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Common Freelance Mistakes That Can Harm Your Mental Health

June 7, 2023
Swaraa Lodha
8 MIN

Freelancing is not just a way of working, but it is now a way of life. With immersive control, autonomy, and freedom to choose your hours, passions, projects, and clients, you can lead extremely balanced lives as freelancers. This can be a significant factor in improving your mental health.

However, it is also easy to lose control when you have too much of it.  

This is where you make common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health. On top of the ambiguity and isolation of being a freelancer, if you develop some harmful habits that can impact your well-being in the short and long run.  

In this article, we will explore some common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health if not avoided.

  1. Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules
  2. Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out
  3. Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough
  4. Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health
  5. Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries
  6. Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve
  7. Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks
  8. Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination
  9. Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help
  10. Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

So, let's dive into the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and how to avoid them!

Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules

Tired and overworked

Although freelancing provides control over a lot of things, including which clients you work with, what kind of projects you take on, and what hours you work, it is extremely easy to fall into irregular working patterns. From waking up at noon to working till midnight, as much as freelancing can mean freedom, it can also disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can lead to fatigue, sleep disturbances, and decreased productivity in the long run. Longer hours and overtime are justified sometimes, but it should not become the routine. You need to make sure you balance work and rest, so your rest can be fruitful, and work can be productive. Our mental health is extremely dependent on how healthy we feel physically and without proper sleep and body rhythms, our minds can suffer severely.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish a consistent work routine
  2. Make sure you manage your sleep schedule and wake up/sleep on time

Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out

Burnout

This seems like common knowledge, but burnout can have you, especially in the long run. If you force yourself to work more than your mind and body can handle, you can lead to exhaustion that can last much longer than anticipated. Working more than you wish to can lead to constant stress and increased anxiety, which can lead to a diminished quality of work produced as well as the enjoyment you get from your work. In the long run, your work life balance can get impacted and if you do burnout, you can also fall into the trap of guilting yourself every time you feel exhausted with work, negatively affecting your mental health.

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Take regular breaks and vacations where you switch off from work
  2. Keep an eye out for exhaustion – if you feel worn out, do activities that help you relax

Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough

Person holding money

As freelancers, wanting to attract clients is going to be your top priority. Many a times, you will end up being tempted to charge less than what you are worth out of fear of losing clients. With higher competition and other options available, you may end up making the common mistake of underselling your services and unknowingly projecting your value at a reduced rate. However, this can make you frustrated in the long run, given that the realization of earning less for more effort will start to sink in. Not only will you feel that you are being paid lesser than you deserve, but you may also start to doubt your own abilities, leading to a poverty mindset, which can affect your mental health. Also, a reputation of charging less can hinder your professional growth by perpetuating that clients can negotiate with you and get their way. To learn more about increasing your rates as a freelancer, you can watch our expert masterclass with Travis Bennett (Former freelancer and CEO, Doerscircle)

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Continuously updating your rates based on the amount of experience you earn over time
  2. Keeping a roster of high paying clients, even if the total number may be lower than you want
  3. Remembering that losing clients is not the end of the world and sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise  

Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health

Unhealthy diet

Freelancers often face the temptation of irregular meals or relying on quick, unhealthy snacks due to time constraints. A poor diet can impact mental health, leading to fatigue, mood swings, and decreased cognitive function. Besides that, sitting for long periods is very common for freelancers. Doing this, without regular physical activity, can take a major toll on your mental health. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins, reduce stress, and improve overall mood. From yoga and walking to Pilates and stationary cycling, do whatever works for your body and working hours. Get a gym membership like ClassPass to ensure you get expert help and consistency in your regimen.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Prioritize nutritious meals and make sure to reduce unnecessary snacking
  2. Make sure to create and consistently follow an exercise routine to balance work and life

Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries

Spending time with family

In freelancing, given its nature, it can get difficult to balance work and life without blurring the lines. This can be the greatest mistake you can make, and it can hurt your mental health tremendously. With personal and professional lives being blurred, boundaries can get tougher to clear. This can create scenarios where it can become difficult for you to disconnect from work, leading to constantly worrying about deadlines and goals. The feeling of “always being on call” can prove detrimental to your mental health because you might never be able to live your personal life to the fullest without feeling guilty for taking breaks and enjoying it.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish work hours and focus on “signing out” of work on a daily basis to differentiate between your personal and professional time
  2. Create a designated workspace to maintain a work-life balance and improve your mental health

Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve

Relaxing

Freelancers often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. However, not allowing yourself regular breaks and vacations can affect your mental health negatively. As a freelancer, it's crucial to prioritize self-care. Neglecting self-care activities such as relaxation, hobbies, and personal time can lead to chronic stress and burnout. You can often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. Taking regular time off is essential for mental rejuvenation and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Set aside time to recharge your energy with activities that you enjoy doing outside of work
  2. Use productivity techniques to learn how to take breaks without feeling guilty

Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks

Risktaking

Freelancers often stick to their success stories and try to recreate those with every new client, to mimic the prior success they achieved. This can be a useful strategy to ensure that your work is structured, and you have a process that works for you, however, with increasing competition and constantly developing landscapes, freelancers must take risks, or they will be forgotten. Wanting to prioritize stability is good, however, avoiding risks in the name of minimizing them can hinder professional growth for freelancers, leading to worse mental health. Feeling stagnant in the job or getting frustrated with the mundanity of things can delay freelancers in exploring new avenues and skills. This can lead to long term growth being much slower than wanted, hurting freelancers’ self-esteem and confidence.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Try out one new thing with every client as time passes – Stick to what works, however, change up at least one factor every time to keep it fresh
  2. Look at your opportunity costs and analyze your pros and cons before taking risks so you feel safer doing so and can plan contingencies  

Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination

Procrastination

Due to the absence of strict deadlines and supervision, freelancers can make the mistake of procrastinating and pushing work till the next day. Although it is okay to work slowly occasionally, the freelancing mistake of delaying tasks can lead to increasing levels of stress and an overall reduced sense of accomplishment. The mental health of freelancers depends a lot on the number of clients they have and the number of projects they complete, which can be severely affected if tasks are not completed on time.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Use tools like Trello to divide your tasks between 3 sections: “To be done,” “In Progress,” and “Done” to create manageable chunks
  2. Create rules for yourself to ensure you finish work before getting distracted. For example: No Netflix before finishing the slide deck and no Instagram before sending out all the planned emails  

Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help

Seeking help

Freelancers often take on multiple responsibilities on their own, making it easy to overlook the importance of seeking support. It may seem like you have everything in control, however, if work and the freelance lifestyles start to overwhelm you, you need to know when to ask for help. The mistake of not seeking help and support when needed can make freelancers feel even more isolated. Failing to reach out for help when needed can increase stress levels and feelings of overwhelm. This can, in the short run, lead to more panic for freelancers along with the fear of losing clients and lowered growth. In the long run, this can turn into feelings of hopelessness as freelancers struggle with their mental health and identity crises that can be caused due to the feeling of lack of support.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Join communities and support groups with freelancers and entrepreneurs going through the same things as you
  2. Network after networking events – Use the business cards you get and keep in touch with the people you connect with
  3. Remember that everyone has their issues - so you will always have the support around as long as you ask for it!  

Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

Signing documents

In today’s accelerating world, freelancers can prove to be better alternatives as compared to full-time hired employees, given their flexibility and skillsets. However, in the excitement or lack of knowledge phase of work, you may make the freelancing mistake of taking on work without signing agreements. Just like with any working arrangements, both parties (the freelancer and the client/company/corporate) would and should protect their interests and themselves. Which is why signed contracts and freelance contract agreements are extremely important for freelancers! From the timeframe required of the freelancer as well as the deliverables expected, having a signed agreement before beginning the work will ensure that both parties are aware of their duties and cannot falter. In the long run, having that sense of trust and security will help freelancers manage their mental health effectively, as they would know all the details necessary, including when, how much, and for what, they will be paid. Having security will also lead to higher quality work from the freelancers’ ends.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Speak to a lawyer/legal advisor if you are afraid to sign contracts or would like to clarify details about language/logistics before you sign
  2. Know all your details before you write/sign an agreement (deliverables, due dates, payments, methodology, etc.)

And that’s it for this article!

These are some of the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and you should avoid!

It is crucial to be aware of these habits, amongst many others, that you should manage alongside your freelance career to ensure your mental health does not get harmed. Be recognizing, addressing, and improving these habits in your daily life, you can create a healthier, fulfilling, and content life for yourself. So, remember to uplift your personal and professional lives by creating a work routine, taking breaks, setting boundaries, seeking support, prioritizing health and self-care, and maintaining a work-life balance!

