Freelancing 101: 27 Tips for Freelancers That Every Beginner Should Know

Freelancing is a great way to make money on your own time, but it can be tough to get started. Freelancers are typically independent contractors who are responsible for their marketing and networking efforts. It’s up to you how much work you want to take on at once-whether that’s 1 project or 10. The more projects you have going at one time, the better your chance of earning more.

A few key points:

  • You need an online presence before people will hire you.
  • Networking with other freelancers is important so contact them using social media sites like LinkedIn.
  • You need to invest in your own equipment before looking for work.

One of the best decisions you can make is to become a freelancer.

Freelancing gives you the flexibility and freedom that many people dream about. There are also tons of benefits, like tax breaks, which will help you come out ahead financially. However, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before deciding if freelance work is right for you. In this article, we’ll be discussing 27 tips for freelancers that every beginner should know.

Let’s get started!

How to achieve freelance success 

achieve freelance success

1) Be prepared to hustle

The first tip is something most freelancers already know – but it bears repeating because it’s so important! When starting your career as a freelancer, prepare yourself mentally and physically for hard work. You will likely need to take on several projects at once to make ends meet. But don’t worry, if you need help with your workload consider hiring an assistant or team member (more on that later).

How do I know how much work to take on?

When deciding the number of projects you’ll accept at one time, it’s important to determine your capacity. If you’re a beginner, it’s probably best to start with one project at a time and then work your way up as you gain experience.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there are many different types of projects- some may require more hours than others. So make sure not to bite off more than you can chew!

How to prioritize your work

One way to avoid being overloaded with projects is to prioritize your work and start with the most time-sensitive ones first. If you have a lot going on, it can be tough to deal with deadlines. Remember that missing one deadline could potentially ruin your reputation.

The best way to prioritize is by creating a daily schedule that includes everything you need to do for the day. This will help keep you on track and make sure nothing gets missed. It’s also important to remember that it can be difficult to juggle multiple projects at once. This means other responsibilities may fall through the cracks, so it’s important to be realistic about how much work you can take on.

2) Research the Market.

research the market

This means researching what other people in your industry or niche charge per hour or project rate, and how much they charge for certain services. It also includes research into which companies hire freelancers and what their needs are (e.g., do they need someone with an MBA?).

It’s important to do your research before you start applying for work. This will help you determine what types of projects are available and how much they pay. This can affect the price that clients are willing to pay for freelancers on platforms like Upwork.

One way to keep track of information is through a database or simple spreadsheet. Include a record of clients, prices per project, and other information you’ll need to do your job. This is especially helpful if you work with a team. It will allow everyone involved to access the same info at all times.

How much should I charge?

Another thing that beginners often wonder about is how much they can realistically make as a freelancer. Unfortunately, there is no set answer to this question because it will depend on what you do and who your client is (i.e., how much they can afford to pay). However, most experts agree that $20 per hour seems like a good baseline for beginners starting with freelancing jobs.

Once you’ve determined your hourly rate, you can decide what type of projects to take on. Remember that some jobs will require more time and effort than others. Make sure not to charge too little for a job or clients may try to negotiate the price down further.

It’s also important when setting your rate, to consider how much money you’ll need to keep working as a freelancer. If you have to pay for your benefits and equipment, this may affect how much work you can afford to take on at one time.

How do I deal with clients?

If a client contacts you about a project or job opportunity, it’s important not to be too eager or aggressive when responding. After all, they need to feel like they are making the right decision to work with you.

Make sure your response is professional and courteous. But also, don’t be afraid to stand out from competitors by being friendly or offering some type of deal (such as a discount on the project). This will help set you apart in their mind when deciding who to hire.

Keep in touch

Once you’ve established a relationship with the client, it’s also important to keep in touch. You may not need to contact them daily but staying active and engaged will help build trust between both of you. This can be done by keeping an open line of communication throughout the project. This could be through email or another preferred method.

