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  Category: Articles » Business » Employment » Article

A Mistake Not Worth Repeating For The New Freelancer

By Johnny Spence

Many new freelancers who start out in their first projects have the unfortunate tendency to go in over their heads. I know for sure since it happened to… yours truly. I'm sure most freelancers can agree that when first starting out, they worry more about how you will find your next projects instead of focusing on the one they already have.

Well, I happened to have found a quick project and upon looking at my qualifications, my employer thought it would be good to hire me for a different, longer term project. A freelancer's dream, right? At least I thought so. It was my very first project and I thought I hit a home run at my very first at bat.

Now, I'm a computer programmer/web developer, but I'll spare the gory techie details for those of you not in this field. I started out being given usernames, passwords and my project assignment, uploading and installing certain website components. There were no other instructions and only the expectation of me to have them installed within a week.

I didn't ask too many questions nor were many asked of me when I went to work. After all, it seemed straightforward. Plus, I had the best working situation: I was told to keep track of my hours and record them since I was being paid by my own rate. I have to admit, it did cross my mind to "pad" the hours a little, however, I was more interested in making a good impression, so I kept track of it to the exact minute.

The week passed and I had worked approximately thirty hours on this very project. It turned out to be quite a challenge from what I had expected until my project manager had a look at the work that I had done over the course of the week.

Then came the unexpected. Not only had I installed the wrong components, but I deleted existing components that were needed. To make matters worse, I took too much time to finish and it should have been done in a third of the time (especially given that I was charging a fairly high rate).

I wasn't given much of a notice, but I had been terminated from the project and had been told to submit my hours and I would be paid for the time worked. I never heard from them again nor received the payment I was told I would get. Worse yet, I never had seen this employer face to face and I was working thousands of miles from where they were based.

Eventually I decided I would just move on since I couldn't afford the time to keep fighting for a payment I might never see. I had to work, especially after losing a week's wages to this disaster.

In all fairness, I can understand this employer not having any intention of paying for my work which had actually worsened and delayed the project at hand. From this perspective, I learned the hard way the most important lesson that every freelance newbie should follow:

Always know exactly what you are getting into before you take on any project.

Unfortunately, most new freelancers are to eager to get a project under their belt that they will take any that comes their way… and without checking out the requirements or paying attention to how it will b done. The simple solution is to first take on simple projects that are manageable and without surprises and ASK QUESTIONS if you are not sure about anything.

Remember, once you are in over your head on a project, you also risk being short in your bank account later. I could honestly care less now about that lost paycheck, but this hard-learned lesson has helped me approach every project in a professional manner.
About the Author
By Johnny Spence
Author of The Rookie Freelance Job Guide

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  Some other articles by Johnny Spence
Telecommuting: The Dream Job Has Come
I am sure most would agree that a dream job would be one where you schedule your own hours, work out of your home and get paid well ...

Why Am I A Freelancer, Again?
You know, as much I love freelancing, it can suck you in like a real job without even realizing it. What I mean is that you ...

The Real Secret to Freelance Success
I can tell you from experience that the first thing that goes through your mind as a new freelancer is "OK, now how ...

Is Being Your Own Boss Really What It Seems To Be?
Hating your boss… that, of course, is not a new concept. Before I started in my freelance career, I always ...

The Great Freelance Boom
Before the turn of the new millennia, freelancing in any field was thought of as being for those who absolutely do not want ...

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