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Freelance Survival Guide: Tips for New Freelancers

Freelance Survival Guide: Tips for New Freelancers

Many of us started our careers working for others, and we know that feeling of insecurity and uncertainty. But the good news is there is a way out. You can become your own boss and start making money for yourself. You can learn about starting your freelance business in the Freelance Survival Guide.

As a freelancer, you're constantly balancing deadlines and budgeting. So you're not surprised to hear the most common freelance survival question is: “How can I get more work?” But how do you start getting more freelance gigs? And where do you start when overwhelmed by the sheer volume of clients and projects? 

This Freelance Survival Guide shows you how to get more gigs by understanding the types of clients and projects you're likely to run into and identifying the types of clients and projects worth your time. You'll also learn how to negotiate rates and the best ways to land long-term freelance work.

The freelance industry is booming. It is an excellent opportunity for people who want to work from home. Freelancing is a flexible way to earn a good income and build a business simultaneously.

But, for freelancers, it's not always a smooth ride. There are many things to consider before you start freelancing. In this guide, I will share some tips on how to succeed in this career.

Freelancing Today

Freelancing For First-Time Parents

Like everyone else, freelancers are facing an uncertain future. We've all been told to stay home and work from home, but not many of us are used to working like that. Many of us are still figuring out how to care for ourselves and our families.

It's challenging, but I know freelancers can do anything they set their minds to. We have all the skills and knowledge to adapt to these new working conditions and find ways to be productive.

This is the perfect time to start freelancing. Whether transitioning from full-time work to freelancing or freelancing is your primary income source, I highly recommend it. Here are some things to consider as you explore the possibilities:

Consider Your Priorities

You may be looking for opportunities outside your regular field, such as graphic design or web development, or something completely different, such as writing or editing.

If you're switching careers, consider your goals before diving into freelance. Do you want to work on your terms, or do you want to be accountable to a company or client? Do you want to work with your spouse or partner or prefer to work alone?

Think About Your Skills

No matter what type of work you're looking for, it will require a skill set. If you have a skill you haven't worked on for a while, you may need to brush up on it before pursuing freelance. This is an excellent opportunity to hone your skills and make yourself more marketable.

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Even if you have much experience in a particular industry, you may be able to branch out and offer new services. Look for freelance jobs that fit your skill set, whether you're interested in graphic design or website development.

Consider the Time Commitment

Freelancing may take longer to build your client list and get your first job than a traditional job. This doesn't mean that it's a bad thing. Freelance work can be slow, and that's okay. If you're working full-time or have a family, freelancing is an excellent supplement to your income.

Don't Give Up Too Early

Some people give up too early when they first start freelancing. Don't quit until you've built a client list and worked on a project for a few weeks. It takes time to build relationships, establish trust, and find projects that are a good fit.

When I started freelancing, I had no idea how to approach my work, so I was initially lost. The good news is that you'll build momentum once you start, and the clients will find you.

Ask for Feedback

Your feedback is one of the most valuable resources in your career. Ask your current employer, friends, or colleagues for suggestions. Find a local business owner or entrepreneur looking for freelancers and ask them for advice. Even if they don't hire you, they may point you toward someone who does.

Think about your options, and don't settle for the first one. Take time to find what works for you and let the rest fall into place.

Why Do You Want to be a Freelancer?

Millennial Freelancer Tools

People enjoy freelancing because they get to work on their own time and on their own terms. But what are the benefits of being a freelancer?

Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular among employees in the United States. According to a recent study, freelancers were twice as likely to report feeling engaged in their jobs as their office-bound counterparts. They reported higher levels of job satisfaction and control than their corporate counterparts.

Freelancers are also more satisfied with their pay. Freelance employees often report earning significantly more than their colleagues who work for someone else. The average annual income of freelancers is almost $20,000 more than full-time office workers.

When you freelance, you have more control over your work life. You set your schedule and choose the hours you work. You also have the freedom to work on your project or multiple projects at once. If you like, you can take on clients and be paid to work on their business.

This flexibility allows you to explore other parts of the world, and many of the jobs available as a freelancer involve travel. This means that you can live overseas and still be able to work from wherever you are. You can earn a living while working remotely and become fluent in a new language.

While the job market in the U.S. is very good, many positions are still available. More than half of the American workforce is currently freelancing.

