Freelancing Checklists For Absolute Beginners

Black notebook with white writing of various freelance checklist items with some of them ticked off.

Are you ready to make the leap into freelancing? Becoming a successful freelancer takes more than just enthusiasm. You need organization, discipline, and a plan of action. To help you make your transition to freelancing as smooth as possible, I’ve put together some checklists for absolute beginner freelancers.

Beginner Freelancing Checklist

1. Research

Do you know what kind of services you can offer as a freelancer? Make sure to research the industry and abilities that will make you stand out from the rest.

2. Set Your Rates

Determine your rates according to the scope of work, your experience, and market rates. You can adjust these as you progress.

3. Networking

Connect with like-minded professionals in your field through social media or professional events. This is essential for long-term success in freelancing!

4. Choose Platforms

Decide which platforms are best suited for marketing yourself as a freelancer and connecting with potential employers or clients. Popular sites include Upwork, Fiverr and PeoplePerHour, but social media and creating your own website would fall into this category as well.

5. Financial Planning

Being a freelancer often means managing your own finances, so make sure to set up a financial plan and keep track of your income and expenses.

6. Invest In Yourself

You can’t be successful without investing in yourself first! Consider investing in the right tools for your business and taking courses or classes that can help build your skill set.

7. Build Your Digital Portfolio

Create an online portfolio of work samples from past projects and employers to showcase your talent and expertise. If you don’t have any samples already, make some!

8. Branding & Design

Develop a strong personal brand identity by creating professional logos, icons, and graphics you can associate with your services. This will make you more brandable and recognizable over time.

9. Perfect Your Pitch

Come up with a convincing and professional pitch that will make potential clients take notice! List out the benefits you services can bring to clients so you have them ready to go at any time.

10. Stay Organized

Develop an organizational system that works for you and keeps your projects on track.

11. Collaborate

Use collaboration tools like Skype, Zoom or Slack to stay in touch with clients and anyone else involved in the projects.

12. Market Yourself

Take advantage of digital marketing platforms such as social media, blogs, and email campaigns to increase visibility and reach potential clients.

13. Set Boundaries

Understand the importance of setting boundaries with clients when it comes to deadlines, payment schedules, and job scope expectations.

14. Evaluate Your Progress

Measure your progress on a regular basis so you can identify where you need to improve.  

Freelancing Tools Checklist

1. Accounting Software

Investing in accounting software such as QuickBooks or Freshbooks is essential for keeping track of your finances and taxes. At the very least keep track of your income and expenses in a spreadsheet.

2. Collaboration Tools

Stay connected with clients, co-workers and contractors using collaboration tools like Skype, Zoom, Slack or Asana. You can use these for communication or even handling project management.

3. Time Tracking Tool

Make sure to keep track of the hours spent on each project using time tracking tools. You usually don’t need to pay for tools like these, and keeping note of things yourself can suffice.

4. Marketing Platforms

Use digital marketing platforms and email campaigns to get your name out there! There are lots of tools you can use for this, but even social media can be useful here.

5. File Sharing Services

Use file sharing services such as Dropbox or Google Drive to collaborate with clients and store important files in a secure location.

6. Graphic Design Software

Invest in graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop or even use Canva to create professional logos and visuals for your brand identity.

7. Invoicing Software

Use invoicing software like Wave or Freshbooks to invoice clients quickly and accurately. Your accounting software (see point 1) may be able to do this for you. You can also create invoices with Microsoft Word and even PayPal.

Freelancing Checklist For Getting Clients

1. Create A Website

Establish an online presence by creating a website to showcase your portfolio and services.

2. Networking

Connect with people in your industry, attend meetings, and get involved in local events to find potential clients.

3. Write Articles

Writing articles is an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert and get noticed by potential employers. Do this on your own website, social media platforms, or even using guest posting on other websites to get your name out there.

4. Use Social Media

Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter (now X), and Facebook to increase your visibility.

5. Participate in Forums & Groups

Join forums or groups related to your industry so that you can connect with potential clients and collaborate with like-minded professionals.

6. Join Freelance Platforms

Take advantage of platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr to find freelance work. This is especially useful for beginners (I started out on Fiverr myself).

7. Cold Pitch

Reach out to potential clients directly by sending them a professional proposal.

8. Attend Events

Participate in conferences, expos, and networking events. This will give you the chance to meet new people who may need your services, and you can also learn a lot from others in your industry.

9. Ask For Referrals

Don’t forget to ask existing clients for referrals – they can be a great source of new business opportunities!

10. Follow Up

Keep in touch with past and potential customers and build lasting relationships. This can lead to repeat business and new opportunities later down the road.

Freelance Contract Checklist

1. Project Description

Describe the project in detail including its scope, timeline, and objectives.

2. Payment Terms

Outline payment terms for the project including your invoicing procedure, deadlines for payment, method of payment, and any extra charges you impose for late payments.

3. Ownership Rights & Intellectual Property

Establish who will own any copyright or intellectual property you create during the course of the project.

4. Termination Clause

Define conditions under which either party may terminate the contract if necessary.

5. Dispute Resolution Clause

Set out how disputes should be handled in case of disagreements between the freelancer and client.

Freelance Tax Preparation Checklist

1. Gather Financial Documents

Collect all relevant financial documents, including bank statements, invoices, receipts and other records of income or expenses for the past year. You will likely need to keep these on record for several years.

2. Calculate Income & Expenses

Determine your total income in addition to any applicable deductions and credits for taxes purposes.

3. File Taxes on Time

Make sure to submit your tax return before the deadline to avoid any penalties or trouble with your tax authority.

4. Track Your Tax Payments

Keep track of payments made towards fees and taxes throughout the year so that you can better manage cash flow and budget accordingly.

5. Seek Professional Help

Consider hiring an accountant or tax specialist if you have complex returns to file. They can provide advice and help ensure that all taxes are paid on time, and save you money (and trouble) in the long run.

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