24 Freelancing Tips

Here 24 tips for freelancing.

  1. Keep regular working hours: I also do the same thing every morning – read the overnight e-mail and blog. This gets my day off to a good start knowing I got the required blogging out of the way.
  2. Kill the instant messengers at once: Not for me. I need to keep IM open for my family. I turn on the away if I don’t want to be interrupted. Remember the person can’t see you, so if you don’t respond — don’t feel guilty. You’re working.
  3. Be realistic rather than optimistic: I have a bad habit of being pessimistic thinking the client hates anything I submit.
  4. Always get at least 25% in advance: Common practice, but I don’t always do this. I’ve rarely had problems with getting paid.
  5. No acronyms
  6. Be ready to be alone: I enjoy the silence. It drives me nuts when the kids are home because of a holiday or whatever reason. If I need company, I’ll email a friend or chat in IM. I also have a weekly game with friends and play tennis.
  7. Smoking and food: We all know smoking is bad, so I am not going to preach.
  8. Be ready to fail: I worked as a freelancer on the side for five years before going full-time. Thank goodness. There was a time early (dot com blah) on when I thought freelancing was not going to work out. I decided to give it one more chance, e-mailed a bunch of friends and colleagues, and revived my business.
  9. Clean up your communications: This says to never use IM to contact clients. Maybe if I weren’t deaf, I’d agree — but the relay is worse than IM. I give my clients a choice (along with an explanation of the relay).
  10. Be ready to face a bad attitude: I’ve been blessed that I’ve been able to address any problems head-on and move on. It’s easier than dealing with problems in the corporate world.
  11. Plan ahead: I don’t get carried away with planning. Mainly, I just keep looking for new opportunities and not take my current ones for granted.
  12. Always keep crabs in your pockets (a Greek expression meaning someone is hard on spending)
  13. Don’t rest on your computer: I almost always take a break so my eyes can recover from monitoritis. Usually, I’ll do laundry (hey, at least, I can spend time with family when they get home) and exercise.
  14. Isolate gaming: I do exactly this even though playing games and writing reviews is in my job description. I use a different computer for games instead of my main computer.
  15. Organize yourself: Palm Desktop and Tungsten T3 keep me organized. I pick two or three things to check off for the day and get those done. If I don’t do that, then I’ll feel disorganized and that I can’t get anything done.
  16. Disaster recovery plan: I’ve got a backup drive (separate from my computer) that holds all of my work. I back up regularly. I need to find a way to backup somewhere outside of my location, however.
  17. Don’t use headphones: My urge to listen to music happens in spurts. I don’t have a problem working with headphones and now have a speaker for my MP3 player. Maybe it’s different for me as someone who is deaf.
  18. Apply ergonomics: Definitely. Aeron chair and footrest.
  19. Separate your R from your D: Not an issue in my business. When I write about something that needs research, I do it when I work on the assignment.
  20. Don’t be afraid to spend on software: Amen. I even upgraded Quickbooks and boy, did that make a difference!
  21. Don’t outsource everything: I don’t outsource anything. If I can’t handle the work (because of my load and time), I turn it down or refer to someone else.
  22. S.W.O.T.
  23. Stop reading “Best freelancer tips” articles or just GTD: Aw, shucks, too late.
  24. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t do all of the above. Picking up new habits takes time.

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