5 Things to do When You Start Freelancing

When you start freelancing, you may not have robust formal experience and portfolio items. But with dedication and time, you can build up a repertoire of clients and works. Here are theĀ 5 Things to do When You Start Freelancing. Use them as a guideline and tailor them to your own liking. Everyone’s freelancing speciality and client base is different, so remember to stay true to the basic principles of good business. This is namely proper communication and strict adherence to deadlines. Add your own individual principles as you discover them.

1. Publish your own content

You’re not restricted to creating content only under other people’s terms. If you want to build up your own portfolio, don’t be shy about creating content on your own terms and publishing it online. You may have your own blog, Behance account, or public GitHub repository. Think about the type of content that you want to work with, and think about the type of content that best demonstrates your abilities. Use this as a jumping off point to show off your skills online. Remember the poignant advice, show don’t tell. Instead of telling your clients how good you are at what you’re selling, send them a link.

2. Listen selectively to advice

Be the champion of skepticism when you start anything new! Not everything you hear about freelancing will be applicable to you, let alone useful. Seeking out too many avenues of advice may leave you feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. For some, it’s better simply to start and trust your ability to perform well. Don’t go in blind, but also don’t go in thinking you’ll always need internet advice to make a business decision. Be critical of advice that sounds unhelpful, ill conceived, and outright or covertly unethical. As you work more, you’ll gain a better grasp of your freelancing acumen.

Desk Photo by Justin Veenema

3. Foster your passion

Freelancing doesn’t always means having a steady stream of clients and income. During slow times, it’s easy to be discouraged, and even to begin blaming the lack of work on yourself. Forget the negative self talk. You may still have it, but transform that into positive passionate energy. Remind yourself why you love doing what you do. Even when you’re doing a less-than-ideal job for a client, tell yourself that you’re working on your craft. Take pride in even the smallest menial jobs and be thankful that someone wants something that you’re creating!

4. Be an exacting bidder

When you start freelancing, you’re building a foundation that represents your body of work. Yes, you should already be thinking about your body of work. This is the culmination of your efforts over a long period of time. Recognize yourself within the culture of your craft. When you do this, you identify more worth in your work. With this said, be an exacting bidder. Don’t blindly send out proposals for every job that you see. Be discerning and critical of the choices you’re making along the way of establishing yourself as top-notch in your field.

5. There are no mistakes

Missing a deadline is not a mistake; it’s a choice to be disorganized. Miscommunication is not a mistake; it’s a lapse in ability on either or both ends to formulate a clear request or response. Recognize the underlying issue, don’t just chalk it up to making a mistake. Be prepared to take immediate action to change your work process or style of communication. Pinpointing your faults is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself in your professional (and personal) life. And you’re likely to come to the conclusion that your faults traverse both of these arenas!

For more information about freelancing, check out the following blog posts:

5 Things You Need to Know Before Freelancing

5 Freelancing Tips for Avoiding Client Issues