From the definition to getting paid, and every process in between. This article contains all you need to know about freelancing and working independently online.

Writers, designers, content creators, course creators, digital marketers, communicators, and creative professionals can all get answers.

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Table of Contents


The advice in this guide can be applied to any freelance or independent career, especially those who work online.

If you read until the end and attempt every suggestion, you’ll have enough theory to grow your freelance career or business.

Career – you keep getting the best jobs and exploring your talent.

Business – you expand and grow something bigger than yourself, based on your freelance skills.

We hope that this article gets your questions about freelancing answered and gets you excited about the abundant (and obvious) opportunities for you to gain more experience and diversify your income.

Who is a freelancer?

A freelancer is someone who works for themselves and offers their skills and services for money. Freelancers work with more than one client at a time. However, they often have long-term relationships with some of their clients.

A freelancer works freely. They may have hectic periods, and other times they’re less busy. But all the time, they control their schedules. They can decide to travel anytime, as long as they stay connected to the internet and their clients.

Freelancing is becoming a choice more experts choose for many reasons. The flexibility and autonomy it provides are different from being a full-time employee and different from being an entrepreneur with employees to look after.

For some, it’s something they do when they need to, and for others, it’s a perfect process and revenue-maker that they weave into their lives. These freelancers are committed to their craft and niche and continue to explore various ways of contributing value and earning money.

Eventually though, a freelancer dabbles either in entrepreneurship or becoming a creator on the side.

Is it different being a freelancer in and from Africa?

Living and working as a freelancer in an African country has its challenges. Some of them peculiar to the region, we wrote about it here. 

Being an African freelancer in an African country often means that clients expect you to work for less because living in your country is more affordable. 

Some potential clients may assume your work is of less quality. To tackle this, you should always present yourself well, showcase your relevant skills, speak with confidence, and charge your worth. Your respect for yourself will yield respect for you and your work. 

Who can become a freelancer?

The short answer is anyone can become a freelancer. You do not need permission to get a laptop, internet connection, and begin to sell your skills.

However, the real answer is that you must be someone with a level of skill because clients only hire people who can do things and solve problems.

If you have an interest in a field but haven’t honed the skill, you can spend some time taking online courses and creating personal projects which would become part of your portfolio when you’re ready to show to clients.

The better you are in your niche, the more chances you have to settle into this independent lifestyle and maintain a stable income. In summary: the only restriction to your freelancing and independent or self-employed progress is you.

everything you need to know about freelancing

Who hires freelancers?

Good question! As of 2020, an increasing number of individuals – solo entrepreneurs, employees, e.g., content managers who need writers, freelancers with heavy workloads, and organizations, big Fortune 500 companies and small business owners, all hire freelancers.

When people and teams realize that they can achieve more with freelancers and independent contractors, they usually unlock a new power.

But being able to work with freelancers is an essential skill in itself. If you’re a manager hiring and working with freelancers for the first time, you can talk to us. 

What services do freelancers offer?

Freelancers offer nearly service you think of. Especially in the digital space, where all one needs is a laptop, internet connection, and the will to be of use to someone else. Some of the most common digital freelance services include:

Writing. Writing can be broken into so many niches: copywriting, content writing, scriptwriting, transcription, rewriting, fiction, ebook writing, website copy, etc. If you have the skill or interest in writing, you can find some of the most profitable freelance niches that fit in with your interest and start there to seek your first clients. 

Content marketing. This is more than just content writing. It goes further to ensure that the content evokes action from the target market. While freelance writers write the copy and their work is done, content marketers write the content, or outsource it, and provide additional services including distribution across networks, guest posting, collaborations, and other strategies that increase exposure for the content.

Blog management. Blog management involves accepting, formatting, and publishing blog content according to an agreed schedule and process. A blog manager would be in charge of all the website backend management and may also be required to have search engine optimization (SEO) skills to keep the website ranking high and in line with Google’s rules.

