Your skill is not enough to be a successful freelancer. However, if you are really passionate about the gig economy, you need to understand the 7 freelancing commandments for beginners. 

Every trade has its principles; and the gig economy is not exempted.

You can be the best content creator, the best graphic designer, the best web and mobile app developer, etc.

But if you don’t understand how the gig economy works, you can’t be successful in any freelancing platform.

My point?

Once you understand these commandments, your success as a freelancer will be exponential.

So, without further ado, here are 7 freelancing commandments for beginners.

#1. Learn Proposal Writing

Guys! If you master the art of crafting spell-casting and irresistible proposals. You will definitely be successful as a freelancer.

Although having a skill to sell is what it takes to be a freelancer, if you can market that skill, you may not make a dime.

So, as you hone your skills and warm up to storm the gig economy, you still need to learn proposal writing.

Your proposal is what you use to market your skill. A well written proposal will convince a client beyond reasonable doubt that you are the best person for the job.

During my early days as a freelancer, I toiled hard before I got my first freelancing gig.

Guys, I sent countless proposals. I was always applying for every job post I saw on Upwork and Fiverr.

It continued for over 7 months. At the time, I almost gave up as a freelancer.

In fact, I was so convinced that it was impossible to make money online via freelancing.

Just when I was about to give up. I met a veteran freelancer and I told him about my experience. And how frustrating I was at that moment.

After discussing with this veteran freelancer, he pointed out areas I was making mistakes.

Before meeting him, I was so selfish in my proposals.

I will write a proposal and start telling my biography to the potential client. LOL.

But meeting the veteran changed everything.

He told me to always focus my proposals on the clients’ pain points. And mention how I will help them solve these pain points if they hire me for the project.

That was the beginning of my success as a freelancer.

Today, over the last 12 months, I have made over 100k dollars, still counting.

#2. Don’t Use Pseudo Details on Any Freelancing Platform

I still wonder why people will keep using fake details on their Upwork or Fiverr account.

They will use fake names, fake addresses, fake locations, and sometimes, fake pictures.

Initially, you may think you are smart. And you have outsmarted whatever platform you are using.

But in reality, you are doing yourself.

Using pseudo details for freelancing may affect your growth in the long run.

A friend of mine who was a freelancer had a terrible experience recently.

He actually used fake details to open his freelancing account on upwork. Interestingly, he was getting really high paying jobs initially.

And one brand contacted him to work for them. My friend works with the brand for a while.

Because the brand loves my friend’s work, they wanted to employ full time.

Of course, it was great news.

But they needed his details and other information. And the information he provided was now different from what he has on Upwork.

The brand asked questions; and he couldn’t respond. That was how he lost the opportunity to work with a very big brand.

So, as a beginner, use your real name, real address and location.

It’s one of the freelancing commandments for beginners. And if you can avoid this, you won’t have issues on any freelancing platforms.

#3. Consistency

Consistency is one thing freelancers should live by. Whatever skill you are offering on Upwork or any other freelancing platform, try to be consistent.

Consistency will clear your path to success. It will make things easier for you and turn you into an expert in no time.

Being consistent places you way ahead of our peers in the freelancing niche.

Don’t say because you have earned a few dollars, you won’t take clients’ delivery seriously anymore.

Don’t say because you have a client that gives you a job regularly, you won’t search for more clients.

At all times, be ready to take action. Don’t allow the little challenges you encounter to demotivate you and make you less interested in freelancing.

Every profession has its peaks and valleys. So, freelancing is not exempted.

Just be consistent and develop an unquenchable thirst for success.

#4. Exceptional Work Ethics

Some people think that working independently is equivalent to working less. Oops! That is so not true.

As an independent freelancer, you need to work harder than other people. Otherwise, you won’t make much.

So, it’s important for every freelancer or wanna-be freelancer to develop a crazy work ethic.

I mean, you have to work as if you were to live for a hundred years. That is the spirit.

Whether big or small project – put the same amount of commitment.

Take every client seriously and be deliberate about deadlines.

Once you start missing deadlines, the confidence your clients repose on you will disappear overtime.

#5. Choose a Niche You are Familiar With

You don’t jump into freelancing just because you want to make a quick buck. Yes, I know we all want to make money.

But freelancing is not a get rich quick scheme.

You need to have exceptional skills to sell. You need to learn how to market your skills through proposal writing.

And of course, you need to learn how to communicate with clients in a way that will make them trust you.

But you can’t do all these if you are in a niche you aren’t familiar with.

Let me ask you this.

How do you communicate with a client if you don’t know anything about NFT yet you are offering services in that niche?

How do you offer value to a client if you are in the copywriting niche, yet don’t know how to write a good copy?

My point? Forget about the money. Choose a niche you are good at. Trust me, over time you will be successful.

#6. Offer Value

When you see top-rated sellers on Upwork, Fiverr, or any other freelancing platform, you would be so excited, right?

But they didn’t get there overnight.

They became top rated in their various niches because they always go the extra miles to deliver exceptional value for every dime their client spends.

Guys! If you prioritise your clients’ satisfaction over money, the sky would be your stepping stone in the gig economy.

#7. Cultivate Savings and Investment Culture

As you start earning from freelancing, try to save and invest some of your earnings.

Because the money comes regularly, some freelancers will spend it as it comes.

They won’t care about the future or save for the rainy day.

But that is so wrong!

You need to cultivate the habit of saving and investing. You can set aside about 15 to 20 percent of every money you receive as savings.

Additionally, you need to have an investment. There are a lot of investment opportunities out there, just do your research, I’m sure, you will find something amazing.

Oops! You have it.

These are the 7 freelancing commandments for beginners. Adhere to them and you will surely be successful in your freelancing journey.


Rufus S. is an author and blogger who writes about freelancing and career development for the Busy Earner blog. He is an expert on platforms like Upwork, LinkedIn, and Fiverr and shares practical tips for building a successful freelance career. Rufus is also passionate about helping busy earners manage their time and avoid burnout.

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