Reasons Why First-Time Freelancers Fail

You might be surprised with some of the main reasons that cause freelancers to fail. The first-time freelancer doesn’t fail because of doing poor quality work, or due to missing a deadline; nor do they lack the talent to execute their tasks. However, these factors may contribute somewhat to the failure of first-time freelancers.

Reasons Why First-Time Freelancers Fail

Unfortunately, a large percentage of freelancers quit once faced with one of these challenges listed below. The truth is that if you want to succeed as a freelancer, you must choose to pick yourself up and start again after failing.


This post examines the main factors that contribute to the failure of first-time freelancers.

1. Allowing Fear to Control You

Allowing fear to control your feelings is the beginning of failure. Fear plays a big role when it comes to de-motivating you. Once you are de-motivated, you will definitely not be able to complete your work.

You may even end up rejecting projects with higher earnings potential, hence losing a good amount of cash. You could be frozen into immobility and find yourself unable to start freelancing as a result of just being afraid. Although freelancing is very risky, you should be courageous and try to tackle some projects that seem difficult to execute. Success doesn’t come easily and you won’t lose anything by just trying; what someone can do, you can do even better. Just have confidence and face your fears.

One of the good things about freelancing is that you can take your time and perform enough research before even beginning. Research can enable you to work on projects which you previously had no idea about. With confidence and hard work, you might even deliver better quality than highly-experienced experts in the field.

2. Poor Organization

In order to succeed, you must be very organized. Being organized will enable you to start your projects effectively, execute them with diligence and deliver superb quality. As a freelancer, you are supposed to determine which system will help you keep things straight and keep clients coming your way. Do not be forgetful; keep everything in order and execute one project at a time. If you have a team, ensure that you supervise and manage the team well to deliver quality work, on time, to your clients.

3. Failure to Prioritize

For you to succeed in the freelance industry, you must prioritize it as a true job. You cannot expect anything to be at the top of the list in terms of your success if you place it last on your own priority list. This does not mean that you center your entire life on freelance work and become a workaholic; but you must devote a good amount of time and energy to your freelance projects in order to succeed.

4. Too Much Competition

Working in a highly competitive environment is unfavorable for the first-time freelancer. Being more creative will help you become more confident and face your competitors with both courage and determination. The freelancing industry has a large amount of highly-qualified and talented people; they form a very strong competition which you may find it difficult to beat. Even if you are very determined and talented, you may find overcoming the challenge of competition very tricky.

In order to overcome the issue of competition in freelancing and ensure that your rivals do not eat you up, you must hard work to have employers convinced that you can deliver. Ensure that your work stands out from the rest; this will attract many employers and help you land well-paying jobs.

5. Failure to Create Good Publicity

If you actually want to succeed in your freelance work, take time and think of the most successful self-made people in the world. You will then realize that nothing comes easily; every successful person had to start from somewhere and through hard work and determination, they eventually made it.

Hard work and patience pays off when it comes to freelancing. Since popularity is the main factor that could help you boost your services, ensure that you sell yourself well to potential clients. Your freelance business will die if you lack enough clients to work for; therefore seek enough attention to help you become popular among potential employers.

Failing as a freelancer does not imply that you lack enough money; you may just lack attention and exposure. Here is where good marketing strategies come in.
To market your freelancing services to potential clients, you must come up with great ways to break through obstacles such as completion, clutter, and confusion. Create a highly reliable and very effective brand that will help you stand out. Then ensure that your brand is well represented in your market niche and promote like crazy.

6. Failure to Be Diligent and Time-Oriented

Delivering your work timely is one of the most important pillars of freelancing. You must change ideas into reality by working on the project and delivering according to the expectations of your clients. To ensure success, it is strongly recommended to avoid mixing a lack of prioritization, lack of organization, and laziness in your freelancing work. Ensure that you beat all the deadlines and try to never disappoint your clients.

Keep all of your promises and do what is expected of you. You must discipline yourself and ensure that each day you set a hard task which you must complete. When working on your freelancing projects, keep in mind the instructions and the requirements of the client. Keep everything professional; never get personal in your work.

7. Failure to Demand a Price Relative to Your Output

Rates are one of the most crucial elements to success in freelancing. Price rating can be very challenging, especially if you are new to freelancing. Setting your price will entirely be determined by the following three main factors:


  • Client’s Budget: You cannot charge the same amount when working with small and large businesses. If you are working for small or non-profit organizations, your price rate should be lower than when working with big brands.
  • Experience: If you are a newbie, you will be expected to charge less. However, as time goes on, you will acquire more experience and be able to demand higher rates.
  • Client’s expected profit: If you are working on a project that will highly benefit the client by enabling him to reap more profits, you should charge higher. Otherwise, charge less.

Incorrect pricing is one of the main factors that cause a first-time freelancer to fail. High prices tend to keep away potential clients. Start charging less and then through hard work, you will soon be making much more per job or project.

Remember to negotiate your price with your client before working on the project; this will ensure the satisfaction of both parties.

8. Failure to Negotiate on Terms

Negotiation plays an important role when it comes to helping you avoid creating conflicts with the client. Many successful freelancers made their way to the top of the list through working under negotiable terms. Never try to work in an unbearable environment; it will affect the quality of your work. Always debate with your clients and come into agreement on all the terms and conditions of the work before starting to work. This will enable you to work at peace and deliver to according to the expectations of the clients.

Negotiation tries to create a win-win relationship between you and your client. The following are some of the policies of negotiation: always try to go high, shut your mouth when necessary, suck in your teeth, and create value before mentioning your price.