Web design and development. Web designers and developers are probably the most hired and paid digital freelancers as more solo entrepreneurs and businesses need to set up their web presence or storefront. Web designers are responsible for a website’s aesthetics, and web developers are responsible for coding and creating the product.

WordPress setup. Although anyone can easily set up a WordPress site, not everyone is tech-savvy or interested in figuring it out. Also, for a fast-growing business, shop, or product, it may not make sense for the entrepreneur or shop owner to spend time fixing WordPress issues, when they have customers to serve. So they pay a freelancer to handle all tasks such as customization of WordPress themes and making sure the site doesn’t break due to plugin conflicts or other reasons. 

Graphic design. Graphic designers and illustrators are also having a good moment in the freelancing space. All businesses and entrepreneurs need beautifully designed branding and messaging across social platforms and the interwebs. If you are a freelance graphic designer, your pick of clients 100% depends on your skills. 

Social media management. Self-explanatory. Businesses, small and big, are on the lookout for savvy, grammatically correct social media managers to engage with their online audiences.

Paid ads management. This involves managing online marketing campaigns with paid media such as Google ads, Pinterest ads, Linkedin, and Facebook ad campaigns. 

Consulting and coaching. This requires a certain level of experience and expertise, but mid-level to expert professionals in any industry can easily branch into consulting and coaching and steadily build up a reputation. 

Virtual assistance. As a virtual assistant, you could help your clients with administrative tasks and other support they need. Some VAs, depending on your dedication and value-added, get paid as high as $100 per hour. 

Bookkeeping. Businesses and solo entrepreneurs need help understanding tax laws, keeping their books, and separating personal from business finances. As a freelance accountant or bookkeeper, you would help your clients make the best decisions, keep their books clean, and stay out of financial trouble without hiring an accounting firm. 

Tutoring. You can offer tutoring services, either under the umbrella of a client’s business or as an online course creator. There is a vast market for online tutors and course content creators, from languages to arts and crafts.

Translation. If you are multilingual, you have a money-making machine right there. You can offer language translation services through companies such as Lionbridge. There is so much you can do as a multilingual. Search the internet and find something lucrative to engage in.

Voice-overs. You can get paid to read scripts in a particular accent for video ads, product demonstrations, sales videos, and intros and soundbites for podcasts. 

Photography. Self -explanatory. With good photography skills, the sky is your limit as a freelancer. Apart from the jobs you apply for, your portfolio and projects are enough to push your independent career forward.

Photo editing. Photographers outsource the editing of their photos to save time. So if you have experience with Adobe Photoshop or any other photo editing program, you can start freelancing with this skill. 

Podcast production and editing. With the number of podcasts higher than ever before, there is an increased demand for podcast production, editing, transcribing, and publishing services. 

Video editing and production. Same as podcast production and editing.

Resume writing. If you have a background in HR or have made hiring decisions in the past, you can help job seekers improve their resumes. 

Travel planning. If you’ve vast experience traveling or planning travel trips, you can generate demand for your service as a freelancer.

Which freelance skills are in demand?

According to Entrepreneurship Facts and How to Money, the following skills are in demand in 2020: Social media marketing, writing and editing content, web design and website management, graphic design, photography, accounting and bookkeeping, virtual assistant, customer service, web development, sales, spreadsheets (data analysis), and e-commerce.

everything you need to know about freelancing

What are the most lucrative freelance jobs?

According to Forbes, the most lucrative freelance jobs are web development, marketing, project managers, writing, content creation, content management, accounting or book-keeping, teaching, coaching or tutoring, social media management, graphic design, and administrative or virtual assistants.

What are the advantages of working as a freelancer?

There are several advantages to being a freelancer and working independently, though these are subjective. You can try our freelance-ability quiz to get a sense of what would be an advantage to you. Some of our favorites include: 

1) You are your boss.
2) You can work from home or any location.
3) You have the freedom to choose the clients and projects you work on. 
4) You get paid to learn. 
5) You have the chance to experiment with your craft. 
6) You have flexible hours.

