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Observations of a Young Nigerian Female . Powered by Blogger.

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I am young, "normal" and I like to write. People say I eat too much, people don't know what they are saying.

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The 10 Basic Rules of Freelancing

Freelancing for Newbies

2.     Communicate  2

3.     Have Proof  2

4.     Schedule Your Work   2

5.     Know Your Limits  2

6.     Stay Informed   3

7.     Be Nice  3

8.     Put Yourself Out There  3

9.     Respect Deadlines  3

10.     Keep in Touch   3

Freelancing is working without the limitations of a contract binding you to one company. Freelancing allows you to work for diverse firms, getting to know diverse people and soak in different work cultures. It allows you to choose the projects you want to work on. A lot of people who work for one company (and I’m not dissing your 9-5) may eventually find out that they have been working on the same thing every day. A lot of 9-5ers (and this completely depends on where you work) find their work to become monotonous and they start to feel like they are not developing their abilities, because there are no new challenges. Freelancers do not have that problem.

As a freelancer, you could be working with a Ugandan today, a Chinese company tomorrow, and a German firm the next. It’s exciting! But it is also exhausting. Some freelancers find it hard to balance so many different projects at a time, not because of how much time they have to work on them, but because of how different the projects might be. Freelancing is a thrilling ride, and I’ve had the best of it.

So, here are a few of the rules you need to know to be able to enjoy your freelancing journey;

1.       Know Your Work

First things first, you are not going to be able to get anything done if you don’t know what you’re doing. Pretty obvious, right? However, I have had people say to me, “I want to become a freelancer.” And when I say ok, doing what?” I get a blank stare in return.

Out of your very many talents, pick one thing you can do well, then study to know more about it. One client with one bad review can shut down your freelancing career before it has even begun. So you need to know what you’re doing before you start. You can’t be figuring it out on a client’s job. Nobody’s paying for that.

2.       Communicate

Don’t let your client or potential client do all the talking. When they seek you out and start a conversation, talk. Don’t just be responsive, ask your own questions, give them suggestions, communicate, but not about nothing. It does not matter to the client how the weather is, keep your conversation on the job at hand and surrounding factors, unless of course, you’re working on the weather, then carry on, rainmaker.

Don’t let the conversation lag until you’ve signed that deal. Just keep communicating, it gets people to trust you more.

3.       Have Proof

“I know what I’m doing” is not going to convince anyone to take you seriously. Where’s your proof? Why should I trust you just because you say you’re good?

For freelancers, a portfolio is everything. In fact, if you’re good and your portfolio shows that, you may not have to do any convincing at all. Pool your best work, and arrange it in a way that leads the client from “Oh my!” to “Awesome!”

That is the reaction you need.

Pro tip: you’re better off with 3 jobs on your portfolio than 10 jobs with one of them a mess. Only use your REALLY good work.

4.       Schedule Your Work

A lot of freelancers get in trouble with clients all the time because they are unable to pace themselves by scheduling the work that they have. A 9-5er may just have a couple of things to work on at a time, and all of them related. But a freelancer does not have that privilege. To keep from drowning in deadlines and working nonstop at the last minute to deliver projects on time, keep a schedule, and arrange your work in such a way that you’re ready long before the deadline and you don’t disappoint anyone.

Break your work into phases, and take it on one phase at a time.

5.       Know Your Limits

“Oh it’s just one more, I can do it too.” This line is how you get yourself in a bind. DO NOT OVERBOOK YOURSELF. Yes, more money is always good, and you don’t want to lose a client before you even had them. However, you are better off never having done the work, than doing a lousy job in a hurry and losing a potentially loyal customer forever, because you went about accepting every single job that was offered to you. What are you? Bob the builder?

6.       Stay Informed

You better know what’s going on, because information can very well make the difference between successfully signing a new client and them ghosting you. Keep up with the news and the trends; it can affect how you work, and you don’t want to be writing like 1982 in 2021. Know what’s going on.

7.       Be Nice

There is such a thing as clients from hell, there is. However, in all things, be polite and respectful. Even a mean client can refer you to an awesome client. Even when you’re firing a client (and you can do that), be nice, be kind, be helpful. Don’t say, “you suck.” Always be nice. Say, “You suck, ma’am. Thank you.”

8.       Put Yourself Out There

self-promotion is key to your growth as a freelancer, because you cannot depend on referrals. If you worked in a company on a 9-5 job, you would not have to worry about finding some customers. However, you are a freelancer, so you better be ready to talk about yourself, or no one is going to know what the heck you’re doing and then just hire you.

Talk about your work, your skills, your achievements; convince people to trust you without having to say “trust me.”

9.       Respect Deadlines

Here’s something you need to know. When a client gives you a deadline, it is based on their own deadline, which could be based on the deadline of someone even higher, and on and on it goes. When you accept the deadline, they make plans based on that, and lateness could cost them time and money.  So, whatever you do, deliver before the deadline. Always deliver before the deadline. First, it is an edge you can have over other freelancers (because freelancers do get really lazy), second, it just makes you more trustworthy. If a client has a choice between you (the Mr. Apologies for the delay) and an equally good freelancer who is always punctual, you’re going home.

Be punctual, respect your client’s deadlines, maintain that reputation, and the sky is your limit.

10.       Keep in Touch

One “Hi how have you been?” to an old client can translate to a new gig. Keep yourself in the minds of your customers. Know how they are doing, and how the projects you worked on have been doing. Even if they respond without an offer, still communicate with them once every while. You just might stumble on to something good.


There are a lot of other things you should know as a freelancer. Most of them you’ll learn on the job. But with these 10, you’re set to make some money as a freelancer.

If this has been helpful, please leave a comment and share this article with your other freelancer or soon-to-be freelancer friends.

You also have something to look forward to. There’s a course for freelancers coming up very soon on ww.theacademy.ng.

Enjoy your freelancing journey!


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