Freelancing: 3 Tips for Overcoming Mistakes

For the first time in my career I’m now working as a full-time freelancer. Not having a staffed position is new to me and freelancing has a steep learning curve. But as I pick things up I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned in a series of blogs called Freelancing.

For the first installment I’ve decided to focus on something that applies to everyone, not just freelancers: overcoming mistakes. We’ve all made mistakes. And if you haven’t, you will. Overcoming these mistakes is a crucial part of freelancing. If the people you work with can’t rely on you, they’ll stop hiring you. How to deal with accidents and mistakes sounds like common knowledge, but a lot of people can’t (or just don’t) handle the situations well.


Here are my top 3 Tips for Overcoming Mistakes:

#1: Own Up to It

No matter who you are, what you do, what went wrong, the first step is always to apologize. And be sincere about it. People can tell when your apology is half-assed. Even if it was something beyond your control, apologize. By apologizing (even if it wasn’t your fault) you’re acknowledging the fact that a mistake was made. If it was your fault, apologize; “I’m sorry that I did [this].” If you aren’t at fault, “I apologize that [this] happened.” Acknowledging the mistake let’s the other people know that you understand that something actually went wrong and it is an abnormal occurrence.

#2: Fix It

If the mistake is directly correctable, correct it. If it’s something that is beyond repair, go the extra distance to make sure that this one mistake won’t affect your working relationship with the other party(s). I recently made a mistake which result in a live remote shot not making it to air. Obviously I can’t go back and make the shot happen. But to fix the situation, I first apologized, then I didn’t charge for that occurrence and offered the next shot for free. The client understood that this was a mistake and told me not to give them a freebie; but because I went that extra step to fix the mistake our working relationship wasn’t effected.

#3: Get Over It

The last step for overcoming a mistake is to simply get over it. We’re taught (at least I was) at an early age that mistakes are terrible, terrible things that we should carry with us. The truth is that mistakes happen and once they’re over, they’re over. Learn from your mistakes so that they don’t happen again, but don’t dwell on them. When you dwell on your mistakes you make more mistakes, often times you make the same mistake again. Remember that we’re all human and most people (unless they’re assholes) will understand.

In the time that I’ve been working as a freelancer I’ve made a few missteps that had I not followed these three tips could’ve become serious hindrances in my career. But by staying calm and moving forward I’ve not only overcome my mistakes, but they’ve actually strengthened my working relationships and taught me what not to do.




Freelancing: 3 Tips for Overcoming Mistakes

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