15 Tips for a First-Time Freelancer

Becoming a freelancer is great. Honestly, who doesn’t want to be their own boss? Freelancing is an exciting career path, as you get to experience a lot more freedom compared to the traditional worker. However, this doesn’t mean that the life of a freelancer is a piece of cake because it isn’t. You still need to work hard to achieve your goals – plus, you’re working independently, which means you have a large amount of responsibility on your shoulders. If you can embrace this responsibility and rise to the occasion, then freelancing is definitely for you! So, let’s dive into 15 tips designed specifically for first-time freelancers. Remember to save this webpage, as you’re going to need these tips during your journey!

1. Launch an epic website

First things first, your website.

Your website can’t be boring. It can’t be uninteresting. And it certainly can’t look like it’s from the 1990s.

Instead, it needs to be epic, with the perfect combination of user-friendliness and style.

The key to achieving this is working with a web design agency.

2. Establish your niche as a first-time freelancer

To be a successful freelancer, it’s important to establish a niche.

Let’s say you’re a freelance writer. Your niche could be writing content about technology, or fashion.

By establishing a niche, you’ll be able to satisfy specific market demands and craft an excellent reputation for yourself. Of course, you shouldn’t limit yourself too much (after all, a freelancer should be flexible), but establishing a niche is a priority you absolutely need to meet.

3. Spread the word with family and friends

After making the decision to become a freelancer, a first-time freelancer should immediately spread the word with family and friends.

This will help to drive new customers to you (even if it’s only a small amount). For example, someone who works in your dad’s office might be interested in your services and subsequently request a big contract from you.

Or, even better, you might get put into contact with an exciting business contact. Your uncle’s friend, for example, might be the head of a marketing firm who are willing to offer you a discount.

The lesson is clear: don’t be afraid to spread the word in the early days. You never know how it might benefit you.

4. Build an email and SMS marketing database

Email and SMS marketing is at the centre of many global brands’ marketing strategies. But why is this?

It’s simple. Engagement rates with marketing emails and SMS messages are incredibly high, largely due to the fact that phones are glued to the hands of customers. The second they get an email or text, they open them as their life depends on it.

So, as a first-time freelancer, you should be aiming to build a big database of emails and phone numbers that you can market to. This way, whenever you have a new product launching or discounts available, you can send a mass message out to let everyone know. Smart, right?

5. Join LinkedIn

In case you aren’t aware, LinkedIn is like the professional version of Facebook. Here, you can connect with clients and partners, as well as promote your brand by posting to your feed.

As a modern freelancer, you won’t be able to live without a LinkedIn account.

6. Make a brand kit

A brand kit – although not essential – is a nice little tool to have in your arsenal. It’s particularly useful for when you’re showcasing your brand to potential clients or investors (and even media outlets).

7. Even a First-Time Freelancer Should Showcase their Work Portfolio

Before paying for the services of a freelancer, people want to know that they are trustworthy.

The best way to illustrate your trust to customers is through showcasing your work portfolio, which you can do either through your website, social media pages, or in-person.

For example, if you’re a freelance graphic designer, you can send PNGs of your work to potential clients for them to get a feel of your style and offerings.

8. Be smart with your rates

Knowing what to charge as a first-time freelancer can be tricky. Of course, you want to get paid what you’re worth, but you also need to get customers on board (which can be difficult when you’re low on experience but have set high prices).

Therefore, be smart with your rates. Try to find the perfect middle ground. Gradually, as you build a portfolio of clients, you’ll be able to increase your prices accordingly.

9. Always stay on top of invoices

Invoices are beyond important for freelancing – but be sensible with them!

First of all, you need them because they prompt payments from customers.

Secondly, they’re great for professionalism.

Thirdly, they help you to keep track of your finances.

Lastly, they help to protect you legally.

So, even if you’re super busy, never allow your invoicing to become lazy or out of control. It will only cause you problems further down the line. Instead, stay on top of everything!

10.  Open a business bank account

Rather than using your personal account for outgoings and incomings, open a business bank account: it’s more professional (plus, it separates your personal and professional life).

11. Globalize your services

Don’t limit your freelance offerings to just a domestic audience. If possible, you should globalize your services by offering them to clients in different countries. This is a great way to improve profits and your overall brand image.

12. File your taxes

Yes, taxes are boring. They’re also a hot topic of discussion in politics. But they’re part and parcel of being a freelancer, so remember to file them before the end of each tax year.

13. Outsource in weak areas

If you have weaknesses in certain areas, such as accounting, you could hire someone to come in and handle the books every month.

14. Create business cards

Business cards are still useful, particularly if you’re someone who travels a lot. Rather than awkwardly exchanging phone numbers, all you need to do is quickly hand over your card, instead.

15. Lastly, be a leader in customer service

In the world of business, customer service is right at the top of the priorities chain. Failure to provide good customer service will lose you a lot of customers, whereas providing excellent customer service will gain you, customers.


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About the Author

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.