10 Freelancing Tips for Beginners
To help new freelancers navigate the challenges of starting a successful career, we asked ten experienced professionals from various fields to share their best pieces of advice. From utilizing time-saving software to crafting a clear, resonating offer, these seasoned freelancers offer invaluable insights to help you thrive in your freelancing journey.
- Use Time-Saving Software
- Create a Consistent Schedule
- Freelancing as a Career Phase
- Avoid Difficult Clients
- Know Your Worth and Rates
- Focus On Value-Based Pricing
- Establish Clear Boundaries
- Centralize to One Platform Initially
- Deliver Quality Work and Build Trust
- Craft an Offer Resonating Your Niche
Use Time-Saving Software
Writing invoices and accounting can be very time-consuming, which you could better use for doing quality work for clients. Save time by using software for managing invoices and accounting. Then you have more time to actually communicate and work with your (potential) clients and earn money.
Online Marketing Specialist for Quality Traffic
Create a Consistent Schedule
When I first started my freelancing career, the best advice I wish someone had given me was to create a consistent schedule and stick to it. Having an organized plan helps you better manage your time and ensures that you are always available when clients need help. It also ensures that you can balance working from home with other commitments, such as family life or socializing.
Freelancing as a Career Phase
When I started freelancing, I saw it as a way for me to get out of the corporate grind and become my own boss. That was liberating and terrifying at the same time. I wish I had been told that freelancing can just be a phase in your career. It doesn’t have to be the way I spend the rest of my working decades.
That piece of advice takes off some of the pressure. I wish I had more fully internalized that freelancing could be a job I have had for a few years before moving on to a different type of work. Freelancing has worked out well for me, but I wish I had had a better perspective about it early on.
Avoid Difficult Clients
As an expert-vetted and top-rated plus freelancer on Upwork, achieving these statuses in under a year, I rank among the top 1% among hundreds of thousands of freelancers.
One invaluable lesson I wish I had known when starting my freelancing career is the importance of avoiding difficult clients. I’ve experienced the impact they can have on your well-being, from ruining holidays to causing increased stress levels and even leading to PTSD—no jokes.
I urge you to pay close attention to customer ratings on platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr, as they offer valuable insights into a client’s behavior. Clearly communicate expectations and limitations within a budget, ensuring clients have a realistic understanding of what can be achieved. And be cautious when working with clients from certain regions, as they may present unique challenges.
Remember, it might be necessary to “fire” clients, prioritizing your physical and mental well-being over short-term financial gains.
Know Your Worth and Rates
The best advice I wish I knew as a newbie freelancer is to never undervalue my work but to set my rates based on my experience, skills, and the value I brought to my clients.
Just like many beginner freelancers, I used to accept rates that were too low, thinking that I needed to be competitive in the market to get clients. However, this led me to a cycle of low-paying work and difficulty in making a sustainable income.
So today, I genuinely advise all starting freelancers to understand their worth and to set and accept rates that reflect their talent while continuously marketing themselves and networking to find new clients. This helps freelancers to build a promising client base, demand deserving pay scales, and ensure a steady stream of work.
Focus On Value-Based Pricing
When I started freelancing, I was stuck in the hourly mindset—how much did I want to make per hour?
Over time, I realized that the content I produced for my clients carried far more worth than what I was charging. So I started approaching the pricing conversation from a place of value, not just time.
This shift helped me land more high-worth clients that could easily connect my price to the value of my services. I increased my earnings and reduced my working hours, all while maintaining my reputation.
Establish Clear Boundaries
One of the best pieces of advice I wish I had known when I started my freelancing career is to set clear boundaries and communicate them to clients. This includes defining working hours, project timelines, and expectations for communication.
Setting boundaries early on helps to establish a professional relationship with clients and prevents burnout from working around the clock. It also helps to ensure that both parties agree and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings or missed deadlines.
Centralize to One Platform Initially
It’s really easy to think that if you sign up for many platforms, you’ll get more clients. However, I found that when you freelance, you should really focus on one platform.
All these platforms are so highly competitive that it’s difficult to get clients on any of them if you’re working on a multitude of platforms.
I focused on Upwork, and it got me over 40 clients on the platform. Only now, after 40 clients, have I started my company and am slowly expanding to other platforms.
Deliver Quality Work and Build Trust
Having worked in agency and in-house for over 8 years, I’ve had my fair share of how imperative it is to deliver on what you said. I’m not saying that you should guarantee results, because that won’t get you anywhere.
It’s going to be hard work for the first 12 months to build your freelance brand and reputation. Therefore, doing your best work, no matter what the circumstances are, will open many other doors to referrals and stop you from worrying about where your next client will come from.
You always have to do great work, even if it’s a job that you don’t love. Trust is only given when you have earned it. Your reputation makes you thrive in business, especially in the freelance space.
Focus on quality, value, and change, and when working with new clients, listening is CRITICAL.
Craft an Offer Resonating Your Niche
My advice is to craft an offer that resonates with your niche. This should communicate how your services can solve a problem that your ideal client is trying to solve. Make your offer clear enough so that your audience understands the value of your service and the benefits that you could provide.
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What is one best piece of advice that you wish you’d known when you started your freelancing career?”