What are the disadvantages of being a freelancer?

Despite the perks, working as a freelancer has disadvantages:

Some are always on the job search. Since there is no one employer obligated to give you your next job or pay you monthly, it’s up to you to find work that spreads through the months or whatever schedule you decided to work on in a year.

Unpredictable workload. Some months, you may be swamped with work, you forget to eat on some days, and at other times, you have absolutely nothing to do – no client calls. An excellent way to balance this is to have personal projects that you throw yourself into when the client pool is dry. 

These personal projects add to your value as a freelancer, increase your price and reputation, and keep you sharp at your skills. Also, you can break your days into two. One half spent working on personal projects, and a couple of hours spent applying to jobs you want.

Difficulty distinguishing between work time and personal life. This is a significant disadvantage. Once you start exchanging your time for money, it may become tough to enjoy free time, because free time automatically translates into you not making money. You may neglect relationships, hobbies, and other important parts of life in favor of work because work = money.

Risk of not getting paid. This is a substantial risk most freelancers and independent contractors face. Payment is delayed and sometimes forgotten or overlooked. However, the more experienced you get, the more you’re able to protect yourself from these unfortunate situations. We help freelancers talk through and overcome some issues in our community

Unending resume updates. More often than in any other career path, as a freelancer, you may spend a good portion of your time tailoring your resume, portfolio, or samples to specific clients. When you get new testimonials, jobs and acquire new skills, you want to add this to your resume. 

This is one good reason why picking and working in a niche is advised. You work in the same space and would not have to spend so much time on this. 

everything you need to know about freelancing

Can you make a career out of freelancing?

Absolutely, yes! Especially now. It’s 2020, everyone. The pandemic sped up the adoption of the freelance hires and more remote employees, but these changes have been long coming.

More professionals who work 9-5 jobs are tired and fantasize about the day they make the switch to freelance or independent career or business, whether they admit it or not. 

The global workplace comprises more freelancers, independent contractors, and online business owners than ever before. Millennials made this near normal, and Gen Z will take it all the way there. 

Almost everyone is already freelancing on some level. Some of us are more deliberate and invested than others. With commitment, clarity of purpose, and a community that holds you accountable, you can make a stable, sustainable career as a freelancer. Many people are doing it with fewer skills than you. There’s no excuse. 

How do you get started with freelancing?

Define your goals. Think thoroughly about why you’re considering this step in the first place. Once again, we encourage you to take the freelance-ability quiz to start. Do you want to become a freelance writer? Is that it? You fantasize about writing and making money from it? Or you simply want to work from home? 

Weigh the different options you may have, and ensure this is the best path to move you forward so that you can commit to it, and give it your best shot.

Choose a profitable niche. Based on your interests and skills, pinpoint where the best use of your skills and time is. Spend time to think about where you want to be, the industry that operates in, and your desired type of client. 

When you’re clear on what you’re working towards, you can be more focused and selective in the clients you take on. Your want your freelance career to have a trajectory, not be a mesh of whatever random jobs you get. 

Instead of taking any writing job that comes your way, for example, you can choose to only work on articles and ebooks for tech companies. Choose an area that genuinely interests you and focus on becoming the best in that space. Your curiosity will propel your competence, and once you become invaluable in that niche, you can expand your freelance career or business in any direction you like. 

Identify your target clients. When you’re just starting your freelance business, have an initial theory about who you want to work with, target these first. 

After working with them for a while, you’ll develop a more distinct view of your preferences. Then find these. To determine your target clients, ask yourself the following: 

1) Which people or businesses find my skills or services useful?
2) Which businesses can afford to pay the prices I’ll need to charge to achieve my income goal?
3) Who are the decision-makers within these businesses, and what can I learn about their demographics and interests? 
4) Can I find a way to connect with them on a personal level?

