Search the Internet and you will find lots of free tips on freelancing floating around. While many of these tips are beneficial, some, however, are unlikely to help you much as a freelancer. Here are 5 popular freelancing tips that we personally feel freelancers should ignore.
Set Your Rates Low Initially
When you are new, it can be difficult to get clients to engage your service. Hence many freelancers start out by deliberately setting their rates low in order to undercut the market. They do this in hope of attracting more clients without realizing that such tactics can sometimes backfire. Why? Because people often judge the quality of your work by the price you set. By charging below market rates, some clients will infer that your work is of low quality. And if quality is what they seek, they are likely to bypass you for another person, even if he is less skilled than you. In addition, more often than not, the better clients are the ones who are willing to pay for quality work. We therefore recommend that you figure out what the standard rate for work in your niche is and simply charge that amount. Charging any less will only allow you to attract low budget clients at best; the better ones will avoid you like the plague.
Advertise Your Services When First Starting Out
Spending money on advertising to get the word out about your services is not an absolute must anymore, even for those just starting out. There are many outsourcing websites, such as oDesk or Elance, where freelancers can register with to secure assignments.
While registering, do ensure that you list your skills accurately, fill out your personal information completely, provide a portfolio of your previous work (good quality ones) and include a professional profile portrait to add credibility. If your work is of good quality, fairly priced and if there is strong demand for freelancers in your niche, attracting clients should be easy.
Don’t Work For Free
Many freelancers generally frown upon working for free as they feel that doing any form of free work is a waste of their precious time. However, doing free work can be a great way to build up your portfolio, especially if you are new. For example, a videographer offering to shoot, for free, the wedding video of a friend who happens to be a celebrity or a copywriter volunteering to create content for a high profile charity project is more likely to attract attention to his work and raise his professional profile than his peers who are unwilling to work for free. As such, beginners without even a sample portfolio to show off to their clients should definitely consider doing some form of free work occasionally (especially high profile ones). While it may eat into your time initially, you will likely reap the rewards in the long run as you become better known in your professional circle.
Quit Your Day Job As Soon As Possible
The advice of quitting your day job as soon as possible has become very popular. The idea is that by doing so, you will be able to devote more time to freelancing. While this is true to a certain extent, quitting your stable day job too quickly can cause issues like financial worries especially on bad months. Freelance work can at times be relatively unstable until you are able to amassed a large enough list of loyal clients. Hence, it is always much safer to defer quitting until you are able to make at least enough money from freelancing to match your day job salary. This is especially so if you are the sole breadwinner in your family.
Pick A Niche That Interest You
While it is true that many people have built successful freelancing careers following this advice, their success is often also because their choice of niches, even though solely motivated by their interests or hobbies, happen to be profitable ones. Often, profits can only be derived if there exist sufficient demand for your services. Getting involved in a niche just because of a hobby or interest can lead to disappointment especially if you have to struggle financially because of a lack of demand for your services. If making money is an important goal, you are almost always better off choosing a niche you know is profitable, even if it does not appeal to you interest wise.
The views expressed above are but our personal thoughts on popular freelancing tips, we feel, freelancers should ignore. While not everyone will agree with us, we do hope that those who do will benefit from our sharing and become successful freelancers one day.