Advice & Tips For Beginner Freelancers

Have you ever wanted to know what advice or tips veteran freelancers would give themselves if they could go back in time?

If so, this blog post is for you!

We’ve asked over two dozen freelancers what advice they would give themselves or someone trying to become a freelancer.

Here’s what they had to say:

 
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Know your value and plan ahead. Figure out what it takes to live, pay bills and sustain the work. Take the time you need to get a cushion of savings and stick to your Google Sheets and strategies. Also, build a network of peers with whom you can collaborate and get inspired by. Improve your craft by pushing your skills and asking others for good, old-fashioned help.

Nicole, Designer and Copywriter

 
 
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Test the waters. If you already have a job, don't dive into freelancing full-time unless you are in a position to. Struggling with paying your bills is not the added stress you need when you're first setting up. Also, offer different services until you get a good sense of what you love to do, what you're good at, and what you absolutely detest!

Francesca, Content Creator

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The first and biggest step is just trying.

I think a lot of people get stuck on the 'I don't know where to start', 'I don't know if I'm ready', 'I don't think I have enough experience', and honestly, the most important step is just one step forward - even if it's just a teeny, tiny step.

I tried so many random, different freelancing jobs until I eventually landed on the one that I liked the most and that leveraged my skills and experience the best. It's all about the trial and error.

Deya, Project Manager

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Get a good brief, and ask questions. The goal is to understand the job! Learn how to take criticism, it comes in many forms; often it’s just people’s personal opinions, use your judgment, learn from it and grow. Find the cash source! That’s your agent or the site that links you to work - use a reputable one.

Ronny, Graphic Designer

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Make a 'backup plan' with retainer clients or other sources of income.

The reason this is important is because you never want to be desperate. Being desperate means you take work you don't want to do or clients that suck, and then end up worse off than if you just bartended two nights a week and had a blast doing it. You can't grow if you’re working with crappy people.

Esther, Virtual Agency Owner

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Start out small. Don't succumb to the pressure of wanting to fully support yourself with freelancing right away.

It takes time to build up a steady flow of work and clients. Start with smaller projects to get the ball rolling and gain experience. I started off by freelancing as a side hustle outside of my 9-5 job.

Harmony, Social Media Manager

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Don't wait until everything is perfect to get started. It will never ever be perfect, and you'll always find some reason to delay your dreams. Learn as you earn. Fall on your face. Get back up again.

Success isn't exactly sexy behind the scenes, but if you really want it and are willing to be consistent, you can achieve anything.

Britny, Life Coach

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I think going self-employed is a personal challenge. If you’re not someone who likes taking risks and responsibilities, then it’s not for you. First ask yourself if you have the personality to take on so many responsibilities and challenges. Do you have a passion to succeed? That’s the starting point.

Meltem, Turkish Translator

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Just try it. You won’t lose anything. On the contrary, you will have tried something new and then you’ll be more free to decide what you want for your life.

Alexandra, Creative Director

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Keep an open mind. It may be tough at first to work for someone else's vision or passion project, but with a little cooperation and commitment, you will start to find the types of gigs you really value and respect. Hang in there!

Stevie, Digital Marketing Manager

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Join freelancer groups, register on freelancer sites, network (without seeming desperate), and register with PayPal or a similar platform. It's free and you'll need it when you get a client from overseas, which is highly likely in this line of work. One more thing, and this is important: you have to keep learning — not just to stay updated but also to keep getting better at what you do.

Claire, Writer and Editor

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It’ll be challenging at times but go for it with all your heart! You’ll have to make yourself vulnerable and put yourself out there (I remember being so shy about listing my prices online thinking “what will my friends think?”). Truth is... no one really cares. Just do it!

Magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Every time I feel nervous or scared about doing something, I get excited because I know it’s going to grow and shape me into something greater. Don’t let perfectionism keep you from pursuing your dream! Just start. You can always adjust as you go.

Morgan, Online Accountant

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Know that there is competition but what sets you aside is the consistency of your work, and that you should prepare for disappointment but never to give up nor compromise your values in any way.

Folasade, Ghost Writer

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Be ready to make mistakes and learn from them. Find an accountability partner, imagine success, not failure, then make a plan to succeed. Identify and work on your fears, invest in yourself, research, find your niche, find a business model that works and stick to it; be consistent. Work on your presentation, position yourself, market your brand, and network. Know your worth.

Floridah, Social Media Assistant

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It’s never going to be the right time to go freelance. You’re never going to feel like you’re 100% ready and it might be scary, but that’s OK! You just have to take that leap of faith. The first step is always the hardest part.

I always tell people that they need to make friends with others in the freelancing world. Surround yourself with people that are going through the same struggles and experiencing the same highs. That way, when you feel at your lowest, you can get the support & advice you need to keep going.

Justyn, Web Developer

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If your heart's in it, don’t let anything knock you back. As long as you know it’s what you want, even if you’re unsure of yourself, don’t let that first hurdle defeat you. As long as you’re financially stable and you don't put yourself in a bad position over it, go for it.

Scott, Video Gamer

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Don't belittle your work, the quality of service you can offer, and the growth you can contribute to your clients' business. You don't have to start out as excellent, you just have to be eager and interested.

Najmah, Web Designer

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Talk about your freelancing goals to friends, family and the people you meet. They may not be able to hire you personally, but they may know someone who needs the skills you have. It's all about connections!

Jen, Health Communications Professional

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Go for it! Make a list of what skills you can offer clients. Create a website and portfolio of your work and get your name out there. Confidence is a large part of starting out as a freelancer. You have to be confident that you can provide this solution for your client and then make it happen.

Elisabeth, Freelance Consultant

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Just do it. You may find out it's not for you... but you may also find your calling in life!

Liz, Virtual Assistant

 

Additional Resources

Here are three steps can you take to move forward with your freelance career today! 

✔️ Make a plan. Figure out what you want and need out of freelancing, in terms of salary, the type of freelancer you want to be, and the areas you might like to work in.

✔️ Get started. Contact everyone in your network to let them know you’re looking for freelance work. Sign up for and browse job websites daily. Apply for small jobs or projects to gain experience and learn how to present yourself.

✔️ Build a network. Start networking and get involved in freelancer communities and Facebook groups for freelancers. Ask questions and get involved in the conversation!


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