Set strategic prices for your services. When starting, it’s okay to charge low prices for your services. At this time, you are getting paid to learn (but shh, no one has to know). Take the experience, absorb all parts of the process and business, and improve rapidly.

When you have honed your skills, gained confidence in your abilities, and established enough credibility, you can start to create demand for your services and charge based on your reputation and the value you deliver. 

There’s no such thing as “too high” prices. You alone know your work, know your competitors’ work, and know how much value you deliver to the client. Communicate this with assuredness. 

Build a compelling portfolio. To sell your freelance services, you should: 

1) Communicate your unique selling point easily and on the fly.
2) Highlight what you can deliver by displaying your work samples or portfolio.
3) Be easily reachable on social platforms. 
4) Share regular updates that prove your professional growth 
5) As you develop your portfolio, seek out inspiration from the portfolios of other freelancers. Check out how they’re positioning themselves and formulating their value propositions. 

Let people know what you are up to. When you have confidence, little experience, few satisfied clients, and a portfolio with some good samples, don’t assume clients will find you; they will in the latter part of your career, though. 

Instead, spread the word with your network. Let them know you are available to deliver this service if they need it. Most times, your first freelance clients come from your immediate network and their referrals. 

You can also market yourself to targeted clients using LinkedIn, Twitter, or other platforms and communities where they often are 

Build social proof. Ask your first clients for testimonials. Once you’ve got a couple of clients, try to get recommendations from clients. Whenever a client calls or emails you about a job well done, politely ask if you can turn that into a testimonial or send a short feedback form like this one for Week of Saturdays clients (template). 

Be consistent. Develop and update your skills. Share your learnings, practice, and apply to jobs. Join communities. Learn more about what you don’t know.

Everything you need to know about freelancing

How do I develop my brand as a freelancer?

Focus on one niche. Find out your niche. You don’t have to work on it forever, but can dedicate six months to one niche to test its profitability. Work on perfecting it, have fun, get serious, learn, spend time working, and own it with confidence. 

Have an elevator pitch. Craft your elevator pitch, and learn to say it naturally. Make sure it highlights what you can do. Practice saying it in several ways: 1000 ways to say the same thing. Make sure it has a clear call-to-action. Improve it as often as you absorb the feedback you get from potential clients who hear it. 

Craft an intentional bio for platforms like Linkedin and Upwork. Write personably. Talk about your experience and how you can help potential clients. Keep your relevant social profiles updated, bio and all.

Embody your brand. This way, when people think of your niche, they will think of you. Be authentic. Set personal values that you are known for. Be who you are so that you attract potential clients who need you.

everything to know about freelancing

How do I present myself as an experienced freelancer (despite having no experience at all)?

Build your online portfolio. Take yourself on as your first client, and create excellent work you can use to get clients or create a specific asset for a company you want to work with, e.g., sending a content strategy for an upcoming launch to a company you have been following. 

Ask to work with an established freelancer. You can work (apprentice?) with an established freelancer. You can reach them through Twitter, their websites, or side projects. By offering them value, they may take you under their wing and work on projects they do now want to handle. 

Offer premium value. If you are experienced in your role, e.g., a well-established Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), position yourself as premium value and start a small service to test out what it would be like to work with clients on your own. If you love the experience and forecast that you can earn as much as at your CMO role, you can consider taking the plunge to build this independent career or business. Don’t be hasty in this decision, though. 

Join freelance platforms and communities. This is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to start. James Clear says if you want to build habits that last, the key is to join a group or community where your desired behavior is the normal behavior. 

everything you know about freelancing

Research and find freelance platforms and communities that you can join. These may be specific to your niche, location, or just open to all. They would provide you accountability, support, motivation, and, sometimes, new collaborative job opportunities.

Do freelancers make good money?

Yes, committed freelancers make good money. 

