As a developer, going into freelancing is the ultimate goal of any developer to have financial independence and it is totally understandable because these days mostly developers are making a good living doing just freelance and they are saying goodbye to their regular 9 to 5 job. But one has to be very careful before starting freelancing because you are inexperienced in the freelance industry and you will make some mistakes that are not good for the long term. I have had done those mistakes and here is my personal story which I would like to share with you.
So I had a friend who was good at freelancing and had many clients and he was a network engineer. People loved him and he was good at it. One day one of his clients asked him that he want his website done. It was not a difficult task, it was a simple WordPress website but that was it, nobody actually knew what else he wants. One thing which was very clear from the client is that he wants to move over the content from his old website which is fine but what else? That is a million-dollar question
So my friend referred it to me because I was a freelancer too and had a good reputation because I get things done and get them done in a timely manner. Anyways we got a meeting with the client and told me that he needs his website done and wants to move everything from the previous website to the new one. I said ok I will do it. He hired me on a freelancing platform at $25/hr which was not bad at that time.
I started working on it, I bought a premium theme for him, approved it from the client, installed the theme, installed and configured all the plugins which were required and everything was functional. Now comes the fun part, I started moved content from the previous website to the new website and it was not happy as a developer, being a developer we usually like to play with code but this time, there is no code, only content. It was my first experience that was actually working with the content.
Now the client wants me to add the SEO part to the website and I was like “hmmmmm okay I will do it”. Being a developer I hated it but I had to do it anyway, so after adding almost more than 100 pages I started working on its SEO I was screaming at myself to start this project without asking basic freelance questions.
Anyhow it did that, then the client said to convert all of those pages into English. Which was never the requirement but again I said OK and started doing it. I converted all of those pages to English, added a language converter in the menu, and created a separate menu for the English website as well.
I calculated all my hours and gave him an Excel sheet to show how many hours I spent and what is the price, and I was shocked to see his reply, he said “it is a normal website and I can only pay 500 for this”. Not a surprise, I accepted that and started working on it again. He never sent me any logo for the website and expected me to create a logo as well and use some stock images which I silently accepted and started working on it.
I started resolving the issues and replying to the issue tickets which he created. I never got any feedback reply from the client and then along the line it got sidetracked and the project was forgotten for almost 6 months.
After six months, the client came back and wanted all of the issues fixed and be done with it. Then I stood for myself for the first time and demanded some money in order for me to start working on it again. He agreed and created and released a milestone of 50% payment. I was happy about it and instantly submitted a withdrawal request. The freelance platform instantly banned my account and I lost my money and my account as well. Freelance platform made it suspicious activity because actually, I violated the platform’s terms and conditions.
The good thing is, it also banned the client’s account too which was unexpected.
Common mistakes while starting as new freelancer:
- I started the project without discussing the actual requirements
- When client asked for me, I never questioned him about anything and stayed quiet like a cow
- Didn’t used freelance platform to discuss anything on freelance platform and kept talking to him on a private channel
- There was huge communication gap between us
- I never used freelancer’s time tracking software, instead I agreed to have a fixed payment project.
How to avoid these mistakes:
- Before you start anything, thing about it, discuss it with client
- Make your timeline according to requirements and tell your client what is the reasonable timeline for the project
- Try to use freelance platform because that will give you good rating and will create your portfolio
- Actively talk to your client about the project and show him the progress, that will give your client some confidence on you
- If you are hired on hourly rate, always use time tracking software to record your progress
I hope this will help you progress and move forward in your freelance career.