh air, or do something else to clear your head. 

Taking breaks will help you stay sharp and focused so you can get more done.

13. Work in isolation

When you work from home or somewhere outside of an office, it can be easy to feel isolated from the rest of the world. 

Feeling isolated can lead to loneliness and reduced productivity.

Try to schedule some time each day for social interaction, even if it's just a quick coffee date, a phone call with a friend, or or interaction in an online group.

You can also join coworking spaces or professional organizations to get more involved with other freelancers.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

14. Not to promote yourself and your services

If you are not promoting your freelance business, you miss out on potential customers

Make sure you prioritize things like networking, attending events and staying active on social media. 

You can also create a website or blog to showcase your work and attract new clients.

A good place to promote yourself as a freelancer is Linkedin. You can join relevant groups, post articles and showcase your work to a large audience of potential customers.

15. Not keeping your skills up-to-date

No matter what field you operate in, it is important to keep yours toolbox razor sharp

As a freelancer, this is especially important as you are competing with others who may be more qualified than you.

Make sure you regularly take courses or learn new skills that will help you stand out from the competition. 

You can also look for opportunities to guest blog or speak at local events to showcase your expertise.

16. Not having any strategy

When you freelance, you have to think of yourself as a business, and it is of course important to have a plan for your business. 

This includes setting goals, creating and managing a budget, and putting systems in place to help you stay organized and productive. 

Without a plan, it will be difficult to achieve long-term success as a freelancer.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

17. Not diversifying your income

If your income base depends on a single customer, you expose yourself to unnecessary risk. If this customer decides to terminate your agreement, you will be left without any income.

To diversify your income, make sure you are always looking for new clients and opportunities. 

Don't put all your eggs in one basket and don't be afraid to try new things. 

You may find that some of the new ventures lead to even more success than your original freelance direction.

18. Not having control over taxes and administration

As a freelancer, you are responsible for reporting and paying your own taxes. It can come as a surprise to many people, and if you're not prepared, it can lead to a big tax bill at the end of the year.

Therefore, make sure you set aside money each month to cover your tax. You may also want to work with an accountant or financial planner to help you understand the tax implications of freelancing.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

Master the most important foot mistakes and create a successful freelance career

Freelancing can be a great way to make money, but it's important to steer clear of the most common mistakes. 

By taking breaks, networking and keeping your skills up to date, you are well on your way to a successful freelance career.

And don't forget to diversify your income by seeking out new clients and opportunities. 

Tax season can be difficult to navigate for freelancers, so make sure you're prepared by setting aside money each month and possibly working with an accountant or financial planner.



The biggest freelancing mistakes
By 11.6 min readLast Updated: 19. September 2022

Your guide to avoiding the biggest freelancing mistakes

Freelancing is a great way to make money and be your own boss, but the free freelance life doesn't come without its challenges.

There are many things to think about when you work as a freelancer – from finding clients and projects, to completing the work within the deadline and making sure you charge the right price for your work. 

Making mistakes when freelancing can be a costly affair. This can cost both time, money and customers. 

Here are the 18 most common mistakes we see new freelancers make, and of course a checklist on how to avoid them.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

1. No system to keep track of expenses

When you are a freelancer or self-employed, it is important to keep track of your expenses so that you can deduct them from your taxes. 

Even if tax is not your biggest headache, keeping a watchful eye on expenses will help ensure healthy finances in your business.

There are a few different ways to keep track of your expenses. You can use a simple spreadsheet, an app like Mint or YNAB, or even just a notebook. The important thing is to find a system that works for you and to be consistent with it.

2. Not getting (enough) paid

One of the most common mistakes freelancers make is not charging enough for their services. 

When you're just starting out, it can be tempting to lower your prices to compete with other freelancers or get more clients. 

But it's a mistake that could end up costing you more in the long run.

Charging too little means you'll have to work more hours to earn the same amount, and it also devalues your services. 

If you don't charge enough, customers also tend to think you're not worth the investment, or your quality follows the low price.

3. Not having a contract

Another very common mistake new freelancers make is not having one contract with their customers. 

A contract protects both you and the customer by outlining the scope of work, deliverables, payment terms and more. Without a contract, there is no clear agreement between you and the customer, which can easily lead to misunderstandings and conflicts down the road.

To avoid this, always have a contract in place before you start working with a client. 

If you're not sure how to write a contract, there are plenty templates and resources available online.

4. Lack of reconciliation of expectations

Many – especially new – freelancers make the mistake of not setting clear expectations for their clients. This can lead to misunderstandings about the scope of work, deliverables, deadlines and much more.

To avoid this, you need to be clear about expectations from the start. Outline the scope of work in your contract and be sure to communicate with the client regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

5. Not meeting deadlines

One of the most frustrating things for a client is working with a freelancer who doesn't meet deadlines. 

If you consistently deliver your work late, it's only a matter of time before you lose the client. 

To avoid this, be realistic about the timeline for each project, and also be willing to add some buffer time. 

If you are not sure you can meet a deadline or things start to slip, contact the customer as soon as possible and see if there is some flexibility on the other end.

6. Not being professional

Just because you work from home in your pajamas doesn't mean you can slack off on professionalism. Freelancers who are unprofessional risk losing out customers and not least damage their reputation.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you act professionally. 

