What advice do YOU wish you’d been given as a freelancer? Here are 99 tips from our readers

What advice would you give to yourself when you were just starting out as a freelancer? This is the question we asked our readers – and 99 of them shared what they wish they’d known when they started out.

Whether you’re an established freelancer or just starting out, you’ll find a wealth of wisdom and experience in this list.

You may even spot something you think we’ve missed in this roundup! If so please let us know – we’d love to add your experience too.

So here it is – the collective wisdom of 99 female freelancers with advice they wish they’d known when they first started:

  1. Just do it! Working for yourself is hard at times but so worth it for the freedom and autonomy.
  2. Always take the opportunity for professional development, don’t stagnate. Training at all stages of your career is essential.
  3. Be yourself.
  4. It’s not easy but keep plugging and have confidence.
  5. To keep moving forward taking small steps, plan ahead and be consistent. Keep believing in yourself as times will get tough but you will make it through. 
  6. Create a good network of other freelancers to support one another with advice.
  7. Trust in yourself.
  8. Have the confidence to know your worth.
  9. Sales and marketing will take years! Dedicate as much time as you can to it 
  10. Keep going. Make the most of the quiet times and spend them on your business, not in it. Network like crazy, in person and online. Hard work and effort will pay off.
  11. Don’t be afraid to charge higher prices, and don’t give discounts – give a more stripped service for less.
  12. Don’t be afraid of spending some of your ‘survival fund’ on marketing. It is justified – if people don’t know about you or what you do, it’s much harder to bring work in.
  13. Just do it.
  14. Be consistent, meet your daily goals, research, just DO it, learn from your mistakes, don’t give up.
  15. Be positive, believe that you can do it and don’t let anyone tell you any different!
  16. Work out who your audience is and be seen where they are.
  17. To record every working minute down per client to help manage your costs and pricing, and set work-life balance
  18. Invest in learning but invest wisely. I spent a lot of money on not very useful courses before discovering training providers like the Talented Ladies Club. 
  19. Stay up and be hard working. Don’t give up.
  20. That it doesn’t happen overnight. Networking is key (online and offline) and referrals are the best source of business!
  21. Never give up
  22. You will find a lot information. Everyone will tell you that you will need to do everything! Website, emails, SEO, PPC, social media, events and so on. At the beginning either you outsource what you don’t know or focus in one area at a time. 
  23. Don’t try to be perfect on day one – be kind to yourself and remember it’s a start. Don’t expect it to be perfect from outset, freelancing is a skill in itself!
  24. Don’t be afraid to ask your true worth.
  25. Take time to get to know which groups – clients, fellow freelancers etc – suit you best and spend more time nurturing relationships with fewer people, rather than trying to connect to as many people as possible.
  26. Do not give up, the beginning is rough but you will make it. If you do not make enough cash try doing multiple jobs at one time.
  27. As soon as you can afford it, outsource so you can get on with doing what you are good at!
  28. Go big, don’t be afraid to self promote and, most importantly, treat your own business as you would a client’s.
  29. Find a supportive community in your field – don’t try to do everything in a vacuum of self-doubt.
  30. Do it! And don’t wait for everything to be perfect. And remember to go in with a high price as no-one will ever negotiate you up so you set your prices today.
  31. Be flexible with your quote and say you’ll negotiate but set a price in your head that you won’t go below.
  32. Don’t believe the hype! You don’t have to want to build an empire to have a successful business. If the work you get ticks the boxes for money, challenge and time available, that is good enough.
  33. Be organised.
  34. You can the lifestyle you want but work hard and play hard.
  35. Take the time to understand how to market yourself and get yourself noticed.
  36. Find a way in, a connection with someone in the business that has contacts. It’s all about who you know.
  37. Dont overthink things too long, just do it!
  38. Pay minute attention to detail but never forget the bigger picture. 
  39. Ask for help, it’s not a crime to do so and reach out to other freelancers, its a massive source of support as well as advice.
  40. Trust your instincts. People will give you advice and it normally comes from a good place, but it doesn’t mean they are right and you are wrong. Trust that you know what works for you, and that your business will work!
  41. It’s ok to turn down work. Taking on too much doesn’t work.
  42. STICK TO IT!
  43. There will be ups and downs in your freelance career but keep on going. 
  44. Make sure you have your systems in place i.e. finance, insurance. A business plan is not necessary but a cash flow chart is. Then go for it.
  45. Make sure you have at least three months’ cash in the bank as a safety net and then go for it!
  46. Network as much as you can in the sector you want to thrive in.
  47. Get a mentor.
  48. Focus on your end goal – knock backs along the way wont be so deterring. 
