38+ Freelancing Success Tips (What You Really Need to Do as a Freelancer)

Are you just starting out as a freelancer? Have you been freelancing for a while, but now you’re stuck?

Either way, reviewing this post will help. In it, I share over 38 freelancing tips in our biggest list of freelancing success tips ever.

Freelancing can be hard. Really hard. You’ll get discouraged. You may even be tempted to quit.

There are challenges to be met. There are problems to solve. And it’s hard to remember everything.

This post can help you stay on track. It works great as a quick reminder for the experienced freelancer or as a checklist for a new freelancer.

If you liked this post, you will probably also like Seven Days of Freelancing Tips.

Success Tips for Freelancers

For the first time, I’m sharing this giant list of over 38 freelancing success tips.

(I’ve arranged them in the order that makes the most sense to me, but feel free to apply them as needed.)

Here are the tips:

  1. Don’t stop marketing. Marketing is the key to a steady flow of new and repeat clients. Don’t stop, even when you are busy.
  2. Get social. Social media and other online communities are a great way to get your freelancing business in front of prospective clients.
  3. Establish an effective website. Having a freelancing website is almost a given these days. Make sure yours conveys your message.
  4. Blog to establish expertise. Blogging is a great way to show that you really are knowledgeable about what you do.
  5. Know what’s unique about your business. Base your marketing on how your freelancing business is better than similar businesses.
  6. Keep your portfolio up to date. Remember to review and periodically update your portfolio so that your best work is always showcased.
  7. Don’t be afraid to cold call. You don’t have to wait for clients to come to you. It’s okay to reach out to prospective clients.
  8. Research potential clients. Don’t enter a client agreement without knowing something about the company you will be doing business with.
  9. Listen carefully and ask questions. Don’t jump to any conclusions about what you think your client wants.
  10. Be polite. We live in a rude society, but that doesn’t make it right. Being courteous will make you stand out in a good way.
  11. Negotiate. Don’t just accept whatever terms a prospect suggests. Nearly all aspects of a freelancing agreement can be negotiated.
  12. Define scope. Make sure that you understand exactly what the client wants. Be as specific as possible.
  13. Price fairly. Don’t base your freelancing business on being able to provide low cost services, but rather on the value you add for the client.
  14. Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Not every freelancing opportunity will be right for you. Don’t be afraid to turn work down.
  15. Get it in writing. A contract or freelancing agreement is a must-have. Don’t start work without one.
  16. Minimize distractions. Make sure that your work environment is conducive to maximum productivity.
  17. Set a routine. While you don’t have to keep traditional hours, most freelancers are more productive if they schedule regular working hours.
  18. Keep your office neat. A messy office can slow you down and lower your morale.
  19. Eat right. The last thing most freelancers want is to lose work time due to illness.
  20. Get enough exercise. You’ll feel better and work more efficiently too.
  21. Take regular breaks. It goes against common sense, but working too long can actually reduce your productivity.
  22. Meet or exceed expectations. Don’t disappoint your clients. Deliver on time and make sure that you deliver what the client wanted.
  23. Invoice promptly. Once you’ve delivered work, it’s time to send an invoice. If you wait, you or the client may forget.
  24. Say thank-you. Again, people who say “thank-you” are rare. If you want to stand out in a good way, say thanks.
  25. Follow up. Too many freelancers are afraid to check back with existing clients, but follow up is an important part of the process.
  26. Set measurable goals. Without goals, there is no way to measure how well your business is doing.
  27. Have a plan. Once you’ve set goals, devise a realistic plan to achieve those goals (and revisit it often).
  28. Delegate low-level tasks or specialized tasks. Just because you freelance doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself.
  29. Keep learning. Keep your skills and knowledge current. Regular learning is not optional for freelancers.
  30. Invest in your business. In the end, it is worthwhile to spend money on a high quality machine, pay for software updates, and high-speed Internet.
  31. Use the right tools. While some freeware and shareware software is quite useful, there are times when you will need to invest in the right tool to get the job done.
  32. Build a support group. Freelancers usually work alone, so it’s up to you to maintain and grow your friendships.
  33. Get testimonials. An endorsement from a past or current client is a powerful selling tool.
  34. Create products. You can create an additional income stream by developing and selling products such as eBooks, WordPress themes, and training modules.
  35. Stay positive. A good attitude is a great asset for the freelancer.
  36. Believe in yourself. If you don’t think you are the right person for the job, why would you expect a client to believe that you are?
  37. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
  38. Monitor your online reputation. What you say and what is said about you online is important.
  39. Bonus Tip: Prepare for the future. Save money for those famine periods and have a strategy for retirement.

Your Turn

What tips would you add to the list?

Share your tips in the comments.

Image by Jasen Miller