freelancingHere are the ten rules of success in freelancing.

  • Don’t provide any sample until it’s a very technical topic and requires a specific set of skills (of course any sample should be paid sample).
  • 100% advance before you start working (you may not get 100% if you’re starting out in the market, but aim for at least 50% advance to begin with).
  • No work without a contract (specify in detail — the project scope, timeline, price, what will be included, and what won’t be, and what will happen if the invoice doesn’t get cleared on time).
  • If you are good at one or more skills, you can start. There’s no qualification or certification required to begin.
  • Create your portfolio on Google Docs to begin with. Some may not accept the Google Doc portfolios, but many will. Start with them.
  • Focus more on sharpening your skills than personal branding. It’s like having a beautiful plate with good-looking food, but they are terrible in taste. Personal branding is the surface. Skill is the core.
  • Work with all kinds of clients with all kinds of pricing at the beginning. That doesn’t mean I’m asking you to get exploited. No. Charge what you think will float you to another better-paying client. Don’t sell your soul.
  • Quality is more important than speed. So when committing a deadline, make sure you take that into account.
  • Don’t compare your results with fellow freelancers. You don’t know their 99% of the stuff. You only know 1%, i.e. what they post on social media. Compare with your previous self and see whether you’re improving.
  • Don’t worry about the initial failure or bad experience. Freelancing is another name of perseverance. You’ll succeed if you stick to your guns long enough.

9 things I learned during my nine years of freelancing 

  1. Freelancing is hard. It’s more than a REAL job. Along with providing a service, you’re also taking care of sales, admin, marketing, operations, finance, & crisis management.
  2. There’s no end to learning. Even if you’re working for a very long time, you still need to improve yourself everyday. There’s no question of relying on your laurels.
  3. There’s no upside & downside of earning in freelancing, but it depends on how much you actually work. If you want to work less, freelancing may not be the best choice for you.
  4. Even if you’re at your very best, many clients will not like your work. Don’t doubt yourself, you’re not everyone’s cup of tea.
  5. You don’t need any credentials to start in any domain. Be willing to be a student first.
  6. Don’t listen to anyone that has no experience in freelancing. Often our family stands against our growth.
  7. Treat freelancing as a business, not a hobby or employment. Until you see yourself in the same pedestal as the business you’re working with, you’ll be exploited.
  8. Focus on work-life integration, not work-life balance.
  9. See yourself as a student, not as an expert. Often years of experience bring in the arrogance that you don’t need.

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