Eight tips for first-time freelancers

Jan 27, 2022
min read

Stepping into the freelance space can be a lot. With so many options and very little guidance, it can be as intimidating as it is exciting. What’s the right approach? How do I know if I’m good enough? Where do I start?

Whether you’re a creative, a software developer, or a tech whiz, here are eight tips to send you off in the right direction. 

1. Market yourself 

First thing’s first, build a website. Having a website provides an invaluable window into you and your business, and is the best way to showcase your skills and work experience. Find your niche and market yourself as a specialist, but don’t turn down jobs outside your area of expertise.

2. Make sure you get paid 

Knowing what to charge as a first-time freelancer can be tricky, and it can be easy to psych yourself out. Of course, you want to get paid for what you’re worth, but you also need to build your client base. This is a great article on how to determine your price. 

Once you set your price, use contracts and set expectations early on. Have your client sign, and ask for a deposit in advance of payment on delivery. 

3. Get networking 

Spread the word with friends and family first. Make friends with other freelancers, and get your name out there. Word of mouth is everything, so focus your efforts on finding clients you love working for and build genuine, long-lasting relationships with them.  

Freelancing can also get lonely without an office and a team beside you. Seek out a few people you can ask questions and talk about your experiences with!

4. Create a schedule that works

Set a work schedule and stick to it! Holding yourself accountable is the trickiest part of the biz, and you may feel the need to work all the time without proper boundaries in place. 

Just as you would with a 9-5, scheduling breaks and hard stops is crucial for your productivity (and sanity). Take time for yourself and book it into your calendar if you need to. 

5. Find your space

This could be your kitchen table, home office, or favourite local coffee shop. It’s also possible you’ve taken the last bit of the pandemic to figure out a remote space that works for you. Wherever it is, keep it clean and free of distractions so you can provide the best possible freelance services. 

6. Stay knowledgeable 

The growing popularity of freelancing means fierce competition – you must constantly stay up to date on current trends and evolve to maintain success. Read relevant media, engage with fellow freelancers, attend networking events, and gain certifications. 

Tip: Search on LinkedIn for local freelance groups in your area to stay in the loop. 

7. Dip your toes before diving in 

The beauty about freelancing is there’s absolutely no reason to commit to the job immediately. Only go full-time when you have a consistent client base, a good amount of savings, and a backup plan if it doesn’t work out. 

8. Be patient

Building something worthwhile takes time – be patient. You can’t create an empire overnight, so be kind to yourself, work hard, and focus on producing to the best of your ability. The important thing is doing what you’re proud of, and if you get to a place where work doesn’t feel like work, even better. 

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Keep an eye out on our Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for quality articles published frequently about workplace development, human resources insights, and how to take care of yourself in the changing world of work. 

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