Freelancing Tips: The 8 Commandments of Freelancing

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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You may call them rules, regulations, precepts or commandments.  I prefer the word commandments.

We all need a set of rules to live by, yes? To help us stay in the straight and narrow, if you like.

If you are a freelancer, or you’re considering becoming one, here are some freelancing tips that I highly recommend. They are sure to keep you in the road of freelancing success. Enjoy the read.

1. Thou shall communicate with clients and keep them in the know.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that this is something I emphasize on, time and again. Every client wants to be assured that you will deliver work on time. Communicate!

Update them regularly about your progress. However, that doesn’t mean that you spam them. I’m not talking about emailing them every single hour.

Just let your client know as soon as you start working on the project, mid-way and when you are just about to submit the work. Please save them the anxiety.

Will you ever run into problems? Definitely.

Power may go off. Your laptop may hang all of a sudden and take it’s sweet time to come round – if at all. It happens to the best of us and guess what, it happens to clients too.

Let your client know you’ll be delivering work late rather than the client not hearing from you at all.

2. Thou shall invest in personal development.

You may very well be an astute writer or an amazing web designer. Still, it doesn’t hurt to learn new skills.

Actually, it’s a plus. It will improve your bottom line and as you well know, the more work you get, the better off you are as a freelancer.

Endeavor to gain more skills and abilities that will help impact your freelancing career. Sharpen and enhance your skill set regularly. It also helps to keep your brain fresh.

Isn’t it the good old Henry Ford who said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”

3. Thou shall have work-life balance. Or at least try.

It’s very tempting to work, work and work some more. I mean, the more you work, the more money you earn right?

And how about the big dreams and desire you have? The car you want to buy? The vacation you want to take?

How will that happen if you don’t work your butt off? Time for a reality check! As tempting as it is to over work there are consequences to that.

For one, the big B-O. Burn out.

Remember that your business relies a lot on you therefore take some time out to recharge.

Burn out also comes about when you charge very low prices thus ending up with more work than you can handle.

Truth be told, many clients want a freelancer who will do a great job, but as inexpensively as possible.

To avoid this kind of situation, know your worth. Your clients will have confidence in you if you are confident of the services you offer.

Take time out to enjoy yourself, your family, your money.

4. Thou shall think and act like an online entrepreneur.

Remember the days when you used to be employed?

Remember round about the time when it was almost end of the month and you were eagerly waiting for your salary?

Thing is, you didn’t really care much where the boss was going to get the money from. All you cared about was that you got paid.

Now that you are a freelancer, it’s not the same thing.

You need to see yourself as the CEO of your freelance business and focus your energy on what matters most. Remember that sales, marketing, branding are aspects of business that you are responsible for.

Passion, integrity and professionalism are among the traits that you should adopt.

Passion will keep you going when you want to give up. Being a person of integrity will help you not to promise your client that you can handle a project, knowing all too well you can’t, simply because you need the money.

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Clients develop relationships with freelancers they can trust and this takes time. Do not despise the power of integrity.

Make a plan for your freelance business and set goals. Where do you see your freelance business three months from now? Six months from now? A year from now?

Let go of fear. Successful online business people are bold.

Is there a client who owes you money? Don’t feel guilty about emailing and invoicing him or her.

Your time is valuable, and so is the service you provided. Challenge yourself. Take on new projects and get out of your comfort zone.

Feel the fear but do it anyway.

5. Thou shall have prudent financial management

This is yet another freelancing tip.

Freelancers aren’t paid salaries. There are weeks that can be very busy and some that are not as busy. It’s good practice to make a budget and keep track of your expenses.

It doesn’t matter how much you are earning. Start now. It can be as simple as having an excel sheet of money in and money out.

It helps in setting your financial goals and helps you know whether you are on the right track.

If you are earning $1,000 per month, what do you need to do to earn double next month?