Common Freelance Mistakes That Can Harm Your Mental Health

Freelancing is not just a way of working, but it is now a way of life. However, it is easy to lost control when you have too much of it. Learn about common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health and how to avoid them!
Published on
June 7, 2023

Freelancing is not just a way of working, but it is now a way of life. With immersive control, autonomy, and freedom to choose your hours, passions, projects, and clients, you can lead extremely balanced lives as freelancers. This can be a significant factor in improving your mental health.

However, it is also easy to lose control when you have too much of it.  

This is where you make common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health. On top of the ambiguity and isolation of being a freelancer, if you develop some harmful habits that can impact your well-being in the short and long run.  

In this article, we will explore some common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health if not avoided.

  1. Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules
  2. Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out
  3. Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough
  4. Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health
  5. Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries
  6. Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve
  7. Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks
  8. Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination
  9. Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help
  10. Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

So, let's dive into the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and how to avoid them!

Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules

Tired and overworked

Although freelancing provides control over a lot of things, including which clients you work with, what kind of projects you take on, and what hours you work, it is extremely easy to fall into irregular working patterns. From waking up at noon to working till midnight, as much as freelancing can mean freedom, it can also disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can lead to fatigue, sleep disturbances, and decreased productivity in the long run. Longer hours and overtime are justified sometimes, but it should not become the routine. You need to make sure you balance work and rest, so your rest can be fruitful, and work can be productive. Our mental health is extremely dependent on how healthy we feel physically and without proper sleep and body rhythms, our minds can suffer severely.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish a consistent work routine
  2. Make sure you manage your sleep schedule and wake up/sleep on time

Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out

Burnout

This seems like common knowledge, but burnout can have you, especially in the long run. If you force yourself to work more than your mind and body can handle, you can lead to exhaustion that can last much longer than anticipated. Working more than you wish to can lead to constant stress and increased anxiety, which can lead to a diminished quality of work produced as well as the enjoyment you get from your work. In the long run, your work life balance can get impacted and if you do burnout, you can also fall into the trap of guilting yourself every time you feel exhausted with work, negatively affecting your mental health.

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Take regular breaks and vacations where you switch off from work
  2. Keep an eye out for exhaustion – if you feel worn out, do activities that help you relax

Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough

Person holding money

As freelancers, wanting to attract clients is going to be your top priority. Many a times, you will end up being tempted to charge less than what you are worth out of fear of losing clients. With higher competition and other options available, you may end up making the common mistake of underselling your services and unknowingly projecting your value at a reduced rate. However, this can make you frustrated in the long run, given that the realization of earning less for more effort will start to sink in. Not only will you feel that you are being paid lesser than you deserve, but you may also start to doubt your own abilities, leading to a poverty mindset, which can affect your mental health. Also, a reputation of charging less can hinder your professional growth by perpetuating that clients can negotiate with you and get their way. To learn more about increasing your rates as a freelancer, you can watch our expert masterclass with Travis Bennett (Former freelancer and CEO, Doerscircle)

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Continuously updating your rates based on the amount of experience you earn over time
  2. Keeping a roster of high paying clients, even if the total number may be lower than you want
  3. Remembering that losing clients is not the end of the world and sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise  

Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health

Unhealthy diet

Freelancers often face the temptation of irregular meals or relying on quick, unhealthy snacks due to time constraints. A poor diet can impact mental health, leading to fatigue, mood swings, and decreased cognitive function. Besides that, sitting for long periods is very common for freelancers. Doing this, without regular physical activity, can take a major toll on your mental health. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins, reduce stress, and improve overall mood. From yoga and walking to Pilates and stationary cycling, do whatever works for your body and working hours. Get a gym membership like ClassPass to ensure you get expert help and consistency in your regimen.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Prioritize nutritious meals and make sure to reduce unnecessary snacking
  2. Make sure to create and consistently follow an exercise routine to balance work and life

Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries

Spending time with family

In freelancing, given its nature, it can get difficult to balance work and life without blurring the lines. This can be the greatest mistake you can make, and it can hurt your mental health tremendously. With personal and professional lives being blurred, boundaries can get tougher to clear. This can create scenarios where it can become difficult for you to disconnect from work, leading to constantly worrying about deadlines and goals. The feeling of “always being on call” can prove detrimental to your mental health because you might never be able to live your personal life to the fullest without feeling guilty for taking breaks and enjoying it.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish work hours and focus on “signing out” of work on a daily basis to differentiate between your personal and professional time
  2. Create a designated workspace to maintain a work-life balance and improve your mental health

Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve

Relaxing

Freelancers often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. However, not allowing yourself regular breaks and vacations can affect your mental health negatively. As a freelancer, it's crucial to prioritize self-care. Neglecting self-care activities such as relaxation, hobbies, and personal time can lead to chronic stress and burnout. You can often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. Taking regular time off is essential for mental rejuvenation and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Set aside time to recharge your energy with activities that you enjoy doing outside of work
  2. Use productivity techniques to learn how to take breaks without feeling guilty

Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks

Risktaking

Freelancers often stick to their success stories and try to recreate those with every new client, to mimic the prior success they achieved. This can be a useful strategy to ensure that your work is structured, and you have a process that works for you, however, with increasing competition and constantly developing landscapes, freelancers must take risks, or they will be forgotten. Wanting to prioritize stability is good, however, avoiding risks in the name of minimizing them can hinder professional growth for freelancers, leading to worse mental health. Feeling stagnant in the job or getting frustrated with the mundanity of things can delay freelancers in exploring new avenues and skills. This can lead to long term growth being much slower than wanted, hurting freelancers’ self-esteem and confidence.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Try out one new thing with every client as time passes – Stick to what works, however, change up at least one factor every time to keep it fresh
  2. Look at your opportunity costs and analyze your pros and cons before taking risks so you feel safer doing so and can plan contingencies  

Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination

Procrastination

Due to the absence of strict deadlines and supervision, freelancers can make the mistake of procrastinating and pushing work till the next day. Although it is okay to work slowly occasionally, the freelancing mistake of delaying tasks can lead to increasing levels of stress and an overall reduced sense of accomplishment. The mental health of freelancers depends a lot on the number of clients they have and the number of projects they complete, which can be severely affected if tasks are not completed on time.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Use tools like Trello to divide your tasks between 3 sections: “To be done,” “In Progress,” and “Done” to create manageable chunks
  2. Create rules for yourself to ensure you finish work before getting distracted. For example: No Netflix before finishing the slide deck and no Instagram before sending out all the planned emails  

Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help

Seeking help

Freelancers often take on multiple responsibilities on their own, making it easy to overlook the importance of seeking support. It may seem like you have everything in control, however, if work and the freelance lifestyles start to overwhelm you, you need to know when to ask for help. The mistake of not seeking help and support when needed can make freelancers feel even more isolated. Failing to reach out for help when needed can increase stress levels and feelings of overwhelm. This can, in the short run, lead to more panic for freelancers along with the fear of losing clients and lowered growth. In the long run, this can turn into feelings of hopelessness as freelancers struggle with their mental health and identity crises that can be caused due to the feeling of lack of support.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Join communities and support groups with freelancers and entrepreneurs going through the same things as you
  2. Network after networking events – Use the business cards you get and keep in touch with the people you connect with
  3. Remember that everyone has their issues - so you will always have the support around as long as you ask for it!  

Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

Signing documents

In today’s accelerating world, freelancers can prove to be better alternatives as compared to full-time hired employees, given their flexibility and skillsets. However, in the excitement or lack of knowledge phase of work, you may make the freelancing mistake of taking on work without signing agreements. Just like with any working arrangements, both parties (the freelancer and the client/company/corporate) would and should protect their interests and themselves. Which is why signed contracts and freelance contract agreements are extremely important for freelancers! From the timeframe required of the freelancer as well as the deliverables expected, having a signed agreement before beginning the work will ensure that both parties are aware of their duties and cannot falter. In the long run, having that sense of trust and security will help freelancers manage their mental health effectively, as they would know all the details necessary, including when, how much, and for what, they will be paid. Having security will also lead to higher quality work from the freelancers’ ends.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Speak to a lawyer/legal advisor if you are afraid to sign contracts or would like to clarify details about language/logistics before you sign
  2. Know all your details before you write/sign an agreement (deliverables, due dates, payments, methodology, etc.)

And that’s it for this article!

These are some of the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and you should avoid!

It is crucial to be aware of these habits, amongst many others, that you should manage alongside your freelance career to ensure your mental health does not get harmed. Be recognizing, addressing, and improving these habits in your daily life, you can create a healthier, fulfilling, and content life for yourself. So, remember to uplift your personal and professional lives by creating a work routine, taking breaks, setting boundaries, seeking support, prioritizing health and self-care, and maintaining a work-life balance!

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Digital Marketeer
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Freelancing is not just a way of working, but it is now a way of life. With immersive control, autonomy, and freedom to choose your hours, passions, projects, and clients, you can lead extremely balanced lives as freelancers. This can be a significant factor in improving your mental health.