Do I need a degree to become a freelancer?

No, you don’t. Freelance hiring is often different from traditional hiring. In freelance hiring, the people on the other side of the call care more about your experiences and expertise, and how you can help them. However, for specific jobs, it may be a prerequisite, a needed qualification for the project.

Do I need a niche?

Yes, you do. But if you find it challenging to settle on one because you have many interests, here’s what you can do: You can decide to focus on one niche for six months, commit to it, and see how much it brings in, how much you grow, how much you enjoy it, and what the possibilities are.

Then for the next six months, you try something else. This way, you are not only exploring your talents, but you’re also doing it in a structured way, and getting to paid to learn at it.

After you have experienced a couple of these interests in the real world, you’d be much closer to knowing exactly where you want to focus. And a bonus: is you’ll have all those unique experiences from your different applications of your interests in the real world to pull from.

This may even increase your value in the sector you decide to settle in. An entrepreneur with experience in marketing, supply chain, and frontend programming is uniquely skilled compared to one who has done the same thing all their years.

Settling on a niche makes it clear who you are and creates a notable space for you. Suppose you got admitted into a hospital for bone surgery. You have the option to choose between two doctors. One is a generalist who handles all forms of surgery, while the other is an orthopedic surgeon. You’re likely to choose the orthopedic surgeon. Why? His focus is on bones, and that’s what you need.

The same applies to freelance. Your potential clients want someone whose focus is on what they do, not a generalist.

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How do I choose a niche?

There is no right or wrong answer to choosing your niche. We shared one tactic in the question above. Ask yourself these three questions to get your thoughts flowing:

1) Find out what you’re good at.
2) Discover what you enjoy doing.
3) Consider the most lucrative revenue streams in this intersection that you can start to do with the resources you have or can gather.

What are some profitable niches for freelance writers?

Here are a few:

Art. The Art niche contains blogs focused on visual arts, culture and society, and story-telling.

Blogging. The Blogging niche is mostly blogs that create content about creating blogs that attract large audiences.

Career. The Career niche contains blogs related to finding and landing your desired job, being successful in the workplace, and ultimately building a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Crafts. The Crafts niche contains blogs that share craft projects and teach their audience how to make stuff with their hands.

DIY. The DIY niche contains blogs for people who like to create, modify, or repair things without expensive tools or professionals.

Education. The Education niche contains blogs related to traditional and alternative teaching methods. 

Fashion. The Fashion niche contains blogs that share, follow, and inspire the latest fashion trends.

Filmmaking. The Filmmaking niche contains blogs that help aspiring filmmakers master the art of film and video production.

Fitness. The Fitness niche contains blogs that share exercises and other strategies to help people get their bodies into shape.

Food and drink. The Food and drink niche contains blogs that share recipes for delicious dishes and drinks so people can recreate them at home. They may also curate the best eating spots.

Gardening. The Gardening niche contains blogs for people who take pride in creating beautiful gardens and greenery.

Health. The Health niche contains blogs that share advice on how people can take care of their bodies and live healthier lives.

Interior design. The Interior design niche contains blogs for creating beautiful and stylish spaces through interior design.

Leadership. The Leadership niche contains blogs focused on helping people in leadership positions to enhance their team’s performance to achieve set goals.

Marketing. The Marketing niche contains blogs focused on the art of promoting and selling products or services.

Online business. The Online business niche contains blogs that help people start their online businesses and turn it into a profit.

Parenting. The Parenting niche contains blogs related to the scary, confusing, and beautiful journey of raising a child.

Personal finance. The Personal finance niche contains blogs that help people manage their money better.

Personal growth. The Personal growth niche contains blogs that help people become more self-aware, enhance their talents, overcome challenges, and feel happier about life.

Pets. The Pets niche contains blogs by and for pet lovers covering everything from interesting facts about pets to pet training advice.

Photography. The Photography niche contains blogs related to photography.

