The 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Freelancing | David Rodriguez | Skillshare

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The 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Freelancing

teacher avatar David Rodriguez, Freelancer / Author / Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Course Intro


    • 2.

      Course Purpose


    • 3.

      1- You'll never feel you're ready enough


    • 4.

      Exercise 1


    • 5.

      2- Clearly define the product or service you're going to sell


    • 6.

      Exercise 2


    • 7.

      3- Know your Finances


    • 8.

      Exercise 3


    • 9.

      4- Freelancing is like running a small business.


    • 10.

      Exercise 4


    • 11.

      5- You'll have to deal directly with clients


    • 12.

      Exercise 5


    • 13.

      6- Unusual worktimes


    • 14.

      7- Freelancing requires investment


    • 15.

      Exercise 7


    • 16.

      8- Don't put all your eggs in one basket


    • 17.

      Exercise 8


    • 18.

      9- You'll never get your money on time


    • 19.

      Exercise 9


    • 20.

      10- Driven but not stubborn


    • 21.

      Wrap Up


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About This Class

Are you thinking about taking the freelance route? This book is perfect for you!. You know, becoming a freelancer is a decision that will completely change your life and having proper information is critical, especially at the beginning. Still remember when I started I had no clue on what was I supposed to do, little less was I aware of the challenges I would be facing and as a consequence I made all sort of mistakes that pushed me to limit of thinking is this was the path I should follow. Luckily for me, I was able to overcome all those issues and became a successful freelancer. 

I don't want you to suffer as much as I did and that's the reason why I have created this course so that you are aware of the problems you'll most likely be facing and put action plans in place to prevent them or correct them. Also, this will give you a glimpse of what it takes to be a freelancer so that you can make an informed decision on whether this is the correct path for you or not. 

These are The 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Freelancing:

  1. You'll never feel you're ready enough.
  2. Clearly define the product or service you're going to sell.
  3. Know your finances.
  4. Freelancing is like running a small business.
  5. You'll have to deal directly with clients.
  6. Unusual worktimes.
  7. Freelancing requires investment.
  8. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
  9. You'll never get your money on time.
  10. Driven but not stubborn.

I sincerely hope this information is useful to you.



Meet Your Teacher

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David Rodriguez

Freelancer / Author / Teacher

Level: Beginner

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1. Course Intro: it seems like everyone know these wants to become a freelancer, just served through the Internet. And you probably come across the story of some John Doe who started he saw on Internet company and became a millionaire overnight. And no honesty. Some of those stories are bringing sparring and make you believe that anyone could potential achieve that. But how far are they from the average freelancers? Reality. The truth is that just a very tiny percentage of freelancers ever get to cover their own expenses. And those who thrive are even a very species. But what makes the difference between those who succeed from those who don't the answer is very simple. Those who succeeded knew that the path was going to be full of obstacles. And still we're willing to face and head on. And then let me run the purpose of discourses not to prevent you from taking this path, but instead to give you accurate information about the problems you most like become across when you're starting so that when it happens to you, it won't come as a surprise. My name is David Rodriguez, and I'd be in a beater production freelancer for over seven years on. These are the 10 things I wish I knew before I started freelancing. Welcome 2. Course Purpose: cursed purpose and mythology. I have to ask myself, if I had the ability to go back in time and start all over again, what will I do? Different? That's it Through. That is usually a brief thing. I will have started earlier. I would have offered different products from services I who have managed my finances in a different manner. I will have avoided some of the awful clients and projects I came across at the beginning. The thing is that in my case, I can go back in time. I think those things I did wrong, but I can hope you both those mistakes that prevented me from succeeding earlier. That's in fact, the whole purpose of discourse to give you a clear information on what it takes to start a freelancer cover here so that you can only decide whether this is the correct packed for you or not. We will go through each point describing problem on by the end. If it I'll give you a questioner that will help you find the best possible way to solve everything. Your possibilities. So let's begin 3. 1- You'll never feel you're ready enough: number one, you've never feel you're ready enough. It doesn't matter how much practice, how much you refine your performed you. How much of a reader prepare yourself. It doesn't matter how many tutorials on whatever it is that you do. You watch. You'll never feel you already enough, but chances are that you program already R J might as well just start doing it. If you weren't ready, you wouldn't even bother thinking on started a friend's business. A based on whatever it is that you do. It is simple human nature. We don't do anything unless we feel were somewhat safe, right? In my case, I spent so much time trying to perfect my de Meriel that I postponed offering my services to potential clients and eventually struggles for money. On the day I decided to go client hunting with what I had. To my surprise, I got my first couple of paid gigs with the de Meriel I worked less on, and, well, I worked less than that one because I thought it looked the worst well. One of those first clients turned out to be a regular crime that some years later I decided to ask him why he hired me. First place since I considered my Daimaru looked so wet. To my surprise, his answer was very simple. It was like, OK, man, your graphics were not very pretty, but you showed you had the animation school side of card for the project. I was not judging your graphic designer skills. I was. You know, judging if you had the animation skills I needed, you could imagine my face. I was kind of shocked, of course, because I had such a harsh opinion on my Demery. I thought it was so bad that I didn't want to show it to anybody on the client had a different perfected in he size. I was ready. But in my own eyes, I was not ready just to keep you another example. Simply try to remember your first day at an old job. You probably you didn't have on idea or you didn't know exactly what you were supposed to do. They want but eventually learned on started doing any not professional on effective rate, right? Same thing happens with freelancing jobs. You don't know everything on day one, but you have a basic idea of what you are supposed to do when the first client knocks your door to stop trying to know everything, forehand on its dead Coke line, hunting your knowledge on your portfolio will improve over time. 4. Exercise 1: exercise for 0.1 is going to be very simple. You're going to put a due date to your portfolio or promotional material. Check your calendar. I'm from D. Stay on. You only have one week to complete it. After that, you start actively looking for clients. Remember, there's people out there with weaker portfolios than yours that are selling projects while we listen to this. So don't waste more time, finish it and start offering. 5. 