101 Helpful Tips and Tricks for Freelancers

101 Helpful Tips and Tricks for Freelancers

As a freelancer, you are in total control of what you do with your time, who you work for, how you work, and when you work. You control all aspects of marketing, and servicing your clients. That is why it is the ultimate goal of a freelancer to reach a state where their work flow is perfect, and they have set mechanisms and processes they use when conducting any task in order to do it as efficiently and effectively as possible.

To help you along the way, and help you develop your own work flow more, we decided to create the ’101 Helpful Tips and Tricks for Freelancers’. Enjoy.

Client Management

  1. Use FreelanceTotal.
  2. Respond to emails promptly and in full.
  3. Treat the client well.
  4. Treat the client’s project as if it were your own, so you put 100% effort into it.
  5. Make special note of deadlines.
  6. Try to give a daily/weekly update on project progress.
  7. Notify clients of any issues that may delay the project’s completion as soon as possible.
  8. Use Freshbooks to invoice clients.
  9. Use a contract.
  10. Make a copy of the contract with both signatures, and send to client – keep original.
  11. Take a down-payment.
  12. Have all information/briefs documented.
  13. Use detailed invoices.
  14. Explain exactly what you’re going to do to the client.
  15. Explain exactly what you’re going to do in your contract.
  16. Make sure the client understands exactly how you work, and how you take payment etc.
  17. Never keep your client in the dark.
  18. Use Skype/MSN rather than email when you need quick, immediate responses.
  19. Don’t spend hours talking to your clients, get relevant information and get on with working.
  20. Use Proposal Kit to send proposals to clients.
  21. Track communications with clients using HighRise.
  22. Maintain a professional composure during all client contact.
  23. Speak clearly over the phone.
  24. Write in full, cohesive sentences in emails.
  25. Avoid scope-creep by clearly stating to your client that any changes in the scope of the work will induce further costs.

Work Ethics and Structuring

  1. Begin work only after you receive the down-payment.
  2. Work in bursts depending on how long you can concentrate for.
  3. Have short 5 minute breaks between bursts of work.
  4. Drink plenty of water to boost concentration.
  5. Create with the end-user in mind.
  6. Use a comfortable chair.
  7. Sit a good distance from your monitor.
  8. Eat healthy to boost concentration and productivity.
  9. Use to-do lists to plan each day.
  10. When you set yourself a task to complete, do not get sidetracked. Close all emails, and non-work related programs and processes that may be running on your computer.
  11. Treat yourself once you’ve done all you set out to do during the day. This could be something as small as making yourself a cup of your favorite hot chocolate, or watching a movie.
  12. Find a good time to work where distractions are minimal.
  13. Plan out your work before you begin.
  14. Do sketches/drafts before the final creation.
  15. Wake up early, and create your to-do list for the day first.
  16. Have a clear vision of what you wish to achieve with the work you’re producing for your client.
  17. Take breaks, breakfast, lunch and dinner away from your computer.
  18. Do not think that sitting in front of your computer 24/7 means you’re being productive and are “working”. When sitting at your computer, you should be producing work, communicating with clients, doing marketing work, or research.
  19. All recreational activities should be done away from your working environment.
  20. Add some color to your home office.
  21. Always aim to make the piece you’re working on the best it can possibly be.
  22. Always aim to improve your skills as you work.
  23. Take time out to establish where you are on a project, and exactly what else needs to be done.
  24. Collaborate with clients using Writeboard.
  25. Send a copy of all completed work on CD to client’s address.
  26. Archive all previous work on computer and external hard drive.
  27. Have set working hours that you stick to everyday.
  28. Round up hours to the nearest hour after 15 minutes into the hour when billing.
  29. Establish at what time you work most efficiently, but try not to make it too late into the night.
  30. Backup all work on an external hard drive for security purposes.
  31. Keep your workspace tidy, and uncluttered.
  32. Use dual monitors to increase productivity.
  33. Try to work during usual working hours (9-5) as clients are likely to respond then.
  34. Prioritize your to-do list, so you do the urgent tasks first and the less urgent ones later on.
  35. Organize your to-do list so harder tasks are completely first.

Marketing, Advertising & Branding

  1. Have a well-designed business card that provides all necessary information.
  2. Take a day out of your week to dedicate to an intense marketing campaign every week.
  3. Use a plethora of marketing techniques when trying to get clients.
  4. Read this.
  5. Have a simple, yet effective portfolio website that appropriately showcases your work.
  6. Only showcase your best work
  7. Use freelance job boards.
  8. Run a blog on your portfolio site.
  9. Register with LinkedIn.
  10. Have an elevator pitch prepared.
  11. Use cold-calling.
  12. Use cold-emails.
  13. Spread your service via word-of-mouth, tell family, friends, etc.
  14. Network at local, professional events.
  15. Design a memorable logo for your business.
  16. Match up design, colors and typography of all marketing materials, such as business cards, letterheads, portfolio etc.
  17. Review all existing marketing materials to see if they provide adequate information, and clearly and concisely tell the reader what you provide.
  18. Consider doing a little free work for charity to get the word out.
  19. Produce fliers advertising your services. Pass them around local businesses.
  20. Send a letter to local businesses explaining what you can do for their business.
  21. Don’t worry about getting the finest business cards printed with all the extravagant finishes, just concentrate on getting the message across in an effective and professional way.
  22. Send out a monthly/bi-monthly newsletter to all previous clients detailing recent work in the form of case studies. Try Logix Mail for this.
  23. Read up on your field, and become knowledgeable in it. Show this knowledge through your blog – this will build authority around you.
  24. Break industry news on your blog.
  25. Join your local Chamber of Commerce.
  26. Advertise in business directories.