Productivity. The Productivity niche contains blogs that share tips to save time, work efficiently, and get more done.

Religion. The Religion niche contains blogs related to faith-based ideologies.

SEO. The SEO niche contains blogs that advise on how to rise in search engines’ ranks, so you get more traffic to your website.

Social media. The Social media niche contains blogs related to the tactical use of social media for boosting your brand, promoting your business, and increasing sales.

Style. The Style niche contains blogs that help people understand the fundamentals of dressing well, so they look good and feel more confident.

Survival. The Survival niche contains blogs for people who want to prepare themselves for any disasters that may happen. 

Travel. The Travel niche contains blogs sharing the adventures and travel tips of travel bloggers who visit lots of countries and landmark sites.

Web design. The web design niche contains blogs sharing tips and tutorials to teach website design and other related topics.

Writing. The Writing niche contains blogs that guide aspiring and professional writers to improve their skills and make a better living.

What qualities do you need to become a successful freelancer?

Hard work before smart work. Running a freelance or independent business requires a lot of work. Before you become obsessed with outsmarting the system, spend some time learning the work underneath the hood.

Spend time learning and practicing your skills. Spend time on your client’s projects. You don’t want to rush through it and submit whatever you have on the due date.

If you work like that, you will not retain clients and be on the never-ending hamster wheel of chasing after new jobs.

Professionalism. If you want to be a successful freelancer, you have to show professionalism in work scenarios. It is ideal for you to have a professional website or portfolio. 

Self-discipline. You can’t afford to rest on your laurels as a freelancer. Since there’s no one around you to push you on days where you feel demotivated, you need the self-discipline to show up in pajamas or nothing at all, meet deadlines, and hit goals.

Reliability. Missing deadlines can hurt your reputation far more than you think. When you set a deadline, stick to it. And if you must miss, as sometimes life gets in the way, make sure to inform your client and propose a new date as soon as possible. If a client initially wants you to commit to an unrealistic deadline, speak up, and explain why it may not be possible. Set realistic expectations and then exceed them. 

Initiative. In a 9-5, your boss might micromanage you or check up on you all the time, but you’re in charge of maintaining your business as a freelancer. So you need to have initiative. You need ideas. You need to think ahead. And it would help if you watched trends in your industry closely. 

Time management and organization. Without time management and some self-organization, you will waste so much time you could have spent on deep, creative, and valuable work. 

Having your work desk cluttered or work files unfindable will disrupt your workflow often. To run your freelance business smoothly, especially as a one-person freelancer, some structure and deliberate time management will keep you ahead. 

Curiosity. To become a successful freelancer, you need to improve your skills and learn new things constantly. You should always be reading publications, listening to podcasts, watching tutorials, and taking online courses related to your industry. The constant thirst for learning will keep you ahead of your time and help you connect dots that others may not see. 

Persistence. Freelancing isn’t all sunshine and paradise. There’s going to be hard days. Days where you try your best, but still, you hear nothing but crickets, days where you want to give up and return to your regular job or childhood. 

To succeed as a freelancer, you need persistence and doggedness. Forget about the illusion of cushiness in paid employment, and push through the tough days, knowing that there are good days just around the corner. 

Focus and clarity. You need to focus on staying the course, and you need clarity to know how to execute projects and how they tie into your personal career or business goals. If you can tie your freelance job goals to your real life, then you really win. 

Communication. To be a successful freelancer, you must have some emotional intelligence and know how to communicate with clients from different parts of the world. 

A piece of advice we can offer here is that you mirror your client’s methods. If they greet with hi, you greet with hi too. It makes it easier for them to see you fit into their company culture, which may foster a long-term relationship with you. 

When it comes to the work itself, you are the expert in your field, so offer your solutions assertively while still listening. Be polite in your communications as well and seek to understand before seeking to be understood.

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How can I charge for my services?