2- Clearly define the product or service you're going to sell: number two clearly defined product or service you're going to sell. You know, I've been one of those people who has taken lots and lots of business courses on a flying, and I can tell you without hesitation that in 90% of those books curses, podcasts and YouTube tutorials to tell you that you have to focus on whatever you have a passion for. But what if you have a passion for something that is not marketable or has very low selling potential to illustrate this point? I'm going to tell you my personal story. I was very passionate about doing visual effects for movies. I decided to move to the US for a couple of years to complete my studies in the field in one of the most prestigious schools. For such things, I dream about a day and night, and I did my best to get into the industry in my home contract internationally. Unfortunately, though there was a market for such services. It was very small, and there was tons of competition in London, a couple of gigs in the fuel, but they were so sporadic that I struggle for money on lung. This made me question my approach. So I eventually decided to offer different services. So I started to look for services I could offer where I could make the best of the abilities I learned. Well, doing visual effects. Ah, the problem Waas that I was offering so many on so diverse services that it was hard to do and promote each of them in an appropriate manner. So after another failure, I sat on my desk and started to think thoroughly about my career. I told myself, Okay, I need to figure this out. What do I enjoy doing different from Bischel Facts? What else do I like? What am I good at? I'm one of those things has a high demand. That's how I found my sweet spot, which waas doing animated videos for corporate companies. It was something I enjoy doing, who's obviously not as great as during movies, but it's fun nonetheless. It was something I was very skilled at. On. It was something would hide them and hide market potential. After I turned my focus to this, my career exploded on. I've been doing it successfully for over five years, so let's go to the exercise and find what's your sweet spot 6. Exercise 2: Okay, so let's find your suit spot. There's going to be very simple. We're going to make a graphic with two circles are going to be intersecting in the middle, in the circle to your left. You're going to write down the things you truly enjoy doing. So think of those things that even if you were doing them for 24 hours there, you'll never get bored off. Now in the circle to your right, you're going to write down those things that you're very skilled. That or those things that you know you can do better done most off order people. I mean, the intersection is going to be a little bit more tricky. But you know, it's not rocket science. Just take the things. Take a look at the things you like to left. Take a look at the things you're very skilled, that to your right on right down, something you could do with both of them that do you know for certain that you can sell? So let's use, minus an example in the circle toe left. I'm going to write down Bischel effects, of course, through the animation three D modeling and in the circle to ride. I'm going to write down that. I'm very skilled at Adobe Aftereffects that I'm very skilled at that. The vote Adobe Photo shop. And I'm very skilled at likely three D. I mean, the intersection I'm going to take. For example, I'm very good at animation, right. I'm very good at at over. You have perfects. That means that it could potentially sell animated videos for companies. Okay, so find your suit spot and shared here in the class. 7. 3- Know your Finances: number three. No, your finances on. I can't stress this enough before you start freelancing, you know, to know exactly how much money you need to learn either to survive or to live comfortably each month Basis. Way to this is to make a budget. So let's make about so let's begin with the basics. How much is your rent? How much is your health and car insurance? How much money you spend on gas monthly? How much do you pay for public services such as water and electricity? How much do you pay for complementary services such as cable TV, cell phone, Internet, Netflix, Jim's descriptions and many more? They'll be our basic budget, but this is not the end. We have to have some of your stuff on. What are those things we have to act? First thing is that do you have to have on emergency? But because what happens is if something breaks in your house. What if your car breaks down or you gets it? You need to have enough money to cover those expenses. I'll suggest you to take a 10% of whatever total. You gotta both ask your emergency budget. Also, you any fuel of what you do, you will probably not be able to work all of your life, so you'll have to start a retirement fund. Okay, Your retirement fund go consists on a 10% of whatever total. You gotta both. I'm finally, you need another portion of your budget to go to your taxes because you any of you don't like your government, you will still have to pay for your Texas. I'll suggest you to take a 20% of whatever totally got a boat. Ask your taxes, but it now addled those up and you'll get the total you need to learn on a monthly basis just to survive. OK, now we need to figure out how many days of the year you are going to be able to work. A regular year has 365 days of 52 weeks. In an ideal world, you you will be only supposed to work from Monday through Friday. That means that out of the days in a year, you have to subtract the weekends, which are 104 days. That leaves us with 261 workable days, but you also have to consider the following things. Depending on your country, you'll have a different number of holidays. I suggest you taking at least five national holidays out of the total work days in a year. On top of that, you also have to consider that it's a freelancer. You don't get sick days, but it doesn't matter how healthy you are. You'll eventually catch a flu or something, and you have to foresee that situation in my personal schedule. I've set my yearly sick days at seven and last but not least, you have to consider vacation time. I know some people will skip this part, but it's very important. If you don't take some days off, you'll eventually burn out. In my case, I take tam vacation days a year. All these leaves us with a total off 239 workable days. But here's the thing. Although you're willing to work all those days, in reality, you're probably just going to be able to do it 50% of the time. The other half of the time was spend it in managing your business, pitching for products, perfecting your portfolio, failing paperwork and many other things you won't be able to charge your clients for. That leaves us with just 120 realistically working days a year. That means only 10 days a month. With this information, you can now calculate how much usually earned per day