How Can You Start?

Bestseller No. 1
Freelancing Foundations: A Guide to Getting Started on Upwork
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  • Burnett, Josh (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 118 Pages – 10/11/2020 (Publication Date)

It may be hard to get back into the groove after being forced to stop working remotely and transition back into the office. Fortunately, some strategies can help you jumpstart your freelance career while keeping you safe from the virus.

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To ensure you're able to start freelancing after the pandemic, consider these five tips for getting back to work from your home office:

Start with the basics. Before considering freelancing, you must ensure you've done everything possible to keep yourself healthy. This means you should first protect yourself from COVID-19, including social distancing, sanitising surfaces, wearing face masks, and practising good hygiene. Next, you'll want to ensure you're physically and mentally prepared to work from home. You must create a well-equipped home office, high-speed internet access, and a clean desk. Once you're ready, it's time to plan for your new schedule. You'll need to set realistic expectations for your freelance workload, whether you're starting a part-time or full-time gig. Also, you'll need to establish deadlines for delivering projects so you don't burn out in the first few months of freelancing.

It's okay to take it slow. Since the pandemic has forced everyone to work from home, it's understandable that you may feel a bit overwhelmed. However, the fact that you can do this means that you have some advantages over remote workers. Take some time to read through the work-from-home guidelines, establish a regular work schedule, and begin networking with potential clients. By establishing a solid foundation, you'll be much more prepared to make any changes you need to make to your freelance schedule in the future.

Finally, you must be clear on your goals for working from home. Do you want to make money, enjoy your free time or both? Do you want to work on a variety of different types of projects or stick to one niche? Consider each option's pros and cons before committing to your new schedule.

How Do you Make money as a Freelancer?

Average Annual Salary Of Freelancer

Freelancing can be a great way to earn money. This is because, unlike regular jobs, freelancers have flexibility. So, they can work whenever they want and wherever they want. Plus, they have to deal with clients and vendors.

As a freelancer, you must first understand your skills. Then, it is advisable to make a portfolio. And you have to be prepared to meet the clients. But after this, you are ready to work.

You must know that freelancing is stressful because you must always focus on your work. Even when you are free, you still have to do your work.

To earn well, you must do the following:

  1. Identify your skills.
  2. Create a portfolio.
  3. Do your research.
  4. Be creative.
  5. Learn how to manage your time.
  6. Network.
  7. Be persistent.
  8. Know your market.
  9. Get organised.
  10. Find your clients.

1. Your skills.

How do you identify your skills? Well, the first thing you should do is to understand your skills.

In this case, the skill that you possess is an asset. That is why you must do your research to learn what kind of skills other people want.

It would be best if you looked into things like:

  • What skills do companies want?
  • What are the keywords that customers search for?
  • What is the trend in your industry?
  • What are the future trends?

2. Create a portfolio.

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The next thing that you must do is create a portfolio. Here, you will have to show your skills in a way that makes them quickly understood. That is why creating a website where your clients can learn about you is necessary. You can also include links to your LinkedIn profile and any social media sites that you are active on.

3. Do your research.

You must do your research before meeting your clients. That is because you do not want to waste time. For this reason, you must go through the project details your potential client wants. It would help if you did homework on the company you want to work for.

4. Be creative.

You may think you can do your project if you are creative. But that is not always the case. You may need to learn more about how to do the job. And you must also be aware of your limitations.

5. Learn how to manage your time.

How do you learn how to manage your time? Well, the first thing that you must do is make a list of your tasks.

Then, divide your tasks into three categories:

  1. Time-based tasks.
  2. Task-based tasks.
  3. Project-based tasks.

After that, you should prioritise the tasks. This will make your life easier.

6. Network.

The next thing that you must do is network. Networking means connecting with other people in your industry. For example, you can connect with other freelancers or the company you want to work for.

7. Be persistent.

The next thing that you must do is be persistent. It is not easy to find work. That is why you mustn't give up. Just keep doing your work; eventually, you will find a client.

8. Know your market.

How do you know your market? Well, you must do your research on what the demand is for your skills. You must ensure that the clients you target are interested in your work.

9. Get organised.

How to get organised? Well, the first thing you must do is make a schedule. Then, you should try to stick to it. The second thing you must do is write down everything you do. You must have a place that is dedicated to your work.

