Why my first freelancing journey failed

Published on
2 min read

I was so excited when I made my first few hundred dollars freelancing. Thinking of what a great start I had, I saw dollar signs in my head and a new future career path. When that first few hundred dollars turned into my last few hundred for years, I realized how utterly wrong I was. I was a horrible freelancer then. I just didn't know it.

Striking out on your own is a different beast than working for someone else. I didn't realize the skills I didn't have and how being able to code only wasn't enough to be successful. My two worst mistakes were I didn't know how to communicate, and I ignored my own limits. The clients I happened to get, I was lucky to find them. I had no system or negotiation skills to help land clients. Once I had them, I didn't have the communication or soft skills to figure out their goals and ensure the project was successful. Project management, time management, empathy flexibility, negotiation, accepting feedback, etc. were all skills I had barely practiced.

I'm embarrassed to say I also lied about my skills, not only to the clients but to myself. I promised to be the developer, designer, SEO expert, and sysadmin. I was going to produce the best website for these clients that no one else could beat. Years later, I now realize how little I still know and that back then, I knew nothing.

So why am I sharing about my first failed freelance journey? Because I went from being what had to be the worse freelancer to being successful. Over the next few days, I want to share my experiences to help others avoid my mistakes.