21 Tips for First-Time Freelancers


The number of first-time freelancers is on the rise. An increasing number are realising the benefits of being their own boss and having a flexible work schedule.

Are you still considering a move into the freelance world? Maybe you’ve already started freelancing but want to make sure that you’ve not missed anything that could boost your success. Read on to discover our 21 top tips for first-time freelancers.

1 - Understand your target market

Before you can start to find freelance work, you need to make sure you know who your potential clients will be. Understanding your prospective client base will help you to plan your pricing structure, implement your marketing strategy and focus your time and energy.

2 - Be flexible

When you set up as a solopreneur, you might have a fixed view on how you will be running your micro-business. Our advice is to be as flexible as possible at the beginning. Services that you thought would be wildly popular may turn out to be duds, whereas others might be surprisingly in demand.

3 - Be clear on costs

Make sure you have a clear idea about your costs and pricing structure. Will you be charging on an hourly or project basis? Do your market research to ensure that you are in line with your competitors.

4 - Get compliant

Going freelance is a huge step so don’t make things harder in the future by skipping important steps at the start. Whether you’re setting up as a sole trader or a business, make sure you are registered with the correct governing bodies.

5 - Build a website

Having a website provides an invaluable window into your business. You can build your own using simple templates from sites like Wix or Squarespace.

6 - Make a good first impression

Having well-presented and engaging social media accounts is a must. It’s likely to be one of the first things that your potential clients will look at.

7 - Go to market

Be confident in your skills and abilities. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there on freelance platforms and freelance job websites.

8 - Stay motivated

Set yourself goals to stay motivated. These could be financial such as ‘I want to be earning £X per month’, or it could be to ‘reach 1000 followers on Instagram’. When your focus is wavering, remind yourself of your targets.

9 - Get busy

Design yourself a professional stack of business cards on a site like Canva and keep some in every pocket or handbag. You never know when a freelancing opportunity might arise!

10 - Investigate E-Residency

Are you encountering too much red tape in your home country? Consider joining the digital nation and registering as an e-resident in Estonia. Being a cross-border business may help you to grasp new and unforeseen opportunities.

11 - Consider Xolo


Don’t get tied up with paperwork and consider using a supportive freelance platform like Xolo. It means you don’t have to become an accountant or a lawyer as well as a freelancer — Xolo will take care of all that for you.

12 - Don’t be a jack of all trades

Solopreneurs who focus on a small set of freelance services are likely to out-compete those who can do everything. Become an expert in your field.

13 - Stay knowledgeable

Stay up to date with new trends by reading relevant trade media, engaging with fellow freelancers on LinkedIn, attending sector-specific networking events or even doing some online training courses through sites like SkillShare and Digital Strategy School.

14 - Register with freelance job websites

There are many jobs portals and freelance job websites out there like Bark, Upwork or People Per Hour. Start responding to people’s requests and those freelancing jobs will soon come pouring in.

15 - Start networking

Becoming a freelancer does have some drawbacks like feeling isolated and missing your office ‘crew’. Find a local networking group who you can share ideas with and get support from. Not one in your local area? Set up your own!

16 - Get organised

Make sure you are managing your time effectively, tracking those all-important leads and keeping on top of invoices using one of the many organisational freelance platforms out there like QuickBooks, Todoist and Pipedrive.

17 - Focus on relationships

Winning new business can be exhilarating and rewarding but don’t neglect clients who you are already working with. Build your relationships and make every client feel like a priority.

18 - Set work boundaries

Being a solopreneur can give you much more flexibility with your family and friends. However, it can also result in late nights and unproductivity. Try to specify when you will be working and stick to it.

19 - Be upfront

Most clients will be genuine but protect yourself by asking for upfront deposits before you start big projects.

20 - Find your space

This could be your kitchen table, your local library, a cosy coffee shop or a fancy coworking space. Wherever it is, make it productive so you can provide the best possible freelance services.

21 - Try, try and try again

Becoming a freelancer has many ups and downs. Some days will be hard but learn from them and keep going. The journey to becoming a successful solopreneur will not be without its challenges!