10. Find your clients.

How to find your clients? Well, the first thing you should do is look on the internet. Then, you should create a website. On your website, you must make a list of your skills. And you should add your contact details and information. After this, you must start a blog. This is where you can introduce yourself to potential clients.

Making the Most of Your Time

Productivity Time Tracking Tips

One of the keys to successfully running a freelance business is to learn to manage your time. Here are some tips to help you manage your time more efficiently.

Work Hours

Freelancing requires flexibility and mobility, which means that you must adapt the working hours to the needs of your work schedule. When you freelance, your clients can call you any time they need, and you can contact them. For this reason, it is necessary to adapt your working hours to the client's requirements.

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So you can adapt your working hours to your client's requirements, you can take advantage of the following options:

  • Working only during certain times of the day. This option is mainly suitable for clients who want to work with you during certain hours of the day.
  • Adjust your working hours to the client's requirements. Flexible clients can adjust the working hours to the times they are available.
  • Agree with your clients on when you should receive calls and messages. You can ask your clients to contact you when they want.
  • Set up an online calendar to manage your work. This is a great solution when you work from home, and your clients require your presence.
  • Use the internet to keep track of your clients and your work. You can create a calendar or a simple table to organise your projects and keep track of your clients.
  • Create an automatic email program. When you have a project that can't wait until the next day, you can remind your clients of your availability.

When you decide to freelance, you must schedule the calls, messages, and meetings. It is much easier to coordinate your working hours when you work only during certain times of the day or when you are available to work.

The flexibility of your working hours allows you to adapt to your clients' needs.

Freelance work is an opportunity to work on your terms. To get the best results and maintain the highest levels of productivity, it is essential to choose your working hours carefully.

Working from Home

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Working From Home: Making the New Normal Work for You
  • Hardcover Book
  • Mangia, Karen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages – 08/25/2020 (Publication Date) – Wiley (Publisher)

If you're working from home as a freelancer, productivity can be affected by several factors. Working from home can also lead to fatigue, stress, and mental and emotional challenges. If you're not careful, these challenges can impact your ability to be productive and ultimately affect your livelihood.

If you're a freelancer who works from home, you should first make sure that you take a good look at your schedule. Are you leaving work early or staying late? Is your work getting done or not? Do you have enough time to spend on projects? Do you have time to take care of yourself? When you know what you need and want out of your day, it's easier to plan and focus on what you need to get done.

Freelancing is not necessarily a bad thing. However, if you're not careful, it can cause some problems. For example, there are ways to maximise productivity when you work from home. Here are some tips that you can follow to ensure that you stay focused and productive:

Know Your Schedule

You must have a firm grasp of your schedule when you work from home. What are your hours going to be? Will you work on some projects and rest on others? What time is your lunch break? Knowing your schedule helps you plan your day to focus on what you need to do.

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Schedule Yourself

Putting off tasks you don't want to do can be easy. For example, you might decide to spend a few minutes updating your LinkedIn profile or responding to emails, but when you do, you find that your day has flown by and there's much more to do. Instead of waiting until the last minute, schedule yourself to complete a task and mark it off your list. This way, you have something to look forward to, and it will motivate you to complete the task sooner.

Take Breaks

You may find working from home hard and too tired to finish your work before quitting. If you're tired, take a walk, exercise, or call a friend to chat for five or ten minutes. These breaks can help you to stay alert and refreshed so that you can continue working.

Keep Track of Your Time

Many freelancers make the mistake of working longer than they planned and being unable to finish their work. Instead of working longer, try working an hour or two less to finish your work. When working in the office, you have an assistant and a boss who will remind you to take breaks and stop when necessary. Monitoring your time while working from home is challenging, so you must keep track of your time to ensure you're working efficiently.

Use Technology to Help You Stay Productive

Technology is great when you work outside of the home. You can use your computer, phone, and tablet to send and receive work emails, keep track of your time, and manage your schedule. There are also several productivity tools designed to help freelancers work more efficiently. These tools can give you more flexibility and help you to manage your time more effectively.

Use Social Media to Build Your Network

Many freelancers enjoy the flexibility that working from home offers. However, this can also make building a solid network of connections complicated. If you're not careful, your job will suffer. You'll end up missing opportunities for networking because you won't be able to attend local meetups, conferences, or other events. Instead of being isolated, use social media to expand your network. Join a professional social media network, such as LinkedIn, where you can connect with other freelancers and potential clients.

