How a Freelancer Can Learn From Their Mistakes

People learn the most when they make mistakes, including entrepreneurs. It probably sounds counterintuitive, but erring is how you figure out what doesn’t work.

Many great inventions came from necessity – they also came from mistakes. Benjamin Franklin sought to study electricity with his kite, string, and key. His discoveries resulted from a controlled experiment. Other inventions came from mistakes or indirect studies, such as the Post-It note and super glue.

Therefore, erring isn’t the worst thing that can happen to freelancers. Of course, the context matters. If a client hires you to write content for their marketing materials, you can’t turn in something with typos. Accountants and mathematicians cannot turn in work that has multiplication errors.

Freelancers should aim to deliver error-free work. You also benefit from minimizing the number of errors you make. Errors make you work harder and longer and lower your hourly wage. 

However, they say that no one is perfect. Thus, you are bound to make gaffes.

We discuss how a freelancer can learn from their mistakes.

Acknowledge the Mistake

You will suffer in silence or in public shame, depending on who catches the error. No one wants a glaring blunder pointed out in the middle of a presentation.

Freelancer mistakes differ from employee mistakes. Serious ones can cost you contracts where employees will receive different assignments or training.

Freelancers can live in echo chambers where things become routine. Therefore, it’s beneficial to request feedback. If the feedback points out that your work had an oversight, thank your client for the feedback. Then, acknowledge it.

Acknowledge the mistake by exploring it. Did you leave a typo in your content? Did you forget to carry the one? 

Your goal is to figure out how you caused it. For example, content writers, editors, and marketing professionals must make proofreading a habit. The same goes for those who work with math – double-check your calculations.

Programmers must check their code. Otherwise, the program won’t run correctly. Therefore, you must test it in different environments.

Once you find the error and its cause, take note.

All mistakes aren’t deliverables-related. Sometimes it’s choices that you make for your business, such as skipping purchasing insurance. 

Paying for several insurance policies might feel like extra expenses. However, these policies come in handy when you become sick or find yourself in court. 

Learn more about the importance of critical illness insurance.

Avoid Dwelling On It

As you explore the error, avoid dwelling on it. Turning in work with errors in it is uncomfortable. It’s also a reflection of you and your business. Instead, remember that it’s a learning opportunity.

Financial errors will sting longer. Since you work for yourself, your income depends on your time. Thus, you’ll need to work extra hours to compensate for the loss.

Nonetheless, maintain a positive attitude and let the error roll off your back. Deal with the consequences and take steps to prevent it from happening again.

For example, if you skipped purchasing high-quality materials for your products, take note of the loss. Then, conduct a thorough business assessment. 

Relaunching or pivoting allows you to try again with more experience on your side.

Change Your Process

Now, take steps to avoid making the same error again by changing your process. In some cases, entrepreneurs must change their outlook.

Entrepreneurship does involve winging some situations. It’s better to scale your ongoing costs than to invest in the best quality office supplies and furniture from the jump. 

Most freelancers can run their companies on minimal budgets, especially writers, graphic designers, and web developers. Others must invest in equipment, such as hair stylists, pressure washers, and plumbers.

Each freelancer above cannot afford to spend more than they make; they also can’t make mistakes with their client’s property or hair.

Take steps to improve your process. For some, that means practicing on friends until you fortify your technique. For others, that means taking preventive measures, even though it adds time to your service.


In 1711, Alexander Pope wrote that to err is human. For entrepreneurs, errors become more glaring since every decision impacts their businesses operations. If you make a mistake, turn it into a learning opportunity instead of dwelling on it. After you acknowledge the error, figure out why it happened. Then, take steps to rectify it. 


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