15 Tips for Breaking in as a Part-Time Freelancer

by Steven Snell

September 23, 2009 in Business/Freelance

The best way to get started as a freelancer, in my opinion, is part time. There are many benefits to starting off in a limited role (which we will discuss in this article), as opposed to jumping in full-time. Here we will take a detailed look at the subject and provide tips based on experience. This article is intended primarily for those who have some experience with design but are looking to gain more experience and improve their skills before going into full-time freelancing.

I’m constantly in contact with readers who are at the early stages of freelancing or designing for a career, so I hope this subject will prove to be of value to you.

1. Keep Your Full-Time Job

Freelancing is a great opportunity and many people desire to be able to set their own hours and work from home. But earning a living as a freelancer can be difficult (especially when you are first getting established) and it usually involves unnecessary risk that can be avoided by sticking with your full-time job until the timing is right. Additionally, some people find out pretty quickly that they really don’t enjoy freelancing. If this is the case for you, it’s best to realize this while you still have a full-time job.

Working a full-time job and freelancing in your “spare time” can take a lot of discipline and sacrifice, but it will help you to try it out part-time and build up your business a little bit before quitting your job, which will obviously help to reduce risk. Maybe even more significant than the risk factor, when you are freelancing part-time you will have the luxury of taking the projects that are a good fit for you, and you can even dedicate a lot of your time to learning without the need to be making any money at that time. However, without a full-time job there will be much more pressure to make money immediately and you will have to take whatever work you can find without being able to prioritize learning and your own development.

2. Set Up a Basic Portfolio Site

Having a quality portfolio site is one of the best things you can do for attracting clients. Of course, this assumes that you have some work to include and showcase in the portfolio. If you’re just getting started as a designer you may need to work on some projects specifically for the purpose of building your portfolio first.

Make sure you take as much time as needed to design a portfolio site that reflects your best work. One-page portfolios are very common and could be designed and coded fairly quickly. Additionally, there are templates and WordPress themes for portfolios that you could choose from. In this case you could use the theme as a starting point and make some customizations to get a unique design.

3. Prioritize Experience Over Income

As you decide on projects to pursue, place more emphasis on learning and developing your skills as opposed to just taking jobs that will pay you the most. If you have other income you’ll be able to accept projects that may not pay that well, but maybe you will get some valuable experience. This may include doing work for non-profit organizations, businesses with small budgets, or just working on projects of your own that may not produce income.

By taking this approach you will earn less in the short-term, but you will be able to improve specific skills and gain valuable experience that may prove to be incredibly helpful in the long run.

4. Work on Your Own Projects

One of the struggles of almost every new freelancer is finding enough work. If you are not able to get many client projects, you always have the option of working on your own projects just for learning purposes. While working with clients is a necessary step towards moving to full-time freelance work, you’re probably not learning very much or improving your skills if you are spending all of your time looking for clients. Instead, why not choose something specific that you want to learn and incorporate it into a project of your own that you can work on whenever you have time. For example, if you want to learn more about WordPress take some time to design and develop a theme for a blog of your own, or even design a theme that you can give away for free from your site.

5. Establish a Basic Work Schedule

Working a full-time job and freelancing on the side will require you to manage your time efficiently. From my experience it is best if you have at least a rough schedule that allows you to block off some time for your freelance work. For example, maybe you will plan to work 4 hours on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and 5 or 6 hours on Saturdays. Whatever the case may be, this will help you to have time in your weekly schedule that is dedicated to your freelance work, but it will still give you some flexibility to change things up when you need to.

For part-time freelancers it’s very easy to get distracted by other things and spend less time on your work. If this happens to you it’s very likely that you’ll look back a few months down the road and realize that you’ve made very little progress. If your goal is to build a freelance business that will provide a full-time income so you can quit your other job, setting up a basic schedule will help you by providing some structure.

