The gig economy has been booming in recent years, especially so since the pandemic started and people realized that they could work perfectly well from the comfort of their own homes. It is estimated that more than half of the total workforce in the United States will consist of freelancers by 2027.
Have you been considering joining the gig economy as a freelancer? It’s definitely worth trying out, considering how much freedom you’ll have being your own boss. However, just like with any other job, there are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to freelancing. Here’s everything that you should know.
The do’s of freelancing
1. Build a good profile and portfolio
The very first thing to do if you want to become a successful freelancer is to create a good image for yourself. Even if you’re just a beginner and don’t have much experience or much of a portfolio, try and make the most of it! If you want to be a freelance writer, then write some articles just for your portfolio.
If you want to become a photographer, take some photos for your portfolio. This will create a great foundation for your freelance career, and you can later build on that portfolio once you get clients and have more work to show.
2. Be professional and reliable
You must always be professional and reliable with clients. This means acting with integrity, respecting them, and keeping communication confidential, along with all data your clients share with you. You must also consider cybersecurity when it comes to protecting client data.
Make sure your security systems are all up-to-date and that communication with clients is always encrypted to ensure that confidential data never gets into the wrong hands. This can be done by encrypting your wifi router or using a vpn (virtual private network).
3. Experiment with different jobs and clients
The beauty of freelancing is that you can try out so many different areas and even different professions. With the right portfolio and profile, you can find plenty of clients from different niches. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what sticks!
4. Be responsive
As a freelancer, you’ll need to be your own boss, and that means you’re going to have to discipline yourself to be as responsive as possible. If a potential client reaches out but you don’t respond within a reasonable amount of time, they’ll likely move on to someone who does. Make sure to check your email as often as possible and try to respond right away.
The don’ts of freelancing
1. Don’t lie
Sure, you want to get as many clients as you can, but lying is not the way to get there. The last thing you’d want is to get a job and not be able to perform it properly, leaving your client very disappointed and leaving a bad review for you.
2. Don’t get overworked
Freelancing allows you to set your own working hours, but that isn’t always a good thing. Many freelancers have way too much on their plates and end up getting overworked. Before taking a job, think long and hard about whether you’ll be able to perform it in time without working 10 or 12 hours in a row.
Getting overworked will only mean poor quality and lots of stress. Whenever you notice you’re becoming overworked and stressed, take a breather. Maybe even try guided meditation (if you’ve never tried, you’d be surprised how much meditation can help with dealing with work stress).
3. Don’t expect commitment from clients
In the do’s section, we mentioned how important it is to experiment with different jobs and different clients. Well, this is not only great for discovering what kind of work suits you best, but it’s also good to diversify your income sources. When it comes to freelancing, you should never put your eggs in one basket by relying on a single client to provide you with work every single week.
Sure, this may work out sometimes, but don’t forget that your clients can drop you at any moment (that’s why many employers choose to work with freelancers as opposed to hiring full-time employees). Look at every transaction as a one-time or at least temporary commitment. This way, you won’t be disappointed when a client decides to part ways with you.
Freelancing offers so many amazing opportunities, flexibility, and freedom. However, if you’re just starting out, there’s still much to learn. The dos and don’ts mentioned above will be a great foundation for building a successful freelancing career.
Related: A Quick Guide to Gig Freelancing vs Contracting: What You Need to Know