Top 10 Tips for Freelancers

Top 10 Tips for Freelancers

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Top 10 Tips for Freelancers
By Joseph Wolff


My own journey started and stopped a few years ago when I succumbed to defeatism. It wasn’t until a year ago that I told myself I had what it takes to succeed as a freelancer.

Since then, I’ve earned almost $25,000 and am well on my way to turning a “side” pot income into the main course.

How have I played the game? Here are a few tips.

1. Develop a minimum viable portfolio.

A big fear of mine when I started freelancing was that I didn’t have a beefy portfolio. Actually, I had no portfolio.

I’m a writer and was previously teaching high school English language arts, so unless clients wanted examples of argumentative essays that I gave my students, I was out of luck.

Turns out they didn’t want those essays.

However, I learned pretty fast that you can secure work without a portfolio that’s busting at the seams.

What’s really important is creating viable work for a client to review. That is, an example of something that relates to the client’s project.

Does it have to be a job you’ve previously done? Absolutely not!

Take an objective look at the client’s project and create a basic example of something that plays in the same ballpark. Boom. M.V.P.

To discover how to make a GREAT portfolio and more, check out My Freelance Paycheck

2. Ignore the internet cynics.

What I’ve learned from extensive research about freelancing is that all of the internet cynics on Reddit and other forums who tell you that freelancing is “impossible” and “You’ll never make a full-time income from it” and “Be ready to work an 8-5 until you die” are the people who gave up.

Honestly, they’re me circa 2-3 years ago.

They gave a piecemeal approach for way too short of a time, threw in the towel, and rooted themselves on the World Wide Web to discourage others.

Because hey, if they can’t succeed, why should anyone else?

Don’t listen to them.

3. Decide what projects work for you.

Search for projects that you enjoy doing and/or are good at. This can apply to the type of project or content.

For me, I’ve managed to be a bit of a generalist when it comes to topic. However, I’ve learned through trial and error (turns out I’m really bad at writing greeting cards) that I enjoy short-form and long-form article/blog writing.

So, I do actively seek these projects out. Why spend a bunch of time doing something that makes you miserable?

To get started with Freelancing, following a proven blueprint…

Check out My Freelance Paycheck

4. Avoid pro bono work.

Some freelancers will disagree with me on this, but I never do work for free.

If you’re charging a client an hourly rate, think of it like a normal full-time job. What if your boss came to you and said “Hey Joe, I’m going to need you to work three hours past your shift today, but we can’t pay you. Thanks.”

There’s the argument that doing pro bono work creates a better freelancer-client relationship. If that’s the case, then I don’t want to be part of that union.

Any client who wants pro bono work is not a client I want to work with. Pro bono work says to me “I don’t value your skills and services.”

Now, have I ever thrown in a freebie here or there with good clients?

Sure. In long-lasting relationships, I’m more than willing to occasionally throw in something extra because I know the client, enjoy the project(s), and he/she has paid me a fair amount for working on said project(s).

5. Start modest, grow exponentially.

You may find yourself taking small or low paying jobs in the beginning.

That’s okay. Just be prepared to grow, and if the going’s good, don’t be afraid to grow fast.

If you’re throwing project after project under your belt, there’s no reason not to raise your rates.

The more seasoned you become, the more confident you should be in negotiating all-star rates for your all-star services.

6. Learn how to market yourself.

Difficult, but necessary.

There’s plenty of job sites you can use that act as a middle-man between you and clients.

Upwork, for example, has netted me much success (and I could write a completely different article about why Upwork isn’t the evil service it often gets a rep for as long as you know how to use it).

That said, you never want to throw all your eggs in one basket. Marketing is clutch.

Luckily, if you find yourself in the dark, there’s plenty of free content online to help you become a marketing pro. Start with My Freelance Paycheck, it has a comprehensive step-by-step guide, created by Laura Pennington, who makes over $3,000 per week as a freelancer.

Check it out here: My Freelance Paycheck 

7. Set up a professional website.

Setting up a professional website is part of the marketing process. It helps get your good name out on the block and should be treated appropriately.

I use Squarespace for my own site, but there’s plenty of other options available to you depending upon your style, user interface, and payment preferences.

If you’re just starting out, think basic here.

You don’t need something akin to a 2004 Myspace page that takes fifteen minutes to load because of all the gadgets and gizmos you have playing together on the homepage.

A brief bio, a sampling of projects, and a way to contact you will do just fine.

8. Treat your work like work.

Lots of people (my friends included) seem to think that freelancing involves sitting on the beach with a piña colada and typing a few words here and there.

Could I do my work on the beach? Yes, until my laptop died. Will I? Probably never.

In order to be successful in freelancing, I’ve found that the job has to be treated like just that: A job. Freelancing affords you the luxury of dictating your own schedule (and, particularly, having flexibility with when you choose to work), but if you don’t have a schedule, you will fail.

Simple as that.

Treat your freelance career like a career, set a schedule, and adhere to this schedule daily.

9. Value your services, and make sure others do the same.

I mentioned earlier that Upwork sometimes gets a bad rep, and I think this is because for every great client, there’s the client who wants a 30,000 word E-book and is only willing to pay $100 for it.

But you know what?

People apply for the job; and while I understand that money is different around the world, there needs to be value in your services.

If you propose a fair rate to a client and they’re unwilling to pay that rate, it’s not the end of the world if you walk away.

If you want freelancing to become your livelihood, then take stock in that livelihood and don’t accept jobs below your value.

And as you become more entrenched in the freelancing world and build great relationships with clients, that value is only going to rise. 

10. Persist.

It goes without saying, but the freelancing grind is about persistence.