To negotiate, you must have guts and confidence to do it. Respect your client, but never fear him. Try all you can to avoid the client taking advantage of you and misusing your skills.

9. Failure to Stand Your Ground

Freelancing calls for patience; you must give yourself time and follow all the success tips before finally being successful. Working hard and being determined is the only way you can succeed in freelance. However, even if you work hard you will never see yourself through without being patient; never give up. Success does not happen overnight; you must try several times in order to achieve the best.

10. Failure to Consider Your Expenses

Even after being convinced that freelance is the best option for you, you should never join it just like that. You must always have a plan B and a good clue of what you are getting yourself into before making such a critical plan. Follow the appropriate ways of starting your freelance career.

If your living expenses are higher, then you must consider keeping your day job. Select a few freelancing jobs and work on part-time basis. However, if you want to quit your job completely and start freelancing, you must consider several factors before doing so. You must save enough pay from your day job to help you survive and also to cater for the costs of starting a freelance job. For instance, you must accrue enough cash to advertise your freelancing services to potential clients. You must also consider the relationship, as well as emotional toll, that working as a freelancer will take on your family members and yourself. Analyze all of the costs involved to help you forecast what might happen financially.

11. Failure to Focus

The best way to handle freelance jobs is by working under your own supervision and under your own schedule. Distractions can cause many downfalls in freelancing. Distractions can lead you to spending the whole day on unnecessary tasks that will not benefit you in any way. You may also be tempted to keep postponing work on a certain project so that you can instead focus on a fun project.

Working at home can be very tricky since you will be distracted by the people around you. Your friends will come to visit or invite you to get out and do something together. Or your children will need you to devote some attention to them. To avoid these distractions, you will need to set some boundaries to enable you to focus on your projects.

12. Failure to Separate Emotions from Realities

Being a freelancer is no easy job, though most people typically think so. There will be times that you will feel emotionally stressed and tired because you are possibly worried about having enough money to pay your mortgage, as an example. There may be instances when you think that it is the end of the world because you have no more means to finance your expenses and you have no more projects to work on.

Being a freelancer demands a lot from you. It is more demanding compared to working in an office. You may need to work double-time if there are rush jobs that needs to be written. You will have to work an extra shift if the client demands more work from you. Sometimes, you will have to scrimp on sleep in order to finish on a project. Indeed, being a writer requires an individual to accept the demands of the work.

Despite all of these sacrifices and hardships, you cannot guarantee that you will even stay in the job. Even if you are working extra shift in your project, in just the blink of an eye, you could be laid off.

Imagine the complexity of this scenario. This is where you have to separate your emotional bearings and stand up again and think straight; because if not, you will fall face -flat and feel beaten up as a freelance writer.

Sometimes, it is also essential to take a breather and enjoy life. Smile and stand up. Take a walk in the park and feel the breeze of fresh air. You can also relax with a bottle of beer in hand and soothing music in the background. Let loose. A secret to enjoying life is for you to not always be too serious, but rather learn to accept the irony life has to offer. This will bring strength and renewed sense of individuality that is necessary for the demanding and strenuous life of a freelance writer.

13. Failure to Deviate from the Stereotypical

Freelancing is very flexible and many people are quitting their jobs to join this industry. It is very attractive and can easily seduce thousands of people. You can work at any time of the day and you choose which days to work. Freelancing serves as the perfect way through which many people are earning their living. Even those with an 8-hour job can become a part-time freelancer and make an extra income to supplement their salary.

However, in order to reap large amounts from freelancing, you must think, behave and work maturely. To achieve this, you must be organized, confident, and disciplined. Never handle job matters outside of the professional environment, even if the client is your brother; keep everything professional.


Many people think that freelancing is the only option that will enable them to succeed overnight. This is totally untrue; it entails hard work, determination, and persistence. This is the reason why it is strongly recommended that you take your time and research it before making a drastic decision. You can succeed as a freelancer if you take the time to learn some important success tips and tricks.

If you want to succeed in freelance as a career, you must follow several rules which serve as a backbone of success in this career. High quality, as well as always meeting deadlines should be your first priority to enable your freelancing services to thrive.

After being hired by a client, it is good to prove that you are not only trustworthy but also honest and professional in carrying out your tasks. It is not an easy thing to succeed as a freelancer.

Start your freelance work by drafting a highly professional and good business plan that will guide you to succeed. In the business plan, make a list of what you expect from this career as well as your goals and objectives. You should also include the methodologies you will use to achieve these goals and objectives. Additionally, write down the possible challenges you might face in freelancing and how you will tackle them.

You will also be required to set the days you will be working on projects. This will entirely depend on whether you want to work on a full-time or part-time basis. When documenting your days of work, you should also remember to allocate the time you want to spend working on each project. This will enable you to carry out tasks in a more organized manner and ensure that you meet all of your clients’ deadlines.

Having the ability to say “no” to a client can really help you in your freelance work. Although it may seem like a good idea to take on a large amount of work, it is very unhealthy and it can easily ruin your reputation. Therefore, it is very important to control yourself and work on the projects that you were allocated first before taking on others. This will help you deliver the best work that satisfies every client. As a result, you will gain positive feedback which will attract more clients. However, if you have many clients who want you to work for them; you can create a team of highly qualified experts in the field to help you in delivering your services.

In addition, if you work from home you can consider giving yourself a break by going out to libraries and even having coffee with friends. Changing the environment once in a while plays an important role when it comes to enabling you to deliver high-quality projects. You will get motivated by your friends and you will also acquire new and interesting ideas on how to better your freelance services.

Image CreditsDead End By Scott Ableman


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.