  49. Follow your gut, if it feels right then it should be put on the table as a good idea/action.
  50. Do it!
  51. Have strong boundaries.
  52. Just do it! Take the plunge!
  53. Don’t worry about the instability, relish the flexibility.
  54. It takes longer than you may imagine to get going.
  55. Keep your day job until you are sure you can survive on your income from your freelancing activities (at least six months’ consistent income before you leap).
  56. Never discount your services.
  57. Go for it! Maximise your networks as this is most likely where first clients will come from.
  58. Don’t be afraid to aim high!
  59. You have to truly believe in yourself to make this work.
  60. Believe in yourself! Don’t under-price yourself. And make sure you pay someone to do things that aren’t your Expertise, ie tax return / website build etc.
  61. Try and keep clients.
  62. Be really clear what your brand is to avoid overwhelm, have the business you really want, and attract the clients you really want.   
  63. Ask for help where you need it. You don’t have to do it all on your own.
  64. Don’t underestimate the amount of time you spend on your business (the stuff you do that you’re not directly paid for), and always build that into your prices.
  65. Just do it – you’ll struggle for a bit but then it will all fall into place.
  66. You need to master sales! Or get a partner who can help you with this. 
  67. While the prospect seems daunting the autonomy and freedom freelancing gives you is priceless.
  68. Don’t rush into choosing your first web designer. It can hamper the growth of your online business. 
  69. Don’t give up, you will have lots of no’s before you get a yes and you don’t need that many yeses!
  70. Figure out early on how much you really need to earn and find work to fit that. Don’t just go for it without a plan
  71. It takes a lot longer than you think to build your business.
  72. There is room for everyone.
  73. Build relationships.
  74. 1. Work on balance. 2. Feel the fear and do it anyway. 3. Learn about money. 
  75. Go for it!  But be prepared; make sure you learn about running a business before you take on any clients.
  76. Don’t give up and relate more to your community rather than isolating yourself in your art.
  77. Discipline is extremely important. Always ensure that you have a proper plan for all the assignments you are taking up. Do not overload yourself. EVER! And do not give up! (Unless, of course, your heart is elsewhere.)
  78. Know your value and your worth. There is only one of you and be authentic.
  79. It takes time. Nobody becomes an overnight success. People like to work with people that are established particularly in the B2B sector. 
  80. It’s not easy. You have to be 100% committed to your business. Keep learning. Keep going when things get tough. Take time for self care.
  81. Believe in yourself and charge what you’re worth.
  82. Try and choose work and clients you want to work on (within reason) – being able to pick and choose is one of the big advantages of freelancing.
  83. Don’t hide behind just doing the work – the sooner you get your name and face out there the better for you in terms of securing new clients and building trust in your business.
  84. It will take longer than you think.
  85. Write a business plan (even if it is just one page long!) and really define who your clients are before you start marketing.
  86. Sign up to TLC and take advantage of the wealth of information on there as soon as you can! 
  87. Make sure you set up a simple, do-able system for your paperwork needs.  So you know where everything is and what’s coming in and going out when.
  88. Take care of your client relationships. Do a regular evaluation of what you enjoy – and don’t – in those relationships. Walk away from those who just drain you. 
  89. Don’t undervalue yourself or your services. 
  90. Move at your own pace.
  91. Get paid up front or partially upfront, charge your worth and time.
  92. Action is key!
  93. Try and try until you succeed.
  94. Find a group or network you can work with and collaborate with.
  95. There are lots of freelancers out there today. Be very clear on what your USP is and how you can add value to a client.
  96. Find your tribe – keep attending different groups or hanging out at different networking events and forums until you find two or three groups that just work for you. It’s like buying a house – not everyone’s looking for the same thing. So keep looking until it feels right – then you’ll have found your tribe!
  97. Be good with clients and make a little discount to attract more clients.
  98. Write a business plan at the onset to help avoid chaos. 
  99. Believe in yourself, your skills, and your ability to help your clients.

Ready to make freelancing easier?

If you’re serious about making a go of freelancing, and would love help with pricing your services, winning new clients, keeping clients happy, getting paid and feeling confident you’re covered legally, we recommend investing in the Freelance Toolkit.

And to celebrate freelance month, we’re offering the Toolkit at the launch price of just £149. This includes lifetime access to all the templates, videos, advice and tools within it. 

Given the value of the content you get, if you use it properly we fully expect you to make back the cost of the Toolkit and MUCH more very quickly. 

Indeed, if you’re serious about succeeding as a freelancer, this could be one of the most valuable investments you’ll ever make. 

Buy your copy of our Freelancer Toolkit right now for just £149