There are several ways you can charge your client. They include:

Per project. You can charge your client based on each project you do. This can be milestone-based or at the end of the entire project. 

Time-based. You can charge your client on an hourly basis. In this method, freelancers often install and work with a time-tracking application on their laptops. 

Retainer. A retainer-client pays you for as long as your contract is ongoing. It’s like a subscription model to your service. It is a dream for freelancers to have most of their favorite clients on retainer, as this removes all worries of unpredictable income while still maintaining freedom. 

Regular or recurring. In this case, your client will hire you every time they need your services. An example is a client who calls on you every time she is launching a new product because you handle all her paid ads campaigns. 

Profit-sharing. In this method, you share the profits earned from the work you do. 

Pricing is such an intricate topic and decision that can affect how your freelance business grows and the type of client you attract. We help new business owners and solo entrepreneurs figure it out at Week of Saturdays.

View this testimonial of Allie, who planned to charge $400 for a service before a session. She raised her charge to $1500 and finally settled on $800. A 100% increase in pricing, and both her and her client are happy.

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How do I know when I did a good job?

Good unsolicited reviews. When you do good work for your clients, they are happy, and it’s often hard for them to hide that because, at that moment, they realize your worth and all the stress, time, or money you have just saved them. If clients often send you enthusiastic, unsolicited reviews about your work, that’s a sign that you did a good job. 

Recurring jobs from the same client. After completing a project with a client, if they reach out to hire you again for the same task, or ask that you come on board to do it for them long-term, that’s a sure way to know you’re doing a good job. 

Confidence. No matter how hard it was to pull off a project, you gain more professional confidence when a client accepts your job with happiness and satisfaction. You may have been doubting yourself until you completed and delivered the project to good reviews. Success in one project gives you more confidence for the next. 

Bonus pay. Now, this is not a guarantee. But some clients pay bonuses when a freelancer surpasses their expectations. This may be a sign that you’re worth more than you charge. 

What do you do when a job goes bad?

Sometimes a job may not go as planned. It may be your fault, or it may be a bad day, either way, a polite, listening ear to the client is the best move. 

ABC – Always Be Calm. There are several ways you can remedy the situation. 

Receive and implement feedback. Listen to the client’s needs and figure out how to plug the gap between what you delivered and what they are asking for. 

Make an effort to make the issue right. Be quick to attempt to make things right. Once you find out a client is dissatisfied with your work. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them and see how the issue can be fixed. If you cannot fix the issue and were at fault, we suggest that you offer to refund the client’s money. Most times, they’ll say no and will respect your proactiveness in working to fix their issue. 

Know when to fire a client. It would be best if you learned to differentiate between high and low-value clients as early as possible. No job is worth your mental health or self-esteem. If a client is repeatedly rude, doesn’t stick to their word or your signed contract, or always has problems with your work, you should probably fire them. 

You can take the lessons learned from this job to pick better clients and provide better service with future clients.  

How can I make clients love working with me?

A few ways to make your clients love you include:

1) Beat the deadline every time you can.
2) Keep an open channel of communication.
3) Go over and beyond expectations.
4) Be professional with light humor.
5) Listen keenly to what they need and deliver that.
6) Be enthusiastic about their success.
7) Never make your clients feel like a bother.
8) Present yourself and work well.
9) Listen to feedback with the intent to learn.

What tools do I need as a freelancer?

For self-organization

Google Drive – allows you to sort all your documents, assets, work, and files in an accessible, web-based collaborative platform.

Evernote – You can use Evernote to organize your tasks, processes, and templates. 

1Password – This tool makes it easy for you to share passwords with clients without worrying about hacking.

Pocket – Pocket prevents you from leaving or losing open tabs on your device. You Pocket the articles with one click and have less clutter on your screen. 

For Project Management 

TrelloAsana – If you’re working with a team, whether remote or in-office, Trello helps you manage tasks, collaborate, show visibility into your progress, and track the entire project’s progress.

