#1 Accept Your New “Hats”
You may call yourself a copywriter, graphic designer, or programmer, but once you go freelance, you also become a bookkeeper, salesperson and office manager. If you don’t develop the necessary skills to do all these additional jobs well, your career as a freelancer just might be in jeopardy.
#2 Set Your Rates and Stick To Them
Nobody is going to value your work if you don’t. If you cave in to every client demand for a lower rate, you’ll appear to lack confidence in your work.
#3 Keep Your Business and Personal Finances Separate
Separate accounts not only gives you a better picture of how much money you are actually making, you’ll also have an easier time sorting out tax issues at the end of the year.
#4 Stay in Contact With Clients (Even Those Hated Clients)
Don’t expect your clients to think of you every time a new project comes up. Chances are that most of your clients work with a pool of freelancers, and there may be little rhyme or reason in handing out assignments. Draw attention to yourself with a quick shout-out to them on social media, or with an emailed link to an industry article. If there happens to a job available at the time of contact, it is much more likely they will send it your way. So touch base every now and again, but make sure you aren’t harassing them with a barrage of emails. That’s not a good look.
By the way, we know you may have some clients from hell. I just saw a funny example of a difficult client on the Clients from Hell forum. So, I thought I would share.
The client was apparently displeased with an image on the site. He emailed the freelancer the following – “I don’t like the dinosaur graphic you created. It looks fake. Use a real photo of a dinosaur instead.”
A good laugh is not only good for the soul, it’s good for client relations.
#5 Use Project Management Tools
#6 Let People Know About Your Business
Freelance businesses depend on referrals, so make sure that your friends and family know about your business. They might not have need of your services, but often know people who do.
#7 Establish Boundaries
As a freelancer, you are 100% responsible for your business decisions. You need to reinforce your boundaries with clients when it comes to billing, availability and establishing reasonable work deadlines. Don’t be afraid to drop troublesome clients: A client who doesn’t pay within a reasonable amount of time or regularly calls you outside of work hours will eventually harm your business. It is important to be clear in the beginning about what your services will entail.
#8 Update Your Knowledge and Skills
Set time aside each day to read industry publications and blogs. Join professional associations and attend trade shows, seminars and conventions. Keeping your skills fresh will help you get new clients and command higher rates.
#9 Rethink Working at Home
Working at home is OK for some people, particularly if you have a room that you can dedicate to your business. But many folks find that a home environment has too many distractions. Consider working at least part time from a café, library or a co-working space.
#10 Talk to Financial and Tax Advisors
Seek out financial and tax advisors who have experience working with freelancing clients. These professionals can help you get the best tax breaks and provide advice on your long-term financial goals, such as buying a home or building retirement savings.
Share Your Tips
For more tips, check out this freelancing tip – how to keep everyone in the loop. Have a freelancing tip you wish you’d known when you were starting out? Share it in the comments.