Whether you’re new to freelancing or a seasoned pro; having a little help now and then doesn’t hurt. These freelancing tips are short, to the point, and cover a variety of personal development tips and common situations you may find yourself in.
As a freelancer, navigating the industry can be like wading through a swamp at times.
Swim to safer waters with these freelancing tips:
- Ask questions if you need clarification or guidance. Don’t assume that you and the client are on the same page. If you have to pause and think about whether or not you are: you probably aren’t.
- Create a term sheet / contract and have the client sign it. This protects everyone and makes sure you don’t run into #1.
- Know your worth. Do not devalue your talent.
- Not all clients are created equal. Trust your instincts. If a client rubs you the wrong way; it’s OKAY to decline the job. Better safe than sorry.
- Above all else: be honest and professional.
- Start thinking about yourself as a business because you are.
- Going the extra mile for a client is good. Giving away free work is not. Know the difference.
- Anticipate client needs and #7 won’t be a problem.
- Clients will almost always assume that revisions, changes, alterations, additional features, re-writes, etc are included. Make sure you’re on the same page. See #2.
- Working hard does not mean neglecting everything else. Strive for a positive work/life balance. Having the freedom to do so is half the point of becoming a freelancer.
- Make peace with receiving criticism as it will happen early and often.
- If you know you can’t handle the project, don’t take the job.
- Always try to take the high ground when dealing with clients. Their ability to ruin your reputation is greater than your ability to ruin theirs. If they’re an unreasonable jerk, odds are their industry is well aware already.
- Set terms (see #2) for payments. When are they sent? When are they due?
- Do not let unpaid invoiced pile up. Collecting will be a nightmare. No pay = no work.
- Consider charging late fees. The Freelancers Union has some good thoughts on this subject.
- Consult a tax professional (yes you have to pay taxes) who has experience working with freelancers and learn what you can write off.
- Take steps to improve your skills. Online classes, seminars, professional publications, etc. Always be learning and improving.
- Focus on a niche market, expand later.
- Create an online portfolio / website to showcase your work. This also allows clients a means to find and contact you.
- Network, network, network. Online and offline. If there’s a webinar you can sign up for or a conference you can attend that may introduce you to new clients, fellow freelancers, or other key players: do it.
- Have a dedicated work-space. The kitchen table will work in the beginning, but proper work demands a proper work-space.
- Learn time management skills early. You are your own boss so you are responsible for keeping yourself on task.