6. Open a Separate Bank Account

Keeping track of income and expenses can be a challenge for those who are not used to managing their money in great detail. One of the problems is that it can be difficult to distinguish what money is from freelancing as opposed to your full-time job. The easiest way to keep things separated is to set up an account just for your freelancing income. Everything you make from freelancing can go in this account, and whenever you have business-related expenses it will be there for you, and you won’t have to touch your other accounts for these expenses.

7. Re-Invest the Money that You Make

One of the reasons that freelancing is a possibility for so many people is that it requires very little financial investment and comes with low barriers for entry. However, there will be some times when you will want or need to spend money on something that will help you to do better work or to save time. You may need to buy some software, basic equipment for your home office, cover hosting expenses, or pay for training or education. All of these things can be covered if you are willing to re-invest the money that you are making. The idea is not that you need to find some way to invest your income back into the business, but when there are things that will genuinely help you to do a better job, be willing to spend some of the money that you have made and you will be better off in the long-term.

8. Don’t Forget About Taxes

Another reason that it is best to keep your freelancing income separated from your other money is that you may wind up with taxes that are higher than expected. If you have your freelancing income in a separate account it will be available to cover the taxes and you won’t need to dip into your other accounts. Of course, tax laws vary depending on where you live and the amount you owe will depend on your income and expenses. If you are moving towards full-time freelancing or making any kind of significant income through freelancing, you should hire an accountant to make sure that you have everything covered and doing things correctly and legally.

9. Talk to People You Know

One of the best sources of business for freelancers (full-time or part-time) is word-of-mouth advertising. Talk to your friends and family about the services you’re offering and you may find that they know someone who could use your services. Even if you don’t think that the people you know would have any need for your services, they will each have their own network of others that you don’t know, and that can be a great way to get in contact with potential clients.

10. Visit Design Job Boards

There are a number of design job boards online where you can find opportunities for work (see our post 27 Places to Find Web Design Jobs). Sources like the Freelance Switch job board, Smashing Jobs and the DesignM.ag job board are great because you will find listings from people who are looking to hire freelancers for specific projects. Job boards are unlikely to ever be your sole source of work, but they can be a nice supplement to word-of-mouth advertising and attracting clients through your portfolio. Best of all, whenever you are in need of some work you can visit job boards and respond to the appropriate postings without dedicating huge amounts of time for trying to find new work.

11. Be Comfortable with Your Rates

Pricing your work can be a very difficult thing for new freelancers. In fact, even designers who have been at it for a while often struggle with determining how much to charge. There are a lot of articles that have been written on the subject (see 12 Realities of Pricing Design Services), although most of them have been written by full-time designers with the same audience in mind. As a part-time freelancer who is just getting started, you may be intimidated by charging high fees, and you may even feel added pressure in these situations.

The most important thing to consider in pricing your work at this time is to charge a rate that you are comfortable with. Making the most money possible is not your priority at this time, so if you would like to keep your rates low while you feel that you are still learning, there is nothing wrong with that. From my experience you will want to charge your clients enough that they will take the project seriously (charging very small amounts will usually result in clients that don’t put much priority in their website since they have very little invested in it), but don’t charge more than you feel the services are worth. Once you get more experienced you’ll have greater confidence in your work and raising your prices should not be a problem.

It’s also a good idea to be upfront with your clients about where you are at in your own career and progression as a designer. There are plenty of clients that are willing to work with less experienced designers if the situation and the price are right. If your clients are under a false impression about your level of experience or your skills, it could come back to cause problems down the road.

12. Don’t Take Too Much Client Work

One of the mistakes that some new freelancers make is taking every possible project that comes their way. Especially when you are getting started, you will want to be able to take all the time that you need to learn from the projects that you are working on and to produce the best work that you are capable of. If you are working to build up your portfolio, rushing through jobs will lead to work that is less than your best, and a sub par portfolio.

Also, if you are working full-time in addition to freelancing you will not have a lot of time to dedicate to these projects, so resist the temptation to take on too much. Explain to the potential clients that you would like to work with them, but it will need to wait a few weeks (or whatever the case may be in your situation) until you could get started.

