Work from Home Boo-Boos: The Freelancer’s 7 Mortal Sins


“Nobody is perfect.”

As human beings, we are bound to commit mistakes no matter how cautious we try to be. However, we also have the capacity to correct those mistakes and learn from them so we won’t commit them again in the future. When you work at home, the mistakes that you commit can affect your career in exponential manner. It can cause you to lose a great client and good sum of payout. Thus, whenever possible, you should be careful in dealing with anyone and anything when it comes to online jobs.

Learning from the mistakes of other people can be your preventive measure in committing mistakes of your own. Here are some of the fatal mistakes experienced work from home people have been burned with at least once in their online career. I can attest to these mistakes as I have personally encountered them.

1. Doing work without a contract. Many people who work from home commit this mistake because they get too trusting on employers or they simply don’t consider online jobs as a serious business. At present, many have tried partaking in the work from home industry due to its flexibility, convenience, and unexpected rewards that some people don’t take it seriously.

If you are in this business, never start a job without upfront payment especially if you haven’t had past works with the employer. Or at the very least, never start work without an approved contract between you and the employer. The contract allows you to file a violation against the employer in case he doesn’t pay up. If possible, choose a time-based contract where you can bill the employer for every hour worked in real time. oDesk has this kind of facility which allows it to provide guaranteed payments.

2. Biting more than what you can chew. Taking a lot of work greater than what you can accomplish can lead to poor performance and inability to meet deadlines. Aside from losing good clients, you might end up getting burnt out with work which will lead you to think that doing online jobs sucks! I recommend that you deal with a few clients that are willing to compensate you well so you don’t need to multitask. Remember that your time is precious so choose the online jobs that are truly worth it.

3. Settling for a low compensation. Many of us don’t consider what we are really worth that is why we tend to bid low when applying for online jobs. Moreover, we give too much emphasis on the competition for online jobs that we think the only way to get it is to charge too low for it. When you apply for online jobs, make sure that you determine how much you are worth and give the right price for your effort. Don’t let yourself get paid with little when you can actually get more from it.

4. Not making a follow up after job interviews. Once you got interviewed for an online job and haven”t heard about its result for a few days, take the initiative to follow-up on it to the employer. Since you have already been interviewed, this means that you already have the information that will allow you to contact the potential employer. There is nothing wrong with following up with your client but make sure to do it politely and not in an annoying way.

5. Having unclear targets. Before you begin working, make sure that you fully understand the requirements of your clients. If the targets of the project are unclear to you and you began working, you might end up putting effort to waste. Rework might be required by the client or worse, he might not compensate you for the inconvenience that it has caused him.

6. Working for just one client. Due to the unstable behavior on online work, make sure that you choose your clients carefully. If your schedule permits, have at least two active clients that you can balance working on. This allows you to have a separate source of income in case you lose one. So, when you only have one client left, you can start applying for another online job that you can work on along with the current one. It is better to have a back-up job than to have nothing at all.

7. Not saving for a rainy day. We all know that freelance job is unstable that is why you should always save whenever you can in case the online job drought comes. Sometimes, it is inevitable that there are seasons where there is very low demand for work from home freelancers. When this time comes, it is best that you have extra penny in your pocket. Better yet, invest some of your money in small businesses so you would have another source of income in case the online job market lies low for a while.

The aim of this list is to realize possible mistakes that we, freelancers, can make and cost us a lot of money. With this, I hope more people will be careful to avoid these 7 mortal sins when taking online jobs.

Share with us your biggest mistakes and how you went to overcome it. Leave a comment so we can all learn from anything that you can share.