5 Popular Freelancing Advice You Should Ignore

No matter what niche you are a freelancer in, there are countless tips that are considered gospel. Just as there are popular blogging tips that don’t always work, there are popular freelance tips that don’t always work.

New freelancers begin their careers (if not, they should) with research. They do Google research, research tons of popular freelance blogs to find out what independent best practices are, and have many conversations with established freelancers to start their own independent business.

You will likely get the same advice from all of these sources. Unfortunately, not everything works, no matter how good the advice is. Below are some popular tips for freelancers who make a lot of sense but don’t always work.

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1. Don’t make your bedroom your office

This is the first piece of advice I heard when I started working as a freelancer. Whatever you do, you don’t have your desk in your room. Forget an office, I didn’t even have an office when I started working as a freelancer. I would work in bed or on the dining table. When I got a table a month later, it was put in my room.

5 Popular Freelancing Advice You Should Ignore

The reasoning behind the advice is solid. Working in bed damages your posture and does not guarantee a healthy working environment. After a few hours of work from bed, you just feel like lounging – absolutely unproductive.

At first, many freelancers have neither the means nor the space for a separate home office. The advice is therefore in fact superfluous. It is impossible to follow advice that you cannot afford.

How to make it work for you

If you work in your room, make sure you are upright and have a breakfast table for your laptop. Get up every half hour to avoid feeling tired or lazy.

If you have a desk in your room, try placing it near a window. If you don’t have a window, be sure to adjust the table so your back is facing the bed when you work. Place a real, easy-care plant on your desk and keep it clean. Aesthetics are important when you are tied up in the room.

Avoid working in the bedroom if possible. Choose the dining room or kitchen table instead. It’s closer to coffee!

2. Don’t work for free

New freelancers don’t always have a portfolio. To get one, they need clients to give them work, and to find work, they need to find clients. It’s a malicious chicken and egg. The only way out seems to be to work for free at first – at least for the first customers!

5 Popular Freelancing Advice You Should Ignore

However, according to popular advice for freelancers, you should never work for nothing, as it underestimates your talent and sets a precedent for future pay. What can a freelancer do? How are you going to build your portfolio?

How to make it work for you

Create your own models instead of working for free. Better yet, volunteer with a non-profit organization. Not only will it look good in your CV, but the organization will be eternally grateful to you. If you ask for testimonials, they will provide you with brilliant examples.

3. Always take a deposit

How many of you initially received deposits from customers? Neither do I. In fact, I still don’t do that unless it’s a big project.

Yes, I stiffened once and should ideally pay a deposit before starting to work. But customers don’t always agree, and it really depends on how you do business. Certainly, if you don’t make a deposit, the chances of not getting paid are high. However, it is not always possible to ignore a customer simply because he does not make a first deposit.

5 Popular Freelancing Advice You Should Ignore

For me, this advice only works for large projects. I simply explain to the client why it is a big risk for me to start working when it is a large amount. As a rule, they understand and transfer a deposit of at least 20% or the amount agreed by us.

How to make it work for you

Never submit a finished project. Always remember something. If it’s a design project, place your watermark on it. If it’s a website design / template, send screenshots to them and if it’s a writing project, ask them to pay once approved design.

Whatever you do, you will find a way to put your mark on it or hold something until you get full payment.

4. Have a contract as a freelancer

Every freelance writer, freelance blog and business book that exists says the same thing: Working without a contract is a disaster that invites you to dinner. However, there are countless freelancers who work without contracts. I know because I was one too. Legal Mumbo Jumbo scares the best of us.

5 Popular Freelancing Advice You Should Ignore

As new freelancers, we are excited to start. “What is the point of a contract until I have clients?” you think. And then suddenly you have a client and you’re so excited that you forgot the contract.

Or maybe you are afraid to raise the object of a contract. It makes you uncomfortable to call him when everything seems to be going well. Just because this advice is popular doesn’t mean it isn’t fair. It just doesn’t work with a large percentage of freelancers.

How to make it work for you

Always communicate by email. Even if you spoke to the customer over the phone, send them an email retracing your conversation and ask if you forgot anything. An email exchange may not be a contract, but it’s the best.

If you have any problems, you can always refer to the emails and inform the customer that this has been decided and accepted in relation to the rates, scope and terms of payment. Even better, once all the details have been completed, send your client all the details in an email in which you can understand the whole business.

5. Charge what you’re worth

Freelancers calculate what they are worth or not. Most of the time, this is not the case.

There are many tips on the Internet for charging your costs. We have been told that the type of customers we attract is directly related to our rates – and that’s true.

5 Popular Freelancing Advice You Should Ignore

Unfortunately, it is very rare for new freelancers to know what the quota is in their niche, let alone what it is worth. This knowledge goes hand in hand with time and confidence in your work.

How to make it work for you

If you charge what you’re worth, you can extend it a little. Respect the fees. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to find other freelancers in your niche. Check the websites to see if prices are listed.

Although not all freelancers list their rates, some are sufficient to give you an overview. If you’re still unsure, send an email and ask those who haven’t listed them. Some do not respond because they keep their rates, but there are many freelancers who do.

Online forums are also a good source of information. If there is an independent forum that you visit frequently, check the rates in effect. You are guaranteed to get lots of help!


The good thing about being a freelance writer is that we are adaptable. If something doesn’t work, we work on it or find a way to get the most out of it without being exploited. Have you ever been informed of freelancers who did not work for you?

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