31 Freelancing Tips For Beginners

Freelancing Tips For Beginners

1. Research the Market

Firstly, as a freelancer it is very important for you to research about the market and find out what your prospects are and how much success you could expect from this job.

2. Start Marketing Yourself

You can’t just wait for projects or clients to fall in your lap; instead, you need to go out there and find them yourself. A client usually doesn’t come knocking on your door to offer you a project, so it is up to you whether or not you get the project. Get out there and create your own opportunities.

3. Take Advantages of Technology

Put technology in your work; make sure that all your knowledge regarding computers and the internet help in improving and developing your skills in freelancing. Computers can be like a big storehouse of knowledge for any freelancer; they can avail almost unlimited learning through this medium – from tutorials to videos on ‘how-to’ do different tasks; this knowledge helps when needing to complete last minute projects or add new skills to an existing list. than computers, the internet also provides freelancers with nearly unlimited resources like forums, blogs and websites that can help them learn new tasks.

4. Offer Affordable Rates to Clients

One of the best ways to attract clients is by offering competitive rates; this will make your services more affordable to clients compared to most other freelancers/agencies out there. Don’t overprice yourself though, as it can put off potential clients. Make sure you know what the standard market prices are for the current projects you offer before quoting your own prices.

5. Be Professional

Do not just think of yourself as a ‘freelancer’ but also act like one; if you want people to see you as a professional, then be one! Treat every project, whether big or small, with utmost professionalism. Always have a professional attitude in all your interactions and deliver all projects on time, or even before the deadlines if possible. Show that you are committed to completing every job to the best of your ability; this is one of the biggest factors in establishing your credibility in the market.

6. Keep Track of Your Income/Expenses

It’s important for you to keep track of your income and expenses when involved in freelancing; not only will it help you plan better financially but also show how profitable your business was during any given period (which might be useful information for tax purposes). Use apps like ‘My Expenses’ etc. for ease in keeping track!

7. Make Sure You Have Enough Time Slots Available for Project Work

Unless you are a ‘Jack of all trades’, make sure that you have enough time slots to work on projects; you can decide what percentage of your time should be spent in searching and working on new jobs, and what percentage should be devoted to finishing existing projects. If it is difficult to estimate how much time would be required for a particular project, then either take the project and make sure that it doesn’t eat into the time reserved for other projects or turn down the job request.

8. Don’t Get Distracted by Other Freelancers/Agency Offers

It happens with most freelancers at one point or another: You get offers from other agencies/freelancers who promise better results than their competitors, or even a sizable amount of money if you switch under their umbrella. But, don’t get distracted by such offers; make your own judgement about who can be a better fit for you and go with them instead of going for someone who might not provide the same level of service as you would yourself.

9. Keep Learning New Tasks

Always keep learning new tasks no matter what kind of freelancer you are! Whether it is programming, designing, writing – especially writing – marketing, research etc., there is always something to learn in this ever-changing world. Make sure that all the knowledge available on internet is put to maximum use by learning at least one new task every month/quarter (depending upon how busy you are). And most importantly, enjoy yourself while learning new things!

10. Give Your Clients a ‘WOW’ Factor

Give your clients a special treatment – call it as you like (welcome gifts, discounts etc.) – but give them something that they will remember you for; not only will they come back to hire you again, they might even refer some of their acquaintances looking for your services!

11. Don’t Focus on One Freelancing Type/Category Alone

As most freelancers and agencies know: trying to be an expert in one field is difficult and requires extensive knowledge and experience for success; instead focus on two or three different types of projects to earn more money and name with your work. Also, make sure that the skills required for each of the types are completely different from one another so that you have more options to choose from.

12. Networking

Networking can help you find new clients and extend your services to a wider market; it is a widely accepted fact that finding a job through a referral is easier than applying for the same on popular freelancing sites! Therefore, join communities/forums related to your area of expertise – or not – but just start chatting with people there and learn more about their experiences as well as sharing your knowledge for better exposure. There’s no harm in trying this technique as long as you don’t spam forums/communities for shameless self-promotions! In case, if you do it once twice, then you will be banned from the forum/community, and that might prove harmful to your goals.

13. Use Different Freelancing Sites for Different Tasks

Make sure that you use different freelancing sites for different types of tasks; some sites might be good for finding new clients whereas others are great at providing jobs related to your area of expertise. You can even try out various projects on such sites as Elance, Odesk etc. as they provide a wide variety of projects and one can choose depending upon their financial requirements and experience in different fields. However, do not forget that it is always better if you find reliable clients yourself rather than relying on third-party random clients who might or might not pay you on time!

14. Learn How to Handle Difficult Clients

Whether you’re a programmer, designer, marketer, writer etc., there will always be difficult clients who might try to get your work done at dirt-cheap prices or delay payment for the job they have already approved of. Therefore, it is better to learn how to handle such clients diplomatically so that you don’t lose them forever and can get more projects from them again in future. Make sure that you stick to your boundaries while dealing with difficult clients and do not cross any lines that might leave a negative impact on your reputation! It’s always good if the client is happy but what matters most is: YOU ARE HAPPY!

15. Always Use Time Tracking Tools for Better Accuracy

The use of Time Tracking Tools like TimeCamp is highly recommended for all freelancers because it helps them to track time more precisely; using such tools will definitely lead to higher accuracy in invoices sent to clients. This also makes it easier for the client as they know how much time has been spent on their project, and can provide feedback if required!

