Three Common Mistakes Made By Freelancers


Let’s face it, being a freelance writer is hard. The ‘freelance’ bit can be lonely. When you make rookie mistakes or bad judgement calls, unlike being in a team or office environment, there’s no one there to keep you on the right track. Below are three common mistakes you should endeavour to avoid.

  • Saying no to work

Provided that you know a few other writers, you should never really say no to freelance work. If it’s a viable option, look into outsourcing it to a writer friend for little or no commission. Just because you don’t have the time, doesn’t mean you can’t help out someone you know. Hopefully, they’ll think of you when they’re in the same situation and return the favor.

  • Not factoring in research time when quoting for a job

This can cause you serious problems! Always remember to give an estimate on how much time it’ll take you to research a project or subject, and factor this into your quote, or include it in a contingency. Any time spent working on a project should be paid.

  • Proofread your work, and then proofread it again

Too many great writers stumble when it comes to proofing their work. Granted it’s hard to proofread your own work as you already understand your meaning and the eye tends to gloss over words and even sentences that you’ve written. However, there are no excuses for a badly finished copy.

My top tip? Write something the day before (or ideally a few days before) a deadline, go away and do something else before coming back to it. The morning it’s due my first task of the day is to reread it one last time. You’ll be surprised at how many mistakes I find even on this last check.

If you don’t already, use track changes in Word, Google Docs or an equivalent – this will make your life so much easier.

What other mistakes do you think freelance writers should avoid?

Rachael Oku is a freelance writer, senior editor, and consultant living in London. Working across industries as diverse as finance, education, and business through to technology and lifestyle, Rachael has vast digital content experience managing magazines, websites and content hubs. In 2013 Rachael’s first book, Become a Freelance Writer: Your Complete Guide to the Business of Writing, was published by Harriman House and is available via the Amazon Kindle Store.

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