Rules for Freelancing Success in the Gig Economy

Experts estimate that within 10 years, more than half of workers will be freelancing instead of working as full-time employees. There are plenty of good reasons for this trend. Employers cut costs by spending less on employee benefits and taxes. Companies can hire freelancers with specific skills for projects that would not justify full-time employees. Freelancers gain control of their time and income. Can you replace your full-time employment with a freelancing business? It’s quite possible, but don’t buy into some misconceptions that can lead you astray.

Freelancing is easy money

You’re going to work hard for your money, often longer hours than in a regular job. Control of your income is a double-edged sword. You may be able to determine what you want for income, and you may be able to generate it. You’ll have to work to make it happen, though. And, the more income you want, the longer and harder you’ll have to work. With the independent contractor lifestyle comes a roller-coaster income and work schedule.

You get rid of annoying bosses

You do still have a boss; it’s your client. They still expect your work product to meet their needs and at a price that they have budgeted for their project. They may be just as annoying, or even more so. They don’t have to get along with you after the project. If there are communication mistakes in defining the scope of a project and your clients’ expectations, you may find a project to be painful and the compensation not worth the stress.

Now that you’re working with a realistic outlook, there are a few simple rules that will contribute to a successful freelancing lifestyle.

Don’t panic when work gets slow. – When you have bills to pay, it can get a little scary when work slows down or even temporarily stops. Hitting all of the freelance sites and bidding work like crazy can backfire on you. If you get several jobs at once, you risk poor reviews because you put too much on your plate.

Always ask questions to clarify project requirements. – If there is any doubt in your mind as to the scope of a project or the expectations of your client, ask questions. The majority of problems mediated on freelance websites involve misunderstandings between clients and freelancers as to the project requirements or deadlines.

Starting low is fine, but mark up your work as you gain experience. – Building a reputation, especially on freelancing websites, takes time and successful project completions. You may have to settle for lower compensation than you want to get some good reviews under your belt, but it’s worth it. Once you establish a reputation and good reviews, you’ll be able to get work at higher rates.

Don’t get too comfortable with long-term clients. – Great relationships over long periods are wonderful for steady freelancing income. It’s easy to get comfortable with steady monthly income, but your clients control the work, and their plans can change at any time.


A realistic attitude, marketable skills, and a love of the freedom of the freelancing lifestyle will all combine to deliver the income you want. You know how to enjoy the time you create for the other things in life.