I’ve spent the past four months between jobs as a freelance web developer and WordPress Developer, and it’s been AWESOME. There were so many things that went well, but also quite a few things that didn’t.
I’m excited to share the things I wish I had known before getting started as a freelancer!
Tip 1: Schedule Out Your Week
When I got my first freelancing job, I felt like I had to dedicate 100% of my day to it. I was fresh out of a 9-5 job and didn’t know how to navigate the freelance workflow. I would spend full days working on a project, only to realize that I was finishing them up much sooner than anticipated.
Which is awesome! But it’s not what I signed up for when I started freelancing.
I didn’t want my freelance time to feel the same as my 9-5, I wanted the freedom and flexibility that freelance allows!
So I decided to make some adjustments.
My goal was to work 20-25 hours a week on freelance projects and then use the rest of my hours to learn new skills in web development and UX/UI.
Tips for scheduling out your work week
- Decide how many hours you want to work
- Divide out your hours between projects
- Make sure to include deadlines when creating your schedule!
Tip 2: Set Up a Payment Schedule
One thing that can be intimidating and awkward for a freelancer is asking for your money. Which is super bizarre – you’ve worked for it!
It’s important to set up a payment schedule so that both you and your contractee(yes, this is a word!) know when they will be paying you. It allows both parties to know when and how much you will be paid!
I’ve heard horror stories of freelancers not asking for payments for months on end! And then contractees are hit with huge invoices!
Two types of payment schedules I suggest:
- Submit invoice after X amount of hours worked
- Submit invoice every X weeks
Tip 3: Schedule Weekly or Bi-Weekly Check-Ins
This tip is super important, and one I struggled with when I first started freelancing.
The benefit of setting up weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with your contractee allows for any issues/updates to be tackled in a timely manner. I’ve worked on websites for weeks only to realize that some pages were going to be deleted or added. If I had scheduled a weekly check-in with my contractee, I wouldn’t have spent time building out those pages!
Two tips for setting up check-ins
- Set up a consistent time for check-ins (ex. Monday’s 10:30am-11am) and send out Google Calendar invites to all parties involved (contractor and contractee)
- If a consistent time for check-ins doesn’t work, work with your contractee to set up 2-3 check in times(ex. 5/28 at 10:30am and 6/12 at 3pm) and send out Google Calendar invites to all parties involved (contractor and contractee)
Bonus: 1 Tip for Getting Started
Tell everyone you know, and follow up with leads.
One thing I’ve learned from freelancing is that there is always someone who will have an “oh, I think _____ needs that service!” moment. Talking about your services and what you do with friends, family and the person next to you on the airplane(if it naturally fits into the conversation!!) puts it on their radar.
Maybe a few weeks later your sister will hang out with a friend who needs a comedy website built – and she’ll know exactly to suggest. Who knows? It happens!
Once you have a lead, ask for an introduction! It’s that simple. Then ensure your connection that you’ll take it from there.
Remember to always thank the person who gave you a lead, even if it doesn’t pan out. Maintaining relationships is KEY!
Freelancing can be an awesome lifestyle! If you love autonomy and creating your own schedule, it is definitely something to consider.
Freelancing can also be overwhelming at first, but it gets much easier once you create schedules for yourself and for your invoices.
Just remember that you are the one with the skills that someone is in need of! And you know much more than you realize!
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