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How to Succeed in Freelancing

Every day, successful freelancers receive queries on how newbies can get a grip in freelancing. At times, the question is hard as there is no a specific blue print in getting the rules of the game right. Different people join the field for different reasons. For you to succeed in freelancing, there are unwritten rules of engagement. Here are some of them…


Make Google your Friend

Many freelancers often use the phrase “Google knows everything.” This is so true. Anything you want to know under the sun has been talked about and published somewhere. Your efforts is just asking the Mr. Know-it-all; Google. If you are keen, you will be able to polish your freelancing skills and knowledge fast enough.

Some people did not know know anyone when they started freelancing. All they had was an idea that there is another world that people wake up to every morning.


Work Hard

The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary. In the real world, you have to wake up and toil. If you are the kind that thinks that freelancing is a safe haven for sluggards, you might end up earning just enough or less than enough to feed yourself. Freelancing is a job like any other. You might be your own boss but if you are not up to the task, you will lose your accounts, your direct clients and even the motivation to work.


Know the Right People; Read, Network

There are so many groups where freelancers discuss different issues day and night. As they exchange their ideas, you will know the veterans. Just pitch them. Befriend them and ask them questions. Here, you got to be strategic not to irk them. Do not ask a guru how much they earn. They might think that you are not serious or you just want to start comparing yourself with them. This is not cool.

When engaging the veterans, ask them about the challenges that hit them along the way and how they solved them. Enquire about the time they were on the ground and how they rose to glory again. Seek for motivation and goodwill from them. If you want to succeed in freelancing, do not be stingy. Buy these guys a cup of tea. A meeting makes people more open and increases trust. You will learn in the process.


Know What you Want

As a way of paying back to those who held my hand at the time of need, I have sponsored many newbies. At times, I simply direct them to the best trainers I know in the field. Some come thinking that they can do anything. What happens? They come back saying, “I thought academic writing is easy but I cannot do it.” This is where you discover that someone did not have a clear orientation of what different areas of  freelancing entails.

In such cases, some people give up while others go to the next option. Some find their success in the third or fourth field. If you are not sure about what you want, first take your time and do a thorough soul searching. Evaluate your skills and potential. When seeking for intervention by/from third parties, let them not feel like they wasted their time by assisting you.


Invest in the Tools of Trade

You cannot succeed in freelancing without the right tools of trade. You need a good computer, stable internet and your self-sustenance. You also need a good working environment for you to be productive. Some fields like transcription need careful listening to audios. You can not hear everything well if you work from a pub or near a bus terminus.

I have heard newbies ask, “Can I do trascription using my phone?” Inside me I know the answer but I try to encourage them to find a computer, even if it means borrowing. You need strong devices for you to manage to do online work.


Do Not be Greedy

Greed for success is good but greedy for money makes one a failure. If you want to succeed in freelancing, you must uphold strong working relationships with other freelancers. Do not take more work than you can handle. Only take what you can comfortably handle within the stipulated time. Some people take tasks they cannot manage to do just to end up switching off their phones a few minutes before deadlines.

Successful freelancers start by working for others. Some people think that owning an account is the key to success. That is highly fallacious. You need to know what to do with an account when you log in. You need to have polished interpersonal and communication skills. These will always help you to talk to both clients and the admins of your company of choice.



As a newbie or even a veteran, it is important to focus on the work you do. Some freelancers fail to handle their friends in the mainstream industries well. They do not work during the weekends or on public holidays. You are different. Hii ni juakali industry. You will be given tasks in the middle of the night and be expected to deliver it early in the morning. You cannot afford to tag along the office guys every weekend. I do not mean that you break ties. Make time for them when there are no pending jobs. Low season is also a perfect time for buddies. I bet none of them leaves their jobs on Wednesday morning to go out with you anyway

You can only have the right focus if you have passion for your job. You will only gain the right motivation to become the best than you were yesterday if you love your job.


Finally- Be Broke

Nothing makes a human being more sensible and focused than uncertainty of self-subsistence and sustenance. No one wants to die of hunger or having their house closed due to unpaid bills. You do not want your power to be disconnected. If you are faced with all these threats in life, I can assure you that you can write a 30 page dissertation within an day.

Your Online Dollars wishes you happy freelancing as we offer you the cheapest PayPal to Mpesa Services.

Please feel free to add more tips about how to succeed in freelancing in the comment section.





6 Responses to What you Need to Succeed in Freelancing

  • Ayoub says:

    Good reading Duncan. Very precise and clear.

  • Godwin Msalichuma says:

    Thank you very much for the nice and educative article, am wondering if this service of yours can be extended to Tanzania I hope majority like me will want to go freelancing as article writers or else. There any way we can do together in Tanzania by any means? Please let me know because I decided to change my career from offline print journalist to be online article/blogger/marketer if possible am still learning!!

    Thank you,
    Godwin Msalichuma,

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