A phone call or video chat can be a great way to check in and make sure everything is going smoothly on their end. This will help them feel heard and more trusting towards you. You may also get important feedback that could affect the project timeline or final price.


Create a contract between you and the client before starting on any projects. This is especially important for larger or more detailed jobs because it will hold both of you accountable to what was initially agreed upon. It can also help protect your interests in case something goes wrong down the line (such as missed deadlines).

Know your client

Research the client before taking on the project. This will help you determine if they are someone you’d like to work with or not (for example, maybe their company has a poor reputation).

Know your worth

Accept only projects that meet your criteria in terms of budget and type. For instance, working for $15/hour may be okay when starting out but once you become more experienced you might want to increase your rates. Make sure not to take on projects that don’t fit into your standards just because they are available.

Be proactive

If things go wrong, try being proactive about the situation before it escalates further out of control. For example, if a client misses important deadlines or is repeatedly late with their payments, don’t wait until the end of the project to bring up your concerns.

Type of clients

Try not to work with difficult clients too often. Keep in mind that some people will be more challenging than others, so try and save those types of projects for when you have a lot of experience as a freelancer under your belt.

3) Build Your Portfolio

build your portfolio

Freelance work can start small, but it’s important to build a strong portfolio and resume. Start focusing on your personal projects (such as making tutorials about the skills you’ve acquired) or seek out freelance jobs that allow you to create something unique, such as an infographic or video for another company’s project.

The more experience you get under your belt, the more likely it is that other people will contact you about future work. This is especially true if potential clients see something unique and impressive in your portfolio that makes them want to hire you immediately based on what they’ve seen so far.

Last but not least, the more projects or jobs you complete as a freelancer, the better understanding of pricing and timelines you’ll have under your belt. This will be extremely helpful as you move forward and can determine your rates and deadlines for future projects that come up.

4) Know When to Say “No”

It’s important not to accept every project that comes your way. Make sure the budget is something you are comfortable with. Make sure you have enough time in your schedule for any projects outside of work or school. You also don’t want to take on too many jobs at once because this can cause stress or make you miss important deadlines.

This may be difficult at first, but it’s an extremely valuable lesson to learn as a freelancer. Remember not every project will work out and some clients can even turn into nightmares (as we’ve already mentioned). It’s better to only take on the projects that fit your criteria rather than accepting anything and everything just because you need the money.

Be honest with yourself about how much work you can take on at once, and decide accordingly. The last thing that anyone wants is to have everyone angry or upset because they missed important deadlines due to overbooking themselves. It’s better not to say “yes” than it is to agree just for the sake of getting more work.

5) Join Professional Organizations

This is not something that will necessarily help you in the beginning when just starting out. But it can be helpful down the line if you want to land larger clients or create more connections. Plus, professional organizations often have discounts on courses and other resources that could come in handy for your freelancing career.

6) Build Your Personal Brand

When you’re a freelancer, it’s all about the client. Building your personal brand is important as well because this can lead to building more connections and eventually turning those relationships into larger contracts down the line.

If you want to be successful, then it helps if people know who they are hiring before even making contact with you. This means you need to be active on social media and have a presence there. LinkedIn is another good place for freelancers, especially if you’re looking for higher-paying jobs that require more knowledge about certain topics or industries.

Read more: How to list freelance work on LinkedIn

Leveraging the power of social media

leverage social media

While it may sound simple enough to just share your work with others online through various platforms, being consistent is important too. It helps potential clients to see that you’re active and worth the investment. For this strategy to work, your content must be unique or rather valuable in some way.

This may sound easy enough as well. Many people make mistakes when they first start off on social media. They focus on posting things about themselves instead of sharing information with others (which is the whole point of social media in general).

Be sure to add value or information that other people can use. This will allow them to learn something new through your posts. It helps you grow your authority in the industry. And you’ll have more people ready to hire you for future projects because they’ve already seen what you’re capable of doing with a simple post online.

You don’t need to be an expert at the beginning. However, taking time out of your day for social media can help you build a relationship with others and share valuable content.

