1. Underestimating time & project costs
Underestimating time and project costs is easily the biggest mistake I’ve made, and also the biggest mistake freelancers make in general. Why? Because it’s extremely difficult to calculate how long a project will take when you haven’t completed a similar project in the past to use as a reference.
I’ve found that the largest “unknown” factor that consumes much more time than I expected is communication with clients and making countless revisions and minor changes to a project.
I believe the only truly effective way to produce more accurate estimates is to carefully track time on projects now so that in the future, when you have projects similar in scope, you have some real, hard data to use for calculating the estimates.
2. Accepting equity (shares) in startup companies as compensation instead of hourly compensation