Nobody likes to admit when they’ve made mistakes in their business. But mistakes come with the territory of being a business owner! Plus, are they truly a mistake when you learn and grow from them?
Regardless of what type of freelance business you have or plan to begin, these mistakes can help you become more self-aware and reflective. Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes so we don’t have to both make them. (really taking one for the team here, but it’s because I care about ya’ll)
Being Indecisive On A Business Name
In the beginning stages of your business, it always feels like all of the decisions are so important. The fonts you use, the colors on your website. And the biggest dilemma of them all, the name of your business.
Not to say that your business name doesn’t matter AT ALL, but it definitely doesn’t matter as much as you think. Especially if you’re in the freelance business. A lot of people simply use their own names or a version of it. At the end of the day, your clients aren’t working with you because of your name. They’re working with you because of the skill and service you offer. Focus on that first, and the rest will support the message.
Hiring Too Soon
I’ll never forget when I signed my largest retainer client, which put me at a total of 5 accounts. It was early on in my business, about a month into full-time freelancing. My thoughts were to hire immediately, but the reasoning behind this decision was not strategic or thought-out.
It wasn’t because I felt as though I couldn’t handle the workload. It was more like I believed if I didn’t hire, I wouldn’t be able to grow. Which is not a bad mentality to have! I also felt like it was a natural next step, but after my first failed hire, I realized that I needed to develop my process and get comfortable working solo before bringing on another person.
Not Hiring Someone With Experience
Another business mistake I made with hiring was bringing on people who didn’t have experience. This hurt my heart because I truly love to help new creators, and teaching others what I do is a big part of my personal mission statement. But when it comes to client work, especially when you’re still sooo small, experience is really important for your first couple of hires.
If I were to do it again, I would hire someone with experience who was able to work in a full-time capacity. Then, as the business grew, I would have brought on interns with less experience to teach and grow with the company. This is really important in the beginning stages of your business because if you’re only paying someone half a wage, you’ll likely end up with half the effort.
Trying To Do Too Much At Once
This is a common theme with my life in general. If you ask my friends and family, they’ll say they never know what I’m up to because there’s always something new added to the mix!
While in some cases, this is a benefit, there are moments that it becomes a flaw. I felt a lot of pressure early on in my freelance career to be successful and push myself. And while I was able to achieve a lot of the things I went after, many others fell flat because I was taking on too much.
The biggest mistake was offering too many types of services in my business. It can be challenging to do it all as a solopreneur, and in the beginning, I wanted to offer all of the services I was capable of: Branding, social media, web design, copy-writing, etc. But once I scaled back and focused on the few things I was really great at, things went a lot more smoothly because I was able to master those primary skills. It also allowed me to send off referrals and grow my database with other talented freelancers!
Conforming To “Office” Standards
Freelancing comes with its struggles, but it also has its perks. The primary one being: FREEDOM.
I used to dream of being a freelancer while working at my 9-5 job and imagined waking up to no alarm, skipping out to take a noon yoga class, working from the coffee shop down the road (or better yet, a beach in Florida). But for some reason, I couldn’t shake the guilt of not sitting at my desk all day long. It sounds stupid to say out loud, I know. But it happened – and still happens now almost 10 months into my freelance career.
Only recently have I figured out how to give myself grace and take advantage of the freelance perks. The pressure to hustle and grind every waking moment is overwhelming. Take a Tuesday to sit at the spa or read a book in between work projects instead of rushing to the next task. It’s all about balance, baby.
What mistakes have you learned from in your careers?
DM me on Instagram so we can share in the struggles and learn from each other!