13. Network

All successful freelancers have a strong network of contacts that they have established over a period of time. This may include other designers that you can learn from, designers that you can share referrals with according to your workloads, other professionals in related fields like SEO, copywriting and marketing, or really any other type of professional. Every business needs a web presence, so there is really no limit to types of people that could be valuable members of your network.

Networking takes time, and most importantly, a commitment to giving something back to others. There are plenty of things you can do online for networking (such as Twitter), but don’t forget about offline opportunities as well. Last year I published a series of four posts that covered various aspects of networking for freelancers:

14. Develop Your Own Business Practices

As you eventually move from part-time to full-time freelancing you will find that a greater amount of your time is needed for things like invoicing, paying your bills, recording income, providing customer service, responding to inquiries from potential clients for pricing quotes, and other things like this. While all of these tasks are a necessary part of the business, they are all taking time that could be otherwise used to perform services that generate income. The more you can streamline your processes for these activities, the more time you will have for other work.

As you are working part-time with the idea of moving forward at some point, take some time to think about how you can handle these tasks in an organized manner that will require only small amounts of time. You may find that it saves you a lot of time to use something like FreshBooks or Billings for your finances and invoices. Each person works differently and has their own preferred methods of doing things, so find what works best for you.

15. Plan for Differentiation

As you plan for the move to full-time freelance work, one thing that you will want to consider is how you will set yourself apart from all of the other designers out there. During your work as a part-time freelancer you may be able to offer your services at lower rates than other designers, but that will likely change when you eventually move to full-time. At that point, one of the best ways to attract clients is to differentiate yourself in some way. For example, maybe you want to specialize in designing custom WordPress themes. If this is the case, by marketing yourself as a WordPress expert, when clients are in need of a custom WordPress theme they will likely contact you over another designer that does not specialize in WordPress. Of course, this is just one possible example, but the idea is that you will have an easier time attracting clients if there is something that sets you apart from the huge (and growing) number of other designers out there.

If you are able to decide on something for differentiation, take some time to think about how you could market yourself in this way. Having a particular set of skills is really not as important as being able to let others know that you have those skills and to lead them to remember you. Also, you may need to improve your skills in a particular area in order for your plan for differentiation to be effective, so you may need to dedicate time to find projects and/or work on learning in other ways.

What’s Your Experience?

For those of you who have already gone through the process of breaking in as a part-time freelancer, what things did you learn that you would like to share with our readers?

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design.Connect with Stephen on google+

  • Liz

    Sep 23rd

    These are all good points! I covered a lot of these in a post I did earlier this year called “Ditching your 9to5 to be Freelance & Fancy Free,”
    I’d add to this and my post is to establish good business practices such as rules about contracts, billing and deposits in the beginning — it may feel silly if you’re doing a lot of for-cheap projects or even free projects to get your fet wet, but it’s good to learn to get in the habit of doing those things!

  • David Platt

    Sep 23rd

    My feeling is this. You can make over 100,000 as a full time designer. I am personally unable to make anywhere near this as a freelancer. As you get older (above 40) It does not seem feasible to continue as a freelancer considering that you better start saving some mega bucks at that point.
    I am feeling rather depressed about this because I have been a freelancer my whole life and I am now faced with having to take a FT position. Does anyone else feel this way? Are there any blog posts that address this dilemma? -d

  • Brandon Cox

    Sep 23rd

    Funny, these are pretty much the exact practices that got me started. If I could add from experience – not so much a tip or practic, but an attitude – dump the pride. Be grateful for the little jobs that start trickling in – they only lead to bigger opportunities.

  • irimaya

    Sep 24th

    Thanks for shared your experience and putting all together in this points. I felt very identified with most of the tips, I’m still learning from the experience that the Full-time freelancer will prepare me.

    Cheers

  • Daquan Wright

    Sep 24th

    The key to growing a business is networking and establishing a strong reputation. I’d easily say a strong reputation is more valuable than a strong portfolio (although both are valuable).

