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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Freelancing Tips Every Beginner Should Know

Hello, freelance life.

I started freelancing in January of this year because I needed money. I know I could have gotten a "real job" to satisfy that need, but freelancing just gave me more freedom and fluidity.

But honestly, I just wanted something to fill my wallet. So far, freelancing has been incredible, but with its many benefits, there have been a lot of downsides to it, too. So for anyone who wants to join the freelancing life, here are a few things you should know before applying for your first online gig:

BRING YOUR LAPTOP EVERYWHERE

 I can't stress how important this is. Many times, I've experienced receiving a message from my client while I was out doing errands, and once while I was even watching a movie. Sometimes, your client will want you to work on something urgently or make some changes to your work. I remember getting a message from my client who wanted me to submit a full one-thousand word essay in three hours... and I had nothing to write on. No laptop. No iPad. I ended up typing super fast on my phone (which is really hard, by the way) just so I could submit it on time. As a freelancer, your laptop is your companion, your lover, your best friend. If possible, invest in a lightweight laptop like the Macbook Air


GET A PAYPAL ACCOUNT

Typically, your client will either pay you directly through your bank account or through PayPal. For websites that cater to freelancers (also known as where you can get jobs) such as Freelancer and Upwork, you can send invoices to your client, which they will have to pay through their preferred mode. Usually, clients pay through PayPal because it's safe and convenient. If you don't have a PayPal account yet, be sure to make one. Freelancers are more likely to be hired if they have a PayPal account.


UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A LANGUAGE BARRIER


Unless you make sure that your client is a native English speaker, you'll have to deal with the language barrier. Some clients will instruct you using a sentence structure that's very different from yours. This is understandable; different countries phrase and word their sentences differently. Just be ready to put a bit more effort into understanding what they could mean. You can always ask them to expound if you're having trouble getting their instructions. 

In addition, some clients may sound too frank and hurtful when talking to you. Just keep an open mind and know that we all have different cultures. What sounds harsh to you may sound neutral to them. 


MAKE YOUR PORTFOLIO STAND OUT

The truth is that it's going to take you a long time to find an online job. Why? Because there are so many people looking for jobs online. Most clients hire freelancers who have outstanding portfolios and reviews. If you're just starting out, you'll have zero reviews from past employers, so the only thing you can rely on now is your portfolio. Make sure to list everything (yes, everything) to make your profile look impressive. Showcase all of your achievements. Use the best profile picture. Sell yourself.


BE PREPARED TO WORK DIFFERENT TIMEZONES

I have worked for three clients at once. They were all from different countries, so I had to adjust my own schedule just to accommodate all of them. The trick here is to find clients with schedules that you can work around -- because hey, you still need sleep. Just be prepared to work longer nights and wake up a bit earlier. If you aren't cool with working around their timezones, you could always limit your number of clients so that you still have time for yourself. It really depends on how much you want to earn.


FIND A CLIENT THAT LETS YOU HAVE WEEKENDS OFF

I once had a client who made me work seven days a week, and let me tell you, it was the absolute worst. I had no time left for myself. I couldn't even hang out with friends during the weekend because I was overloaded with work. Sometimes, when I was desperate for socialization, I had to wake up at dawn just to finish the entire day's tasks in just a few hours, so that I could spend the rest of the day with friends. A good client will allow you to rest during the weekend. If possible, when applying for a job, ask your client if you're expected to work during the weekends. If you are, you can demand higher pay or a flexible work schedule.

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