General

  1. Get reliable hosting.
  2. Learn all the legal stuff on running a new business.
  3. Use stock libraries for photos, icons, etc.
  4. Sleep on time (minimum 8 hours) and don’t work too late into the night
  5. Update your blog every week with case studies of recent work.
  6. Continuously update your portfolio with the best of your new work.
  7. If sending off larger files to clients, use YouSendIt.
  8. Be creative with your work.
  9. Use a feedback form in all letters sent via mail.
  10. Start up your own websites, blogs, and web applications in order to generate additional income. If you decide to sell a product, try using DigitalProductDelivery.
  11. Blog about interesting things in your field of freelancing.
  12. If you’ve worked extremely hard during the week, consider taking a few hours off during a working day and go out.
  13. Visit CSS galleries for design inspiration.
  14. Go outside to your local park for some relaxation and inspiration at the same time.
  15. Set your hourly rate by factoring in overheads, and your competitions’ rates.

So there we have it, ’101 Helpful Tips and Tricks for Freelancers’. I hope you take away some valuable information from this post, and implement it into your own freelancing career.

If you enjoyed this post:

The Grand Marketing Manual for Freelancers

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This post was written by:

- who has written 42 posts on Freelance Apple.

Taiyab Raja is a web designer and entrepreneur who runs an interesting, captivating freelance blog, designs awesome websites for 6creations.com, and in his spare time owns noobs at Halo.

Contact the author

25 Responses to “101 Helpful Tips and Tricks for Freelancers”

  1. RJ Says:

    GREAT LIST! This list is awesome…I wish I would have read it before my meeting with a potential client this morning. This is a great “Check List” of sorts to print out and always have in front of you.

  2. Xtence Says:

    This is the most complete list for freelancers i ever saw! Good work and thanks for sharing!

    This post will be very helpfull for many freelancers

  3. Martin Sanders Says:

    After working some 5 years as a graphic/web designer I still picked up some handy and useful tips, a great blog post.

  4. dj münchen Says:

    Toll ! Wieder was gelernt

    Gruss aus Bayern

  5. Taiyab Says:

    Thanks for all the positive comments guys! Glad you’ve all learned something new.

  6. Orangesplaash Says:

    Great post..almost all the important pointers are listed in an easy to understand manner.
    Some great tools and sites have also been listed out by you.
    Thanks for the informative post!!

  7. Antony Says:

    Thank you so much, this really helps! Working from home, I sometimes don’t give myself enough rest, and work really late into the night, and definitely don’t drink enough water (among other things) … so thank you so much, these tips really help and make a lot of sense!

  8. Josh Blackwood Says:

    Some great tips (and links) here! Thanks for putting this up; yet another great resource this website offers to those just starting out in the freelance world.

  9. Diane Says:

    Very interesting and helpful tips :)

  10. sami Says:

    Great tips almost all the tips are covered,good freelance sites like getafreelancer.com,elance.com,limeexchange.com follow these tips & tricks.

  11. sravkum Says:

    Added to our daily faves at – http://www.wittysparks.com/twitter/favorites/
    These tips are really helpful – I tweeted too – good luck

  12. lokendra Says:

    This is really nice posting for us. i am also planing to become a freelancer with all quality.

  13. Celia Rothrock Says:

    I recommend Yahoo Small Business Web Hosting. Management of one’s internet site at Yahoo! is really a breeze because of their internet hosting manage panel. Every thing from setting up e-mail accounts, acquiring monthly internet site statistics, to internet website improvement and maintenance can be easily controlled making use of 1 standardized interface.

  14. Jeremy Taler Says:

    Very extensive list. You touched on many points that deal with marketing and taking action and getting on with the job.

  15. Brett Widmann Says:

    This is an excellent set of tips. Thanks so much for posting.

  16. Dave Lurrows Says:

    Excellent set of tips, thank you so much

  17. John Lowe Says:

    101 Helpful Tips and Tricks for Freelancers “As a freelancer, you are in total control of what you do with your time, who you work for, how you work, and when you work. You control all aspects of marketing, and servicing your clients. That is why it is the ultimate goal of a freelancer to reach a state where their work flow is perfect, and they have set mechanisms and processes they use when conducting any task in order to do it as efficiently and effectively as possible


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