Slack – Want a smart messaging application that doubles as a remote working place? Slack is the top recommendation. Bonus tip: You can google search to find the best Slack communities for freelancers in your niche or join.

Calendly – No more back and forth when scheduling a time to meet. You can easily share your availability with others using your Calendly link.

For Productivity & Focus

IFTTT – This tool helps you automate the mundane and recurring aspects of your work. 

RescueTime – RescueTime lets you know the amount of time you spend performing each task. 

Self-control – Self-control stops you from visiting distracting sites while working. 

We share more recommended apps for freelancers here and regularly update the list.

How do I manage money as a freelancer?

Have a minimum bank balance.  We suggest that you have a minimum bank balance that you never go below. Once your bank balance gets close to this number, that should be about 3-12 months runway; it’s time for you to go on the hunt for new clients aggressively. 

Make time for bookkeeping regularly. Every week, or every month or quarter, put time aside minutes to sort through and attend to finances and bookkeeping. Update paperwork such as invoices, receipts, business expenses, and overdue payments. 

Separate your money from the business. If you’re running a freelance business, not just a freelance career, you must use separate bank accounts for business and personal affairs. If you start with a strong bookkeeping foundation, it will be easier to maintain.

Timing. Most clients pay on a net 30 basis, which means that your payment is due 30 full days after your work is complete. Upwork hold your earnings in escrow for about 5-14 days after you finish a job. 

As a freelancer, you must be aware of the time lags between work and payment and plan your finances well to spread through the times when you may be waiting on a payment. 

Timeliness.  You should send in your invoices to clients at the right time, so you do not inconvenience their accounting department or miss payment for that month altogether. When you send in your invoices on time, you may get your payment faster. 

Set aside money for savings and other life issues. Regardless of what you do for a living, it would help if you formed the habit of saving. It’s a vital part of adulthood. Whenever you have a big win, save more than usual. The more you do this, the more you get used to it, and the fatter your account balance. 

All questions about freelancing answered

What is the best invoicing software for freelancers?

There is no single answer to this. But here are some suggestions:

Wave apps

We use Wave apps here at Week of Saturdays.

How do I prevent burnout as a freelancer?

Separate work hours from personal time. This way, you can focus on work when at work and focus on relationships, hobbies, and other activities after work hours.

Seek out projects you that give you more than monetary compensation. Some projects enhance your credibility, connect you to new people, and may involve travel. Try to find the joy and reason in the work you do.

Get help. Take a break, or outsource some projects when you feel you may be close to burnout.

Join online and offline communities of other freelancers and solo entrepreneurs. You get the support and energy of a group of people who think like you, and this is a powerful key to maintain energy in pursuit of your desired goal.

Give yourself a schedule and a daily structure. The fewer decisions you have to make in a day, the more energized your brain is for your real work and things that move the needle. Use to-do lists or handy notepads to track your tasks, so you have more mental space for important tasks. 

All questions about freelancing answered

What platforms can I get freelance jobs?

General freelance job platforms

Working Nomads 
Authentic Jobs
Working Not Working
We Work Remotely
Envato Studio 

Freelance job websites for writers and editors

Morning Coffee Newsletter
Freelance Writing

Freelance job websites for designers and creatives

99 Designs 
Design Crowd 

How can I find freelance jobs without actively looking? 

Join companies and agencies that work with and connect freelancers to jobs. Google search in your niche and see what comes up, e.g., Week of Saturdays and Clearvoice.

Subscribe to newsletters, e.g., We Work RemotelyDynamite Jobs, and RemoteOK

Freelance groups on social platforms. Linkedin groups, Facebook groups, Slack communities, Subreddits, etc. 

We hope we have most things freelancing answered but you may have some questions, still. 

Leave a comment below, and we’ll add your question and answers to this page.

Are you on a journey to build a freelance career or business? Join our community.


Feature photo via Pexels.

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