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15 Tips for Freelancers in 2024

Freelancing is a self-employed job where clients pay you for your skills and services. As a self-employed freelancer or independent contractor, knowing how to start can be confusing. Here are 14 tips to help your freelancing business succeed from start to finish (while saving time and money)!

Getting Started

1. Find your niche or service

As a self-employed freelancer, you'll want to determine what services to provide and who you'll provide them to. It's also helpful to see what other freelancers offer in your field regarding prices and services.

2. Look for jobs online

If you only look for work locally or advertising by word-of-mouth, it's time to try expanding your reach online. Depending on your service, you can find contract work through freelancing websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and TaskRabbit. For online local services, there's always Craigslist!

3. Build a portfolio

Being able to show clients your previous work gives credibility and shows capability. Having a portfolio helps clients feel more secure when hiring freelancers. Ideally, have a portfolio with images of your completed services/projects, name any big clients, and positive reviews.

4. Create a website

Having a website is useful for showcasing your portfolio and services. Not only does it show professionalism, it lets potential clients know more about you and how to contact you (lead generation)!

5. Track your business expenses

For the most part, spending money to run your freelancing business is a tax write-off (like website or advertising fees). This means less taxes owed by claiming tax deductions. You'll have to keep IRS compliant records, so use an expense tracker to save time and money.

Working as a Freelancer

6. Ask for deposits or milestone payments

Getting paid after fully completing your work can be risky. Clients can decide not to pay you fully or at all. Being paid before or as you complete work in stages or frequently lets you have more peace of mind.

7. Overestimate your completion time (reasonably)

It's better to be early than to be late for client satisfaction. When giving time estimates, allow yourself enough time for any errors or setbacks. People are happier when they get something early compared to late (e.g., package deliveries).

8. Prepare and sign contracts

Contracts should be discussed and signed before starting work. It should lay out work expectations, rates, payment, etc., to ensure you get paid properly.

9. Keep records of communication

Having a website is useful for showcasing your portfolio and services. Not only does it show professionalism, it lets potential clients know more about you and how to contact you (lead generation)!

10. Know your tax responsibilities

Once you're making money, you might have to pay quarterly tax payments (estimated taxes) or potentially face a tax penalty. In most cases, you'll have to pay quarterly taxes if you expect to owe more than $1,000 on your taxes.

Growing as a Freelancer

11. Business and personal insurance

Since you're self-employed, consider getting personal insurance (health, life, dental, etc.), as paying out of pocket can be expensive. There's also business insurance to protect your business from any accidents or mishaps.

12. Continue investing in your skills

Investing in yourself increases your efficiency and specialty, whether it be courses or better tools. This can mean more money and clients as you work towards becoming the best in your field!

13. Ask for feedback or reviews

Asking clients for feedback or reviews can help you improve and build your portfolio. Knowing what you can do better helps you in your next job.

14. Advertise on social media

It may be worth it to organically advertise your services on social media. Some of the best platforms are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. Whether it's sharing your freelancing journey or completed work, there's a potential client with each view.

15. Have an online presence

If you're not advertising on social media, consider having an online presence. Creating something like a Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook account, lets others keep in touch with you and helps build your network. People can easily recommend you to their friends and family, or ask you to take on more jobs in the future.


Getting started as an independent contractor or self-employed freelancer is easier than it looks. However, knowing your tax responsibilities and risks is important as your business grows. To save time and money, use an expense tracker and make strategic business decisions for growth.