How To Be A Successful Freelancer 101

Successful freelancer
Photo by Felix_Broennimann

One of the best benefits of freelancing is the relief that comes after you quit your stressful 9 to 5 job. Still, making a living of freelance gigs is not as easy as most people think. In addition to doing the actual work, you also need to search for promising ads and offers, as well as present yourself in the right way to future employers.

On freelance marketplaces, most employers will ask for a cover letter and a sample of your previous work before hiring you. Some platforms also have a highly dynamic bid system, which requires a successful freelancer to follow the process and try to outbid their competition. In the end, not all freelance jobs are paid in the same way; different employers prefer different payment channels.

If you are facing some of these problems, you will probably find this guide very helpful. Here we have deconstructed some of the biggest issues freelance professionals are facing. Read on for some helpful tips that will help you put your freelancing career on the right track and capitalize your unique skills and knowledge on the open market.

Be open for different types of freelance arrangements

If you’ve just quit your corporate job and decided to be a successful freelancer, you shouldn’t only focus on your dream job and core skills. Now the existence of your family depends on your ability to find gigs, so try to find work on many different freelance platforms. You can also be open for various types of work. For example, filling out paid surveys online can provide you with the initial income that will later help you become a successful freelancer.

Make your cover letters unique

The same as with regular employment, cover letters are very important for convincing the employer that you are the right candidate for the job. Many people create one universal cover letter and use it for all job applications. This way, you’ll only get the lowest paying jobs. More serious employers who want to go steady with freelancers after some time, always ask for unique cover letters. That’s why you need to write a letter that perfectly relates to the job posting and the expertise the employer is looking for.

Use cover letter templates

Writing a unique cover letter for every ad can be tiresome and time-consuming. That’s why you should create a template with the most basic information that you use for every gig. It can include your contact info, greetings, and the data about your education and work experience. When you find an interesting job posting, just write one or two short paragraphs that will emphasize the skills and knowledge the employer is looking for and add it to the template. Using cover letter templates can make your job search much easier.

Always try to find steady clients

Let’s be honest, platforms like Upwork and Freelancer are great for finding freelance gigs, but they charge huge rates. Upwork sometimes takes as much as 20% of your earnings, especially if you do short gigs for different clients. For some freelance professionals, this is the only way they can function. Logo designers, for example, can work for hundreds of clients per year and spend thousands of dollars on freelance platform fees. That’s why you should try to create a steady relationship with your clients and offer your services at a discount rate if they agree to meet and work outside of the platform.

Sign a contract for bigger jobs

If your client agrees to hire you on a regular basis, you should sign a contract that will guarantee your rights. This could be a general agreement that covers the most basic terms associated with the freelance work, like copyright, payment terms, sharing personal information, and terminating the services in case one or both sides aren’t satisfied.

Ask for a down payment

If you’ve found a job outside the most popular freelance market platforms, you should always ask for a down payment before starting to work on a project. Many freelancers get stiffed by their clients, even after providing hours and days of dedicated expert work. That’s why you should always ask at least 50% of the agreed sum upfront. The other 50% should be paid before you send the finished workable files to your client. This way, you’ll make sure that irresponsible employers won’t scam you and that the agreed sum will be paid on time.

Freelancing is a promising career choice. You are your own boss now, so don’t be scared to say no to clients who underestimate your value and expertise. Also, make sure that you use your extra free time for upgrading your skills and expanding your knowledge. That way you’ll be able to offer better services to clients and earn more money. Freelancing is similar to entrepreneurship, and if you invest your funds in the right training and courses, you can expect a great ROI.

What is your most important advice to become a successful freelancer?
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Alex Williams
Alex Williams

My name is Alex Williams. I am a journalist graduate and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog.


  1. Hi, I agree that Upwork and Freelancer are great for finding freelance gigs, and having worked with them previously, I know that we frown upon and may take action if you work with client you found on their platform. I also found that as a a freelancer and now as someone who hires people on Upwork and Freelancer, they actually protect freelancers and Clients / Agencies like mine, in more ways than one and I don’t mind paying more for a qualified person. And if needed, I can file a dispute for Fixed-Price Escrow, hours billed, and even feedback from either party. All in all, they protect me and my business interests and I trust them.

  2. Great post, Alex! I like that you put up front the fact that it won’t be easy. Nothing in life is, right? However, if it’s a passion, it will at least be fun. Plus, I think almost anything you do in terms of creating freedom and giving up the life of 9 to 5 will be much less stressful if that makes sense.

    Look forward to learning more from you, will gladly share your post with my audience 🙂

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