Spendthrifts do not succeed in business or in freelancing. Don’t spend all your profits, and capital as well.

Remember to save for a rainy day.

6. Thou shall manage your time effectively.

Master time – don’t let it master you.

But time will definitely master you if you can’t keep your eyes off Facebook and the other social media sites.

Manage your time because time is money and time is precious. Even five minutes wasted is a lot. Don’t believe me? Try doing this for five minutes.

Assuming you have now recovered from that and have managed to pick your exhausted body from the floor, allow me to continue.

One way to master time is to have a things-to-do list.

It is such a morale booster when you finally cross out the three or four things that you had purposed to do for the day.

When you have a things-to-do list, it helps you know what exactly needs to be accomplished because as you well know, if you don’t plan, any road will take you wherever.

If you don’t plan, you’ll be tempted to procrastinate and push the project that is so crucial to your earnings.

7. Thou shalt take rejection with your head high.

Rejection is part and parcel of being a freelancer.

You’ve put your heart and soul into writing an article only for the client to ask for a revision.

Or maybe you’ve created a really cool logo for a client, in one of the freelancing sites only for the client to give you a rating of 4 out of 5.

Rejection is never easy to take and it stings. Learn from the rejection, learn from the negative feedback and keep working.

8. Thou shalt act like a professional.

Always deliver what you have promised.

Promised the client that you would deliver the work in seven hours? That’s awesome. Better yet, deliver it in five. Your client will be so impressed!

Do not be afraid to decline projects that are not of your skill set, if you’re really convinced that you can’t hack it.

Don’t over-promise and then under-deliver.  In my experience, clients respect you for telling them up front if you can’t work on their project.

Forget about the little voice in your head telling you that if you decline it, you’ll lose the client.

Far more clients stay with freelancers that are honest and professional than you might think.

Be polite and courteous even when you don’t agree with your client over something.

Respond promptly to emails and even when a client is super friendly, keep your boundaries. It’s tempting to send your client a gazillion smilies 🙂 and use text speech but it’s not really a show of professionalism.

Over to you – What other freelancing commandments do you keep? And if you enjoyed reading this blog post, don’t forgot to share it!

About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • Hi Sheeroh,
    Thank you for sharing this post today.I have loved the pointers you’ve stated. For me I do like to try and put it as a rule to always exercise.It rejuvenates me for the day.

    Thanks again.

    • Ah. Thou shalt exercise and take care of your physical self. Actually, research shows that it’s harmful to sit for long hours. Good one 🙂

  • I always cherish looking back at the blog where I made my first step into being my own boss. Thank you for the continued advice and support, mama 🙂

  • Your articles surely guide. They have helped me shape my freelance business and grow significantly. Continue with the good work and may God continue to bless you, Sheeroh.

  • Another fantastic read – and I couldn’t agree more. As you said rejection is part of the trade but it can be hard to swallow at times. My formula for dealing with it is taking a holiday/break whenever it comes kinda like making lemonade from lemons.

    • True John. Sometimes rejection is a good thing, especially when you receive constructive criticism. Other times it’s not fair at all. However, we’ve got to hang in there!

  • Great insights Sheeroh as always, I especially like the exercise part I actually have an alarm to start moving. Communication is always key for me and it should go both ways. Thank you Sheeroh for the great read

    • Exercise is so key Betty, bearing in mind that we sit for long hours. And I love your point about communication being two way. I appreciate your comment. Thanks!

  • Awesome stuff to live by. am a freelance trainer/motivational speaker and facilitator. thanks for the constant enrichment and empowerment.

  • Interesting, informative and very candid piece. Commandments Number 3 and 6 are a major problem for many freelancers. I therefore have an additional one I live by. “Thou shall learn to live a life of solitude.” Works at times until the burnout gets to you.

  • That is one wonderful and insightful article. It covers most of the challenges that face Freelancers. The article has helped me to re-evaluate my time management. I really appreciate.

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