Rules Every New Freelancer Should Break to Grow Their Revenue

When you’re just getting started as a freelancer, you’re eager to take sage advice from others so you can avoid making the same mistakes they did. The problem is, a lot of freelancer advice for newbies sounds the same, which is why it’s hard to spot bad advice from the good stuff. 

There are a few rules that have become somewhat canon among freelancers, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow them. In fact, you should probably break these three rules altogether: 

Rule #1: Find a Niche 

Choose a niche, they say. You will become the go-to for that type of client, they say. That’s all fine and well for seasoned freelancers. But when you’re just starting out, the only thing on your mind is growth in any direction. 

For the time being, don’t worry over choosing a niche just yet. In fact, many successful freelancers choose their niche based on the types of clients they attract in their first year. It’s like reverse engineering your niche.  

Rule #2: Work for Free 

“Can you do this project for me for free? You’ll get exposure and experience.” Every freelancer will hear this at least once in their career, and at no point is it ever valid.  

Freelancers provide a valuable service. And if you’re good at what you do, never do it for free.  

For a new freelancer, though, this can seem like a tempting proposition. But just remember that when you offer your services to someone for free or cheap, they will never value your services the same way you do. They might even be hesitant to hire you for a paying project, or try to negotiate lower rates with you moving forward.  

Instead, use this time to sell your worth. Let them know your prices and what they can expect to get from their investment. You don’t have to be the cheapest out there to get work, even when you’re brand new to the field. 

Rule #3: Invest Money Before You Get a Client 

Some businesses, such as retail stores, need to make a sizable investment in their business before they’re ready to serve customers. Freelancers, however, are usually better off investing as they go.  

The bare minimum you really need to start freelancing are a computer, a website, and maybe some business cards if you’re doing business locally. But beyond that, there’s really no need to spend money on expensive CRM tools, editing software, and a home office until you get your first client.  

You don’t know exactly what that first client will need. You also don’t know how much that client will be worth to your business.  You don’t even know that you will land a client! Why spend money that you don’t have to? Once you start getting clients, you can start reinvesting some of your earnings into growing your business. The bar to entry just got a lot lower, didn’t it? 

For more freelancing tips and wisdom, head back to the CitronWorks blog


Leo Gestetner

A serial entrepreneur for over 30 years with a track record of successful online and offline businesses. Leo is Co-Founder & CEO of Zenvoy (Building A.I. Driven Private Networking Communities) & is also Co-Founder & CEO of CitronWorks (A global marketplace of remote professionals ready to help entrepreneurs and companies achieve their goals). Leo is Founder & CEO of Heath Capital, a private equity firm that primarily takes control positions in Technology, Real Estate, and Consumer & Durable Goods Businesses and is very active in each investment.


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