I’ve been a freelancer for a decade + and over the years I’ve learnt a lot about myself, clients out there, and the kind of work that I want to do. So have decided to share a few of my learnings over the years and help others who are in the space of freelancing.
I am into content creation and content strategy and digital media marketing.
When I started freelancing back in 2007, I began getting projects through my blog, and initially it was all content creation primarily using SEO and keywords.
For those projects- I had to churn out anywhere between 10 and 20 articles per day[600-800words] and the primary focus was using a set of keywords across the article that was based on a certain topic.
Initially, it was fun, the pay at the end of a month was great (more than what I made on my last held corporate job), but it got quite tiring to work those long hours.
I was dealing with two clients who give me projects ranging between 20 to 30 articles. I took these on eagerly because I thought – well this is an opportunity and having just forrayed on my own I shouldn’t say no.
Within a few months, it got exhausting and fortunately, I started getting inquiries from others for projects [less work, more money]. This meant my writing was good and I was getting noticed. Also that there were clients out there who are willing to pay more than the ones I was engaged with. I took the decision to complete the last set of deliverables and bid adieu to them (I am eternally grateful to them for giving me an opportunity when I was just starting out). Since then, I began slowly changing my working style, the clients I took on and it was upwards & onwards.
Over the years I’ve grown, I’ve learnt so much and I am constantly honing my skills..
I reached the position I am at a few years back- where I get to put forth demands to clients & work with those who meet them – the working hours, the kind of work that I want to take on, and the money expected as well. Guess what? I found clients who are/were more than willing to meet me halfway or even all the way across to where I stood. Infact, I have had clients come back after years to ask if I am available to work with them again, and clients refer me to others.. These are the highlights of being a freelancer…
Ok, let’s get down to business… The things that you need to look out for I really keep in mind when taking on a project are:
1. Kind of business/ work –
Have a detailed chat with the person who has reached out to you to understand their business the kind of work that they do and the kind of work that is expected from you does the business sound exciting is it something that you want to be associated with is the work something you have done in the past or something you’ve always wanted to do if the answer is positive for most of these, then it’s a good thing to sign on this client otherwise let them know that this is not up your alley and give it a pass..
2. Money –
How comfortable are you when it comes to your financial situation is there a goal you have in mind a monthly target is a proposal from this new client exciting enough in terms of money- do a quick evaluation in your head – money vs the work that they expect from you. If it sounds fair & you think you’re being compensated for the hours & effort, then go for it, otherwise, it’s time to negotiate and see if they meet your expectation. Money may not be a priority for you, but you need to be compensated for the work that you put in, it’s as simple as that.
Another big big thing as a freelancer that I have struggled with on and off over the years is payment from clients the client who will pay you promptly there are those who will take their own sweet time and there are those who will literally disappear the minute you send the invoice. It, therefore, makes sense to ask for either full payment ahead of time or at least 50% advance. Get it before you sign the contract. Don’t feel guilty..
3. Is it worth it? – bandwidth, resources
Are you feeling stressed and overworked? do you have too much on your plate already? in that case it’s time to make a judgment call. There’s no point overloading your plate and then struggling to meet the deadlines and expectations. Clients don’t care if you’re working on three projects or 5 or 10, as long as their work gets done and there are no undue delays.
They are after all paying for your time and effort. So you better make sure you deliver a hundred percent to each of them. Think about it you have time until you sign the contract to go back and turn them down. No harm. Better now than ruining your reputation with shoddy work or delays.
4. Impressions based on initial conversations/Intuition –
During the course of your conversation with the prospective client, keep prodding them for details and if they manage to answer and are patient enough, it shows they are genuinely interested in you. Also, when you ask for clarification if they are able to give you clarity and explain in detail what is expected from you, they are reliable. But if they keep dodging or say “let’s come back to it later, or we can review and revise payment after 3months, etc” they are unlikely to do either and will expect you to bend over backward. Think twice think hard and then make a decision if even one person comes across either confused or unclear or vague, Consider these as Red flags and it will be wise to steer clear of these companies.
The other kind of companies are those who ask you to send a sample before they can sign you on. Have a chat, and share some samples of past work which should showcase your abilities. Wait for a callback and take it from there..
REMEMBER AT THE END OF THE DAY, MAKE SURE TO SET ASIDE SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF… AND TAKE BREAKS… DO NOT OVERWORK YOURSELF, YOU WILL BURN OUT QUICKLY… 🙂