25 Ways To Become An Effective Freelancer

The meaning of Effective and Freelancer respectively according to dictionary.com:

“Producing the intended or expected result”

“A person who sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them”

So an effective freelancer would be “A person who sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them producing the intended or expected results.

Of course, there are no long term commitments as you are not obligated to work for anybody for any amount of time unless you choose to. One reason you chose to go the ‘for hire‘ route is to become your own boss (among other reasons). But although there are no long term commitments, establishing a long term relationship should be close to the top of the list of priorities.

An effective freelancer not only produces intended or expected results but goes beyond that to provide clients with exceptional service. Here we’ll highlight some of the things that can help you become an effective freelancer:

  1. Try to look at the service or product you offer through the client’s eyes – why hire you or order from you?
  2. Be reliable and build credibility
  3. Always meet, and if possible, beat deadlines
  4. Do not over-promise or set unrealistic goals or expectations
  5. When you have problems with a project, use it to your advantage and come up with a solution
  6. Give undivided attention to each and every client, make them feel unique and special
  7. Build a more personal relationship with the client (not too personal though)
  8. Don’t leave your client in the dark – it takes a minute to send an e-mail
  9. Ask questions to be able to better understand the project and meet expectations
  10. Get feedback from your clients so you can better your services and products
  11. Have an easy to navigate and simple website to offer your services so it’s easy even for the non-technically inclined to get to you
  12. Acknowledge your clients and show recognition
  13. Be quick replying to emails and show utmost respect
  14. If you have a meeting with a client, be it on the phone, on IM or in person, arrive early. Early is on time, on time is late.
  15. If possible gather as much information about your client as possible so it shows you are well prepared
  16. Be a problem solver – No need to focus on problems, focus on finding solutions
  17. Offer different packages and deals (example: 3 packages, bronze, silver and gold)
  18. Let your work speak for you – Have you won a design award? Got your site featured on high profile sites? Got interviewed?
  19. Give your customers what every human being wants : friendship, respect, recognition, concern, reliability and always keep your promises
  20. Give your freelance business a personality so clients will see you and/or your company as being unique and friendly
  21. It doesn’t matter how much your service or product is worth to you, make it worth for the client
  22. Remember to send short emails to your previous clients every once in a while so as to stay in touch
  23. When the client asks for little things that needs to be done, get them done. Keep in mind it’s the little things that matters the most
  24. Don’t get intimidated if you get a high profile client, this person/company is offering you a job because he thinks you are worth his time and money – That’s a very good sign!
  25. The most important thing we need to realize is that every client can become our biggest referral, without setting up an affiliate system. If we follow the tips above, chances are our clients will refer us to others. There is no better way to boost our freelancing business other than converting clients into evangelists.

Bonus Tip: One of the secrets of becoming an effective freelancer is to suggest and exchange ideas with other freelancers and like-minded people.

If you found this post helpful please take a moment to share your own tips and tricks and share your thoughts on how we can become an effective freelancer. How can we get repeat business from a client? How can we personalize our services according to the client’s needs? Anything you can think of that can help us become an effective freelancer, share with us. The comments section is yours now.

Until Next Time,


Ritu recently sold his blog Work N Play (congrats Ritu!), but don’t worry he can still be reached at the following email address: email [at] ritubpant.com and will have a brand new site up real soon. He is actually available for work, just drop him a line ;)


  1. says

    Great list! Here’s my addition: Do not overbook yourself to the point where you don’t have time to constantly refine your craft and build your own business.

    If you stop learning, you start losing your edge and your value to the client. And if you stop promoting yourself and growing your own business because you’re doing too much work for clients and not enough for yourself, you can turn freelancing into job a rather than the liberating career it can be!

  2. Ritu says

    @ Monika: I am not sure it’s been doing that. I have been able to receive other emails though. Thanks for letting me know, I will have to check into that.

    @ Joshua: Thanks for the tip Josh! I agree with your point. It really helps to boost our career through a blog. If we use it to our advantage by writing stuff that would actually help leverage our expertise or experience in the related field, it can be the most valuable asset for freelancers.

    @ Christine: Thanks for the great suggestion! You are very right. Most of us jump into the freelance bandwagon to be our own boss and work at our own terms. Although there is a desire to take much more than we can handle to build the credibility and earn a decent income, sometimes we do need to take it easy. Being over ambitious can really hurt at times.

  3. says

    Wonderful list! Loved Chsristine’s and Joshua’s additions too. I’d also add:

    Try to teach your clients about things in your industry that may impact them. It not only makes your relationship more valuable to them, it introduces opportunities to indirectly sell more products and services.

  4. Asiak says

    Hi, great post!
    I have a (slightly) off topic question:

    I noticed in your RSS posts you have automatic links allowing readers to post on social networks sites such as Stumbleupon, along with how many adds each post has received so far.

    Is this custom code you’re using, or a plugin or widget I might find somewhere? :)

    Thanks for any info!

  5. says

    @ Asiak: well our RSS feed goes through Feedburner.com, and they have this thing called ‘feed flares’, and you can chose which social media sites you want, number of comments, incoming links, etc… Feedburner is great, if you got a blog I’d suggest you sign up at feedburner.com and ‘burn’ your feed there, then you’ll see the option to enable the feed flares.

    Hope that helps :)

  6. Asiak says

    It does! I am getting into the blogging game at long last, and will be sure to check out Feedburner.
    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

  7. Ritu says

    @ Mark: Thanks for the great addition to the list, Mark. What you suggested indeed is one of the best ways to develop good relationship with the clients. It shows that we not only care about what’s coming into our pocket but also that we care about their business which in turn will bring more our ways.

    @ Dave: Glad you enjoyed the list! I have read your articles here at FF and am also subscribed to your blog. You certainly have provided me with some great ways to boost my productivity. Like Naomi said in her post ” Mr. Productivity Pants” ;-)

  8. says

    I happen to have started freelance writing on a few websites and I have found these tips very helpful in my pursuit of becoming a better freelancer.


  9. says

    A couple of other suggestions:

    1. When you’ve sent a query and haven’t heard back in 2-4 weeks, don’t hesitate to follow up with a phone call or email. Sometimes your queries get lost in the shuffle and potential clients need a little reminder.

    2. Consider “branding” your business with a distinctive logo or slogan.


  10. says

    This is a great list. I agree that freelancers need to continue developing their skills, else they lose their edge. In addition to that, I would add that if freelancers obtain a new certification for their specialty they should announce it to clients so the clients know that the freelancers are continuing to develop themselves.

    It is good to develop your skills because you then become better at your job, but it is also good to toot your horn when you develop those skills.

  11. says

    25 Ways To Become An Effective Freelancer | FreelanceFolder I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about 25 Ways To Become An Effective Freelancer | FreelanceFolder Best Regards Lawrence Craig

  12. says

    Freelance writing jobs are competitive, but there are ways to stand out from the crowd. When you apply for freelance writing jobs, follow these steps. This article includes a few “secrets” and insiders “tricks” that I use in getting my own writing jobs.


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