Freelancers enjoy so much autonomy, but using such judiciously is never a walk in the park. More often than not, many freelancers engage in time-consuming activities that earn them relatively little or prevent them from attending to equally important things such as family life and relationships. This article will reveal some of such activities and how to avoid them. Its aim is also to move you a step towards being a more effective freelancer and a better person. #1. Relying on Freelance Bidding Sites. Most freelance bidding sites host more freelancers than jobs. In other words, supply is usually greater than demand, and this gives room to cut-throat competition and low remunerations. Relying on them will, therefore, not earn you much except you’re a ‘super-freelancer’ on any of the platforms. To avoid spreading yourself too thin, you should quit placing all your hopes on bidding sites; you’ve got to take freelancing more seriously, even if you’re a moonlighter. You can do this by privately pitching your services to businesses, contributing to top sites within your focus industry and becoming an authority. These will most likely earn you more high-paying gigs than will scrambling on freelance bidding sites. #2. Spending Time on Outsource-able Jobs Despite Having a Heavy Workload. Every freelancer wishes to be widely sought after. But it’s rather ironical that a heavy workload resulting from high patronage usually becomes frustrating at some point. Reason is: there usually are limits to which people can go while performing a task. Also, freelancers have private lives to take care of, so choosing to overwork themselves is almost never a smart thing to do. But then, refusing to accept more work would mean declining greater earnings. It’s quite understandable that no one loves being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Thus, if you’re faced with more work than you can handle, a good step in the right direction is to outsource some. Outsourcing extra work will help in raking in profits while you make better use of time to focus on the quality of select jobs and private life. All you need to do is to recognize what you need in a prospective employee and to be on the look out. Using this strategy, you’ll be able to scale your business and might even go from being a solo freelancer to building an agency. #3. Pitching the ‘Wrong’ People. The claim that cold-pitching is a sure-fire way to widen one’s client-base isn’t always true. There are several ways to invest time in cold pitching prospective clients but at the end of the day, see no valuable results. In other words, cold pitching can be rendered useless when certain things aren’t done right. Since every organization has distinct departments which specialize in handling various issues, people get cold pitching wrong when they send pitches to just anyone from anywhere. Before sending your pitch, you need to discover the department(s) in an organization in which your services will be most needed. If anything, this will help in determining the most appropriate quarters to send your pitch. As a content marketer, for example, it will make little sense to pitch your services to a sales manager when the contact details of the marketing and recruiting managers are readily available. To be even more strategic with your pitching campaigns, choose to send your pitches to the most senior staff in an appropriate department who can make recruitment decisions. Do your research well and get the right contact information rather than pitch the wrong people just because they are employees and you’re desperate. #4. Not Knowing Your Most Productive Hours. Research suggests that the average worker is only productive for about 3 hours in a day. And it turns out that productive hours vary from one person to another. Also, while working when it’s inconvenient will make you stand a chance of marring the quality of your work and even wasting your time, choosing to work during your productive hours does otherwise. Many suggestions have been posed on how to discover one’s most productive hours. For one, I believe this can come naturally, as you may naturally know the period of the day when you think most clearly and concentrate better. If you haven’t an idea, however, you probably could use monitoring your time while performing work-related activities. Making this a routine will enable you stand a chance of finding a pattern that will lead you the right way. #5. Searching on Google in The Most Trivial Ways (Being a “Normal User”). Google is essentially a treasure trove from which we source information. Daily, freelancers make use of Google a great deal to facilitate their work. The foregoing notwithstanding, experience has shown me that many freelancers don’t know there’s more to searching on Google than meets the eye. They have no idea that features abound to give one fine-grained control over search results. Hence, the word ‘normal user’, as used in this context, is for describing this set of freelancers. To become a ‘power user’, you should sign up for this free Google-sponsored course. It will basically teach you how to use Google’s advanced search features for reducing fruitless querying. You’ll also learn fun things like how to narrow down search results to include only specific web pages. #6. Spending Too Much Time on Your Blog When You’ve Got a Small Audience-Base. Except your audience-base is large, contributing to only your blog may not be a good game plan. Besides, you’ll always need to step away from your comfort zone and to reach out to a larger audience. Fortunately, contributing to blogs other than yours is a good way to reach out to more people. By guest posting, you also stand a chance of showcasing your services and attracting clients. So, don’t just spend time crafting content for your blog when you’ve got only few eyes on it. You can do better by investing time into contributing to blogs other than yours.