Amper hours just to survive. But since freelances, you'll also be treated like a business on businesses work for profit. You must add a profit margin to your hourly rate. I'll suggest you to add at least 20% whatever totaled you got so far, and this is how you calculate how much you should chart for our, but we're not done yet Now. This is the part that most books and courses help their 10 toe a boy. Is that part of winning? You have to ask yourself, being totally honest, doing what you do. Can you charge that much for your services? What is the average price in the market for the services you're providing? If there's a big difference there between what you need to charge and the average price of market, you'll most likely have to rethink whatever is that you're doing. And I'm not trying to cool your your mood here. I'm just being totally honest because, for example, what if your hourly rate is at $45 but the average hourly rate for services similar to yours are only $10 in market, you'll see that there's a big gap there, and when there's a big gap, clients will most likely stay away from you. This doesn't mean that you cannot go above the hours you can still do. But you have to have a differentiating factor that Mr You have to be either great of what you do to justify the difference in the price range or at additional services or products to whatever it is that you're offering to justify the difference in the price. 8. Exercise 3: What I want you to do now is to calculate your hourly rate based on the previous lesson. After that, you'll have to investigate what the average rate is for the service you're providing or services similar to yours in the market. If you're radius under the average or similar to it, you're good to go. But if you rate is much higher than the average, he must start thinking, What else can you got to your service to justify the higher rate? What other services or products can you at so that your clients feel that they're getting much more for the money, their pain? 9. 4- Freelancing is like running a small business.: number four freelancing is very similar to running a small business. Just think of this. When you're an employee, you get paid to do just one part of the job or one job in particular. And if you have to do something else something out of your scope, you probably get up a little extra, right. But when you're a freelancer, particularly when you're starting your a one man show, that means that you will be the manager, accountant, the marketer, the salesman and also the one doing the job. This also means that you know you're not an expert on all those things. You have to make sure that you know what is the basic self. And I know this is gonna be a Harper. For most of you guys out there was the hard part for me as well, because I felt that I was out of my comfort zone. I didn't decided to become a freelancer to perform this sort of activities. I decided to become a freelancer because I want to earn my living by the things that I'd loved the most, which was crafting any maybes, right? But since I didn't have the ability board money to hire somebody else. I was the one up for the job at the beginning, So you probably in that same place now about the places where you can learn business basics . You don't necessarily have to go to business school. Lower to university. There are lots of resources in the Internet where you can learn this business basics by yourself, such as the one you're listening right now. Now there's one last thing I want to mention here on. I know you guys probably don't want to hear this one, but it's the truth. The thing is that your success largely depends on your ability to turn your side household into an effective business, so learning business basics is a must for every freelancer out there. 10. Exercise 4: this exercise is going to be quite simple. All you have to do is to go to the Skill shirt platform and look for courses related to the following topics. The 1st 1 is business management. The 2nd 1 is online marketing for businesses, and the 3rd 1 is money management. Once you have selected these courses and you can take them and you can also share them here with the class. 11. 5- You'll have to deal directly with clients: number five. As a freelancer, you'll have to deal directly. Reply it. This inevitably means that you need to know exactly who they are. You need to find an appealing way to approach them, and you need to learn how to differentiate the good ones from the battle. We're gonna go over each of these at this time. The first thing I'm probably the most important one is to know exactly who your ideal client this. To know this, you can create a basic demographic profile based on the following questions. Who is this client? Does he belong to specific industry? Is he a corporate or an individual client? Does your product or service have any sort off age or gender restrictions? Where is declined? Located is seen in a specific CD. Your country. How can you find them? Which necessity do they have? The do you can provide a solution for number two. Now that you know who your ideal client is, you need to find a proper way to approach them. Now, In my experience, daisies wait, approach. Any client is by having a great sale speech, and I know this might sound Klay shape, but you need to sell yourself in the best way possible on the sales pitch is the perfect tool for it. The cell speech is basically a document where you describe what this service is all about. How far you gonna go with this contract? It also contains information in regards off work. Methodology is scheduling and obviously the price you want to charge. Just don't forget that the cell speech tells your client why you are the perfect fit for the job. So make sure you write a good one and finally do good clients and about planes while you're freelance and go come across a lot of people. Some people would be great work with and some others would not be worth your time and your effort. So I'm gonna tell you the accused identified about one so that you don't suffer us. Muchas idea. At the