If you are a new freelancer who is trying to establish a career in this fast growing environment, you are extremely lucky. There are so many sources of information as well as other freelancers who have the experience and willingness to help. You just need to know where to look and be willing to make an effort to learn.
When I started my freelancing career, it was more of a trial and error process. I spent most of my first few months reading articles about being a freelancer, researching and making the usual rookie mistakes.
Nowadays, you no longer have to walk the long road blindly. Yes, you do have to read and study the field you are trying to break into, but you can avoid committing errors that may cost you not only time and money but valuable clients as well.
Even if you are diligent in seeking information, there will always be questions that will arise as you begin a freelancing career. Maybe you are confused on how a contract works or you don’t exactly know how to deal with certain clients, especially the ones who think that freelancers should be paid and valued less. You will also need to study how to file taxes, bill your clients, methods of payment that they can use and a whole lot more that we did not learn while working in an office environment.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are forums, Facebook groups, the knowledge base, chat or email support of the platform you are using (if you have one, such as Upwork), and maybe other freelancers in your area.
The key to getting the help that you need is to lay the groundwork first. What is it, you may ask? Make sure you have already tried to search for the answer before you even think of asking someone else to do the job.
Here are some tips to help you out:
Do your research
Freelancing means you do majority of the work by yourself. You can ask for help but people will know if you’ve made an effort to dig a little and unearth the answers that you are seeking. Nobody likes a person who ask for something that can be found right under your nose. Don’t ask general or vague questions, but rather, be specific on what you’ve already done and what you still need.
Do not begin your request with a complaint.
I have seen a lot of queries where the person posting it sounds like they are whining about every little thing, including not getting what they want, when they want it. This will not encourage others to assist you and you may even get bashed online. Seasoned freelancers already feel that newbies have it easy, so don’t give them a reason not to lend a helping hand.
Show a little gratitude
Understand that people are not under an obligation to answer your questions and if they were able to help, learn to say thank you, even to those who provided answers you don’t really need at the moment. File the information somewhere as you may be able to use it in the future.
Ditch the attitude
Forums and FB groups have different types of people and they react in different ways. Don’t spend your precious time answering the ones who are leading you to a different path. There is no sense arguing with them on who is right or wrong. Even if you are right, the fact that you’re asking for help means you don’t know everything there is to know on the subject. Always remember that in life, reality is different from expectations.
Pay it forward
This is one of the most important things to remember. If you know how to take, you should also be able to give. There will be others like you who will need help in launching their freelancing careers. Please do not forget that you were once in the same situation and do your best to help out.