I share these helpful thoughts for freelancers because there are many things I wish I had known been going independent as a writer.
Here are a few thoughts about freelancing I hope you will find helpful.
1. Don’t freelance unless you can live with being broke. Unless, you’re independently wealthy you will probably be broke at some point, in your freelance career.
2. Toot your own horn and promote yourself because nobody else will do it for you.
3. You had better love marketing and promotion if you want to freelance. In fact, I find I spend as much; or more, time looking for work or marketing myself than I do writing.
4. Don’t sweat mistakes, you will make them, and they will be humiliating. Instead, learn to live with mistakes and learn from mistakes.
5. Learn to say no to clients. Many of their demands are unrealistic, impossible, and sometimes downright stupid.
6. Don’t work for chump change. Have a minimum rate and turn down any offer below it, no matter how broke you get. If you work for a pittance clients will exploit you. Go out and drive for Uber or wait tables before writing for less than your standard rates.
7. Have something to do on the slack days because there will be many of them. Garden, hobbies, a part-time job, volunteering, writing that novel whatever. If you cannot cope with free time, do not freelance.
8. Have a high tolerance for failure and criticism. You will get turned down all the time, do not complete work on time, etc. In addition, you will not be paid and blamed by clients for their mistakes. If you cannot tolerate failure and criticism, don’t freelance.
9. Focus, focus, focus. If you don’t have a one-track mind that can stay on task no matter what happens around you do not freelance.
10. Always examine the alternatives closely. Being broke and desperate but doing what you love is always better than drudgery for somebody else. Remember, if you hate freelancing McDonald’s is always hiring.
11. Know your limits. In particular, identify the work you hate to do and don’t do it. If you do what you hate you will do a lousy job.
12. Have fun. If freelancing is no longer fun at some point quit.
These thoughts are just the tip of the iceberg of what freelancers need to know. I’ve been freelancing for over a decade and I know almost nothing. Therefore, be humble, work hard, have fun, and make money. If you do those things you can succeed as a freelancer.