3 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Freelancing

In this post I’m going to let you know the three things I wish I knew before I started freelancing as a video editor. 

Before we get started, I just wanted to let you know that I also make freelancing videos, as well as tutorials on Premiere Pro and Photoshop on my YouTube channel. So please do consider check those out, and hitting the subscribe button with the notification bell on if you don’t want to miss any of those! Ok lets get right into the three things I wish I knew before I started freelancing.

#1. How to talk to clients

When I first started out freelancing, I’d go on sites like UpWork and Freelancer, and I’d write all of these proposals to jobs hoping that a client would want to work with me. I made the mistake that I think a lot people first starting out make, which is that I would write an entire proposal and I would make it all about myself. I would talk about my experience, how many videos I’ve worked on, what education I had, this, that, and the other. But here’s the thing, the reality is clients don’t care about your life story and they’re really not even that interested in your extensive work history. What they care about is, what can you do for ME right now? How can you help ME finish my project? 

How To Talk To Clients

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your work history, but you should try to only mention things you’ve done that are relevant to that client’s project. I know this sounds like common sense, but I think we sometimes get in this mindset that by unloading our entire backstory on a client that somehow that will impress them and make them want to hire us.

So as freelancers we have to put ourselves in our client’s shoes, and think about, if we had a project that we needed someone else’s help on, what would we want to hear from that person? First, we’d probably want to know what relevant work or experience does this person have, and second does this person seem professional and reliable?

Do's and Don'ts For Job Proposals

The biggest take away here is, when you’re writing a job proposal or speaking to a client, try to refrain from using too many “I’s” and “Me’s”. Instead try using more “You’s” and “We’s”. Talk about how your experience can benefit them, and make the client the hero of the story. The whole proposal or bid should be about servicing the client’s needs. In other words, make it less about you the freelancer.

What other issues might you guys be having with clients out there? Are you struggling to land jobs, or maybe you’re struggling to keep clients? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see if I can lend any helpful advice I can! Also, if you’ve found this post to be enjoyable so far, please do hit the like button and feel free to share this article with anyone who might also enjoy it. Ok let’s go to the next thing I wish I knew…

When you’re writing a job proposal or speaking to a client, try to refrain from using too many “I’s” and “Me’s”. Instead try using more “You’s” and “We’s”.

#2. Diversify Income

There’s an old saying to never put all your eggs in one basket. In freelancing terms, try not to be too dependent on clients for all of your work. This was something I learned the hard way a number of years ago. I was fortunate enough to land a client that gave me a TON of work, basically I was full time employed by them. The job was great, it was a brand new startup where they needed videos every week, and everyone I worked with was amazing, and best of all the pay was awesome as well. 

Working Freelance Video Editor

But my great relationship with this client, lulled me into an illusion of security. I wasn’t as active going after new clients, I was comfortable working for the startup client that kept me busy. But there’s another old saying that all good things must come to end, and for me that’s exactly what happened. After awhile the client’s business grew and matured, and they outgrew the need for new videos, so my contract with that client ended. 

And at that point I lost my biggest client, and it felt like I was going to have to start over completely from scratch. What I realized was I needed to make sure that I have several different sources of income coming in, so that I’m not completely dependent on one client. 

Different income sources can take many forms, whether it’s having a stronger mix of smaller to larger clients who give you work every so often, or even branching out of freelancing and running another side business. As long as you’re not completely dependent on one source of money, you’re protecting yourself in the long run. I know it’s hard to say no especially when a client loves you and is continually wanting to give you work. I’m not saying you should flat out turn them down, but just keep in mind that the more time and energy you devote to one client the less time you have for others.

Diversify Freelance Income

Besides, having one client that takes up all of your time doesn’t leave you much space for working on personal passion projects or expanding your portfolio of work to showcase everything else you can do.

Having one client that takes up all of your time doesn’t leave you much space for working on personal passion projects or expanding your portfolio of work to showcase everything else you can do.

#3. Separating Finances

While on the subject of income, this brings me to the third thing that I wish I knew before I started freelancing, and that is separating my finances. When I first started out, anytime I got paid by a client, I would deposit the money right into my personal bank account. Yep, I just deposited it right into an account with all of my other money because why not? I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Well a big problem came up when I tried to buy a house for the first time. When you’re applying for a mortgage, they have underwriters who look into every part of your finances to make sure that you’re making the kind of money you say you do and that there’s red flags that might prevent them from giving you the loan. 

Frustrated Freelancer

For a freelancer this process can be a nightmare. Other people with a regular 9-5 job, they get paid the exact same paycheck every two weeks or so, and it’s very obvious where their income is coming from every month. Freelancers on the other hand, can get paid by multiple clients and multiple companies, for widely different sums of money. Which to an underwriter looks incredibly shady, and immediately triggers red flags.

So what happened to me was, I had to write a letter of explanation for every single payment that came into my account over the course of a three month period. It was awful, having to go through and explain every single transaction I did with a client. At this point, I realized my mistake, and knew that I needed to create a separate account for my payments.

Freelancing Business Account

Now you don’t need to go out and open a fancy business account, (unless you want to). I would recommend opening a separate checking and savings account solely dedicated to your freelancing business. That way you can use your new savings account as a place to put some money aside for your business (like a new computer, or equipment,) or you can use it like I do and put aside the money you’ll need for taxes. Which is also a very, very important topic, that I will cover in a future video at some point.

Any payments you get from clients can go into your new checking account, and then from there, you can transfer any money you want to pay yourself to your personal checking account. 

Opening a separate checking and savings account for your freelancing business can help avoid the financial mess of combining with your personal accounts.

So those are my three things I wish I knew before I started freelancing. What are some of the things you guys wished you knew before you started? Let me know in the comments below! 

For more information on freelancing, video editing, and photoshop please check out my YouTube channel and my twitter page. I’ve got several videos on how to get started freelancing and video editing. Alright, that’s it for me guys see you in the next post!

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