beginning, here they are. A good client will never ask you to work for free. It happens very after in the creative world, somebody will come to you, knock your door and tell you hate I have this great project. I think you're the perfect fit. Why don't you do this? 1st 1 for free, and I'll make sure I sent u turns off work afterward. That's never the case. They never come back. Best case scenario. You end up putting tons of our into something that you'll never see a nickel for. So don't fall for it. Another common trait from back clients that they want everything perfect. Looking in an unrealistic timeframe at a very cheap price. Just like in the first case, you'll end up putting a lot of hours into something you'll get paid very little on their most likely going to be bugging you all the way through the process. So it's stay away from those as well. The last couple of red flags that I want to share with you are not about its 1st 1 but still there. So I don't knowing because they're related to excessive confirm on the client side, your clients that want to be in top off everything up to the point that they won't let you perform at the best of your abilities. There are also some clients that think they know a lot about about what is that you do. They probably have a passion for it, but you can tell very easily that they don't know anything about. Now, if you're already dealing with any sort of these back clients, my advice to you would be to finish your job in the best possible way in the most professional manner, and afterwards you can avoid them. 12. Exercise 5: for this section. I want you to do two things. The 1st 1 is to refine your ideal client. You can use the questions on the lesson before to do so. The second thing I want you to do is to create your basic cell speech. So you're going to craft a document where you clearly described the survey study want to offer? You also have to describe how your service souls the need that your client has also. You need to define where you are the best of what you do on what sets you apart from the other benders, and if you want or need it, you have to create a basic schedule that let your clients know what the work process will be when they hire you. 13. 6- Unusual worktimes: number six unusual work time. And this is one of those things I truly wish I knew before he started freelancing. And this happens to a lot of people. Oh ho! Come from a regular 9 to 5 job is that they have the notion that they only get work from Monday to Friday. Also, when I became a freelancer in part, I made the decision because I wanted to have the plot flexibility toe work whenever I wanted. But the truth is that particularly when you're starting, you'll end up working whenever a client knocks your door and it could be a Sunday. It could be a birthday. It could be Christmas. If a client is in front of you and ask you to do a job for them on a deadline on a tight deadline, you'll probably end up doing it now. This means that particularly when you're starting, you have to be flexible enough to accept that even though is not ideal, it is a part of being a freelancer. Eventually, as you get more experience and you get a bigger and more solid plain base, you'll be able to set your own rules. But when you're starting, you'll usually get work at unusual times, so just be aware of that 14. 7- Freelancing requires investment: number seven Freelancing requires investment. Remember that I told you that being a freelancer was like running a small business. Well, when you start a business, you have to invest some sort of money to either buy equipment or to have the ability to hire somebody else to do something for you. Freelancing is no different from that. Let's say that you're a photographer. You want to start your own business. If you don't have your own camera ready, you have to put some money down toe by the first camera. Aside from dot do you need to have a wide range of lenses and filters, you need to have light. You need to have a tripod. You need to have a computer. You need to have, ah, photo editing software and many more. And these are just the things you need to have on. They want to be able to start working, but you also have to consider two additional things. The 1st 1 is that you need to have enough money to be able tow work on. What do you mean with that? Let's say, for example, you got hired to cover a wedding in a very four place. If they don't pay you up front, you need to have enough money to transport yourself to the place where you're going to be taking the pictures. On top of that, if you have to stay overnight, you need to have enough money to pay for your meals and to pay for a hotel room, among many other things off course. The second thing you have to consider is that whatever equipment you have on day one is not going to last forever. That means that eventually you have to either upgraded or changed completely, and that requires an additional investment. So please be aware that you have to put some money down to start your reading on freelancing business. Let's check the exercise for the section. 15. Exercise 7: Now what you need to do is to calculate how much money you need to start working on day one . And I want you to be a little bit conservative here because I know if you had the chance on the money to buy everything you have in mind, you will probably do it. Well, it seems you don't have all the money to do that. You just need to list the things that you need to start working on Day One. Right? So let's make a list What type of equipment you need. How much is that equipment? Do you need a special software? How much is the license? Didn't require any sort off permanent to perform your job. How much does stop? Pretty cost. Do you need to invest in marketing or marketing campaigns? Do you need to hire somebody else? So just list down the things that you need to have on. They want to start your job. Also considered for nothing if used to its full capacity. When do you think that you will have to either upgrade or change the equipment you have so that you know how much money you need to save over the course of time to renew such equipment 16. 