Having been freelancing for over 4 years now, I believe I can offer some practical advice.
Here’s what not to do (at all) when pursuing a freelancing career:
- Pick up too many skills: This just means, sadly, that you know none of them very well.
- Work in a hurry: Except for finalizing details and people, nobody is ever, actually in a hurry. All the pressure created is virtual. Relax.
- Race to the bottom: If your strategy is to have a common skill set and then try to underbid other freelancers, you’re digging your own grave. Improve your skills, set a respectable rate, and wait for your time.
- Be like everyone else: Don’t blindly keep approaching for projects without reading the full message posted. Too often the recruiter clearly says “based in the US” and yet we Indians keep pasting “interested” in comments.
- Bite off more than you can chew: If the project is beyond your skill level, decline it. Don’t make a mess of your life and the life/money of the client.
- Run away with the money: Can’t do the work? Fair enough. Just make sure you’re professional enough to return the money. It builds reputation, and will help you in the long run.
- Follow up too often: The seeds of prospecting you’re sowing today will give results after a few weeks. Sometimes, they give results after a few months. If the client is not responding, there’s a good reason for it. Accept it and move on.
All in all, less is more. If you don’t have a clear strategy for improving yourself and building a clientele, nothing much is going to happen.