Being new in the freelancing business is not easy. We’re in 2019, a time of speed, innovation and financial dramas. Clients will always want to work for cheap, but to receive good quality work for little dollars. The truth is, as a freelancer, you have to work with what you have, which is not always easy. Especially if you’re just starting out.
Here are my top three tips for how to make it out alive off of your first few weeks or months into freelancing. I’m not talking about a specific freelancing genre here. It can be anything, from content creation to graphic design, coding, accounting, social media management and so on. These are just three general rules for when you’re starting out.
Tip No.1: New to freelancing? You don’t know anything
Sure, you know how to do your job. You know how to design a cool logo. Maybe you know how to write an article for your blog or a copy for a certain product. Does it so happen that you can even code a bit? Awww, that’s sweet! When you’re starting out, start with the assumption that you know absolutely nothing. Freelancing is 100% different from normal office work. Sure, it’s similar because you basically do the same things. What makes it completely different are the clients.
Clients have no idea who you are. You have a great portfolio, even a cool website, but that’s nothing. They need proof that you can do the job that they need. Even if you’ve just finished a product or project that’s just like the one they’re looking for, they’re still going to be unsure about your abilities. If you still believe that you know everything about this freelancing stuff, stop. You don’t, so for the sake of your health and prosperity, start from the very bottom.
Tip No.2: New to freelancing? Read. Write. Listen
As I’ve said in the beginning, this is 2019. We’re changing as people from day to day. Which means our needs change as well. Which also means our work changes literally from one day to the next. You thought you knew your business top to bottom, but here comes this new guy who turns everything upside down somehow. And you don’t know anything about it anymore. And people start moving away from you, even though you were doing great a week ago.
Freelancing is all about learning constantly. Read all of the books that you can about what it is that you’re doing. I read everything that I could about writing, content creation, copywriting, and so on. I wrote my ass off last year, basically putting an article out every single day. Over the course of 365 days, I haven’t missed a single one! I also listen to podcasts all night long when I have the time (this one is my favourite) and audiobooks when I’m too lazy to actually read. Learn new things every day. It’s the only way to keep up with work and life in general.
Tip No.3: New to freelancing? Never sell yourself for coins
I’m not saying you should charge 1.000 bucks per hour for your content, for example. No. That’s not going to work. What I’m saying is, you should find the right balance between what you can do and how much you should charge for it. Learn to calculate a monthly income that’s enough for you in order to make a living, pay rent, save 25% or more of your income and still have something left for a vacation.
I used to charge $5 for a 1000-word article back in the days. I was literally working for coins. While I was doing that, my competitors were charging 40, 50, even 100 bucks for the same number of words. I was killing myself with work and was making nothing in exchange.
I then took a pen and some paper and wrote down my monthly expenses. Rent, gas, food, clothes, trips, savings. With my total, I started charging more and more per article. In a few months, I was exceeding my monthly spendings by half. In two years time, I’m earning double or even triple that amount per month.
Freelancing is a lot of math, now that I think about it. It’s about finding the right way of supporting yourself, put a good hefty sum on the side every month and still enjoy what you do without burning your entire energy out by the end of your day. If you miss on any one of these three elements, you’re in for a bumpy ride that will eventually end in a hazardous crash somewhere in a mountain’s face…