8- Don't put all your eggs in one basket: number eight. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, though you clearly need to know what you're going to do. You have to focus on that. You cannot depend on a single income source. Just think. What if whatever you decide to do doesn't work or what happens is whatever service you offer happens to be a seasonal service or a seasonal product. In my case, when I decided to start freelancing, I didn't know that around summer. Between June and August, there was a slow season. I'm barely any work was coming my way. I remember being extremely frustrated because I wasn't able to get any product up to a point that I thought about quitting a couple of times. Unless that I thought I could live from the one service I was offering. Now you already know the story that I went the other way. I was suffering so many services that I couldn't handle them. But through those failures I learned not only that I couldn't depend on one single service that I couldn't offer too many services because I wasn't going to be able to handle them, but also that I should look for different ways to earn money. And that's how I got myself involved on selling video and three the assets. It was something I knew how to do. It didn't take me a lot of time. I'm best awful. It was something that could earn me an extra money without me being over it all the time. Just try to think about a long term, passive England like a book, for example, and I know writing a book. It's not a piece of cake, but you'll probably spend a couple of months writing it and promoting. But afterwards you just need to take care of collecting money, and it will always be there. Let's say you won't live from it, though many outer zoo, but you will always be able to get something from it. Another thing I did and I buys most of new freelancers to it, is to get a part time job that what you sure that even if you're freelancing gets a little slow, you will still be able to learn something to cover your base expenses. Just make sure that whatever part time job you take, one interfered with your freelancing. Otherwise, it will be the purpose 17. Exercise 8: The exercise for dissection requires you to take a look at your skills it and think, What can you do with it to her? In a long term, passive income? Can you write a book? Can you rapidly craft a product you can sell? Also, take a look at your local job boards for part time job opportunities. 18. 9- You'll never get your money on time: number nine, you'll never get your morning on time. Now this is one of those mitts. I also believe that when I started, I thought that after a completed product, I get my money and go home to celebrate with it. But the reality was far from that. The through this and I have noted that this happens more often if you put your service goes over $500 that you'll most likely get your money a couple of days and even a couple of weeks later, I have had to wait as long as four months to get payment. Now you might think that this will be a common practice among those small clients that you think that don't have enough money to pay for a product or service. But the truth is that this is a common practice among big corporate clients. Not only they take your invoices after you have finished the job, but internal bureaucracy slowdowns payments. Now there are several ways to deal with this issue, like always asking for a portion of the money up front or giving a discount to your client for paying early. But you have to note that he's also the paint on them, except in such terms now, the only proper way to deal with this problem is to always have enough money safe so that you can cover their expenses while paints come through. 19. Exercise 9: for this point, there's not going to be a particular exercise, but rather somewhat buys. The first thing will be that in a previous point, we're ready. Calculated how much money you need to cover your monthly expenses. My advice to you will be to have at least three months in advance so that if your payment gets really so you can still survive. The other thing would be to create a discount model that you can offer your clients so that they know in advance that if they pay dearly, they'll get an extra discount over the final price you they negotiated with you. 20. 10- Driven but not stubborn: number 10 driven but not stubborn Freelancing could be for straying at times, but you have to keep up your spirits and keep fighting to make your dreams come true. So you should be positive. You should also be realistic and have a plan being case. Whatever you do doesn't come to a good end. Stubbornness often gets confused with being a dreamer and decisive, But being able to admit once mistake and correcting it is one of the most desirable qualities off a leader. So don't be afraid to admit that you were mistaking but rather be eager and quick to correct it. I have made my first share of mistakes, but we love them. I wouldn't be where I am today. So don't get stuck thinking that your ways. The only way I've seen quite a lot of freelancers stuck trying to push themselves into a market with ideas that don't really work when they could simply shift the perspective of it and be extremely successful. So but leaving yourself believing what you do, But if you reach out there, end, be quick to admit it and correct it 21. Wrap Up: So we have finally reached the end of the short course. And now that you know they're not some bolts involved in starting a freelancing career, you can make a conscious decision on whether this is the right path for your Not if you think this is the right path for you. You really have a first year of information that would prevent you from making the same mistakes I do. When I started Now, I have enjoyed pretty much things time sharing with you, my experience. And I hope you guys find this information useful to you as well. Don't forget to share this course with whoever you think I needed, and I hope to see you guys in the next course Take care.