However, it is also easy to lose control when you have too much of it.  

This is where you make common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health. On top of the ambiguity and isolation of being a freelancer, if you develop some harmful habits that can impact your well-being in the short and long run.  

In this article, we will explore some common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health if not avoided.

  1. Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules
  2. Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out
  3. Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough
  4. Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health
  5. Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries
  6. Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve
  7. Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks
  8. Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination
  9. Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help
  10. Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

So, let's dive into the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and how to avoid them!

Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules

Tired and overworked

Although freelancing provides control over a lot of things, including which clients you work with, what kind of projects you take on, and what hours you work, it is extremely easy to fall into irregular working patterns. From waking up at noon to working till midnight, as much as freelancing can mean freedom, it can also disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can lead to fatigue, sleep disturbances, and decreased productivity in the long run. Longer hours and overtime are justified sometimes, but it should not become the routine. You need to make sure you balance work and rest, so your rest can be fruitful, and work can be productive. Our mental health is extremely dependent on how healthy we feel physically and without proper sleep and body rhythms, our minds can suffer severely.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish a consistent work routine
  2. Make sure you manage your sleep schedule and wake up/sleep on time

Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out

Burnout

This seems like common knowledge, but burnout can have you, especially in the long run. If you force yourself to work more than your mind and body can handle, you can lead to exhaustion that can last much longer than anticipated. Working more than you wish to can lead to constant stress and increased anxiety, which can lead to a diminished quality of work produced as well as the enjoyment you get from your work. In the long run, your work life balance can get impacted and if you do burnout, you can also fall into the trap of guilting yourself every time you feel exhausted with work, negatively affecting your mental health.

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Take regular breaks and vacations where you switch off from work
  2. Keep an eye out for exhaustion – if you feel worn out, do activities that help you relax

Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough

Person holding money

As freelancers, wanting to attract clients is going to be your top priority. Many a times, you will end up being tempted to charge less than what you are worth out of fear of losing clients. With higher competition and other options available, you may end up making the common mistake of underselling your services and unknowingly projecting your value at a reduced rate. However, this can make you frustrated in the long run, given that the realization of earning less for more effort will start to sink in. Not only will you feel that you are being paid lesser than you deserve, but you may also start to doubt your own abilities, leading to a poverty mindset, which can affect your mental health. Also, a reputation of charging less can hinder your professional growth by perpetuating that clients can negotiate with you and get their way. To learn more about increasing your rates as a freelancer, you can watch our expert masterclass with Travis Bennett (Former freelancer and CEO, Doerscircle)

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Continuously updating your rates based on the amount of experience you earn over time
  2. Keeping a roster of high paying clients, even if the total number may be lower than you want
  3. Remembering that losing clients is not the end of the world and sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise  

Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health

Unhealthy diet

Freelancers often face the temptation of irregular meals or relying on quick, unhealthy snacks due to time constraints. A poor diet can impact mental health, leading to fatigue, mood swings, and decreased cognitive function. Besides that, sitting for long periods is very common for freelancers. Doing this, without regular physical activity, can take a major toll on your mental health. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins, reduce stress, and improve overall mood. From yoga and walking to Pilates and stationary cycling, do whatever works for your body and working hours. Get a gym membership like ClassPass to ensure you get expert help and consistency in your regimen.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Prioritize nutritious meals and make sure to reduce unnecessary snacking
  2. Make sure to create and consistently follow an exercise routine to balance work and life

Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries

Spending time with family

In freelancing, given its nature, it can get difficult to balance work and life without blurring the lines. This can be the greatest mistake you can make, and it can hurt your mental health tremendously. With personal and professional lives being blurred, boundaries can get tougher to clear. This can create scenarios where it can become difficult for you to disconnect from work, leading to constantly worrying about deadlines and goals. The feeling of “always being on call” can prove detrimental to your mental health because you might never be able to live your personal life to the fullest without feeling guilty for taking breaks and enjoying it.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish work hours and focus on “signing out” of work on a daily basis to differentiate between your personal and professional time
  2. Create a designated workspace to maintain a work-life balance and improve your mental health

Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve

Relaxing

Freelancers often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. However, not allowing yourself regular breaks and vacations can affect your mental health negatively. As a freelancer, it's crucial to prioritize self-care. Neglecting self-care activities such as relaxation, hobbies, and personal time can lead to chronic stress and burnout. You can often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. Taking regular time off is essential for mental rejuvenation and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Set aside time to recharge your energy with activities that you enjoy doing outside of work
  2. Use productivity techniques to learn how to take breaks without feeling guilty

Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks

Risktaking

Freelancers often stick to their success stories and try to recreate those with every new client, to mimic the prior success they achieved. This can be a useful strategy to ensure that your work is structured, and you have a process that works for you, however, with increasing competition and constantly developing landscapes, freelancers must take risks, or they will be forgotten. Wanting to prioritize stability is good, however, avoiding risks in the name of minimizing them can hinder professional growth for freelancers, leading to worse mental health. Feeling stagnant in the job or getting frustrated with the mundanity of things can delay freelancers in exploring new avenues and skills. This can lead to long term growth being much slower than wanted, hurting freelancers’ self-esteem and confidence.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Try out one new thing with every client as time passes – Stick to what works, however, change up at least one factor every time to keep it fresh
  2. Look at your opportunity costs and analyze your pros and cons before taking risks so you feel safer doing so and can plan contingencies  

Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination

Procrastination

Due to the absence of strict deadlines and supervision, freelancers can make the mistake of procrastinating and pushing work till the next day. Although it is okay to work slowly occasionally, the freelancing mistake of delaying tasks can lead to increasing levels of stress and an overall reduced sense of accomplishment. The mental health of freelancers depends a lot on the number of clients they have and the number of projects they complete, which can be severely affected if tasks are not completed on time.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Use tools like Trello to divide your tasks between 3 sections: “To be done,” “In Progress,” and “Done” to create manageable chunks
  2. Create rules for yourself to ensure you finish work before getting distracted. For example: No Netflix before finishing the slide deck and no Instagram before sending out all the planned emails  

Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help

Seeking help

Freelancers often take on multiple responsibilities on their own, making it easy to overlook the importance of seeking support. It may seem like you have everything in control, however, if work and the freelance lifestyles start to overwhelm you, you need to know when to ask for help. The mistake of not seeking help and support when needed can make freelancers feel even more isolated. Failing to reach out for help when needed can increase stress levels and feelings of overwhelm. This can, in the short run, lead to more panic for freelancers along with the fear of losing clients and lowered growth. In the long run, this can turn into feelings of hopelessness as freelancers struggle with their mental health and identity crises that can be caused due to the feeling of lack of support.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Join communities and support groups with freelancers and entrepreneurs going through the same things as you
  2. Network after networking events – Use the business cards you get and keep in touch with the people you connect with
  3. Remember that everyone has their issues - so you will always have the support around as long as you ask for it!  

Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

Signing documents

In today’s accelerating world, freelancers can prove to be better alternatives as compared to full-time hired employees, given their flexibility and skillsets. However, in the excitement or lack of knowledge phase of work, you may make the freelancing mistake of taking on work without signing agreements. Just like with any working arrangements, both parties (the freelancer and the client/company/corporate) would and should protect their interests and themselves. Which is why signed contracts and freelance contract agreements are extremely important for freelancers! From the timeframe required of the freelancer as well as the deliverables expected, having a signed agreement before beginning the work will ensure that both parties are aware of their duties and cannot falter. In the long run, having that sense of trust and security will help freelancers manage their mental health effectively, as they would know all the details necessary, including when, how much, and for what, they will be paid. Having security will also lead to higher quality work from the freelancers’ ends.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Speak to a lawyer/legal advisor if you are afraid to sign contracts or would like to clarify details about language/logistics before you sign
  2. Know all your details before you write/sign an agreement (deliverables, due dates, payments, methodology, etc.)

And that’s it for this article!

These are some of the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and you should avoid!

It is crucial to be aware of these habits, amongst many others, that you should manage alongside your freelance career to ensure your mental health does not get harmed. Be recognizing, addressing, and improving these habits in your daily life, you can create a healthier, fulfilling, and content life for yourself. So, remember to uplift your personal and professional lives by creating a work routine, taking breaks, setting boundaries, seeking support, prioritizing health and self-care, and maintaining a work-life balance!

Freelancing is not just a way of working, but it is now a way of life. With immersive control, autonomy, and freedom to choose your hours, passions, projects, and clients, you can lead extremely balanced lives as freelancers. This can be a significant factor in improving your mental health.

However, it is also easy to lose control when you have too much of it.  

This is where you make common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health. On top of the ambiguity and isolation of being a freelancer, if you develop some harmful habits that can impact your well-being in the short and long run.  