First, you need to be responsive to your customer. If you are not available immediately, let them know when to expect a response. 

Secondly, dress the party - even if you "just" work from home, dressing for work can help you get into the right mood and mindset. 

And of course, be respectful and courteous in all your interactions with your customer.

7. Don't set boundaries

When you freelance, it can be easy to let work fill more and more of your life and everyday life. 

You may find yourself working late into the night or on weekends because you feel it is required to get ahead. But you will change your performance over time, and this is a strategy that will often lead to burnout.

It is important to set boundaries between work and private life – and then stick to them. 

This may mean that you only work within fixed working hours or take a fixed day off each week. 

Whatever it is, setting boundaries will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

8. Work for free

When you start as a freelancer, you can stay tempted to work for free or at very low prices. While there's nothing wrong with doing a pro bono project or two, you shouldn't make it a habit to work for free.

Working for free devalues your services and makes it harder to justify what you're worth down the road. 

If you're just starting out, you may need to offer discounts or lower prices to attract customers, but don't make a habit of giving away your services entirely.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

9. Not preparing for the slow periods

Freelancers often make the mistake of failing to plan for the slow periods – also known as freelancing dryspell. Some periods just have more coal on them than others.

Just because you're busy now doesn't mean you always will be. It's important to have a plan for what you're going to do and how you're going to get through the slow times so you don't get caught with your pants down. 

One way to do this is to set aside a portion of your earnings each month so that you have a net to help you through a drought. 

The slower periods are also ideal to use as an opportunity to focus on marketing and networking so you can bring in new clients.

10. Lack of communication

Communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important in a client-freelancer relationship. 

Not communicating clearly with your client can lead to misunderstandings, missing deadlines and even a loss of business.

To avoid this, make sure you communicate regularly with your customers. 

Set up a communication plan at the start of the project and stick to it. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and your customer will not experience unexpected surprises along the way.

11. Not keeping track of your time

If you don't track your time, you may be working more hours than you realize. 

This can lead to an unnecessarily stressful everyday life and also means that you are probably not invoicing your customers accurately.

Tracking your time doesn't have to be complicated. You can use a simple spreadsheet, an app like toggle or RescueTime or even just a piece of paper. 

As with point number 1, the most important thing is to find a system that works for you and stick with it.

12. Not taking breaks

When you're freelancing, it can be easy to get so wrapped up in work that you forget to take breaks. 

It's a classic mistake that steals your productivity over time.

Be sure to schedule breaks into your day, even if it's just a few minutes here and there. Get up and walk around, go outside for some fresh air, or do something else to clear your head. 

Taking breaks will help you stay sharp and focused so you can get more done.

13. Work in isolation

When you work from home or somewhere outside of an office, it can be easy to feel isolated from the rest of the world. 

Feeling isolated can lead to loneliness and reduced productivity.

Try to schedule some time each day for social interaction, even if it's just a quick coffee date, a phone call with a friend, or or interaction in an online group.

You can also join coworking spaces or professional organizations to get more involved with other freelancers.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

14. Not to promote yourself and your services

If you are not promoting your freelance business, you miss out on potential customers

Make sure you prioritize things like networking, attending events and staying active on social media. 

You can also create a website or blog to showcase your work and attract new clients.

A good place to promote yourself as a freelancer is Linkedin. You can join relevant groups, post articles and showcase your work to a large audience of potential customers.

15. Not keeping your skills up-to-date

No matter what field you operate in, it is important to keep yours toolbox razor sharp

As a freelancer, this is especially important as you are competing with others who may be more qualified than you.

Make sure you regularly take courses or learn new skills that will help you stand out from the competition. 

You can also look for opportunities to guest blog or speak at local events to showcase your expertise.

16. Not having any strategy

When you freelance, you have to think of yourself as a business, and it is of course important to have a plan for your business. 

This includes setting goals, creating and managing a budget, and putting systems in place to help you stay organized and productive. 

Without a plan, it will be difficult to achieve long-term success as a freelancer.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

17. Not diversifying your income

If your income base depends on a single customer, you expose yourself to unnecessary risk. If this customer decides to terminate your agreement, you will be left without any income.

To diversify your income, make sure you are always looking for new clients and opportunities. 

Don't put all your eggs in one basket and don't be afraid to try new things. 

You may find that some of the new ventures lead to even more success than your original freelance direction.

18. Not having control over taxes and administration

As a freelancer, you are responsible for reporting and paying your own taxes. It can come as a surprise to many people, and if you're not prepared, it can lead to a big tax bill at the end of the year.

Therefore, make sure you set aside money each month to cover your tax. You may also want to work with an accountant or financial planner to help you understand the tax implications of freelancing.

create free user

Be a freelancer without administration

Use Factofly to invoice and get paid without having your own CVR number or registered company. We handle all the boring stuff, so you can spend your time where it's most fun.

create free user

Master the most important foot mistakes and create a successful freelance career

Freelancing can be a great way to make money, but it's important to steer clear of the most common mistakes. 

By taking breaks, networking and keeping your skills up to date, you are well on your way to a successful freelance career.

And don't forget to diversify your income by seeking out new clients and opportunities. 

Tax season can be difficult to navigate for freelancers, so make sure you're prepared by setting aside money each month and possibly working with an accountant or financial planner.