There’s more than one way to earn money. Nowadays, in this climate, people all around the world have started to re-evaluate how they prefer to work, what conditions are right for them, or whether they’d like to be their own bosses or not.

That is why recent years have seen a marked change in the job market, as freelancers have grown legion among professionals in the U.S. In fact, according to MBO Partners, the number of freelancers in 2021 reached a whopping 51 million.

This is precisely why we’d like to give everyone wishing to join the trend 10 amazing tips to get their careers going.

Always work with a contract

You’d think that people became freelancers to avoid unnecessary paperwork, streamline their job and work on their own terms. That is certainly one of the reasons why freelancing is nowadays such a popular choice, but there are other matters to consider.

Ideally, you would always push for a contract so that the terms and conditions of your work are clear and there’s no uncertainty over the payment. After all, a contract is not only made for your clients’ benefit but also yours. Fees, deadlines, or cancellation procedures are all matters that should find their way into your contract. They will solidify the arrangement between you and your client, ensure you get paid the right amount, and avoid any problems with the law.

Establish an effective work schedule

If you wish to be perceived as a professional and reap the benefits of a good reputation, you must put some effort into establishing an effective work schedule. If done right, a well-scheduled work plan is what will make you stand out from the millions of other freelancers who sit on Fiverr, desperately hoping someone would one day enlist their services.

A well-put schedule will mean you will be able to meet every important deadline, and you’ll be able to retain a healthy work-life balance. After all, every job comes with the risk of burnout, and when you’re your own boss and not used to thoroughly planning your work, this is precisely what might be in store for you. Be careful.

Become an expert

You want to learn everything there is to learn about your niche. The more knowledge you possess and the more confident you are when talking about your line of work, the greater your chances of being noticed.

As a copywriter, for example, you might be tempted to have a reputation as an all-round, competent writer, able to deliver a decent copy no matter the category. Focusing on one niche, however, is what’s more likely to lead to finding long-term clients. If you’re an expert in your line of work, don’t be afraid to spread your knowledge and talk to everyone willing to listen. It’s an easy way to build meaningful relationships and connections that will, in turn, lead to success.

Maintain a well-designed portfolio

Before someone decides to use your services, they will almost certainly want to know more about you. Just like you’d have to go through a recruitment process in a regular job, your potential employer will also want to get to know you better. That is why you must provide them with a portfolio that will convince them you’re the perfect fit for the job

Use your connections or find websites that will help you build a portfolio that will leave potential employers with no doubt whether they should seek your expertise. You want to keep the portfolio clean and neat, welcoming everyone willing to read. 

Don’t forget to update it often, as well as to include a professional photo. You’d be surprised how often people judge a book by its cover.

Know your worth

It might be tempting for someone who’s barely started freelancing to undersell their services. You’d think that offering lower fees will directly affect the number of clients you’ll attract. Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple. What might come off as a logical and natural way of the market doesn’t actually work.

Think back to the last time you were searching for something to buy on the internet. Do lower prices entice you to choose one offer over the other? Sometimes, yes, but on other occasions, you must ask yourself why the price is so low. Is something wrong with the product? Perhaps the seller is hiding something?

It is precisely the same with employers looking for freelancers to hire. Very often, they know the regular fee of what they’ll be looking for, and your lower price is more likely to discourage them rather than lead them to your metaphorical doorstep. In short, know your price and don’t try to attract clients with an oddly low cost. It rarely works.

Go after clients instead of waiting for them

One of the greatest tips I can give is that you should never assume creating an account on a freelancer website will be enough to find gigs. You want to pursue jobs that might be the perfect fit, so you ought to join websites such as Upwork, where employers add offers for freelancers like yourself.

Be proactive and register accounts on more similar websites to ensure you’re never far from another gig after you’ve just closed the most recent. Apart from Upwork, consider such websites as WeWorkRemotely, Toptal, or SimplyHired. 

Be a vocal worker

When you have a contract and are just about to start a project, remember that it is always better to be vocal and communicate with your client. You want them to know you’re available and dedicated enough to put effort into making sure the final product meets the expectations. On Fiverr, for instance, communication is one of the most important review categories.

Provide your clients with regular updates on your work and don’t be afraid to ask questions or contact them should any problems arise. A good trick you should definitely adopt is to send a personalized email thanking the client for the cooperation. 

Ask for referrals

There’s no point in being shy and disappearing from your client’s life after you’ve finished the project and said goodbye. When you’ve fulfilled your end of the contract, go ahead and ask for referrals. If the client is satisfied with your work, chances are they will keep you in mind and mention your services to their contact networks. 

Things is, you don’t want just a chance for a referral. If you ask a client outright whether they’d be kind enough to mention the good work you’ve done to their friends and colleagues, they’re far more likely to do so. 

The best way to ask for a referral would be in a “Thank You” email. Choose your words right, not to sound too needy, and perhaps you’ll hit the jackpot.

Set up a LinkedIn account

Now more than ever, your online presence directly affects your hireability. That is why, apart from signing up on freelance job websites, you must also invest your time into creating an attractive LinkedIn account.

Firstly, LinkedIn is one of the most active job market websites, a metaphorical goldmine for a freelancer. You want to show everyone your skillset, abilities, and accomplishments. LinkedIn is the best place to document your professional achievements and competencies.

Secondly, LinkedIn offers a very useful feature of displaying your account in different languages. Set up a profile that will be available in your native tongue and any other you’re comfortable with, and voilà. You’ve just increased the chances you’ll find a perfect gig immeasurably.

Don’t forget about a good photo on LinkedIn. It’s more important than you think.

Get used to rejections

If there’s any constant in the freelance job market, it’s a lack of stability. As you get the hang of it, you will no doubt, sooner or later, find yourself in a situation when you’re handling several projects all at the same time.

Your potential clients might decide in the early stages that you aren’t what they’re searching for, or the client might even change mid-project. Their budget might go down, or the company makes a decision that you’re no longer needed – that’s also possible.

You will inevitably hear the word “No,” and you must be ready to brush it off and keep grinding. Hard work. Quality products will always defend themselves in the end, which is why you shouldn’t be bothered by rejections. Do your thing, work hard, and yesterday’s rejections will turn into future gigs.