Freelancers are their own boss. This does sound cool. Right?
Well, the reality is it's far from being cool. You have to take your own decisions on your own with no one to help you. And not just that, you must also learn to multi-task as apart from your job skills you will have to be a marketer, a purchaser, an accountant and what not!
Therefore, I thought of writing this article on Freelancing Tips that will help freelancers, as well as aspiring freelancers to get manage things in a better way.
Freelancing Tips For Beginners And Experts
Below are some of the tips for freelancers, beginners as well as experts. These tips do not focus on how to get more jobs; rather it lists down the usual problems faced by the freelancers and a solution to them.
If you are looking out for tips to get more jobs, I have written a guide on Upwork Tips For Beginners
1. Master Of One Trade, Not The Jack Of All
I see most freelancers make this mistake. They feel multiple skills will broaden their horizon and help them get more work.
However, as we know, a freelancer is a one-man army. He cannot afford to get stuck up in the project due to lack of knowledge.
If you are taking a project on Web Designing, your focus should solely be on Web Designing. If the client insists one point contact, you can hire the developer and get things done from him.
But never try to get it to development if your USP is Web Designing. A project gone bad will affect your ranking and will haunt you for a long time.
2. Make A Portfolio Of Your Work
Now, this is not something unknown to most freelancers. Most of them know the importance of Portfolio and how a good portfolio can improve your chances of being hired.
However, the fact is, most freelancers are lazy enough to create one for themselves. So, if you have not created a portfolio, create one for you today.
You can either create jobs especially for the portfolio, or you can take permission from your previous clients to display the project in your portfolio.
Also, for displaying the portfolio, you can either use services like Behance or upload the same to the freelancing website you work with. You can also create your own website to display the portfolio.
Of course, websites are not free. Even if you can manage to create your WordPress website, you still have to pay for the domain name and hosting.
3. Draft A Professional Cover letter
If you've been in the freelancing world for long enough, you must be knowing that a cover letter is usually the only way you can convince a client to hire you.
A client might be getting dozens of applications for each job that he posts on the freelancing websites. A well-written cover letter can improve your chances of being hired.
If you are not a good writer, you can ask a friend to write it for you. If not, you can also hire Cover Letter Writes From Fiverr to write it for you.
4. Always Sign A Contract
If you are from the western part of the world, signing a contract is something very obvious. However, if you are from South Asian or an African country, no one cares to sign a contract.
However, not signing a contract can be a huge mistake. Without a formal contract, a client can refuse you to pay. Or he will keep on adding new jobs to the project, and you will have no option but to oblige for the sake of payment or rating.
So never start working on a project without a formal contract.
5. Be Clear About The Payment Terms
If you are working with a client from a different country, the one whom you met on Facebook or Linkedin, signing contacts may not be ideal.
In such cases, you must make sure that you are clear about the payment terms. If it's a small project, you can either demand an upfront advance or advance payment before delivery of the project
For longer projects, you can make a schedule of payments. You should clearly tell your client that if he misses the payment schedule, you won't work ahead unless he clears his dues.
6. Learn To Say No
Not getting the right pay rate? Or the client has terms and conditions that make you uncomfortable? Or you simply are not confident enough to complete the project?
Learn to say no to the client. I know this can be difficult to leave a good project especially if you are just a beginner, but the sooner you learn to filter our projects the better for you.
If the answer to any of the above questions is negative, it's time for you to skip the project.
7. Keep Track Of All Leads
Often times freelancers bid for a project and then forget about it only to realize there was a message from the client seeking details. You don't want to be one of these freelancers, right?
So, always maintain an excel workbook, to keep a track of all your projects. If you are a techie, you can also consider using CRM for managing all your leads. Hubspot provides a CRM for free.
8. Manage Your Time
The biggest advantage of being a freelancer is that you are your own boss; there's no one over your shoulder to control you. This freedom can often divert a freelancer's mind into doing non-productive things.
On the other hand, some freelancers glue themselves to their work desk and over stress themselves that shows a toll on their health as well as relationships.
Therefore, as a freelancer, it is imperative for you to balance work and personal life. If you fail to do it, sooner or later you will end up self-destroying your freelance career.
9. Communicate With The Client
Communication is a very important part of any business deal. There should be clear communications from both the parties at regular intervals to ensure the project is on the right track.
Any miscommunication should be immediately sorted out rather than delaying the same. Proper communication ensures a healthy relationship with the client and a possible recommendation from him.
10. Track Your Numbers
It is extremely important for you to know your earnings. You should analyze your total earnings and your expenditures at the end of each month.
The expenditures can be anything that is directly related to your work. It includes your internet bills, phone bills, cost of outsourcing bits of the project, membership price for freelancing website, etc.
Proper analysis of earnings will help you judge if you are on the right track and making enough profits for your survival.If not, you can consider hiking your pay rate to generate more profits.
These records will also help you while evaluating and filing of your Income Tax.
And here's a bonus tip for reading this article till the end.
11. Divide Your Profit
It feels good to have money in your hand. Who doesn't like going out to shop or have dinner at their favorite restaurant?
Well, you too should spend your earnings but at the same time make sure your future is secure. I recommend dividing the income into three parts.
a. Income Tax
You can set out income tax as per the prevailing rates in your country. Of course, I can specify a figure as they vary greatly.
b. Business Expansion
You cannot stay at the same level for your life. You must expand your business. You must get a good office, you must hire some people to work for you.
And all this requires money. So, depending on your earnings, you can set aside 10-30% of your profit for expanding your business.
c. Personal Expenses
The money that remains after taking out money for tax and business expansion is all yours to spend. You can take it a step up further and set-aside money as your personal saving that you can use for holidaying or buying your dream home.
Freelancing is not easy and freelancing will never be easy. But if you can have a systematic approach to manage things it can be made to look easy.
I am sure, these tips will help you be a better freelancer. Of course, this article was primarily focused on issues that bother a freelancer and does not focus on strategies to get freelance work.
If you're looking out for tips to get more works, you can check my article on Upwork Guide For Beginners. The article focuses on how to get more jobs at Upwork. And Upwork being the largest freelance website, I am sure the article will workout for most people reading this