Traps Freelancers should not fall for

Traps Freelancers should not fall for

Although there are many perks to being a freelancer - working from any location, deciding your own hours -, one of the disadvantages has to do with money insecurity. Some clients might try to get advantage of you in terms of money or expertise, so here are some signs you need to watch out for.

Although you and your client might establish a close relationship, you have to remember this is still business and they have to abide by the rules. If you comply with their requirements, they have to do their part as well. Therefore, should they ask you to pay you later, you should say no.

Delayed or nil payments

When you are just starting out, you might feel like you have to say yes to any project that falls on your hands and you have to accept any terms they impose on you, even if that entails getting paid later on. Even when your new client might seem genuine, you can't rely on their word alone because if you do, they might never pay you.

Although you probably won't get paid upfront, you can ask for a deposit or a sign an agreement that states you will get paid at some upon completion of the project.

An alternative to this debacle is to work for a renown company or to go through a third-party service, such as, or, which keeps the money safe for both parties until the project is completed.

Redo work for free

Newbies tend to make this mistake as well. Let's say you've completed an assignment, you followed the instructions and you did exactly what you were asked for, but once you've submitted your assignment, your client has changed their mind and asks you to make some changes for free. Although you might be tempted to say yes just to make your client happy and establish a business relationship, this agreement is not far for you as you are actually working for free and instead of acquiring a loyal client, you are just getting a client that will most likely continue taking advantage of you in the future.

Just remember that time is money and you need to value yourself for others to value you as well. Just because you are freelancer and you are starting out, that doesn't mean that you have to offer free services. You can if you that's what you had in mind or if that extra work will help you develop your skills, but if you have already completed your formation period and now you are offering professional services, you deserve to get paid for every hour you invested in any company's project. Just remember that you have to charge for extra work unless you made some kind of mistake or failed to follow instructions.

There are other times clients might ask you to do extra work for them. For instance, let's say a client explains the project to you and then asks you to quote them a price and once you tell them how much the project is going to cost them, they suddenly remember other tasks they forgot to mention when they explained the project to you. Thus, the add the new tasks and expect you to charge them what you had initially quoted them for. This is called scope creep and it's another trap you have to avoid.

To avoid misunderstandings, make sure you mention you tell your client you will charge for scope creep from the beginning. That way, they can opt to either pay you or do the extra work themselves. Just remember that you have to do what you are getting paid for, nothing more.

Sharing your knowledge

Unless you are Swedish, you probably had to pay good money for your studies and even if are a Swede, getting that degree cost you time. Then why share that knowledge with a client for free? Besides, if you do share this knowledge, then why won't need you anymore. As a freelancer, your skills are valuable because you are doing something they are unable to, but from the moment they know how to do your job, you've lost a client.

If a client asks you to teach them how you do your job, tell them that it would take a great deal of training to reach your knowledge level and it's quite a complicated process. Then they'll have two options. They can either keep you as a freelancer or they can invest in training someone on their team or hire someone full time which is probably more costly than hiring the services of a freelancer.

Although you might be tempted to make many of these mistakes in the beginning, you should avoid falling for these traps from when you start to keep any potential client to take advantage of you and to get paid what you are worth.