Freelance writers who are just starting out in freelance writing often make some big mistakes when it comes to working for themselves. As a result, many would-be full-time freelance writers end up leaving their desired field and going back to a 9-to-5 job. When initially starting out in the freelance writing arena, it is imperative that one not make the following mistakes and ruin a budding freelance career:

1. Not Setting Goals. Before you even sit down at your computer, think about what you would like to accomplish before the end of the day. Your goal might be as simple as writing a single blog post, or it may be as complex as starting a web site. However, if you do not set daily goals for your work, you will always be languishing and never completing what you set out to do.

2. Wasting Time. When you are at a "real" job all day, you are watched by your boss and can't be wasting time (or at least be seen wasting time). When you are your own boss, it is easy to slip and spend half an hour playing Facebook Apps, another hour watching TV, and then another hour doing laundry. However, freelance writing is just like any other job, and you need to put in your time if you wish to see results (and money). Set a stop watch or some other timer and make sure you log at least 8 full hours of work each day.

3. Spending Too Much Time. On the other hand, you may end up becoming one of those freelance writer workaholics who just does not know when to quit and turn off the computer. If you are spending 12+ hours/day writing, researching, editing, etc., then you need to reassess how much time you are putting in at your freelance writing job and calculate your hourly rate. You might be surprised at how low you are actually earning per hour, despite working "hard".

4. Using Outdated Equipment. It's not a crime to use an older computer or printer for basic word processing and printing. But if you intend to do any kind of viral marketing, client e-mailing, etc., you need to obtain a newer and/or faster computer with fast Internet access. Otherwise, you will end up wasting hours of your time on downloads and other basic online functions.

5. Cheapening Yourself. You should not win every freelance job you bid on. In fact, as your level of writing expertise and experience increases, you should win fewer and fewer freelance bids. However, the bids you do win should go far in terms of paying your mortgage and other expenses. The bottom line is that you should not work for pennies on the hour when you clearly are worth so much more. Otherwise, you will need to work 80 hour days just to make ends meet!