Avoiding Common Freelancing Pitfalls: How to Manage Time, Scope Creep and Unreliable Clients

25 April 2024

By Mike H.

category : All

ON : 25 April 2024

Millions of people are flocking to the freelance industry due to its appealing perks. Freelancers have the freedom to set their own working schedules, work on diverse projects, and maximize their earning potential regardless of their geographical locations. Nevertheless, along with its perks come unique challenges and hidden drawbacks that most people are unfamiliar with.

Let’s explore some of the common freelancing pitfalls and discuss strategies for managing time, avoiding scope creep, and dealing with unreliable clients.

Overcoming Common Freelancing Pitfalls

1.  Effectively Managing time

Time management is the most difficult part of the freelancing equation. Gig workers are constantly juggling multiple projects, deadlines, and responsibilities.

Here are some strategies to enhance your time management skills:

  • Use Time Tracking Tools: Freelancers should utilize time tracking software and project management tools such as Trello or Asana to monitor their working hours and eliminate time wasters from their routines.
  • Minimize Distractions: Identify and avoid distractions such as unnecessary social media scrolling during work hours.
  • Establish a Routine: Create a daily or weekly routine with dedicated work hours. Stick to this routine to maintain consistency and productivity.
  • Delegate or Outsource Tasks: Consider outsourcing non-core tasks or collaborating with other freelancers to lighten your workload during times of distress.

2.  How to Avoid Scope Creep?

Scope Creep refers to the expansion of the project’s boundaries, requirements, or deliverables beyond its initial agreement leading to delays, increased costs, and client dissatisfaction.

Here’s how you can manage and avoid scope creeps:

  • Set a Clear Project Scope: Define a crystal-clear project scope, deliverables, limitations, and revisions in your contract or agreement. Refer back to these documents if clients request additional work outside the agreed scope.
  • Create Detailed Contracts and Agreements: Clearly defining contract terms establishes a legal framework that protects both you and your client, providing a reference point to navigate scope changes down the line
  • Communicate Proactively: Communicate effectively with your client throughout the whole project timeline. Address any scope changes or potential issues early to avoid misunderstandings later on.
  • Manage Change Requests: Establish a robust process for handling change requests. Evaluate the necessity and feasibility of each change, and communicate any additional costs or time implications to the client.
  • Document Everything: Document and maintain detailed records of project communication, scope changes, and agreements. This documentation can protect you in case of future disputes or payment issues.

3.  Dealing With Unreliable Clients

Navigating relationships with unreliable clients can be challenging but essential for maintaining professionalism and protecting your interests. Here are some strategies to manage unreliable clients effectively:

  • Thoroughly Screen Clients: Thoroughly assess the client’s reputation, communication style, and payment history before accepting a project. Avoid working with clients who have a track record of unreliability.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Establish clear expectations regarding deadlines, communication frequency, and payment terms from the get-go.
  • Promptly Address Issues and Conflicts: If a client is being unresponsive or causing delays, address the issue promptly and professionally.
  • Use Contracts and Upfront Payments: Use contracts that outline project details, timelines, and payment terms. Consider requesting an upfront payment to secure your commitment from clients.

4. Setting the Right Price for Freelancing Services

One of the first challenges freelancers face is setting the right price for their services. It’s crucial to avoid undervaluing your work while also ensuring that your rates are market-competitive. So, what should a freelancer avoid while setting the price?

Avoid underpricing your services

Many freelancers, especially beginners, tend to set low rates to attract clients quickly. However, this can lead to burnout and financial strain in the long run.

Instead, conduct thorough research to understand the market rates for your skills and experience level. Consider factors such as your expertise, the complexity of the project, and the value you provide to clients when determining your pricing.

How to Approach for Freelance Work?

After setting a pricing strategy for your services, the next most important step is to approach freelance work strategically. Here are some of the best tips to successfully approach freelance work and land quality projects:

  • Identify and define your niche
  • Showcase your best work by creating a strong portfolio
  • Network and market yourself by building an online presence
  • Communicate effectively and set clear expectations when discussing project details with clients


Freelancing is undoubtedly an extremely effective way of achieving financial success, but freelancers, especially beginners, should thoroughly examine the advantages and drawbacks of this career model. Freelancing comes with its unique pitfalls, like scope creep, time management issues, and unreliable clients, but adopting a strategic approach can help freelancers overcome these issues fairly easily.

Refer back to this blog post to learn how to avoid common freelancing pitfalls, setting yourself up for a bright future in the modern-day gig economy. Read our related blog about “Effective Remote Work Strategies For Freelancers And Employers” to know more about how to streamline  the work effectively.

Greelance is a freelance platform that connects businesses with highly skilled and vetted freelancers from around the world. Hire cloud engineers on freelance or contract basis, freelance ai engineers or hire blockchain developers from a wide range of talent pool to successfully rollout your projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should a freelancer do if they encounter scope creep during a project?

Refer back to the original project agreement to understand the original scope of work. Discuss and renegotiate the project scope with the client and document a record of all the change requests made by the client. Also, update the project contract to reflect the new scope.

2. What are the pitfalls of freelance?

Scope creep, time management, and unreliable clients are some of the common freelancing pitfalls.

3. How do freelancers manage their time?

Freelancers manage their time by adopting the following strategies:

  • Use time-tracking tools
  • Minimize distractions
  • Establish a routine
  • Prioritize tasks
  • Delegate or outsource tasks

4. What does the term scope creep refer to in freelancing?

Scope Creep refers to the expansion of the project’s boundaries, requirements, or deliverables beyond its initial agreement.

5. What are the hidden downsides of freelancing?

Some of the hidden downsides of freelancing include:

  • Income instability
  • Isolated working hours
  • Financial management challenges

6. Is there any risk in freelancing?

Yes, freelancing comes with risks such as income variability, lack of job security, and potential difficulty in finding consistent work.

Mike H.

Digital Marketing Head

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *