We reached out to our readers with a simple question
If you could teach your younger self ONE lesson about freelancing at the beginning of your career, what would it be?
Now, because our readers are smart, wonderful, and uniformly good looking, they responded with some FANTASTIC advice.
Some were funny:
Accept bitcoin as payment!
And some were sad:
Some shared really fantastic productivity tips:
This is fantastic.
This is vital
Other people talked about communication, and keeping your relationships with clients healthy:
A client/freelancer relationship should feel more like partner/partner vs. master/servant. If it doesn’t, make changes.
Pay more attention to your clients and post regularly. I feel that if I had done that years ago I’d be in a different situation today
Not a freelancer, but an apprentice. And I can already tell you when you work with someone who has no experience in this area. TELL THEM what you are going to do and especially what is going to be on the bill.
A lot of them think what we do is nothing and refuse t pay.
Don’t put clients on a pedestal. I managed to get my ‘dream client’ once and they turned out to be a huge disappointment (quite rude /demanding extra work for free (I didn’t do it) / not paying on time).
Value good people & interesting work over names.
Learn when to say no, and how to recognize in retrospect when you should have said no.
Others focused on relationships with your colleagues:
Cultivate a network of other design friends. Send them design jobs and they will usually reciprocate.
Some advice was for your grind:
Research your clients thoroughly
Get the people who’ll have the *final* say into each sign off meeting; otherwise you’ll get to the final hurdle, it’ll go upstairs for ‘approval’ and come back with changes that should have been specified at the start. You’ll be expected to absorb these into your original quote.
Set aside at least ½ a day to work on your own business a week. No interruptions. These items are important, and help avoid the feast and famine rollercoaster. https://t.co/9dtmUhwU4G
Better get comfy and skilled at spending 75% of your time prospecting and otherwise finding new projects. Annoying right? Yep. https://t.co/skt8eEW3Hx
Remember to DO YOUR TAXES:
Keep track of the taxes you owe and don’t spend it!
(This really messed up my first year as a freelancer and it was such a facepalm moment) https://t.co/9Dl9M9TzNd
And sometimes, be a little tricky:
Choice corrupts. Give client max 3 choices and highlight your pref. They’ll value you more removing their choice. Seems counterintuitive tho
But two things were LOUD AND CLEAR.GET A CONTRACT:
Always have the client sign a Letter of Agreement for your protection ( and their understanding).I learned this the hard way.
No matter how small the job, use a well-written, comprehensive contract. Scope creep can turn a tiny, easy job into a neverending nightmare. https://t.co/PrFFq4c3sk
Use a contract. Every. Single. Time.
And when they ask for more than what was agreed on - because they ALL will - refer back to the contract and charge extra for extra work.
Your talent is valuable as hell.
Also, charge double what you’re thinking in your head.
And NEVER WORK FOR FREE:
Never cut your rates or do work for free with the promise of exposure.
ALWAYS get some form of payment (ideally half) up front before starting a project.
Avoid low paying clients, they are the most rude and demanding.
Anyone who tells you that you should totally do work for free “to start out” is almost definitely involved in a multi-level marketing scheme and have no idea what they’re talking about
I’ll never forget a boss at a pizza place telling me “just go around to local businesses and offer to do free work!” even a less-experienced me knew what a colossally terrible idea that was
Don’t work for free and immediately challenge anyone that asks to a knife fight behind the abandoned Blockbuster Video https://t.co/pMpRCuTsHv
…Okay. MAYBE that last bit isn’t the best advice.
But what IS good advice is to follow all these beautiful folk who submitted these gems. Good luck, and keep fighting the good fight.