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Survival Tips for Freelancers in the Tech World

Beginner strategies for new freelancers and remote working

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As a remote worker, you might discover there’s a whole other side to the world of online work: freelancing. Freelancing is a big part of every industry. In fact, the need for remote workers and freelancers exploded after the COVID-19 pandemic set it.

Freelancing is different, however. As a remote worker, you still do a job for a business and work for said business. You’re part of their staff. Freelancing is more like you work with a company. It has some ups and downs. Freedom and control, but not with the same benefits.

But freelancing also carries another significant distinction: you’re responsible for working with clients to get the position/contract. In some cases, they come to you, based on reputation. But for newer freelancers (of which I imagine there are now many), you’ve got to do the digital footwork.

And that’s why I want to hand over some personal experiences and tips to help your venture to freelance go as smoothly as possible.

Key things to remember in freelancing

Freelancing, these days, is a pretty well-kept operation when you go through the right platforms. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t those willing to exploit new freelancers, scam them, or otherwise provide them pretty rotten deals. Your time and money are valuable, always remember that. While it’s important to scale your pricing tiers with your skillset, never undersell yourself, no matter the industry.

Avoid low-paying content mills

If you work with a type of media or produce a type of content for a particular industry, avoid “mills.” A mill is usually a third-party company promising an abundance of work but at extremely low rates. They’re not worth the time because they overload you with work, have requirements that don’t match the pricetag, and have poor communication.

Be wary of clients with limited or no communication

Communication is everything. Therefore, if a client is scarce on the details or isn’t specific, be mindful. It’s important a client is clear about their expectations, because if you don’t know what they want, how can you deliver on their project?

NEVER provide free samples of work

What I mean by this is do not work for free. If a client wants samples of your work, provide an example of a previous job (if available). If you don’t have a sample, explain your skillset. But if any job or client requests you provide a measure of work for free, that’s a huge red flag.

Watch out for those strangely high-pay offers with limited experienced needed

Ever been approached in the job market for a “management” position or other high-paying gigs even though your experience is limited? In freelancing, same philosophy. When you’re new, finding high-paying gigs can feel amazing, but, you need to make sure it’s legitimate. It’s a rarity, but some clients promise high pay for content, get said content, and then never pay the bill.

Make sure you’re hired for what you signed up for

Flexibility is good to have in the freelancing world, but if you were hired for a specific project and job, stick to that. It isn’t fair to you if after hiring the client asks you to perform a task that’s completely unrelated to your skillset.

Example: You were hired to help build a simple app for a company. After hiring, however, you’re somehow shuffled into customer support.

And finally. . .

Be patient

Freelancing is a struggle sometimes because it can feel frustrating to find new clients. Do you lower your prices? Do you start undercutting yourself for work? How long should you wait? But, it’s okay, freelancing is sometimes unpredictable. Take a breath and give yourself some time. It can take a while to find clients and build a reputation, but once you do, you’ll discover an exciting new momentum.

I hope this handful of tips help any up-and-coming freelancer. The great thing is it can apply to any industry since freelancing is a flexible market sphere. And the best part is, freelancing allows you to meet a lot of people and join up with great companies. It’s how I ended up writing for Bytagig!

-Douglas James

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