Learn from my mistakes – I’ve enjoyed every step of my freelancing journey over the past year, but I could’ve captured this life earlier.

The problem? I didn’t persist.

I let the internet trolls get inside my head, put forth a weak effort in trying to claim jobs, and then retired into a waning sunset.

Freelancing isn’t easy, but if you have the skill, the passion, and the drive, it might be a worthwhile venture for you. Good luck!

To get started with Freelancing, following a proven blueprint…

Check out My Freelance Paycheck

10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Freelancing

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10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Freelancing
By Anne Matea


When I said goodbye to my secure, well-paid, unrewarding corporate job, I didn’t know that freelancing was even an option.

I was just looking for a new opportunity, maybe in a start-up. Something fun, exciting, and original.

It turned out I really wanted to be a freelancer but took me a few weeks to put a name on it. 

There were challenges along the way, a few setbacks, and a steep learning curve.

Now, I have completed 269 freelance writing jobs, on several different topics including fashion and blog writing. I love what I do.

To get started with Freelancing, following a proven blueprint…

Check out My Freelance Paycheck

Here are some things I wish I’d known when I embarked on my freelancing journey:

1. Have an emergency fund and lots of patience

I’m not telling you here to postpone freelancing indefinitely, just to make sure you have some money set aside that you can use to pay your bills until you start making money freelancing.

The clients will come, you will make money, but you need to be patient and have a strategy in mind. 

It can take a few days, weeks, or even months until you will be able to support yourself financially exclusively from freelancing jobs.

Until then, having an emergency fund with the money you need for the basics (rent, food, transportation, services) for a minimum of two months is a good idea.

Or start freelancing while still keeping your day job J

2. Listen to other people’s experiences, but don’t assume it will be the same for you

Most people you meet don’t believe in freelancing.

Some of them even tried it, and it was a complete waste of time, money, and energy.

They will tell you to look for a real job.

They will tell you the competition is fierce, the clients are not willing to pay good money for these services, and you just can’t make it. 

The reality is they didn’t make it. But you can. Like many others did. Like I did. 

3. Set up working hours

Making your own program can be a blessing, and it is the reason many freelancers would never go back to working from 9 am to 5 pm.

However, it can also be a trap. You have all the hours in the day (and night) to work. All the days in the week. So much time on your hands. 

This is a good time to set up some working hours.

You can design your own daily routines, maybe you want to start with a walk in the park or a workout session at the gym and then get to work.

Maybe start with work and then hit the gym. But a routine is essential as this is the only way to ensure you get the work done. 

Since we got to setting up working hours, you should also set up a working space.

It should give you a working vibe, so you feel motivated and energized when you get to it!

You can read more about it here: My Freelance Paycheck.

4. Build a strong portfolio

In the first weeks, you might have few, if any, clients. You will have poor cash flow. What you can do to stay motivated and make progress is to build a strong portfolio. 

This might mean that you should take clients that pay little for a project (but the project is interesting, and you can use it to showcase your skills).

If you have no clients at all, just get in touch with some NGOs and do some work for free for them.

Anything that makes your talents shine, and you can use to attract clients later on. 

Get some testimonials while you are at it. Your future clients want to know how appreciated your work was. 

5. Sign a contract with every client

Yes, I know what you are thinking now, this doesn’t sound like lots of fun. And what if the client doesn’t want to sign a contract?

Well, this is too bad for him as he won’t get to work with you. 

Contracts are made to protect both you and your client and to make things go smooth in case the working relationship deteriorates.

Take the time to name clearly all the deliverables, the deadlines, and the payment details.

This will save you from unpleasant conversations such as “I thought this was included in the initial cost” or “I didn’t know I had to pay every month.”

6. Ask for a deposit before you start working

While you’re doing the paperwork, make sure to ask for a deposit before you start working.

It can be as little as 15% or even 35% of the contract.

For new clients, I usually ask for 35%, just to make sure they do have the money.

You can use Escrow if it gives you more peace of mind. It is important to know your work will be paid in full. 

The deposit is good for your cash flow too. It is also a way to know if your prospective client is serious.

Late payments are very common nowadays and can have a negative effect on your routines. 

To get started with Freelancing, check out this proven blueprint…

...Click Here To Visit My Freelance Paycheck. 

7. Stay organized

Have a growth mindset, and don’t lose yourself when clients start pouring in.

Choose your projects wisely and avoid work that you are not qualified for or won’t bring you any other benefits aside from the payment. 

Invest some time and money in promoting yourself, branding, and networking. 

8. Develop a support network 

Whatever the work, we all need support every now and then.

It could be a partner saying: “Good job, you’re doing great!” or a colleague helping you with a part of the project.

It could be someone specialized in a complementary field. 

The support network is essential to help you drive more business and handle work commitments faster and better. 

9. Keep track of your numbers

The number of projects, clients, months you have been freelancing, income from each client and per month, expenses, and so on.

Knowing your numbers can help you plan ahead.

You will notice that income can be different from month to month, from one season to the other. 

Tracking the numbers can help you measure progress and success. There is really no other way. 

10. Have a personal life

You might be tempted to work around the clock, no weekends, no happy hour with your colleagues after work.

This is not good for your health and wellbeing.

Make some time for yourself, relax, and enjoy quality time with family and friends. It’s important.

Freelancing could be a great career choice if you are committed, organized, and confident in your skills.

Whether you are 20 or 60 years old, you can be successful and make money. And you can start anytime, even now.

Lastly, check out this proven blueprint to get started with Freelancing…

...My Freelance Paycheck – Click Here To Learn More