Freelancing is an amazing thing. To some it helps to support a family and pay the mortgage, to others it helps to live on islands and enjoy life.

But for me, freelancing has never been my main source of income. I am a typical office plankton and I am proud of it 🙂 Nevertheless, it is a significant addition to my official salary.

But sometimes, freelancing for novice designers turns into a living hell. Neglectful clients – interfering limitless creativity, additional conditions – forcing to work for free, and even the usual scams – steadily accompany the inexperienced workers.

But I know how to put an end to all this crap 🙂 I present you 10 commandments, which will make you look at freelancing in a new way.

The 10 Commandments of Freelancing

1. Take your time

Having read clever articles about how bad it is in the office and good on the islands, many designers begin their journey with freelancing. This is an unforgivable mistake. Firstly, your professional growth will be much slower, and secondly, there is a chance of not becoming a Jedi.

You need to start your career with a design studio. And the choice of studio should be carried out not so much by the size of the salary, but by the coolness of the art director, who will be able to set you straight.

2. Don’t work without advance payment

I don’t trust people. And I don’t trust strangers at all. So to motivate both myself and the client, I always take a 50% prepayment.

This helps the client not to score and not to forget. Otherwise he will lose not some imaginary sources, which can be restored by PNGs for $ 20, but quite real money. And the greater the cost of the project – the more motivated the client is 🙂

3. Don’t work with a flat rate

It is practically impossible to guess the final cost of the work. If you take a fixed payment for the project – there is a chance to work for free most of the time. As a rule, during the design process, a lot of interesting nuances emerge, which stretch out the terms. And the money has already been paid.

To avoid this scenario – is to determine the value of one hour of work. Estimate the amount of work on the project and the amount you want to get for this work. Then divide that amount by the number of hours you can do it. This will be the hourly rate.

4. Don’t work with assholes

Beginning freelancers are very fond of grabbing at everything. I used to be like that myself. But the one thing I never let myself do was work with assholes.

Assholes include:

  • Everyone who thinks I dream of working for free on their prospective project
  • Everyone who agrees on layouts with the cleaning lady.
  • Everyone who doesn’t agree to be paid up front.
  • Everyone who wants a tender concept on the condition of the competition (when you and a million others like you make a free design, and the money goes to the one whose concept is chosen)
  • Anyone who comes with the words: “Let’s make this project cheaper, but then there will be a lot of projects more expensive
  • All who blow your brains out that I’m too rich, but for some reason did not want to go to another designer

5. Capture key points by e-mail

The project can be discussed in any form convenient for the client. On the phone, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, and even in the comments on this blog.

But the important points, such as scope of work, edits, conditions – should be fixed with a control letter to your mailbox.

First, if anything, all the key points of the deal are at your fingertips. Second, if anything, you can always send them to the client to cool his ardor. It helps.

6. Beware of freelance exchanges

Slave-exchanges have never attracted me with their approach to work. And after the recent leak of the personal data of 180 thousand users – I was even more convinced of the correctness of my judgments.

In addition, it is difficult to find inspiration among “horse commissions” and exorbitant competition with schoolchildren.

7. Be punctual

The money you receive should be paid back 120%. The deadline is no less important than the prepayment. The reputation of a serious and responsible person greatly increases the chance of getting a solvent client on a permanent basis. No one wants to work with unreliable people.

8. Work for results

When doing the next order, it’s worth remembering that designers who do a poor job for which they have been paid, hell, boil in the same cauldron with clients who do not pay for the work done for them.

Less is better, but better – a great saying for the designer on all occasions.

9. Know the measure.

A free schedule often encourages limitless work. It doesn’t do any good. Not only does productivity decline, but so does health. Getting enough sleep and doing other things is as important as meeting deadlines and taking pre-payments.

Working 14 hours a day for extended periods of time is not a good idea. You’ll end up getting sick and dying.

10. Quality, not quantity

A small addition to the previous two points. It is better to take 1 more expensive project and do it in a comfortable mode, than to take 2 cheaper projects and do everything in a hurry. Clients usually have the money. You just have to learn how to get it.

In conclusion

Freelancing gives limitless freedom and brings pleasure from work only when simple and sometimes elementary rules are followed. These 10 commandments helped you to freelance effectively without damaging your health, reputation or your own wallet.