Eight Ways to Make Your Freelance Business Fail

Freelancers want to succeed.  So, how can you earn six-figures freelancing during COVID?  Let’s look at this question upside down. Let’s instead ask, How can you earn a rock bottom salary—yes, next to nil? Now, that’s the devil’s advocate. Once we know that, then avoiding it should be a piece of cake, right?

Jennifer Goforth Gregory. (2018) lists eight ways to make a freelance business fail, from her book The Freelance Content Marketing Writer Find your perfect clients, Make tons of money and Build a business you love.

Gregory (2018) says, “If you are still not meeting your income goals, odds are that you are doing one (or more) of the following:”

“1. You do not constantly market yourself” (Gregory, 2018, 64%).

Insurance sales people aim to make eighty cold calls a day. Aim for that volume of outreach. Any less may spell trouble. And you deserve the best.

And if you’re just starting out, you may wonder, where do I begin marketing myself? How should I price my services? What services should I offer? Such unresolved concerns can slow your progress.

On the flipside, you might be hesitant to market yourself. You might fear creating a bigger workload than you can handle. That concern kept me from creating package deals on my Website.

But to learn how to market yourself, watch courses on how to start a freelance agency. You can find such courses on udemy.com, LinkedIn Learning, even YouTube. These courses could teach you tidbits such as how to price your services, how to hire contractors, and how many clients you need.  Once you get an inside view, make your splash in business.

“2. Your marketing is not targeted.

“Maybe you are not presenting yourself in the email in the best way for the client to see how your skills help them” (ibid).

Target your marketing by taking a copywriting course. Or read a copywriting book. Copywriting is writing for the sale. With copywriting, you focus on benefits and buy now buttons. With just a few simple tweaks to your website, you could leap to first place amongst your competitors.

“3. You do not leave your house.

Especially in today’s world of emails, tweeting and texting, meeting someone face-to-face cements a relationship” (ibid).

Look your best when you meet your clients. Get your hair done once a month. Buy new clothes. Splash on a scent. Oh, you’ll look stunning.  Any body type and any face can look gorgeous. After all, your soul is where your true beauty lies. The rest is the wrapping on the gift.

“4. You have a lot of one-off assignments

“The first project with a new client always takes many hours longer than second and third projects with the same client. You have to get used to the client’s style, their process and their expectations. This means you make less money on new clients than you do on regular clients” (ibid).

I had the reverse problem. A regular client lowballed my price. I’d design a poster for him. And then he’d want a similar poster for half the price. I had to let that client go. But I will one day return, just with a higher price.  So get regular clients, but ones who pay a decent wage.

“5. Applying to job ads is your main source of marketing.

“If your strategy consists mainly of applying to posted job ads, you’re missing a lot of opportunities” (ibid).

Oh, this has been my grief. I get contract work from post ads, but the work is sparse. A better route may be to specialize in an industry.   A great way to test out the industries is through cold calls. If four out of four restaurant owners hang up on you, chances are, restaurants are not the industry you desire.

“6. You do not follow up with potential clients and past clients” (Gregory, 2018, 65%).

If you have a job interview, and you got a business card from the employer, then follow up. You could either send a follow-up business idea or resource. The employer will adore you and, at the very least, remember you.  Follow-up to open doors.

7. “You spend too long working on each project.

“I am not talking about turning out crap or cutting corners, but about writing quickly and turning out good quality work based on the expectations of the client” (ibid).

One author said, if I recall correctly, it takes her an hour to write one hundred words. She might be a slow writer, but a great writer.  Get into the freelance swing, and you’ll develop a system. Systems speed up the lag. And speed is money.  But if you’re on the slow slide, simply do work in twice the time for double the cost.

8. “You do not believe you can make six figures.

“If you avoid all of the above mistakes, but don’t think in your heart that you can earn a high income, then you most likely will not reach your goal” (ibid).

One trick I’ve learned is to price yourself according to industry standards. Then, creep up your price until you hit resistance. Resistance occurs when demand drops.  That way, you’ll gain the biggest bang in profits.

So, that sums up what it takes to fail at earning a living. So, slip on a Versace suit and step out into the business world. It’s time to make a killing. And, yes, COVID, you’ve just met your master.


Gregory, Jennifer Goforth. (2018). The Freelance Content Marketing Writer Find your perfect clients, Make tons of money and Build a business you love. [Kindle Unlimited]. Retrieved from amazon.ca.