Freelancing Tactics

Published on Apr 3, 2024

Wanted to share some thoughts on lessons learned from doing freelance for the past few years. Several of these are lessons I’ve learned the hard way - which is sometimes the only way to learn a lesson.

Before Starting Work

  • Always get a contract signed - this protects both you and the client.
  • Make sure to add in a clause to any contracts to late fees for your invoices. If a client is late to paying an invoice, add a late fee as some percentage of the amount owed.
  • If doing project-based work, make sure it is very clearly defined in scope. There should be no ambiguity between either party on what the scope of the work to be completed is.
    • If all parties act in good faith, and a project evolves in scope out of unforeseen necessities, you should communicate with them about the additional work required.
  • Your time is valuable, and you should treat it as such.

Communication and Expectations

  • Over communicate; especially if you’re working fully remote
  • Depending on the specific nature or engagement, having weekly check-in for status updates with whomever is the directly responsible individual of your client is a good idea.
  • If a project is not working out for whatever reason, find a way to wrap your work gracefully and give your notice.
  • Document what you do
    • Notes
    • Screenshots
    • Screen recordings
    • These are helpful both for your own records, and also as material for writing progress reports. I usually write some kind of progress report after certain milestones are hit and send them to the client.

Taxes and Finance

  • Set aside enough money for taxes. Self-employed individuals have to file taxes quarterly; so be sure to have enough set aside for when these roll around.

  • Keep track of your expenses. Even small ones can add up after a while, and can help minimize your tax bill.

    • Transportation
    • Coffee / meal meetings
    • Software
    • Phone/computer/other equipment
    • Rent (if you work from home, you can deduct part of your space)
    • Domain names
    • WiFi
    • Continuing education expenses
      • Books
      • Classes
      • Workshops