These 5 Mistakes Are Costing You a Successful Freelance Career

Thankfully, these things can be fixed.

Kelly Dawson
5 min readJul 13, 2021


If you’re going to wade into the waters of freelance writing, set yourself up for success.

When you’re a freelance writer, it almost feels like you can do no wrong. There’s no one above you to say otherwise, and no performance reviews to consider. Instead, there’s freedom. Sweet, you-are-your-own-boss freedom. Let’s say you want to work in a coffee shop one afternoon, only to finish typing in bed a few hours later. Perhaps you like the idea of taking a call at 5 p.m., just as your self-appointed schedule starts. It’s also possible that you prefer to listen to loud music as you finish up a project, keeping your headphones tucked away in a different room. These are all worthwhile features of being a freelance writer, whether you chose this path or it chose you.

There are plenty of people who will tell you that becoming a freelance writer is easy, and they’re right. All you have to do is call yourself that to be one. But being a freelance writer who can pay bills and afford to work anywhere? That takes more than choice — that takes skill.

It is possible to do wrong as a freelance writer, and the difference between success and failure often comes down to small decisions made throughout the day. Obviously, being a good writer is necessary, but avoiding common mistakes is important, too. If you’re wondering how to be more successful, these are the five mistakes that are likely holding you back.

Mistake: Not Keeping Consistent Working Hours
How Fix It: Figure Out When You Work Well

When you first become a freelancer, it might be tempting to completely kick a 9-to-5 schedule to the curb. It feels like playing hooky to answer the day’s first email at 1 p.m., or to begin writing an assignment closer to midnight. And that’s a totally fine mindset to have for a brief time — in fact, you should probably do it, just for fun. But after a while, maintaining consistent working hours will help you stay on top of assignments, and make sure you provide your best work.

Start by figuring out when you write best, and then block off a set time each day to do only that. For example, if you’re a morning writer, answer emails after lunch. And if you’re more of a night owl, get to your admin work after breakfast. Not…



Kelly Dawson

i write, i edit, then i write again. | | instagram: @kellydawsonwrites