Freelancing: Do's and don'ts
Freelancing enables you to be your own boss. If we look at it etymologically, it is an amalgamation of two works ‘free’ and ‘lancing, dating back to the 1900s and meaning independent and weapons respectively.
It was used in the context of independent or nomadic workers who used their weapons. In the modern context, it is equally independent and (fortunately) not aggressive. Freelancing gives a person an option to have autonomy and channelize their creativity while working on a project.
You can choose your clients, lay your terms and conditions, accommodate their interests, and have your say in the process. You can create the work environment and stipulations according to your flexibility. However, once you undertake a project, you have the onus to fulfill the requirements and render the best services possible.
In the following, we have listed some important do's and don'ts mainly aiming to target novice freelancers.
Do's of Freelancing
Know your niche
- In order to embark on your freelancing journey, the first and pivotal step is to determine the niche you want to work in. Having a specific niche would help you focus on one sphere and build your credibility and expertise in it. Be it photography, event planning, writing, graphic designing, or digital marketing, showcasing interest in one specific set is practical as well as prudent as clients certainly would not prefer a jack of all trades but master of none.
Clarify the terms initially
- Freelancing gives you the flexibility to lay down your own terms of working. Utilize this efficiently as much as you can to negotiate the desired terms while delivering your best work and aiming at client satisfaction. These terms include your fees, working hours, autonomy, deadlines, and any other clarifications. This will also help prevent any possible misunderstandings.
Be aware of the relevant laws
- Freelancing entails receiving a license in some jurisdictions, abidance of certain rules in some, and no significant legal procedures in others. Ensure that you make yourself aware of the relevant freelancing laws, rules, and policies in the area you intend to work in. Moreover, in the case of online gigs, read and understand the stipulations in the place of work of the client as well as yours.
- It is essential to abide by all regulations as ignorance of any could result in legal disputes.
- While freelancing might not take your entire day or be your active source of income or a regular job, consistency can never be undermined. Try your best to deliver the required results within the determined time, while not compromising with the quality at the same time. Consistency will build your credibility and will help you retain a good professional relationship with your clients.
- Have a clear line of communication between yourself and your clients. Any discrepancy arising out of poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and eventually prove to be a stain on your freelancing career. After all, it is a contractual obligation; hence, in order to further the interest of both parties, it becomes essential to communicate clearly.
Don'ts of freelancing
Price irrational fees
- Misusing the flexibility that freelancing provides can be detrimental. Strive to create a balance between the already set standards of work and the ones suiting your interests. While determining your fees, conduct market research to become aware of the prevailing prices and try to base your price around that. Pricing your services less or more can disrupt the balance or reciprocity between the parties.
Compromise on the quality
- You are not freelancing to meet the deadlines but rather to channelize your skills to deliver your best. While being punctual with work is extremely significant, you may ask for reasonable extra time, if need be, to complete your work effectively and efficiently.
- Whether too flexible or too rigid, try not to be on either end of the spectrum. Retain your autonomy while accommodating any customizations or special requests of the clients. Do not simply disregard the client’s view if they do not align with yours. Try to re-negotiate and chalk out mutually-beneficial terms.
Fake your skills
- You must never exaggerate or fake your skillset. Even if you do get a project based on farce achievements, it won’t take the clients a lot of time to know the truth. Freelancing depends a great deal on networking and recommendations; therefore, try to prevent any dent in the relationships between you and your clients.
This list of the do's and don’ts of freelancing is not exhaustive as there is no specific formula to achieving success in one's career. It all depends on the parties involved and their individual as well as shared dynamics.
The aforementioned list includes some of the primary things to keep in mind when freelancing. You can also add to the list from your own sweet experiences!
Frequently asked questions
1. What are some of the do's of freelancing?
- When you start with a freelancing project, make sure that you have a contract drawn with your client. This can bring clarity and prevent any future disputes. Moreover, select clients wisely as credibility has to be from both sides.
2. What are some of the don’ts of freelancing?
- When freelancing, don’t do your job for free. You are a professional and, therefore, you have the right to charge fees for the services you render. It costs you your time and resources, and hence you should be compensated.
3. What should I know before freelancing?
- Although freelancing gives you a great deal of flexibility, use this flexibility wisely. Do not compromise on discipline as you will be able to reap good results. Moreover, know that it may take time to make your mark in the industry.
4. How can a beginner start freelancing?
- You may sign yourself up on freelancing websites that connect you with potential clients. Choose a niche that suits your interests as well as skillset and get going. Connect with more people and expand your network.
5. Which freelancing skills are currently in demand?
- Currently, businesses of all kinds are emphasizing content marketing as an important part of their marketing strategy. Hence, writing, creating videos, graphic designing, and digital marketing are some of the in-demand skills.