    I’m just working with one client on a simple website and already he’s getting me a referral and that client wants to pay me twice what I’m getting now. Getting to know people is how you make your money, learning skills enables you to complete a job but what does it matter if you’re invisible? In order to succeed you have to throw yourself out there, market your personality along with your skills, and tell them why they should hire you or let your portfolio speak for you.

    I’m just doing part-time freelancing. My long term plan is actually to be a professional programmer and part-time freelancer in the future but I want to be a part-time web developer so I know the exact skills I want to develop (mainly client-side and server-side knowledge/SQL). I’d also say get to know people in real life, because they’ll trust you more over someone they don’t know online. I think a lot of people fear selling (I’m not excluded) but that’s how you grow, it’s the business side of things and it’s something you should love because you don’t want an empty wallet (who does exactly?). Networking and learning are fundamental building blocks of freelancing success is what I’ve learned. I’m always learning and I always want to learn, even in my client projects I emphasis on perfection and learning and avoid charging very high rates because I am still learning new skills). Everyone has to grow and start somewhere, eventually I’ll be blogging about my work and teaching others about my experience.

    I say working while you have a job is ace, you lose little but gain a lot with little risks. Set a schedule aside to prioritize freelancing time, I’ve done this for college time/freelance time and I feel it’s working better for me. Time management is essential, regardless of what you are involved with.

    Don’t be scared to turn down clients either. Never sell yourself short, charge fair rates and stick to your guns!

  • starr

    Sep 24th

    Thanks for the great blog. As a newbie in the whole world of freelance this has been a great help to me The main problem I had was knowing what to charge and being able to turn work down but everything is a big learning curve and wouldn’t change it for the world.

  • Callum Chapman

    Sep 24th

    Great tips, I’m looking for full-time or part-time work at the moment but am currently living off the few design jobs I get from time to time – it’s a lot of work to freelance full time and I would definitely appreciate a promised income of some sort whilst trying to get more clients, so the ‘Keep Your Full-Time Job’ tip is the one I agree with most!

  • Steven Snell

    Sep 24th

    Hi everyone, thanks for your great feedback. It’s good to hear about your experiences and how they are similar or differ from mine.

    Daquan,
    I absolutely agree with you that get connected to people is very important. The reason I feel a portfolio site is #1 is because if you get a lot of referrals but they are disappointed when they see your work, it may be hard to convert them to clients. I guess that depends on how strong the referral is though and how much they trust the person that is referring you. Thanks for your feedback.

  • lixon

    Sep 24th

    Wow ! Outstanding post. i like it !

  • philipbeel

    Sep 24th

    Great article, Im currently a part time freelancer. I highly recommend giving http://www.sitepoint.com/books/freelancer1/ a read. Great book and a lot of very useful tips and hints to get you on your way to freelance success.

  • Web 2.0

    Sep 24th

    This is an amazing article, great work… I’m not sure how to handle taxes!

  • Steven Snell

    Sep 24th

    My recommendation for handling taxes is to research to see what tax bracket you expect to be in, then set aside that percentage of all of your income in an account specifically for taxes and don’t use it for anything else. That way it will always be there and you’ll probably wind up with some money left over (after you deduct your expenses and reduce the tax that you owe). Of course, it’s good to find an account who can advise you and help you to know what taxes you need to pay and when (such as quarterly taxes). My accountant is well worth the money that I pay to him.

  • Jason Garrison

    Sep 24th

    You forgot one: Dream Big!

    Whether it’s something simple like moving from part-time to full-time work as a freelancer or something involved like parlaying a freelance career into your own studio, I think it really helps to have some kind of direction in mind… even if you just scribble it out on the back of a napkin. :)

  • Adam Goyette

    Sep 24th

    Great List. I just did an interview with Franz Jeitz of Fudgegraphics on this very topic.

