Don’t accept your first freelance job too quickly!

By Anna Krol


I didn’t really plan to be a freelancer. Always thought it is a job-style solely for programmers or graphic designers. After quitting my 9–5 job, I started to look for a way to be more flexible and location-free because I simply wanted to be closer to my boyfriend who had his own business (reading: working 7 days a week 20 hours a day). I had a several short internships as a social media assistant back in the days so I decided to train myself to become a digital marketer and virtual assistant. Luckily I discover Upwork platform very quickly.

As you probably know, to start freelance, you need to have a skill you can offer to your potential client but the biggest challenge is to get this first client. After that it is usually easier to pitch for more jobs. The problem usually appears in the first months as a freelancer. Frustration, disappointment and helplessness.. how to attract them? More courses, better profile, lower hourly wage? Maybe all of them? And then suddenly.. YES!!! Your first interview invitation! And here you need to stop and learn from my mistake.

When I got my first job on Upwork, I briefly exchanged some information with my future client and almost immediately accepted his contract. I haven’t spoken to him much, no phone, no Skype call, no details. I was so excited that I got my new job that I completely forgot to think if I really wanted to work with this person. The truth is that I simply didn’t know what are the next steps while getting a new client. I learnt it the hard way. The client gave me a couple of tasks but after that he was not responsive at all. I asked many questions and tried to contact him. Eventually I delivered what I thought was correct. The client received my work and immediately closed the job on Upwork telling me that everything was incorrect and he was disappointed so he didn’t want to work with me. I didn’t even have time to put my working hours on Upwork so according to the success score calculation onUpwork my overall success score would be negatively affected as I hadn’t worked any hours before the client closed the job. Not good!

To be a smart freelancer you need to know that one of the most important thing is to work for the best clients. Of course, sometimes we have limited opportunities to learn that, true. However, the very first thing you need to do is to organise a Skype or phone call to feel if that person is nice to work with. Most of the time we really can trust our intuition. You need to ask what are his business goals, what is his work-style, business ethics and what communication tools does he use. You need to clearly understand what are your tasks and you should ask as many questions as you need before you start your new contract. These are the first steps in getting a great freelance work experience.

If you want to read more about the qualities of good clients, click the link below:

Let me know about your experiences with your first clients!




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