Advice, as Baz Luhrmann puts it in his 1998 track "Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)" is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. But hold on a minute Baz! When distributed from those in the know, good advice can unlock doors in your mind to a better future. 

Whether you’re new to freelancing or been at it for years, there are certain pieces of freelance advice worth bearing in mind and reviewing every once in a while.

In this article, we share seven tips on what it takes to be a successful freelancer.


1. Always use a contract

No matter how small the job, we’d always recommend that you use a contract. A Service Provider Agreement template takes two minutes to edit and can protect you against potential disputes.

You can download the template here.

Oh, and if a client refuses to sign it, that's an immediate red flag.


2. Build a support network

Freelancing is an extremely rewarding way of life. You get to work with amazing clients who align with your interests and values. You also get to contribute to really cool projects that help develop your existing knowledge and skills.

There are times however, when you might want to run an idea or a query past another freelancer, ask them for a recommendation or for some advice that Google isn’t qualified to know.

In an office environment, one can simply turn to their senior colleague sitting beside them. In the freelance world, however, most of us work autonomously and therefore tap into the digital ether for help and support.  

Our own Community forum, for example, offers freelancers a safe space to ask questions, share freelance tips, thoughts and experiences, and receive answers whilst forging connections.

If you’re stuck on something, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

For a softer way to build your network, follow freelancers on the directory or send them a direct In-Mail to say hi.


Woman working outside

3. Create a strong portfolio 

We surveyed hundreds of hiring companies and asked what their main considerations were when choosing a freelancer. Top of the list was ‘the quality of a portfolio’. As a freelancer, it’s really important to keep your portfolio up to date with your best work.

Clients want to onboard freelancers who can add real value to their brand. They are looking for someone with a creative spark who sees things a little differently.

If the content in your portfolio looks generic and stale, you won’t be considered. Simple as.

Now, if you’re quite new to freelancing, the idea of creating a portfolio might be a bit daunting.

But here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be.

Our aim is to make freelancing accessible to everyone. You don’t need to spend a small fortune setting up a personal portfolio site. Instead, we’ve made it really easy (and free) for freelancers to build up their own portfolio on our platform.

Collaborate with freelance members from around the world to produce incredible work for your portfolio. Feel free to give it a go here.


4. Know your worth 

 “We’ll give you exposure in our magazine if you do this shoot for free.”

 “If this small job goes well, I might consider you for paid work in future.”

 “I won’t pay you as you’re just out of college, but I can give you a bit of work to gain some experience.”

Never (ever!) accept unpaid offers like these.

If you deliver a professional service , you should be properly compensated. There’s no two ways about it. 

To avoid ambiguity or potential disputes down the line, we always advise freelancers to agree a rate with a client before starting a job.

Not sure what you should be charging? We’ve put together heaps of nuanced pricing articles in a range of sectors to help freelancers better understand their worth.


5. Tailoring job proposals

Repeat after me: Copy and pasting proposals is not an effective way to land new clients.

Look, we all know how tempting it is to use the same few paragraphs to apply for numerous jobs and crack on with the rest of our day. We’ve all been guilty of doing it at one time or another.

But, let’s be honest, it never bodes well for any of us. Clients look for details in job proposals that are relevant to their specific needs and clearly highlight how a freelancer can fill their specific skills gap.

If you’re not quite sure how to tailor your job proposal, we’ve got lots of resources that can help! From master classes to articles, we highlight the key ingredients you need to ensure that your proposal stands out from the crowd. 


6. Promote your services

Don’t underestimate the power of this piece of freelance advice!

You’ve got skills, you’ve got experience and you’re open for work – don’t wait for the perfect clients to appear, go out and find them!

Social media is a great way for freelancers to increase their profiles and generate leads. Post engaging content on the right platforms and you’ll be off to a great start. 

Which platform should I use? How often should I post?

We often get questions like this from freelancers, so we recently hosted a masterclass with the CEO of digital marketing agency 24fingers now available to premium members on our Academy.


7. Get your finances in order

Money. The subject most freelancers hate talking about. 

We know how daunting the finance side of things can be for many freelancers, especially in the current climate.

But here’s the thing - money matters for freelancers, as does future planning. So, we’d highly recommend that you don’t overlook this piece of freelance advice.

To help freelancers get the new year off to a productive start, we recently sat down with Tom Goodwin, Financial Specialist at SJP, who gave us a low down on saving for the future, investments, grants, and securing your financial future as a freelancer.

You can check out Tom’s masterclass here.


Freelancers are constantly seeking clear guidance and advice on how to work effectively within the tricky parameters presented by Covid-19.

The freelance tips in this article are a good starting point for freelancers looking to land new clients, raise their profile, connect and collaborate with fellow freelancers and more. There are also hundreds of articles, guides, videos and other resources available on our site that offer freelancers valuable support in a wide range of areas.

Freelancer Club’s primary aim is to help freelancers and, let’s be honest, we could all use a helping hand right now.

You may like: How to Write a Winning Job Proposal on Freelancer Club