Dos and Don’ts of Freelancing

Here’s a continuation of my post on Tips for a New Freelancer.  More thoughts on mistakes made and lessons learned so that you don’t have to go through it yourself.

DO:

1. Get an accountant that you trust. If you don’t have one now, ask your freelancing friends. Then talk to a few of them and decide who you feel most comfortable with. Ideally, someone who explains things well and is okay with all your questions. Figure out whether you want to be a Sole Proprietor or LLC or whatever else there is out there.  Ask about your quarterly taxes so you’re not surprised at the end of the tax year.  It can be painful.

2. Have enough money saved for the slow times. No matter how well you’re doing, I guarantee that there will be slow times. Cut back on your spending now. I should have cut back on a lot more than I did, but it’s never too late.

3. Get up at the same time each day. If that’s early, great, if it’s not so early because you work late, that’s okay too, but make it a habit. You’ll just feel better about yourself all around.

4. Always connect with people on whatever social media platform you use. If you’re on a freelance assignment + you’re working with another freelancer that you like, connect with her on Linked In or Facebook so you can stay in touch.

5. Always ask for referrals. While you’re connecting with the freelancer, ask them what headhunters they like working with. Or suggest to them that if they’re asked to work on a gig and can’t do it, they refer you to the client.

6. Always thank people. Then when you get that referral call, and then the job, loop back with the person who referred you and thank them.  Return the favor when you have the chance.

7. Make things easy for your clients. If it’s on site freelance, make sure you’ve filled out their paperwork and understand how you will get paid.  If you’re like me and usually work off site, ask up front if you can connect with someone in accounts payable so you don’t have to wait to get paid when they receive your invoice.

8. Make friends with your money. I’m still working on this one. Someone suggested to me to treat your money as you would a friend. You would not ignore a friend or not have any idea about who they are, so don’t do it with your money. My money and I are acquaintances now so I’ll have to report back on any future triumphs on bonding with my money.

DON’T:

1. Wait until your present freelance gig is up and then start looking for work. As a freelancer, you need to always look for the next gig, Otherwise you’ll have large gaps of down time. Great for the summer tan, bad for the income.

2. Work in the same place you relax. I have to admit, I’m typing this on my laptop on my bed, so I break this rule sometimes, but I normally work in my office so that I can leave it behind me when it’s time to not work.  When I’m done writing this post, I’ll shut my computer and put it back in my office for the evening.  When I lived in an apartment in Brooklyn, my workspace was more of an area. If it’s really too hard to define a space, then it’s time to find a coffee shop.

3. Don’t forget about taking care of yourself.  Didn’t you want to freelance so you’d have more time to get to the gym?  Well, now you’re probably just as busy or even more so, but it’s YOUR time, so create time to exercise or you’re going to go batshit.

Anybody else have some lessons you’ve learned as a freelancer?

 

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5 Responses to Dos and Don’ts of Freelancing

  1. I must print this page for future reference. Excellent tips!

  2. anne hubben says:

    thanks, Jennie! i’m glad you found it helpful

  3. Jack says:

    Don’t take it personally.

    As a freelancer, you’re expected to be brilliant, give your opinion, and do what you’re told — in that order.

  4. […] people sent some great suggestions on my Dos and Don’ts of Freelancing post. Xavier Fan, who is an IT consultant, sent me these that I thought were very helpful for those […]

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