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5 Tips for New Freelancers

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Admittedly I am just a new to freelancing as some out there but after doing a couple of jobs and landing some regular work I thought I would pass on a few things that I have learnt since I started.

  1. Find a website relevant to you – I signed up for many different freelancing sites in the vain hope that one of them would yield a job – as I am UK based it makes sense to be with Upwork as they have UK based jobs and people who require their freelancers to speak English at a native level. Truelancer and Freelancer seem to have captured the Indian Markets quite successfully meaning that the jobs are priced in the local currency – this makes it almost impossible for anyone outside of these countries to bid on the jobs primarily because of the low rates the customers simply cant afford or don’t wish to pay western pay rates. Whilst this isn’t a problem and I wouldn’t want to be taking jobs away from those who fit the customers requirements it did mean I wasted a bit of time bidding on jobs I was clearly never going to get and indeed one job I actually completed the client ghosted me and never paid which is not the situation I wanted.
  2. Reputation is everything – if you want the best freelancer jobs you have to demonstrate you are the best – this means doing a fair amount of smaller jobs to boost skills and feedback to prove your worth to the top clients. This means you might need to take a pay cut here and there but it will be worth it in the long run. On-going jobs are great because you are guaranteed a certain number of hours which are yours to fulfill as discussed with your client.
  3. Profile pictures – despite it being the 21st century where arguably appearances don’t matter it certainly seems that clients do judge a person by their profile picture – having had no jobs at all with one picture and an immediate interview after I changed said photo to a more ‘friendly’ looking (for want of a better word) it seems to me that you need to look professional yet approachable.
  4. Set yourself up – many of these sites have programs and apps which you are required to use to log time etc Upwork especially – they have a copy of the program for all operating systems including Linux and you will need this to record time as the mobile app will only let you record manual time which is not covered by their guaranteed hours policy – make sure if you are entering time manually you inform your client in writing so there is no confusion or issues with payment.
  5. Business bank account – this might seem excessive but if you are embarking on a self-employed career you will be required to do your taxes. Having a business account makes doing your taxes much easier as you don’t have to contend with your personal transactions when you list off your expenses. Starling Bank also offer a business tool kit which for £7 a month will actually allow you to export your figures ready to go into your tax return which can only be a good thing in my opinion. You can easily still draw your wages to pay your normal bills and everything will be traceable.

It is also vitally important that you have a space you can work in comfortably and with a reliable internet connection, whilst this is obvious to most and I appreciate not possible for everyone – it can be very distracting for you and for anyone you might be having a virtual meeting with. I sat in some training yesterday and the person delivering the training was obviously sat in an open office, every so often you could hear the voice of someone speaking on the phone which was not an ideal situation.

selective focus photography of white AirPods with charging case on silver MacBook on table

Lastly make sure you give yourself a break – I know once you are in the flow of things its difficult to stop but you will only end up with a headache and wondering why your stomach feels like your throat has been cut. You left the stresses of an office role to pursue your freelancing career don’t recreate the same issues under your own management, remember you are your own HR manager – if you see a problem make sure you put steps in place to fix it. Whether its structured breaks or using a timer to complete tasks the general rule of thumb is 10 minutes every hour.

I hope you enjoyed this article let me know what you think – have you got any tips for fellow freelancers or maybe you are new to the scene as well – leave a comment below or join the conversation at www.facebook.com/onlynomeswriting

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