Being self-employed provides you with the flexibility and freedom to choose how you want to work. You have the luxury to decide what projects to take on and pick the clients you want to work with, without anyone micromanaging everything you do. However, along with the benefits that come with self-employment, there are also a lot of challenges you need to deal with. If you want to succeed as a self-employed individual, here are some common mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs.
Being self-employed essentially means that you are your own boss. However, it is important to remember that professionalism goes a long way in any line of business. Make sure that you always present yourself in the best possible light to everyone that you encounter. Bear in mind that whenever you communicate with a potential client, they subconsciously measure your professional credibility based on how you deliver and carry yourself. It is therefore crucial that you remain professional in every aspect. In addition, make sure that you:
- Write your emails in a professional manner and avoid using offensive or discriminatory language
- Create a well-polished online portfolio
- Treat all your clients with respect regardless of how difficult they may be
- Never post anything incriminating on your social media accounts
Regardless of how in-demand or skilled you are, you won’t succeed in this entrepreneurial endeavor if you don’t know how to act professionally in this industry.
Not tracking your finances
One of the biggest mistakes that self-employed individuals tend to make is not tracking their finances properly. Remember that being self-employed means you have no one to rely on but yourself. Whether you are working as a freelancer or as the Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of your own startup, it is crucial that you keep a record of all your expenditures and revenues.
Unless you have your own accountant or bookkeeper, it is imperative that you stay on top of your finances. Instead of listing down your expenses on a piece of paper or your phone, it would be better if you use a spreadsheet or an online accounting software so you can properly organize everything. Aside from efficiently handling your finances, it is also crucial that you have your taxes in order to prevent any legal complications.
Setting unrealistic goals and expectations
Keep in mind that working as a freelancer or self-employed individual is not a get-rich-quick strategy. Those who failed in this line of work tend to have unrealistic expectations and objectives. List down the things you want to accomplish in the future and try to envision yourself after fulfilling them. Make sure you create a timeline for these goals, so you can adjust them if necessary.
Under and over-selling yourself
Oftentimes, in our excitement and eagerness to land a client, we tend to go overboard with our marketing pitches. Even if you used to be a high-earning professional in your previous work, it is vital that you are completely transparent to your clients. Never lie about your expertise and capabilities just to satisfy a skill set requirement. If you don’t know how to do a specific task, it would be best to say that you are willing to learn, instead of claiming that you are the perfect person for the job. Moreover, it is also crucial that you don’t undersell yourself. If you are an expert on the task or project that you are vying for, then make sure you let the client know about it.
Not taking care of yourself
One of the biggest mistakes that self-employed individuals make is not taking care of themselves properly. If you want to stay productive, you must learn how to draw the line between your personal and work life. Schedule your work hours wisely and remember to set boundaries, especially when working remotely or from home.
In addition, you should also make it a point to take care of your overall well-being. Make sure to exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet, connect with your loved ones often, limit your alcohol intake, and avoid illegal and harmful substances. However, if you are currently struggling with an addiction problem, it is vital that you seek professional help immediately. They can educate you on the different addiction treatment programs available and help you get your life back.
Being self-employed certainly has its own set of pros and cons. With careful planning and a strategic mindset, you can avoid these usual pitfalls so you can drive your way to entrepreneurial success.