5 Irrefutable Freelancing Laws You Should Obey
Freelancing is hard, as it is and you don’t have to make it harder than it already is.
“I wish I knew better”
“You only learn from experience”
“God, How did I not see through this?”
“I didn’t realize it’d turn out to be this way”
Statements like these are common, but you don’t have to go through this if you knew better. As it is for every kind of business, freelancing has some irrefutable laws you should obey.
Note that you don’t have to agree, like, or see the point with these laws. Some of them might make sense to you, and some won’t. In fact, some of these rules could be counter-intuitive to what you know. Yet, these are laws. They exist to make you a happy, rich freelancer.
Here are some of those irrefutable freelancing laws from our experience:
Know what your clients really want
Stop being a “freelancer”, a “vendor”, and a “service provider”. The world has enough of those. Your clients really need problems to their solutions and they are looking for “partners”.
They want you to look in their eye and tell them when they go wrong, or help them with their strategy, or solve their problem for them. They don’t want you to go ad nauseam about your skills, your Behance portfolio, or how many of those 10,000 hours you spent perfecting your art.
Yeah, we have thing for the word “Hustle”, as you can see, our company is also called Peer Hustle.
We love hustle because it’s what makes money. It’s the only thing a business or an individual does that brings in the cash. Everything else you do is to “support” your business.
Hustle is the only thing you do that “gets you business”.
You could be a caricature artist, painter, writer, developer, designer, sports coach, or even a doctor. You’d still have to hustle — every single day.
Never do free work
The web is awash with advice on how and why you should start for free, build up a portfolio, and then start charging clients. We all know how hard it is to do just that.
You have the skills, and the entrepreneurial mojo. There’s no question about the fact that you’d not have thought of freelancing if you didn’t have the requisite skills or at least the hunger and drive to learn on the job.
This alone disqualifies you to do any kind of free work for clients. When you go looking for work, state your price.
Stop doing free samples, free work, and wait for the world to come to you. Instead, experiment with paid trials. Even if it’s a dollar, charge your client that dollar.
Value your skills and time
Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t devalue your own work. It’s one thing to be awesome for clients by doing little things they didn’t even ask for — that’s called “Value Added”.
However, setting yourself up for failure by giving away unlimited revisions, letting go of unpaid invoices, and letting clients get away with “scope creep” are not tolerated.
From the start, work to get deliverables, milestones, and results clear. Set the right expectations with your client and work towards awesomeness.
Cut your losses
If you’ve experienced Clients From Hell, welcome to the club. Sooner or later, you’d end up walking hand in hand with monster clients who’d want you to be on Skype all day long, call you multiple times in day, and expect you to slave for them without even bothering to pay you enough or on time.
There’s only one rule when you deal with clients from hell: fire them.
Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move. Chances are that you’d end up making more money and retaining your sanity without those clients around.
What are some of those irrefutable freelancing laws you abide by?
Originally published at peerhustle.com on July 30, 2015.