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24 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Freelancing Business 3yrs Ago

25
Mar

Read time: About 5 minutes!

If you know me, you will know how much I cringe to that term “Freelancing” ugh! Not a fan. In my mind, it has a negative connotation to it that reflects no commitment, lack of seriousness and business as a hobby more than anything. Personally I did my best to not associate myself or be referred to as a “Freelancer”. Of course that view remains personal.

Therefore, I’m sharing this list in hopes that I will save you on some costly mistakes that I made early on in my career.

1. Work out

I have this as #1 because I neglected my health when I started freelancing until I fell sick and realized that without being healthy, I didn’t have a business.Watch movie online Rings (2017)

2. Embrace a business mindset

If you started freelancing as a side hustle, it’s easy to treat it as a hobby and less like a business. This will hurt you. You are a business, act like one.

3. Present yourself as a brand

When you present yourself/your business as a brand, not only do you get to command much higher rates, you are respected and you eliminate your competition in the mind of your ideal consumers.

4. Be firm

Don’t be a push over, this almost drowned my career- mainly because I have a reserved personality. Speak your mind and don’t let clients troll all over you.

5. Be humble

That said, don’t be an ass, dick, arrogant or any of those things. Be truly humble.

6. Focus

Focus should drive your brand. In regards to what you offer, what you stand for, the work you deliver, projects you’re currently working on, clients you are pursuing, focus, focus, focus.

7. Admit you don’t know everything

Web designers could relate to this. Although it’s good to have the problem-solving attitude, sometimes it just saves time by admitting you don’t know everything. You will be surprised your clients will actually appreciate (and trust you more) for this. It will also save you tons of time “researching”.

8. Be thirsty for knowledge

This came easy for me but I didn’t acknowledge it until later. But constantly “sharpening” your brain with your industry trends, reading books, watching TED talks, reading blogs regularly, asking questions, answering questions etc are all part of enhancing your knowledge and will set you on a path to be a specialist that you are.

9. Say NO

Back the focus point on #6, sometimes a client will make a request that’s out of your focus range- say NO. This is hard to do especially if you don’t have any projects/income flowing. Do it anyway. It’s a test 🙂

10. (Almost) Never do work for free

To begin with it might be wise to do a few “free” projects to build your reputation and get some feedback, but that’s all that will be. From then on respect yourself and your knowledge and charge accordingly for your services.

11. Always have a contract

I lost over $4,000 for lack of a contract so I say this from a place of deep pain. Although I decided to get over that ordeal and forgive that client (though I will never work with them again) it still hurts to date.

12. 80/20 client rule

Don’t let a client control 80% of your income. Should they drop the project, it will sting! Balance.

13. Set work hours

Goes back to #2 Business Mindset. Set working hours and stick to them. Use time tracker software even on yourself. I currently use Time Doctor- always have but there’s many others out there. It will help with your productivity.

14. Save money

You don’t want to take on a project cuz you’re desperate for money. Save and get to pick the clients you work with.

15. Save more so you can pay your taxes

Easy to forget about taxes, but you gotta pay them. Back to #2 Business Mindset. It hurts but pay up!

16. Being your own boss means now you have employees to manage

This is a real challenge. It helps to select the right team members. If you sense red flags early on in the relationship- drop them. That said, be patient and cut your best team members some slack.

17. Your client is your new boss

You started your business because you wanted to be your own boss- that doesn’t entirely work that way. Your client is your new boss. Luckily, you get to dictate the terms of your relationship.

18. Arm yourself with time-saving tools

You quickly realize that you are the CEO, Business Manger, Project Manager, Accountant, Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager etc etc, today, there are tools for almost anything business related- take time to research and use them. Don’t be cheap either, pay for tools that will help you save time, it’s an investment worth protecting.

19. Take time off (real time off)

Shut down your engines, notify your clients well ahead of time, set your vacation email auto-responder and take real time off. You deserve it.

20. Project doesn’t start till deposit has cleared

The excitement that comes from landing a new client can overshadow the fact that you do this for the money. Don’t start till the money is in your account cymbalta dosage. No exceptions. If a client plays around with this rule, drop ’em like they hot!

21. Final deliverable is not available until final payment has cleared

Similar to above rule, sites don’t go live till payments clear- unless they are on my own server which I have full control over. Again, this comes from a place of deep pain as I’ve lost a couple grands on this mistake.

22. Get out & network

It’s easy when you’re working online especially with the existence of social media to forget that real people exist lol, seriously get out and network, not only is this good for your business, it’s good for your soul. As humans we thrive from interactions, and this come from an introvert 🙂

23. Work with goals

Set goals (big, scary, hairy, goals) achieve them then go on to the next one! It’s the only way to grow. It also boosts your confidence over time.

24. It’s going to be OK

Sometimes in the frenzy of running your business, things get crazy and doubt creeps up. Seriously, it’s not the end of the world. In the end, things have a way of fixing themselves, it’s going to be ok. Just relax! Or refer to #1 (Work out)

8 Responses

  1. Great insights right there, Tim. I find myself making use of Number one often lately. All the other points actually help a lot when dealing with clients.

  2. John Chepkwony

    What an informative article! I only wish I had accessed this article earlier enough. Anyway thanks for the insights..they will come in handy especially for a novice freelancer like me.

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