7) Get Yourself a Mentor

find a mentor

As a freelancer, it can be hard to get advice from others who have already been in your shoes. This is why many people recommend finding yourself a mentor as you’re getting started on this new path.

Having someone that can share their experiences with you and give helpful tips or insight into how they went about certain things down the line will be a good resource to have. This can help you work through difficult problems and avoid making mistakes that could cost money, time, or both down the line (like not charging enough for your services).

A mentor is also helpful because they’re another person working in this industry who knows what it’s like on some level. They’ve seen how tough it can be to land a client or two. They also know how it feels when you’re not being paid fairly for your services. This type of advice is priceless and worth every penny along the way.

Read more: How to find a good mentor in freelancing? – Freelancing Girl’s Podcast Ep 02

Freelancing isn’t easy. It takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work to be successful in this career choice. But with the right advice at your disposal along the way, it’s possible to get started on the right foot so you don’t have any problems later down the line or when finding new clients for future projects.

8) Invest in the Right Equipment

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a beginning freelancer is to skimp out on your tools and equipment. This includes anything from computers to software, printers, scanners, graphic design programs (Photoshop), etc.

You don’t need an expensive machine or laptop that will cost thousands of dollars right away. However, having access to the right equipment can go a long way in helping you get the job done.

When it comes to freelancing, your tools are just as important as any other step along this path. You never know when you’ll need one of these items at some point down the line either. So investing early on is something that many people recommend doing so that you don’t ever run into issues along the way.

Read more: Best equipment for freelancers – Freelancing Girl’s Podcast Ep 01

When it comes to becoming a successful freelancer, many things can go wrong if you’re not careful about your choices along the way (like skimping out on tools and budget). You must take your time with this decision. You don’t need to rush into buying everything at once. Having access to the right equipment will help you stay ahead of the game when it comes down to finding future clients and landing projects in general.

9) Find a Marketable Skill

find a marketable skill

You also need to have a few marketable skills that clients can use for future jobs. These are the things you’re good at and willing to share with others on some level when it comes down to getting started in this industry.

The best thing about being a freelancer is that you have total freedom over what specific skill sets or types of services you want to offer. This is why freelancers need to find something they enjoy doing and can do well (with the right amount of training or experience).

Read more: How to become a successful freelancer? – Freelancing Girl’s Podcast Ep 03

When it comes down to making money as a beginning freelancer, it’s important to have a few skills up your sleeve that you can use for future projects. This helps create repeat business and keeps clients coming back when they need additional help in the future with their projects. This could be as simple as transcription or more advanced like game development.

Having marketable skills is also crucial because it helps attract even more new clients into this line of work as well, which means you’ll always have a steady stream of new work to keep you busy for the long haul.

Freelancing isn’t easy but it can be extremely rewarding as well. This is why so many people are making this career choice in today’s marketplace and loving every minute along the way.

10) Find The Right Freelance Platform

One of the most common ways people like to get started is by using a freelance platform such as Upwork or Fiverr. These types of sites let you find potential clients who are looking for your services and in return, they’ll pay you per project (usually with an hourly rate).

These platforms can be extremely helpful when it comes down to getting your foot in the door with some initial clients. However, you need to be careful because many people make this mistake early on by choosing a platform they don’t enjoy working on long-term (like Fiverr).

Read more: How To Get Started On Upwork As A Freelancer? – Top Tips For Newbies!

It’s important to do some research and find the right platform for you before settling in. It can be a big mistake if you pick one that doesn’t fit your skill sets or marketable abilities because it could end up hurting your chances of making more money over time.

11) Use Google To Your Advantage

When it comes down to finding new clients as a beginning freelancer, Google is usually the first place most people start. This is because it’s full of potential leads who are looking for help with their projects and don’t know where to turn to to find someone reliable enough that can complete these tasks on time (and within budget).