  • Chad Mueller

    Sep 24th

    Fantastic article.. all of these points are so true – I am guilty for taking all the work that comes at me.. and I am always finding that i have no time for my own projects and creativeness… I have been a part time freelancer for some time now.. and it’s definitely better then going out all alone.. I tried to go full-time at one point in between jobs and it was just way to hard… build up your brand and then try it out.

  • Tim Read

    Sep 24th

    Thanks for that great blog. I am starting my own company, and the most difficult thing for me is balancing all the different things that need to be done. In my opinion, good time-management and strong self-discipline are essential.

  • MarcoBarbosa

    Sep 25th

    This is great!

    I have a part time job and I freelance on the other half time.

    It takes discipline and I try to follow all the items in this list.
    They are so true.

    Well done!

  • Rob Mason

    Sep 25th

    Good article and very timely for me. Great to see sometime specifically focussing on part-timers. Only thing I’d add to the mix is contracts. Irrespective of your employment status and time to dedicate to this, acontract not only protects you and the client, it also proves you have a level of professionalism and dedication.

    R

  • Dom

    Sep 25th

    Never felt compelled to comment before, but this is a really great article. I’m in exactly the position you describe, working full time and freelancing ‘on the side’.

    Really good, sensible, tips.

    Thanks.

  • Kris Geist

    Sep 25th

    Portfolio advice: If your not much of a web designer, use Carbonmade. It’s free and has worked perfectly for me.

  • Josh R.

    Sep 26th

    This stuff is good but super basic and I would hope obvious. This doesn’t talk at all about actually getting clients and what kind of clients make sense for a part time freelancer.

  • Steven Snell

    Sep 26th

    Josh,
    Yes, you’re right, the tips in this post are basic. If you read the comments throughout the site you will see that a lot of readers are at a stage where they are looking for some direction, and what may be obvious to you is helpful to many others. I know that no post is going to satisfy everyone, but this one was intended for people who have demonstrated through comments and emails that they are interested in getting some guidance in this area.

  • Hameedullah Khan

    Sep 27th

    Few good tips for very new freelancers, I wish if I had known them when I was starting.

  • Douglas Bonneville

    Sep 28th

    I would also add that should focus on a niche, and write blog posts about your niche. It might be hard to think of a niche in design, but flip the question on it’s head. What niche of graphic design could you write about? This would be a great clue as to what you should focus your visuals on…

  • Akbar Shah

    Sep 29th

    Hey… These are really useful tips for beginners.
    Keep it up

  • aledesign.it

    Oct 1st

    A fantastic post. Some points are really good! For everyone is important this article. Add to my preferites!

  • meg

    Oct 2nd

    ((awesome advice! Thanks! i’ll be referencing this article for a while still, i’m sure.. :D))

  • Mark Carter

    Oct 6th

    Prioritize Experience Over Income is a great mantra to bear in mind when sources projects … thanks for this …

  • Chris

    Oct 20th

    I was also hoping I could find here some business programs that people on freelancing can try to join in. Twitter magpie and adsense seem to be not enough.

  • FeryKloucek

    Oct 24th

    Hi, I think it’s a good article! I’ve to agree that it’s just about basics but You know a lot of guys need to read this just for find it’s true..!
    Looking forward for more advanced article next time : )

  • Sava

    Oct 30th

    I agree to prioritizing experience over income. Having lower rates means more projects and customers.

  • Osvaldo M

    Oct 30th

    Although I also tend to love being a freelancer (after all, i’ve just got out of uni) i have thought a lot about the “freelancer” situation for quite a while and I have found out it’s not for me. “What? are you crazy?” i hear from all of my “freelancing” friends (which really… now it turns out everyone has always wanted to be a freelancer). I strongly believe freelancing is a trend, and that many people out there called “freelancers” have not even given themselves a chance of getting into a company/agency and work there. I admit there are shitty bosses out there who make our life miserable, i also believe and found there are great companies to work for. I do not deny i love the freedom of it all in freelancing, but assuming full responsibility on a room at my place just doesn’t do it for me. I get distracted quite a lot and having work at an agency during uni, i have found out that i committed myself better during my stay there than now. These ramblings come due to the comment of David Platt above, most of the freelancers i know are between 20-35 years old. I have not met any freelancer above this age and Pratt’s comment above reassure my thinking on the matter that freelancing aint for me. Check his website out, his portfolio is great and he has big clients. I bet he has more interesting stuff to say about freelancing than most of the college kids as myself, rambling about freelancing “gigs” and how to get more clients when they are still on theirs parents basement. Nothing personal, just a thought.

