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Here's *Everything* You Need To Know Before You Start Freelancing

Freelancing can offer freedom and flexibility to work at your own pace!
Here's *Everything* You Need To Know Before You Start Freelancing
PHOTO: Kaboompics/Pexels

Freelancing can be a rewarding and fulfilling career path as it can offer you freedom and flexibility to work at your own pace. You can earn a decent income from getting both local and international clients. The only limit is how you promote yourself to potential clients and the kind of work you produce.

But before you start freelancing, there are a couple of things you should know. It’s good to be aware and have a ~clear understanding~ of your skills and expertise to be able to efficiently market yourself to potential clients. You’ll need to be proactive in building a strong professional network and even have some basic understanding of business fundamentals such as setting rates and managing your finances. By being prepared and informed, you’ll be better equipped in navigating the challenges of freelancing. In line with that, we’ve prepared a list of eight important things you should know before you start freelancing: 


1. Your portfolio is your greatest asset

A portfolio is a collection of works that displays your skills and previous relevant experience to potential employers. It can include articles you’ve written, graphic design layouts, and illustrations. It’s really up to you how you want to tailor your work for your portfolio so you can stand out as a freelancer. Though we suggest that you have at least 10 of your *best* portfolio pieces so potential clients can better assess your abilities and see if you’re right for the job. 

2. Clients and jobs are hard to find when you start out

As a novice freelancer, it will be challenging to find clients and jobs. Where do you even start? A lot of freelancers go through this phase of not having any resources or connections to get clients to work for. It will take a lot of searching online and even investing time in self-promotion to put yourself out there. To make things easier, you can start by promoting yourself to your family and peers so that if ever they need someone with a specific job like making graphics for a small business or writing articles, they know who to call!

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3. Freelancing platforms will be your best friend

Freelancing platforms serve as the place where freelancers and clients get to connect with each other. These platforms also provide tools and features to safely facilitate communication, collaboration, and payment between you and your client. Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, and are great places to start looking for clients in the fields of writing, design, web development, and more. Being on these sites will make it easier for you to find clients who’ll need your skills and abilities. 

4. Your rates should be prepared before you start working

Deciding on your rates as a freelancer is quite tricky. Some freelancers prefer to get paid per project, while others would rather be paid by the number of hours they put in. It really depends on your preference but you should prepare your rates before you take in clients. Rates could vary if you’re a beginner or more experienced in your field.


You can try asking people you know who freelance or even ask your parents on what rates you should put on yourself. Even doing a quick Google search can help you decide. Just make sure that the rates you set reflect the quality of work you produce so clients won’t feel that your prices aren’t too low or too high.

5. Freelance contracts will protect you from being taken advantage of

Having freelance contracts or even a simple terms and conditions document can protect both you and your client. These help set expectations for both parties such as your scope of work as a freelancer, payment terms, revision rules, and deadlines. A freelance contract can also help prevent misunderstandings and disputes to ensure that you’re on the same page as your client. While most beginner freelancers can’t afford to have an actual contract, you can ask your clients to fill out a Google form that contains their project order and your terms and conditions. 


6. Work schedules will help you avoid cramming

When you start having multiple clients, managing your workflow and schedule will become a challenge. Try having specific work schedules to work on freelance projects according to the level of priority. You can organize your client work by prioritizing the first one or two clients who gave you a project to do, while other clients can be placed on a waiting list. Be sure to also be transparent with your clients on your turnaround time so they know when to expect updates from you. 

7. Testimonials from other people will increase your credibility

Testimonials from satisfied clients can help increase your credibility as a freelancer. You can ask for their feedback on your work or if they allow it, use the projects you worked on as part of your portfolio to promote yourself. When potential clients see the positive feedback from those who have worked with you, it can help build ~trust and confidence~ that you’re good to work with. Feedback from your current clients can definitely help attract new clients and increase your credibility. 


8. Opportunities won't wait for you

As a freelancer, it’s crucial to be *proactive* in seeking out clients and opportunities. Freelancing can become quite competitive with several freelancers looking for work and clients having too many options to choose from. It’s important that you stand out to them. If you wait for opportunities to come to you, you may miss out on potential projects or clients.

Make sure to actively market yourself, and your services, and network with potential clients. Keep evolving as a freelancer by staying up-to-date with industry trends and even improving your skills and abilities. Doing these things will help you easily find more clients and secure new projects.

*This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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