Have Fun

Freelancing is not just about building your career. You can also use it to relax, unwind, and have fun. For example, you might take the time to cook dinner for your family, go for a run, or even play a game. If you're struggling to be productive, consider taking a break and doing something fun. This will help you to relax and get back to work more refreshed.

Make Sure You Have a Plan

Whether you work from home full-time or part-time, you must have a plan for how you will achieve your goals. What are the steps you need to complete each day? What time will you spend working? When will you take breaks? You may need to have different plans for different days or weeks. However, having a plan will help you to manage your time more efficiently and get things done.

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If you want to improve your productivity at work, use these tips to ensure you're getting the most out of your day.

What to Do When You're Not Making Money

Working Remotely Freelancers

Some people make money from freelancing on the side, but if you're looking to grow a long-term income, consider becoming a full-time freelancer. Freelance work is flexible and doesn't require you to be at your desk from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. You can schedule your hours around your life instead of working at a set time.

Freelance work also allows you to focus on the projects you're passionate about instead of working on tasks that aren't fulfilling. You control your time, clients, and income when you work freelance.

There are two main types of freelance work: contract and direct. If you're looking for long-term income, consider doing contract work. For example, you could get paid to write articles for a website or write an ebook and sell it online.

You can also work as a consultant, providing advice or expertise in a specific industry and helping your clients solve problems.

There will always be times when you're not getting paid in contract and direct work. This can be discouraging when starting, but if you can keep at it, you can build up a stable, recurring income.

How Much Should I Charge?

Charging too little is a great way to lose clients, so you must charge what you're worth. Many freelancers are tempted to start with low rates to avoid losing clients, but this is a big mistake. To work consistently, you need to keep charging what you're worth.

It's also essential to figure out how much your time is worth. For instance, if you charge $20 per hour and spend 10 hours on a project, you make $200.

You can also look at how much others pay to find a competitive rate. If a client is willing to pay $100 for the job, that's probably a reasonable rate.

How to Find Clients

Finding clients is the easiest part of freelancing. Many people know about your services and usually reach out to you.

Consider setting up a blog, Twitter account, or Facebook page to expand your business. Posting updates and soliciting feedback from your audience will help you learn what you need to improve and where your audience wants to hear from you.

A robust online presence is an excellent way to get started, but it won't work if you don't have any relevant work. So, it's essential to create valuable content for your audience.

This is easier than it sounds. People love to share their ideas, and writing is one of the most common ways to share an idea. Start by sharing your expertise or insights in a blog post or create a valuable resource for others.

As you build your blog, you'll eventually attract readers, and the audience will help you find clients.

Are You Ready to Become a Full-Time Freelancer?

SaleBestseller No. 1
Freelance Your Way to Freedom: How to Free Yourself from the Corporate World and Build the Life of Your Dreams
  • Hardcover Book
  • Fasulo, Alexandra (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages – 11/15/2022 (Publication Date) – Wiley (Publisher)

Freelancing is a popular career choice, but knowing what you're getting into before leaping is essential. By starting as a freelancer, you're responsible for managing your income.

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If you're ready to make a long-term commitment to freelance, consider the following:

  • You'll need to be available to clients at all times of the day, so finding a way to fit your work in with your obligations is crucial.
  • Your income may fluctuate, so it's important to budget and save enough money to sustain yourself over the long term.
  • Even though freelance work isn't regulated, there are still legal responsibilities you need to keep in mind. This means that you must be prepared to deal with taxes, unemployment, and other issues with freelancing.

The Freelance Survival Guide

If you are new to freelancing, you are likely feeling overwhelmed. The key is to focus on building your skills and finding clients looking for what you have to offer.

As you become more successful, you may want to start your own business to control your schedule. But first, you must build your brand and establish a strong reputation.

I recommend starting by creating a simple landing page that highlights your strengths. Once you get your first client, you can start branching out and working on more complex projects.

You can start freelance work without a degree or prior experience. You just need to focus on honing your skills and learning as much as possible.

Want to learn more about my strategy for becoming a successful freelancer? Visit my blog and download the freelance survival guide!

Last update on 2024-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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