To start off, I’d like to say that I’ve been working from home as a freelancer for about 7 years now. And every time I think I’ve seen it all, there comes a client that surprises me. And that could easily be the first thing you should know – the freelance world is so weird, that sometimes you’ll regret not having a regular job.
But dealing with people offline was never my cup of tea. Or should I say coffee, because I can’t live without it. The mere thought of having to spend time somewhere, whether it’s an office or fieldwork, crept up on me, and when I figured out that the Internet can be my source of income, I’ve decided to ride the waves of working from home and searching for freelance work.
To make my story short – it was somewhere around 2013 that I landed my first gig on Freelancer. I was paid $1. Read that again – one dollar. But I knew that if there’s one, there can be thousands, so I continued. My first working from home job was data entry – finding surf stores in California and entering them into Excel. Pretty boring. Then I decided I’ll start writing. I still remember when a client asked me if my articles will be Copyscape checked. I totally answered with “What’s a Copyscape?” Naturally, I never heard from them again. I missed earning $5 that day.
These tips and tricks come from real experience, not any other blog post or Forbs’ article. Real deal. And this makes lesson number 1 –
Google is Your Friend
If a client asks you something, you google it! Don’t ask the client back! You need to showcase you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Which brings me to lesson number 2 –
In Freelance Work, First Say YES Then Learn how to do it
Why? First of all, you got nothing to lose. If you openly deny a job opportunity, you will never get out of your comfort zone, plus you lose a client. When you say yes, you will need to learn the skill to provide a service to your client. Guess what – if you fail, you lose a client NEVERTHELESS. It doesn’t hurt to try.
Lesson 3 –
Don’t Fork for Feedback
Many clients out there will ask you to do your work for feedback for FREE. Do not accept FREE work. That’s not what the FREElance part means in freelancer! Charge a smaller price if you have to get your first feedback, but charge it anyway. Which brings me to feedback.
Lesson 4 –
Feedback is Important for Your Future Clients
One day you will leave the freelancing platforms when a couple of clients come to pick you up in-house, but until then feedback on your freelance profile is essential. Try to maintain it and do your best to listen to your clients.
Lesson 5 –
Some Clients are Assholes
You don’t need to work for people who put you down. There’s always another client out there who will love to have you, and no matter how desperate you are, you can and should deny idiots. Also know that idiots have a higher chance of leaving you bad feedback, even if you didn’t deserve it.
Lesson 6 –
I could write a whole book about these, but I’ll let two examples lead the way. Of course, you’ll probably face another type of freeloaders and it’s up to you and your reason to decide whether or not they’re trying to get you to work for free. Anyway, if I remember correctly, both of these situations happened on Elance (yes, I’ve been in freelancing since Elance haha)
A client contacts me to ask me about my writing. I send in some samples and then the convo starts. Do I mind writing about sensitive topics – sexual kind, can I write good dialogue, and eventually can I help him write a short story. Of course, as a freelancer, I give many chances to my clients to prove whether they’re assholes or not. I said that yes, of course, I can help. Then he goes, “Can you do live writing?” I’m like, “What do you mean?” and he’s like “We talk and you write on Skype while I watch. I’ll pay once we’re done.” I was done at that point.
The guy wanted a nice sexy little ROLEPLAY. Example No. 2:
I believe this is the client that cost me my Elance account, although their bots are known for closing people’s accounts. This one wanted 2 free samples of the product description. I said yes, as I always do, so he prompts me to write them and post them on Google Drive (or whatever it was called back then). I do two great product descriptions of his stupid vintage closets, he says those were great, and then he disappeared. I figured he’s setting up an escrow, but some gut feeling told me he was a scammer. I asked him a few times if we’re starting, to which he eventually responded that he’s not interested in my work.
Well, since he wasn’t interested, I went in and deleted what I wrote, so that he couldn’t use it. And I believe he has reported me, but anyway, a huge thanks to him, ‘cause I wouldn’t be where I am right now!
I’ve mentioned escrow. Lesson 7 –
Escrow and Payments
Do not, ever, accept work until there’s an escrow set up. It protects both you and the client. Read about it on the platform where you’ll make your account because every platform differs. Do not start until escrow is funded!
- If you have to remind your client to start working, he probably already gave up/doesn’t want you
- Learn to meet clients half-way to avoid issues, most are very reasonable
- Be polite, even if you’d want to argue in messages – if you end up in a problem, you’ll look good in support’s eyes
- Ignore job offers you don’t like – chances are you won’t do well
- Base your price on how much you think is normal
- There’s a buyer for every product – there will be a client for your services too
- If a client offers to take you off-platform – research his company, reviews and products to see what people/employees think
Summary of Tips and Tricks for Freelance Work While Working From Home
I hope the situations that I’ve been through can help you learn. Working from home is great, and even if it might seem tiresome sometimes, you’ll learn to love it. Some periods will be dry at the start of your freelance career, but soon enough you may find yourself landing too many clients. Weird, but it’s true.
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