12) Donations Are A Good Way To Get Started

The best way to get started is by offering your services for free in the beginning. This can be a great way to build up an audience and create some buzz around what you’re doing with these types of projects (especially if they relate directly to your future freelancing career).

Tip: Let people know how much you would normally charge for the service or product. If they like what they see, there are chances they’ll hire you.

13) You Can Make Money On The Side

Freelancing isn’t just for people who want to make a career out of it. You can also use this as a way to earn some extra money on the side and supplement your current income (or even become an additional source of income if you’re good at what you do).

14) Keep Track Of Your Workflow

It’s important to keep track of your workflows for many reasons. This is because it helps you stay on task at all times and makes sure that nothing falls through the cracks as far as deadlines are concerned.

15) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Referrals

One great way to get started with any new business venture (and freelancing is no different) is by asking for referrals from all of your current clients.

This can be a great way to get more leads and discover possible clients who may not have known you even existed before this point in time. If they like what you did, chances are they’ll send some business your way when other people ask or mention that type of work.

16) Keep Your Skills Sharpened

It’s important to keep your skills sharp by taking on new projects and expanding your knowledge base in the process. This can be done in many ways including attending seminars, workshops, or even online courses (which are usually very affordable).

17) Stay Up To Date On The Current Marketplace Trends & Prices

It’s important to stay up to date on all of the current trends in your field. This can be done by attending seminars or even networking with other people who are working in this industry as well. This is also a great way to find out about new opportunities.

18) Join Forums And Groups Online

A good idea when it comes down to finding new business opportunities is by joining different forums and groups online. This can be a great way to network with other people who are working in your industry locally or even from around the world. It may lead to additional work opportunities.

19) Don’t Forget To Have Fun!

When it comes down to freelancing, you should always enjoy what you’re doing. After all, if you don’t enjoy this type of work then chances are it’s not going to be worth your time or effort (in the long run).

20) Don’t Forget To Ask For The Money!

It may seem like common sense but many people who are just starting with freelancing forget to ask for the money. Make sure that you’re charging what you normally would for this type of work so the client doesn’t think they can get away with paying less than market value.

21) Don’t Get Too Comfortable!

One thing to keep in mind when starting is not getting too comfortable or complacent with your current situation at any given time. This means that you shouldn’t rest on your laurels and continue to look for new opportunities all of the time (no matter how successful or profitable any given project has been).

22) Keep The Bigger Picture In Mind At All Times

Since freelancing is a very competitive business, it’s important to make sure that you’re always looking at the bigger picture. This includes staying on top of trends in your industry, looking for new opportunities, and keeping an open mind when it comes down to expanding your knowledge base as well (through seminars or networking).

23) Don’t Over Commit!

One thing that you should try to avoid is over-committing yourself too soon into any given freelancing career. This is because you want to make sure that any promises or commitments that you’ve made are kept and honored before taking on additional work.

24) Get Organized!

It’s important to get organized when it comes down to freelancing (and this includes having a well-defined workflow). Make sure that everything from your marketing efforts to the time that you take to complete a project is documented and written down somewhere.

25) Keep Track Of Your Expenses!

Another important thing when it comes to freelancing is keeping track of all your expenses (including mileage). Make sure that everything from travel costs to food at networking events is categorized accordingly so they can be tracked for tax purposes.

26) Get Involved In The Community!

Another great way to find new opportunities is by getting involved in the community that you’re working with (whether it be locally or even online). This can lead to referrals, networking events, and other types of projects as well. Make sure to take advantage of this opportunity whenever possible!

27) Finally, Continue To Network!

Networking is an essential part of freelancing because it can lead to additional work opportunities. Make sure that you’re always networking and even attending events like seminars, conferences, or meetups (even if they seem irrelevant). This will give you a leg up when it comes to finding new projects in the future.

Final Thoughts

Being a freelancer means being your own boss and being able to work with different clients from around the world. With that said, it’s important for freelancers who are just starting to remember these 27 tips. By doing so they’ll be more likely to find success in their new career choice!

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