Tips to Help You Freelance Successfully

If you are new to freelancing, you may benefit from learning a few tips that are aimed at making you a better professional.

Moreover, even if you have been freelancing for some time, there is always room for improvement. In general, there are many benefits that come with freelancing. However, because you will be working for yourself and/or determining your own schedule, you must handle all aspects of running a freelance operation. Therefore, freelancing benefits such as freedom and flexibility come with a lot of responsibility.

If you are thinking about leaving a full-time, in-office job in order to freelance, be mindful that freelancing may not be as easy as it sounds. In order to be successful while managing different gigs as a freelancer, you must have a strong work ethic and know how to manage your time properly. Furthermore, there are a few basic factors you should take into consideration before starting a gig. If you are interested in knowing what do to be successful as a freelancer, refer to the sections below.

Using a Contract

One of the most common mistakes that freelancers can avoid is not using a contract for client projects. Written contracts are great methods for establishing to clients what they should expect from your services, as well as what your duties will entail. For that reason, contracts are important, even if they come from free online templates. As you continue to work with other clients, you can progressively make improvements to your contract along the way. However, avoid putting a lot of effort in the details of contracts, as the time spent on their crafting could be used toward gaining new clients.

In the beginning, all you need in your contract is a general agreement containing basic terms and conditions. A contract should be easy enough for you and your clients to understand and agree upon the terms set forth. For example, even the simplest contract should stipulate that:

  • The work being produced is your own and not plagiarized.
  • Your client’s proprietary information will stay confidential.
  • After your clients accept the finished project, they will also accept full responsibility for any processes going forward in which the work is used. For instance, they will be responsible for printing graphics that you designed or inserting logos on their pamphlets.
  • You want to receive payment according to your stipulations. Thus, you must mention much you will be paid and when during the process you must receive the payment.
  • Both you and the client have the right to terminate any services. However, you must include the terms and consequences of terminating a service.

Having these basic terms in your contract will keep you, your work and your clients protected. Additionally, it will show your clients how you conduct your business. It is easy to find various contract samples online. Certain contracts are even already tailored to freelance projects and professionals. Therefore, these sample contracts can help you get started.

After you have created your contract, clients must print, sign and return it to you before work can begin. They may also have the option of digitally signing contracts. If you start getting more work and begin earning enough, you may also consult a legal professional, who can create a special contract for your freelance operations.

Down Payment

A common issue among freelancers is having trouble getting paid on time. In certain cases, freelancers may experience problems being paid at all. To avoid this, you should follow a simple procedure before starting a project. To guarantee that you will receive payment every time you work, you can require a down payment. Before starting a project, request 50% to be paid upfront. This should not come as a surprise to your clients, because this stipulation must be mentioned in your discussions and included in your contract. If the potential client has an issue with a down payment, proceed with caution. In general, a down payment is meant to protect both you and your client. In addition, be clear with your clients that, without a down payment, you cannot move forward with the project. In the event that they are still resisting to paying a down payment, you are advised to move on to a different client and project.

After you have received the signed contract and the client has paid their down payment, you may start working. After the project is finished, you should then require the last half of the payment. Furthermore, clients should be submitting their payments before they receive the work. This ensures that they do not take what you have created, cancel the project and evade your attempts to collect a payment. Therefore, make sure to not send them any designs or files in full before you have been paid.

Saying No

Finding opportunities to work remotely can be daunting. However, as a freelancer, it is also important for you to learn when and how to say no. While it is understandable to not want to turn clients away, you must take into consideration the workload that you are putting on yourself, as well as how much you will be compensated for it. It is better to let clients know that you cannot take on any more work at the beginning than getting halfway through a project and not having the time or will to finish it. Thus, be mindful of how to turn down projects if you do not feel comfortable doing them. Also, make sure that new projects are not conflicting with your current work. In order to determine whether a new project work should be turned down or not, you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • Am I specialized in the work that is being asked of me?
  • Is this a commitment worth making?
  • Why should I add this project to my workload?

Keeping yourself overworked with projects that do not interest you can get in the way of you completing projects that you want to work on and gaining clients that you are well-suited for. Next time an opportunity arises and you feel uncertain about it, make sure to consider why you are doing it. This examination will help you be aware of what you can and cannot handle as a freelancer.

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