5 Reasons Freelancers Fail and What to Do About It

Freelancing has become an increasingly popular career path, and it is true that those who have a saleable skill and are easy to work with get lots of opportunities.

From talented people who become a part of an unfortunate mass layoff to those taking the voluntary leap into starting something of their own – the freelance world could be life-changing.

However, in spite of the glamorous picture painted about this line of work across the internet, many fail at freelancing. Let’s understand why and what to do so you can prevent it from happening to you.

1. You Assume Freelancing Is Easy

Everyone wants to get rich quickly, and it’s no surprise why headlines like “I made $1M as a freelancer in a year” often go viral.

But is this really possible? The truth is, if getting wealthy was this easy, the world wouldn’t be facing financial crises periodically.

What to do about it:

Start by accepting that freelancing is not a substitute for hard work. Becoming successful at freelancing takes dedication, and you are likely going to work even longer hours than your 9-to-5 job, especially when starting out. Plus, not every client will be opening their pockets for you to become an instant millionaire.

However, by consistently perfecting your skills and mastering project management processes over time, delivering high-quality services faster will become much more manageable. But until that happens, you have to keep going. Despite what you may believe, there is no hidden formula.

2. You Lack Actual Skill, and You Don’t Want to Work on It

This reason for failure is more common than you think. When I completed my first 6 months as a freelancer, almost everyone thought I was doing nothing and still making a pile of money.

What’s more, I was writing online content, so others thought they could do it too. Easily.

They didn’t realize it takes some basic skills to find a gig, and if you don’t have them, you need to learn them.

Many companies like ours give newbie freelancers a chance and invest in their training, but if your goal is simply making quick cash without developing your skills, your growth will tap out soon.

What to do about it:

Research about the most in-demand freelancing jobs and see which ones interest you. Want to become a content or copywriter but lack basic grammar skills? Work on fixing that first (and don’t assume AI tools can replace your skills). Want to become a data analyst but don’t know how to work with formulas? Start by learning that. You get the drill, I believe.

3. You Compromise With Quality to Squeeze in More Projects

So you followed sound advice, got an entry, and successfully delivered a few projects. You also received some nice reviews from the clients to flaunt. And now, you want to scale your success quickly, so you make a series of mistakes – you hire unskilled people to delegate work to, have no backup plan in place should things go wrong, and assume your clients will not notice poorly delivered projects.

Look, it’s good that you want to increase your freelance income, but if you think scaling means messing with quality, you’re placing your foot in the wrong door. It’s only a matter of time until your clients find out. Not only will you lose the current income, but it will also hurt your reputation in the freelance market if the client publicly shares a poor review.

What to do about it:

Start slow with your scaling plan. Connect with other freelancers who are more experienced (not necessarily more expensive) than you, and discuss collaboration opportunities. Test them by using their help with a few small projects and see if it’s worth bringing them on board.

An additional advice: keep a few bucks aside to spend on these activities. So even if you lose the money, you’re safe because you didn’t go all in.

4. You Have Unrealistic Expectations

So someone posted pictures of their Europe trip captioned with stories of how they’re making a 6-figure income as a freelancer, and you dreamed of a similar life. Cut to the next day, you start applying for projects on freelance websites. Luckily, you received some responses, and the prospects asked you a few questions, which you answered well.

But you still didn’t land any gig. Why? Because you demanded prices you didn’t know how to justify. Freelancers can indeed earn hundreds or thousands of dollars from a single project, but that’s because they know how to show their worth. Ready for a secret? They could reach there in 5, 10, or even 20 years.

They start slow, work hard, prove themselves repeatedly, and then switch to higher rates.

What to do about it:

Follow in the footsteps of those who made it big (gradually but steadily). Focus on building a reputation first (or at least – authority). Make sure to ask for reviews and recommendations from happy clients and then increase your rates gradually.

Bonus Tip: If your goal is to keep making big bucks, don’t cease to upskill yourself. For example, if you have been a content marketing writer for a couple or more years, start aiming to become a content strategist or an expert in other content roles that offer higher monetary growth.

5. You Underestimate the Power of Good Communication

If you don’t want to invest time in regular high-quality communication and are too sensitive to criticism, expect these to be treated as drawbacks of working with you.

Good communication is often limited to definitions like great language skills. While that certainly matters when building a successful business relationship with clients, it works wonders if you’re a proactive communicator and are easy to talk to.

Check these signs to see if you’re a proactive communicator:

  • You ask relevant questions that show your interest in project success.

  • You welcome constructive feedback (or any feedback, for that matter).

  • You give VALUABLE suggestions where needed.

  • You’re not a nodder; you own your POV and know well how to put it forward assertively.

What to do about it:

Focus on your communication skills from the get-go itself. Refer to the list above to learn proactive communication techniques.

Bonus tip: If you liked working with a client, tell them why you liked working with them. You may assume that feedback has to be one way and appreciation has to come from clients only, but your relationship with a good client becomes even better when there’s mutual appreciation. You’re working with humans, after all.


Psst! This post’s writer has something to say (ok, something more to say) ⬇️

Hi there!

Thank you for reading this blog post. I would love to hear from you if you found this article helpful. If you could spare just 1 minute and tell me how it helped, it would mean the world to me!

Feel free to share your thoughts by sending me an email here ➡️ mona@klarecon.com.

Or, if you want to enquire about Klarecon’s services, click here.

You might also like...

Freelancer Management: Tips for Building a Sustainable Freelance Team

There’s a lot of advice for freelancers about how to keep clients happy. But it’s seldom discussed how clients should behave and work on building...

Why New Freelancers Should Work With Agencies

It can feel overwhelming as a first-time freelancer. You have to act like a jack of all trades – juggling tasks, looking for new clients,...

8 Biggest Reasons Freelance Writers Don’t Grow

What does a freelance writer want? A stable monthly income of a few thousand dollars (or more), a booked calendar, and happy clients who leave...

How To Onboard A VA [A 4-step Process]

Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) indicates that you are ready to delegate tasks and focus on more important things. It’s most likely a sign that...
Website By TalPress