The Most Important Freelancing Advice You’d Give

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In the past years we have witnessed a huge change in how people work and freelancing has grown from a ‘hobby‘ to a viable way to earn a living. More and more people are either building their side income via freelancing or give up their ‘regular‘ jobs to start working on their own.

I have written about freelancing before, since it’s what helped me turn from a broke, indebted unemployed woman into a successful small home based business owner who was able to provide for the family and also enjoy a better family life.

There is a lot of great freelancing advice on the web (and my articles), but today I’d like us to try and focus on ONE specific advice you’d provide if you were limited to JUST ONE:

The most important freelancing advice I’d give

Create a proper freelancing portfolio!

There are countless web sites where you can create a profile, list your work, get feedback from your clients. If you are looking for freelance work, having an account on Elance, oDesk or Guru is already something you had in mind. Same for Fiverr or any other freelance marketplace you are using.

You probably also have a Linkedin account, a Facebook profile and so on.

While it’s important to spread the word about your skills and experience, why not gather all the information in ONE web site and then promote this one?

Back in 2009, I met a local web designer, whom I wanted to ‘charm‘ so that he’d hire me at his local web design studio. I was laid off from the radio station and thought I could turn my web design passion into my next career.

Fortunately for me he told me: “forget about getting hired, create even a one-page portfolio of your best work and start promoting it“.

That’s what I did.

Of course, my portfolio (byDojo.com) needs some work, since it hasn’t been touched in 2 years. The good thing is I was this busy, the not so good thing is I need to do a re-design, so that it clearly showcases the level of web design work I do for my clients.

Having a web site to showcase your work, give details about your services and allow potential clients to contact you is for me the most important freelancing advice I could give to anyone.

Do you have such a portfolio web site? What’s the best advice you’d give to a prospective freelancer?

10 COMMENTS

  1. I second that, having your own site to showcase your services is always a better idea than to keep everything separate in 10 portfolios. Another advice I’d add would be to never to on a spending spree, once you start freelancing. Sure, you’ll probably need some stuff for your new business, but don’t spend money unless you really have to.

    • Oho, so true. My first big expense, after setting my business: a huge printer / fax / scanner machine. Sure, I could have skipped it for months at least, but I wanted to feel like a proper entrepreneur. Let’s say it stayed unused for 5 years and only last year our business really needed it. We used it intensively and it finally broke, so we had to get another one 😀

  2. There are many things a freelancer should keep in mind, but one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is: don’t get discouraged and keep it up! Freelancing is tricky, I’ve had quite a few bad months and earned close to nothing, but you never know who you get to work with the next month and earn more than expected.

    • True. I had amazing months, when I earned like crazy, I had some horrible ones when I earned close to nothing. Just keep up the work, promote, make sure you have a decent portfolio and don’t give up 🙂

  3. I’m not exactly fit to give freelancing advice, since I’m at the very beginning myself, but what I can do is repeat Nike’s slogan to anyone who’s afraid to jump in and test the waters: JUST DO IT !
    I was so afraid for such a long time, but as it turns out, if you don’t get started somehow, you’ll never know what you can accomplish!
    PS: you’ll see me a lot on this blog from now on, and hopefully I’ll soon be able to have something to put in the “Website” box, like a portfolio LOL!)

  4. Yes, this is essential. I don’t think there is any portfolio on any working site that is more important than on your very own. This will truly get you the clients you want. It is something you need to keep working at. You need to make the decision to not give up, keep adding great content and promote your site, over and over again!

  5. I disagree that there is only one best freelancing advice to give someone, there’s literally a plethora of them!

    Let’s see:
    create a freelancing portfolio
    don’t work for free
    be persistent
    be patient
    test various freelance websites (you never know where your next best paying customer is registered!)
    don’t lie about what you can accomplish for your clients
    always keep up with the others and learn what’s new
    always be polite even with rude customers
    screen your clients (as already mentioned)
    get organized
    don’t miss any deadline
    … and I can keep going, but I think everyone gets the picture: every single freelancing advice is important! Ignore one of these and chances are you’re screwed!

  6. My best of the best advice, for aspiring freelancers, is this: have fun making money!!

    The whole concept of being a freelancer is based on the idea that you’re in charge of your own freedom, and you now do something you love. If you’re not having fun with it, then it’s definitely not for you.

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