  • Steven Snell

    Oct 30th

    Osvaldo,
    I agree with you that freelancing is not for everyone, and based on what you said in your comment I’d say you are probably better off working for an agency/company. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you may change your mind after you have been in the work force longer. When I came out of college I had no desire to work for myself. I wanted to find a good job with a good company and work hard. I did that for several years but the truth is that most jobs really suck and most employers don’t care about their employees. I hope I never have to go back to working for someone else.

  • Daquan Wright

    Oct 30th

    Companies care about labor and saving money, that’s it. lol

  • Roy Xia

    Nov 6th

    If you want to make a lot of money, freelancing is not the way to go. You will always be limited by the number of hours you can work. It’s also a rough life. I freelanced for 2 years after I got out of college and I told myself I would never do it again. Customers never paid on time, I had to chase down every dollar, and many times it’s feast or famine.

    I ended up getting a FT job, which allows me to work on my own website and products on the side. But, to each his own.

    These are great tips!

  • M Smith

    Nov 10th

    Good tips!

    There are essential qualities one must have to be an effective freelancer – whether one wants to get into it full time or part time. If you’re going to get into the biz, might as well be great at it, right? :)

    Check out this really helpful article (for freelancers and aspiring freelancers out there) : http://www.freelancesupermarket.com/news/2009/11/9/the-3-qualities-of-a-brilliant-freelance-contractor.aspx

    Good luck to everyone! :)

  • Calgary web

    Nov 25th

    Good list, i learned the hard way not to take too much work, as this become a problem later. Sometimes its best when starting just to take the work you like and then as you go try harder jobs.

  • Vic

    Nov 29th

    Very specific tips here, Always start from small things and have a discipline in working and make your clients happy but be sure to be paid for it as well

  • Victoria Web

    Apr 12th

    Great article, i have never worked as freelance myself as i imagine that you do need a ton of discipline, but having a set of guidelines to adhere to makes sense, after you have worked full time in a controlled environment its only natural that having rules and guidelines will help you to become a successful freelancer.

  • Brian Cline

    Jun 10th

    Steve, thanks for taking the time to write such a great article.

    Do you have any book or website recommendations?

  • Mohammad Koubeissi

    Jun 17th

    I still think working for a ‘good’ experienced agency beats freelancing.

  • Jan Mateboer

    Jun 17th

    All good points. I am a parttime webdesigner for a month now and I like it. But at this moment it’s very busy. A bit too busy. No problem in getting work. All because of networking. Important!

  • Emma Rose

    Jul 4th

    Great article that I can really relate to. Last year when the studio I was working for moved out of the city, I decided take my freelancing more seriously and took on a part time role instead. This works really well as it gives me some financial security, but also gives me a lot more time to work on freelance projects and more importantly time to try new things out, develop my portfolio and networking, all of which I found difficult to do when I was working full time, as I was always concentrating on just getting the a job done in the limit time I had in the evenings and on weekends.

  • Tina

    Jul 9th

    Great article. I would recommend anyone starting out as a freelancer consider doing some work for not for profit / charitable organisations. It helps in building a portfolio if you haven’t got a large body of work. You will also gain a lot of inspiration and the project will usually allow for creative freedom as they are either getting the work cheaper or for free. You will also get satisfaction in understanding what they do usually in the community. You can gain a lot of contacts, friendships and personal satisfaction particularly as being a freelancer can become a lonely existence at times.

  • kai

    Jul 19th

    thanks for tips…. i think that so help me

  • vuitton hanbags

    Jul 23rd

    allow for creative freedom as they are either getting the work cheaper or for free. You will also get satisfaction in understanding what they do usually in the community. You can gain a lot of contacts, friendships and personal satisfaction particularly as being a freelancer can become a lonely existence at times.

  • mobile crusher

    Aug 12th

    Thanks for your list.
    these tips is very useful for me .

  • Rory

    Aug 17th

    Fantastic tips for all freelancers, I work for a big web design company who has a lot of continuous work in the studio and wouldn’t envy anyone starting out alone, un-heard off – its a very bold move but fair play to all those who give it a shot.

  • neo

    Aug 21st

    I can’t say nothing for all of your vision unless I should prepare my self and try harder to follow all of your advice. I know it’s not a simple homework but I am sure it will be better for my future. thank you so much..

  • Alex

    Aug 26th

    I lost my job about 6 years ago. And I can’t find a job since then. Therefore I am a full-time freelancer for almost 6 years. Frankly speaking, the working hours of a full-time freelancer is much much longer, mostly 16 hours working hours per day. But the income is not enough to survive.

    My advise is always keep your full-time job while trying to be a Part-Time freelancer.

  • Calgary Web Design

    Sep 5th

    Good tips – as an owner of a IT company, we’ve seen an upswing in resumes the past 2 years with the recession from designers & freelances, in particular students who have just recently graduated looking for work experience to bloster up their portfolios.

    I tend to have an appreciation for this (I too was once a grad of course) and I think a lot of your posts’ ideas cover the basics. Think the one that hammers home the best – don’t take every job that comes your way for the sake of saying yes. Even as a full-time professional later, you’ll prosper better if you keep yourself focused and will be that much more successful by doing so!

  • Programmer Niagara

    Sep 23rd

    I started freelancing part time back in 2008: at the time it was doing Asterisk installation and customization which actually went quite well for the first five or six months. Eventually, the market dropped as more and more guys got into developing call centre software in my area.

    The best advice I could give anyone is to find a niche, and really spend time networking with other programmers, and with potential clients. If you want to do everything local you need to join a local business owners organization and start to slowly network with other business owners. I find it’s a lot easier to trust and work with somebody when you know them personally offline.

    Best of luck!

  • Brad Maver

    Oct 4th

    Great list. Thanks for sharing!

  • crusher suppliers

    Nov 23rd

    Think the one that hammers home the best – don’t take every job that comes your way for the sake of saying yes. Even as a full-time professional later,

  • Calgary Web Design

    Dec 1st

    Wow, thanks for this awesome post. It really gets me set in the right direction.

  • Oliver Suckling

    Mar 10th

    Excellent article. Having been freelancing myself for nearly a year now I can highly recommend doing it part-time when you first start out.

    Finding work is undoubtedly the most difficult thing. Second to that is justifying your rates to small companies that place a low value on design.

    Someone told me the other day it’s like feast and famine, one minute you’re crazy busy, the next you might have a week of nothing. Certainly makes for an exciting career!

  • yagnesh ahir

    Apr 23rd

    Nice article, a real help. I am a Graphic/Web Designer and am planning to jump into part-time freelancing. After reading the article I got lot of work-to-do now ;) . Thanks for sharing such a resourceful article.

  • Sattlerei Polsterei

    May 5th

    very nice article! It helped me also to plan my own buisness. Thanks for sharing!

  • Edwin

    Jun 5th

    Hello everyone,

    Ive been freelancing off and on since 2002 and the best thing I learned is to ALWAYS use a contract. I found it very helpful in making sure you get paid on time,no room for disagreements and clients take you a lot more seriously as an artist. Good luck.

  • RCA ieftin

    Jul 15th

    The most important thing in my opinion is to have a nice and big portfolio. Most of the clients will want to see your previous work.

  • World Financial Group Company

    Jul 31st

    If you want to do everything local you need to join a local business owners organization and start to slowly network with other business owners.

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