What’s the Single Best Thing You’ve Ever Done for Your Freelancing Biz?

Every so often, a freelancer will make a decision that takes their freelancing to the next level.

It could be something that helped them find clients, charge more, get more work done, or become better in their field.

For this post, I asked some of my freelancing friends to identify the best thing they’d ever done for their freelancing business.

I was surprised at the wide variety of answers I received. Most of them, as you’ll see below, had to do with the finding and keeping–or not–of clients. A few others mentioned specific strategies to improve their productivity and effectiveness.

Below are the answers I collected. I’ve categorized them by topic to make them more useful. I hope these answers inspire you to take specific action, or to consider doing something in an area of your freelancing you may never have thought of before.

Finding Clients in Various Places

Some freelancers shared their tips for getting clients. The comments in this category included:

  • Kelly McCausey (@kellymccausey)–I joined Shelancers. A fellow found me (my design company) via Shelancers and hired us for a HUGE project ($10,000+).
  • Kelly Kagamas Tomkies (@kakwrite)–Without a doubt, the No. 1 best thing I ever did which advanced my freelancing career is join the Editorial Freelancers Association. I obtained projects and ongoing work and clients, thanks to their job postings. And I have also had individual clients contact me for work after seeing my profile on their site. It definitely gave my freelance writing, copy editing, and proofreading career a HUGE boost, and when I needed it most.
  • Sue Fleckenstein (@suefleckenstein)–Well, how I got my freelance career going was by joining the Wealthy Affiliate program, where they have an internal job board. I posted my services as an article writer and haven’t looked back. Yes, the work just dripped in, but five months later I am replacing my full time income on a consistent basis. I used the tools provided to hone my skills and it was the best thing I have ever done.
  • Carole Seawert (@Carole Seawert)–I target design agencies and the thing that brought me in a flood of clients was running a simple classified advert in Design Week.
  • Elisa Doucette (@OpheliasWebb)— Networking with other writers and publishers online.  I might be one of those social media dorks but it has opened doors I *never* would have seen otherwise.

Working with Clients

Other freelancers shared tips for working with clients. Some of these tips were:

  • Luis Monteiro (@luismonteiro)–I told my clients that I wouldn’t charge them (or would only charge a symbolic fee) unless they were fully satisfied with the results, and asked them to spread the word. That surely helped raised trust and confidence in my work!
  • Nicolas Miranda (@diverseminds)–I think the best thing I did for my freelance biz was learn how to rate work.  For nooks, that is always the biggest challenge.  Some don’t know how much to charge for a website, a logo, a flyer.  Some don’t know if they should charge a flat rate or hourly.  Once I got that sorted and figured out, it really helped me out.

Choosing Clients and Projects

Many freelancers had some suggestions for choosing the right clients and projects:

  • Angie Nelson (@thewahwife)–The best thing I did for my freelancing biz was to start choosing my clients, and stop letting them choose me. If it’s not an ideal opportunity, don’t settle.
  • Brandi-Ann Uyemura (@2inspired)–I said, “Yes,” only to jobs that were aligned with my long-term freelance writing goals.
  • David Wang (@blogjunkie)–The best thing I did for my business was learning how to say NO. Saying No gives you better job satisfaction. By dropping the jobs I hate, I now have less stress and enjoy more time to spend with my family. I also produce better quality work since the jobs I choose are the ones I enjoy doing. I’ve now said No to 5-figure jobs because I know it won’t be worth the stress. Plus, big jobs tend to drag on so I don’t have time for new projects.
  • Dave Perks (@writegud)–Without a doubt, then one thing I did/I’m doing to help my freelance business is to stop trying to be all things to all people and hold my ground on who I am and what I do. There’s a philosophy out there along the lines of just saying yes to any work request you get, and then learning it as you go if it’s not in your skill set. I tried that for a while. Didn’t work for me. Maybe I’m a slow learner. But for me, now that I just clearly state that I offer marketing and social media strategy, concept development and execution, people know what to expect and I can stand firm on my background and my rates. I’m fortunate in that I can be selective with my clients and if it looks like the person on the other side of the table doesn’t recognize the value I deliver, I can choose to walk away.

Learning from Others

It’s important to learn from others. This comment just reinforced the importance of relying on each other:

  • Arevik Dumikian (@arevik2)–I only started to pay more attention to the posts on freelancer’s sites, and I started to implement advice I read on Freelance Folder (including those from your articles–Thanks!) I also learned to let go when the Buyer chose someone else and don’t worry about that–previously, I worried too much about it.

Using Technology and Managing Time

Technology is also very important to freelancers. Here’s how freelancers are using technology:

  • Sharon Hurley Hall (@shurleyhall)–The best thing I ever did to enhance productivity was invest in Dragon Naturally Speaking so I could dictate my writing. It saves me at least 15 minutes in every hour, giving me more time to work on other projects.
  • Didier Daglinckx–Using Filemaker to build my clients’ database to manage the info I need on a daily basis (instead of using Word and Excel).
  • Carol du Toit (@caroldoot)–My number one best thing so far was coming across “How to Get More Work Done In Less Time.” My time management skills are shocking, so time chunking and the Pomodoro technique have both become close friends… and are really helping!

The Best Think I Did for My Freelancing Biz

As for me, the best thing I’ve ever done for my freelancing business was to join Mom Masterminds, an online forum of Moms who work from home. Mom Masterminds members helped me get started, find clients when I had no track record to speak of, and even tweak my services so that I could charge more.

In Mom Masterminds, I also found long-term clients who have, in turn, recommended me to other clients. The value of this network would translate into the thousands of dollars for me… and counting.

How About You?

Now it’s your turn. Let us know the best thing you ever did for your freelancing. Do share in the comments below.

Image by bingbing