In this article, we will explore some common freelance mistakes that can harm your mental health if not avoided.

  1. Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules
  2. Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out
  3. Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough
  4. Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health
  5. Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries
  6. Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve
  7. Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks
  8. Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination
  9. Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help
  10. Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

So, let's dive into the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and how to avoid them!

Common Freelance Mistake #1: Irregular Work Schedules

Tired and overworked

Although freelancing provides control over a lot of things, including which clients you work with, what kind of projects you take on, and what hours you work, it is extremely easy to fall into irregular working patterns. From waking up at noon to working till midnight, as much as freelancing can mean freedom, it can also disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can lead to fatigue, sleep disturbances, and decreased productivity in the long run. Longer hours and overtime are justified sometimes, but it should not become the routine. You need to make sure you balance work and rest, so your rest can be fruitful, and work can be productive. Our mental health is extremely dependent on how healthy we feel physically and without proper sleep and body rhythms, our minds can suffer severely.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish a consistent work routine
  2. Make sure you manage your sleep schedule and wake up/sleep on time

Common Freelance Mistake #2: Overworking & Burning Out

Burnout

This seems like common knowledge, but burnout can have you, especially in the long run. If you force yourself to work more than your mind and body can handle, you can lead to exhaustion that can last much longer than anticipated. Working more than you wish to can lead to constant stress and increased anxiety, which can lead to a diminished quality of work produced as well as the enjoyment you get from your work. In the long run, your work life balance can get impacted and if you do burnout, you can also fall into the trap of guilting yourself every time you feel exhausted with work, negatively affecting your mental health.

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Take regular breaks and vacations where you switch off from work
  2. Keep an eye out for exhaustion – if you feel worn out, do activities that help you relax

Common Freelance Mistake #3: Not Charging Enough

Person holding money

As freelancers, wanting to attract clients is going to be your top priority. Many a times, you will end up being tempted to charge less than what you are worth out of fear of losing clients. With higher competition and other options available, you may end up making the common mistake of underselling your services and unknowingly projecting your value at a reduced rate. However, this can make you frustrated in the long run, given that the realization of earning less for more effort will start to sink in. Not only will you feel that you are being paid lesser than you deserve, but you may also start to doubt your own abilities, leading to a poverty mindset, which can affect your mental health. Also, a reputation of charging less can hinder your professional growth by perpetuating that clients can negotiate with you and get their way. To learn more about increasing your rates as a freelancer, you can watch our expert masterclass with Travis Bennett (Former freelancer and CEO, Doerscircle)

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Continuously updating your rates based on the amount of experience you earn over time
  2. Keeping a roster of high paying clients, even if the total number may be lower than you want
  3. Remembering that losing clients is not the end of the world and sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise  

Common Freelance Mistake #4: Poor Health

Unhealthy diet

Freelancers often face the temptation of irregular meals or relying on quick, unhealthy snacks due to time constraints. A poor diet can impact mental health, leading to fatigue, mood swings, and decreased cognitive function. Besides that, sitting for long periods is very common for freelancers. Doing this, without regular physical activity, can take a major toll on your mental health. Exercise has been proven to release endorphins, reduce stress, and improve overall mood. From yoga and walking to Pilates and stationary cycling, do whatever works for your body and working hours. Get a gym membership like ClassPass to ensure you get expert help and consistency in your regimen.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Prioritize nutritious meals and make sure to reduce unnecessary snacking
  2. Make sure to create and consistently follow an exercise routine to balance work and life

Common Freelance Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries

Spending time with family

In freelancing, given its nature, it can get difficult to balance work and life without blurring the lines. This can be the greatest mistake you can make, and it can hurt your mental health tremendously. With personal and professional lives being blurred, boundaries can get tougher to clear. This can create scenarios where it can become difficult for you to disconnect from work, leading to constantly worrying about deadlines and goals. The feeling of “always being on call” can prove detrimental to your mental health because you might never be able to live your personal life to the fullest without feeling guilty for taking breaks and enjoying it.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Establish work hours and focus on “signing out” of work on a daily basis to differentiate between your personal and professional time
  2. Create a designated workspace to maintain a work-life balance and improve your mental health

