3 Deadly Mistakes Freelancers Often Make

Freelancing is a great way for anyone to work independently or make some extra money and for employers to hire talent at an affordable price and in a flexible way. However, freelancing isn’t a hobby; it is a full-time job in which you cannot succeed unless you abide by a certain set of rules.

Using freelancing marketplaces like freelancer.com, elance.com or odesk.com is a first step in making your freelancing work more professional and will be very helpful in getting your projects. However, even when using such platforms, I have seen many freelancers struggle to get projects by making some major mistakes.

This article is about three deadly mistakes freelancers often make that could easily be avoided.

Not looking pro

It is all about perception not reality! You could be the best designer, the best coder, the best SEO… if your customers cannot see that in a way or another, for them you just are not.

There are many ways to convey a positive image. Some past showcase work and positive feedback (portfolio, testimonials…), others spend a lot of time writing compelling proposals… However, many fail when it comes to producing enterprise-grade invoices in particular and admin papers in general.

YES, INVOICES! I have seen many freelancers unable to provide a decent invoice and others that couldn’t tell me how much they charged for the last project we worked on together!

The solution is simple, use tools! There are so many free and paid tools out there that can help you look more professional and make your job easier. Just imagine you are at one of your customers’ office and he asks you if he can have an invoice in order to pay you. With a cloud-based invoicing system, all you need is a computer with Internet access, and you’re done, give him the invoice and cash in the check!

Here are my favourite invoicing/billing tools:

INVOICERA, The popular one

Invoicera is probably the most widely used. It has always been reliable and handy. If you want to make online invoicing a straightforward and uncomplicated process, this is one of the best tools out there; they even have a free plan.

MAVENLINK, The comprehensive tool,

If you are ready to pay for a pro tool and get some support, this is your most comprehensive choice. Mavenlink lets you collaborate, share files, invoice, track time, and make or receive payment in a custom-branded project management solution.

HARVEST, The easy one

HARVEST is extremely easy to use and can simplify your timesheets with time tracking and fast online invoicing.

Not charging enough

Price is a major parameter in a project manager’s choice, but the quality is also a primary concern. As humans, we have been educated into thinking that quality and price are related, and that’s not always untrue.

In fact, for many people, the price is an indicator of how good your work will be. So being too aggressive on your prices and making sacrifices might have a negative effect on how good you are perceived to be.

In conclusion, my advice is to try and strike a balance between:

  • The cost of the job (time and resources)
  • The price the employer can pay (budget)
  • The price the employer things he has to pay for a good quality work

Over-trusting your employers

Trust is part of life, and many employers need to see you trust them, and they can trust you before they can give you the project.

So you have to inspire trust and manage the customer interactions very carefully. Some people will quickly try and take you to a feeling driven relation because that’s how they do it. In fact, as a freelancer, you will certainly have to work with people from different countries, regions, cultures…

This is why I would strongly advise you to use tools like escrow to make sure you get paid and if not, can file a complaint or a dispute.

As you might already know, most freelancing platforms offer such services, but that doesn’t mean you should entirely rely on them and not filter out your partners carefully.

Of course, once the customer is a recurring one, you might want to be more flexible to speed things up and help make working together easier.

Project Management for SEO Companies the right way

Successful Project Management for SEO Companies is not just about executing SEO tasks in a good and timely manner; it also requires excellent process management to allow for the team, the clients and all the people involved in the project to work together as efficiently as possible even when they are geographically distant.

To achieve such efficiency, communication and organization are key. Those two parameters are then critical when choosing the tools you’ll be using to back the project.

We have talked to many SEOs around the world, and surprisingly, we have found quite a few commonly used tools amongst the SEO community. We have also been able to identify three major types of tools:

File Sharing tools

Dropbox

Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc., which offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and client software. Dropbox allows users to create a special folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox then synchronizes so that it appears to be the same folder (with the same contents) regardless of which computer is used to view it. Files placed in this folder also are accessible through a website and mobile phone applications.

As you can see, it will mainly help you access your data from any location in the word as it is cloud based thus making it easily sharable with other project members, that’s extremely useful when you have large files that you cannot send via e-mail.

Dropbox also has a set of iOS and Android apps that make it even easier for anyone to use.

Project Management tools

Mavenlink

Mavenlink is a cloud-based team collaboration and project management application, sometimes referred to as a professional service automation software, developed in the United States. The company’s SaaS platform enables professional service providers and their clients to efficiently manage their project from start to finish.

In this Mavenlink review, you can see for yourself how this amazing tool can help you take your project management to the next level as an “end to end” project management solution.
Trello

Trello is a free web-based project management application made by Fog Creek Software. It lets you organize anything easily, from life goals and to-do lists to group projects. It works wonders for teams. Assign tasks, streamline communication and get everyone on the same page, fast. It’s just about everything you need to accomplish great tasks. Check this particular tool here:

Communication tools

Google Docs

Google Docs is a market leading free web-based office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users.

Skype

Skype service allows users to communicate with peers by voice using a microphone, video by using a webcam, and instant messaging over the Internet. Phone calls may be placed to recipients on the traditional telephone networks. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free of charge, while calls to landline telephones and mobile phones are charged via a debit-based user account system. It’s so simple to use even for business, family or friends communication.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is a Web-hosted service. It’s a remote meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software that enables the user to meet with other computer users, customers, clients or colleagues via the Internet in real-time. It’s a professional and easy to use.

Tools are great but do not be mistaken, they will never do the job for you and direct communication with your colleagues, partners, and customers is also critical to an SEO project’s success.

Face to face meetings and phone calls with the client are aiming to set the goals and the expected results of the project as a whole. Internal weekly meetings with colleagues to assign and adapt tasks, responsibilities and check on the results,

Using the right tools and implementing the right processes is very important to a successful SEO project, it saves a lot of time and lets you build a good organization. It allows you to expose your work more explicitly to the clients.

The last key is the client’s satisfaction. As an SEO, your tasks are vast; they include optimizing pages, building links, improving rankings, driving traffic…

“There is only one boss-the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton.