FREELANCING / AUG. 18, 2014
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The Ten Commandments of the Holy Book of Freelancing

They say Moses climbed Mount Sinai to claim the Ten Commandments written by God on a pair of stone tablets. What many of the books don’t tell you is on the back of these tablets God wrote a small inscription just for us freelance writers.

That’s right, and in this article we’re going to go through the ten holy commandments of freelancing. Praise the holy spirit of freelancing!

Thou Shalt Not Live in Thy Bed

Many novice freelancers make the mistake of trying to live and work in bed. This is cool for a few days, but sooner or later it will grow stale and you will grow lazy. Maintain discipline by giving yourself a desk. Don’t eat in bed and don’t work in bed. Beds are for sleeping and nothing more.

Thou Shalt Separate Social Media and Real Life Friends

Social media is the freelancer’s friend. What you need to stop yourself from doing is blurring the lines between your friends in the real world and your friends online. It’s easy as a freelancer to withdraw and become a hermit.

Make time for your real world friends. It will enable you to stay sane and stay healthy. Never underestimate the negative effects of isolation.

Thou Shalt Treat Thy Intern Fairly

Sooner or later, every freelancer starts to outsource work to interns around the globe. Resist treating them poorly. You may well be paying that person from India a pittance to transcribe your interviews and take your calls, but treat them with respect.

A happy intern will be willing to go the extra mile for you. They will have no problems doing that extra work and making sure your business is as healthy as possible. A good intern can work wonders for any growing freelance business.

Thou Shalt Not Go to Pieces Over Rejection

Rejection is part of being a freelancer. You won’t be able to go a week without suffering rejection from one publication or another. Freelancers won’t last long in this business if they take every rejection personally. By all means, feel disappointed, but you really should be over it within a matter of minutes.

Get used to rejection by getting rejected as much as you possibly can. Apply to the big businesses and you’ll soon get used to the crushing feeling of disappointment. Eventually, it won’t bother you in the slightest.

Thou Shalt Make an Effort to Speak Aloud

 

Going back to our earlier points about isolation and withdrawing from society at large, freelancers actively need to make sure they’re speaking to people directly. It’s not uncommon for a freelancer to go shopping only to discover when they get to the checkout they haven’t said anything aloud in a few days.

Your real life persona is just as important as your online persona. Make an effort to speak to another human being each day, even if it’s only a Skype call.

Thou Shalt Not Rate Thyself Poorly

One of the most difficult parts of freelancing is determining rates. You want to value yourself, but you don’t want to scare off potential clients with high prices.

Get used to having rates that are too high for most people you come into contact with. These people don’t want to pay for what you’re worth. They only want to find someone who’s desperate for the money, and as a final slap in the face they still want high-quality work.

If you have a choice between letting a client go and working for exceedingly low rates, say goodbye to the client.

Thou Shalt Not Distract Thyself with Internet Hilarity

The Internet is a playground for all ages. The problem is you don’t want to be playing in that playground. For every minute you spend not working on your daily tasks, you’re losing a minute’s worth of pay. As a professional, you must have designated working hours. Discipline yourself to work at certain times.

There are apps which can forcefully block you from your browser between certain times. Tools like this are a great way to force your head to look at Microsoft Word. Remember, just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be unprofessional.

Thou Shalt Escape Thy Rut

We all end up in a freelancing rut sooner or later. Whenever this happens, you need an escape plan. Go back to why you decided to become a freelancer in the first place. Take some time off and do something for yourself, but still related to work.

For example, this could be reading the book that inspired you to go into business for yourself. It could even involve attending a freelancing conference where you get to pick up lots of free stuff.

It’s all about escaping the monotony of your existence. If things start to grow boring, figure out a way to shake things up again.

Thou Shalt Not Turn into a Slob

Freelancers are often stereotyped as people who spend all day in their pyjamas. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with doing this on occasion, you don’t want to make a habit of it. Make sure you dress for success each day. It doesn’t have to mean squeezing into a corporate power suit. Just dress like you would if you were going outside.


Dressing well has a powerful psychological effect on the individual. It puts them into work mode, whereas pyjamas puts them into lying around and doing nothing mode.

Thou Shalt Network with Thy Fellows

Other freelancers provide you with a fantastic opportunity to begin networking. Always look out for opportunities within your peer groups. Set aside a few minutes every day to network with those who matter most. You have to ensure you’re forever looking for new ways to succeed.

Successful freelancers have large groups of people they have networked with at some point in time. When work starts to dry up, as it always will do, they will be able to access their network to find new work. It’s how they keep on going for years and years.

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