Common Freelance Mistake #6: Neglecting the Time You Deserve

Relaxing

Freelancers often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. However, not allowing yourself regular breaks and vacations can affect your mental health negatively. As a freelancer, it's crucial to prioritize self-care. Neglecting self-care activities such as relaxation, hobbies, and personal time can lead to chronic stress and burnout. You can often struggle with taking time off due to the fear of missing out on potential opportunities or losing clients. Taking regular time off is essential for mental rejuvenation and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Set aside time to recharge your energy with activities that you enjoy doing outside of work
  2. Use productivity techniques to learn how to take breaks without feeling guilty

Common Freelance Mistake #7: Being Afraid to Take Risks

Risktaking

Freelancers often stick to their success stories and try to recreate those with every new client, to mimic the prior success they achieved. This can be a useful strategy to ensure that your work is structured, and you have a process that works for you, however, with increasing competition and constantly developing landscapes, freelancers must take risks, or they will be forgotten. Wanting to prioritize stability is good, however, avoiding risks in the name of minimizing them can hinder professional growth for freelancers, leading to worse mental health. Feeling stagnant in the job or getting frustrated with the mundanity of things can delay freelancers in exploring new avenues and skills. This can lead to long term growth being much slower than wanted, hurting freelancers’ self-esteem and confidence.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Try out one new thing with every client as time passes – Stick to what works, however, change up at least one factor every time to keep it fresh
  2. Look at your opportunity costs and analyze your pros and cons before taking risks so you feel safer doing so and can plan contingencies  

Common Freelance Mistake #8: Procrastination

Procrastination

Due to the absence of strict deadlines and supervision, freelancers can make the mistake of procrastinating and pushing work till the next day. Although it is okay to work slowly occasionally, the freelancing mistake of delaying tasks can lead to increasing levels of stress and an overall reduced sense of accomplishment. The mental health of freelancers depends a lot on the number of clients they have and the number of projects they complete, which can be severely affected if tasks are not completed on time.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Use tools like Trello to divide your tasks between 3 sections: “To be done,” “In Progress,” and “Done” to create manageable chunks
  2. Create rules for yourself to ensure you finish work before getting distracted. For example: No Netflix before finishing the slide deck and no Instagram before sending out all the planned emails  

Common Freelance Mistake #9: Failure to Seek Help

Seeking help

Freelancers often take on multiple responsibilities on their own, making it easy to overlook the importance of seeking support. It may seem like you have everything in control, however, if work and the freelance lifestyles start to overwhelm you, you need to know when to ask for help. The mistake of not seeking help and support when needed can make freelancers feel even more isolated. Failing to reach out for help when needed can increase stress levels and feelings of overwhelm. This can, in the short run, lead to more panic for freelancers along with the fear of losing clients and lowered growth. In the long run, this can turn into feelings of hopelessness as freelancers struggle with their mental health and identity crises that can be caused due to the feeling of lack of support.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Join communities and support groups with freelancers and entrepreneurs going through the same things as you
  2. Network after networking events – Use the business cards you get and keep in touch with the people you connect with
  3. Remember that everyone has their issues - so you will always have the support around as long as you ask for it!  

Common Freelance Mistake #10: Not Signing Contracts

Signing documents

In today’s accelerating world, freelancers can prove to be better alternatives as compared to full-time hired employees, given their flexibility and skillsets. However, in the excitement or lack of knowledge phase of work, you may make the freelancing mistake of taking on work without signing agreements. Just like with any working arrangements, both parties (the freelancer and the client/company/corporate) would and should protect their interests and themselves. Which is why signed contracts and freelance contract agreements are extremely important for freelancers! From the timeframe required of the freelancer as well as the deliverables expected, having a signed agreement before beginning the work will ensure that both parties are aware of their duties and cannot falter. In the long run, having that sense of trust and security will help freelancers manage their mental health effectively, as they would know all the details necessary, including when, how much, and for what, they will be paid. Having security will also lead to higher quality work from the freelancers’ ends.  

What should you do to avoid this freelancing mistake?

  1. Speak to a lawyer/legal advisor if you are afraid to sign contracts or would like to clarify details about language/logistics before you sign
  2. Know all your details before you write/sign an agreement (deliverables, due dates, payments, methodology, etc.)

And that’s it for this article!

These are some of the common freelance mistakes that can affect your mental health and you should avoid!

It is crucial to be aware of these habits, amongst many others, that you should manage alongside your freelance career to ensure your mental health does not get harmed. Be recognizing, addressing, and improving these habits in your daily life, you can create a healthier, fulfilling, and content life for yourself. So, remember to uplift your personal and professional lives by creating a work routine, taking breaks, setting boundaries, seeking support, prioritizing health and self-care, and maintaining a work-life balance!

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