16. Take Breaks Regularly

Working long hours without taking breaks can leave you stressed out and unproductive; so, make sure that you take regular breaks of 10-15 minutes every 3-4 hours throughout your workday! A fresh mind always works better than a tired one, therefore try to do the tasks that require less focus during breaks.

17. Make Sure That You’re Not Working for Free

If you are using Time Tracking Tools, then make sure that the work you are doing is worth your time because you should not be working for free! Create separate tasks/projects for test cases and if they get approved by the client, only then start working on them. Also, try to avoid long back-and-forths with clients who want free work or changes in their project after it has been completed; there’s no harm in asking for money when you know that the client will eventually agree to pay part of the bill at least!

18. Deal With Deadlines Professionally

Deadlines are necessary when two different parties are working together towards a common goal; therefore it is important to understand their importance and deal with them professionally. Never let clients extend deadlines at their own will but ask for an extension of time if you feel that you need it (Do not ask for too many extensions in the same project, otherwise client might start doubting your capabilities).

19. Do Not Sell Yourself Too Cheaply

Just because some newbie is offering to work on cheap rates does not mean that you should also lower your rates; if you sell yourself cheaply, then you will get nothing but only experience and bad reviews! Always do a little bit of research about the past projects undertaken by such newbies and decide whether or not they are trustworthy enough to provide quality work within given deadlines on low bids. If possible, try out test cases before hiring them so that you don’t get any surprises in future.

20. Keep an Eye on Trends and Technologies

If you’re a programmer, then it is important that you keep yourself updated with latest trends and technologies in your field of work; this will not only help you to stay ahead of the curve but also give the client confidence in the fact that they are working with someone who knows what he/she is doing! If you can’t do such tasks on your own, then you should at least outsource them to freelancers who specialize in such areas; this will save your time and money as well!

21. Hire Good People for Your Team

Hiring good people doesn’t mean hiring people from expensive colleges or companies but instead: find people who match your requirements, have good communication skills and are reliable enough to complete the tasks assigned to them on time. Do not ignore past experience of freelancers when hiring them for your team because it does matter!

22. Learn New Things by Doing Tasks Unrelated to Your Main Field of Work

One way through which you can increase your knowledge in different areas is by doing work that doesn’t relate to the main field of your specialization; this will help you gain new experiences while at the same time giving you a break from work related stress! So, try to take up projects unrelated to your core field or buy some products online that you do not usually need so that you can provide basic support along with other team members.

23. Use Communication Tools Properly

Using communication tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts etc. is a good way through which you can interact with clients and discuss technicalities without having to drive long distances; however it is also important that you use these tools properly because talking over phone while working might take your attention away from work! Also, make sure that there are no distractions when using such communication tools.

24. Set Reasonable Deadlines for Clients

Never give deadlines unless they agree to pay extra charges for any delay in project delivery because every freelancer knows the importance of deadlines in completing a project on time! However, if you have stated earlier that you will provide your services within a certain deadline then try to deliver them as soon as possible even though you might be busy with other tasks.

25. Create a List of Potential Clients

Make a list of potential clients before you begin working on any project because this will help you to get in touch with them at the earliest when you’re ready for new projects; also try to keep this list updated by removing old contacts and adding new ones. Some good ways through which you can find valuable contacts are: using directories, forums etc. Also, try not to exchange contact details until both parties have agreed upon payment terms etc.

26. Take Part in Forums and Other Communities

If there’s no need to create a separate website for your business then it is always a good idea that you take part in relevant communities or forums where people from similar background are already present; this will help you to market your services better by increasing the reach of your business.

27. Maintain a Relationship with Current Clients

Never take your current clients for granted because they are the ones who brought you business in the first place! So, try to maintain a healthy relationship with them through regular contact so that they can give more projects to you when needed.

28. Enter into Long Term Relationships

Once you have found many potential clients then it is always good idea that you enter into long term relationships with them instead of taking up one project at a time; this way, even if most of the projects are done by someone else then too there would be some ongoing tasks that can provide almost constant work throughout the year.

29. Hand Off Tasks to Others

If you are handling too many tasks at once then it is always important that you hand off some of them to other freelancers who might be able to complete the work on time and as expected without any hassle; this will help you concentrate more on those tasks which need your undivided attention instead of wasting energy unnecessarily, thus increasing the productivity level as well!

30. Use Tools that Can Save Your Time

There is a long list of tools available through which you can increase your efficiency: an online project management tool can save your time by providing detailed reports and statistics so that you do not have to spend extra effort in finding out how much work has been done and what’s still pending!

31. Keep Yourself Motivated at All Times

If you are working for yourself then it is always possible that motivation level will decrease occasionally no matter how much dedication, passion and enthusiasm you have because your goal is not connected to any one but yourself; hence try to keep yourself motivated at all times by taking a break once in a while so that you can spend some time doing the things that interest you or motivate.

32. Limit Chats with Clients

There’s no need for freelancers to chat with clients everyday unless they are expected to do so; try to limit chats to just 2-3 times per week because it not only helps save time but also makes clients realize that you’re more busy than they might think which can lead to increase in their trust on you.

33. Track Your Internet Usage

Many people around the world continue using internet even when they’re not actually required to; this simply means that either they are surfing useless sites or watching movies, watching videos etc. when needed work is already pending! So it is always important that you track your internet usage and disconnect from the network if it’s not required, for example: when you need to complete a certain task which might take more than one hour then simply turn off your network until it’s completed, this way you save time and energy both!

34. Identify and Manage Your Personal Priorities

It may happen at times that personal life and professional life seem like completely opposite things and….

still continue.

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