I often talk to new freelancers about how I’ve been able to put up with a decade of content creation and what advice I can give them about it. Usually, I ask them about their situations and then respond based on the information they provide. But freelancers are all over the world, and so their issues, while not the same, have certain common points about them.
As a freelancer, you’ll deal with bad days, rude clients, lack of money, low motivation, poor time management, as well as long days you’d usually get on a regular job. Just to name a few. Because of this, I came up with ten pieces of advice I’d like to share with you, a newbie or veteran freelancer, about how I made it for my first decade as a happy, accomplished content creator.
In this guide:
Don’t give up
I wanted to give up for 3 years when I first started out. I still am occasionally ready to quit and go back to a 9-to-5. The most important advice I can throw at you, regardless if you’re new or a veteran with this, is to not give up. Simply don’t give up. Struggle, hustle, break the rules, change the game, get better, embrace the sleepless nights, cry and laugh. But never give up.
Situations, not problems
Labelling a situation that is clearly not in your favour as a problem just adds an extra layer of unnecessary drama to it. You know the situation, you’re facing it right now, why call it names? It is what it is. Seeing every situation as an opportunity is a knack, something you have to work on. So is not always labelling them as issues, problems, disasters, you name it. Situations, that’s it.
Put money away
In my first two years of freelancing, I put no money away. It was the worst thing to do. Right now, I’d buy a Tesla, but I’m only able to cover about 30% of it from my savings. If I were to put money away from the start, I’d be at 65-70% of the entire car, down payment. Put money away from the moment you start making real money as a freelancer. I can’t stress enough how important it is to do so. For every dollar that you make, put one-third of it away. Trust me.
Improve your equipment
Investment in things like equipment is crucial when freelancing. Keeping up with the latest trends in this area will help you make it through more work, even though at first it might seem stupid to pay $1000 for a new phone or laptop. If this upgrade is going to make your work at least 15% faster and easier, it’s going to be worth it in the long run more than you think.
Invest in your education
Attending online courses, paid or not, or buying books about self-development might not be cool material for a Facebook/Instagram post. But it means the world for your growth. I remember discovering Coursera years ago, and attending my first course in psychology. It has changed my life, and I have managed to attend dozens of courses since then. Buy education, above all else.
Spend on that one thing that makes you happy
Speaking of spendings, a good way to make sure you don’t overdo it when freelancing, which yes, it does happen quite often, is to spend some money on that one thing that truly makes you happy. For me, that is travel. Whenever I feel like I’m done with it, all it takes is a few days away and I’m back on track. It’s a business expense, so don’t worry about it. Morale is everything!
Always look for new clients
One of the first major mistakes I’ve made as a freelancer was not looking for new clients constantly. I’d gotten myself a big client and thought okay, this is nice, no more hustle. I now know that even the most “secure” client can be out in a blink of an eye. Set a day per week/month in which you look for new clients, just because. Write pitches and sell your services. You never know when you hit the jackpot.
Manage your time properly
Time management is key when freelancing. I’ve said this in dozens of posts here on the blog. Why? Because you’re your own boss, and with this comes… relaxation! You can’t fire yourself, can you? So let it be, you’ll take care of this task later. And then later never comes, and the due date is damaged beyond repair. And you lose the client. All because you can’t manage time properly. Learn to split your time and be productive.
Cut out disputes
Over the past decade, I’ve worked with more than 150 different clients. Most projects were one-time deals, a few were weeks or months long, and a bunch were year-long projects or longer. Yet I’ve had but two or three disputes in all of this time. This is because, when I see a difficult client coming up, I cut the possible dispute out by offering their money back, no questions asked. This is the way to avoid headaches.
Enjoy your work
Finally, the most important piece of advice is this: enjoy your work every single moment that you are at the job or not. Right now, I’m writing this article, still part of my work (personal branding is crucial for freelancers!) and enjoying every bit of it. If you lack that enjoyment, regardless of how well you’re paid, you’ll feel miserable every day at the job. If you can’t enjoy your work, move to another domain. Learn another skill. Change everything, until you 100% love your work.
Hi! Just a quick thing before you leave:
First, nice of you to read thus far, it means that you’ve enjoyed my writing!
I’m not here to ask you for any likes, shares, or comments, although that would be cool of you! Instead, I’m offering you a chance to have an even better piece, sort of like this one, but better, written for you by a content creator. That would be me! Check out my Services, Portfolio and Testimonials pages for details. And then shoot me an email at the address you’ll find on the Contact page.
If you’re a freelancer like me and are confused about learning how to make money online, especially through writing but also programming, design, or social media management, you can buy my book. It’s called “From 0 To $2543 A Month With A Crappy Laptop – The Freelancing Course From A Self-Made Content Creator Boss” and you can find it on Amazon at 50% off!