News and thoughts from
the bench

Freelancer Do’s & Don’ts

the bench is proud to work with talented freelancers from around the world. This has allowed us to compare a lot of work and have great conversations about what practices have led to success. Here are our top freelancer do’s & don’ts for 2023.

Freelancer Do´s

Build a strong portfolio – Building a strong portfolio is the cornerstone to success. A portfolio should reflect the types of work and projects you are proficient in. It is imperative that you detail your contribution to the project, it is a red flag when someone posts the project with no context as to what they specifically contributed.

In the current state of the industry, resumes are important, but being able to show your work and your successes is crucial. A great portfolio can set you apart from the competition when going for a job. Try to include your services, your why, relevant samples of your work, and a bio.

Be self aware – You should be able to answer with confidence the following questions:

  • What is your work style?
  • What kind of projects do you excel with?
  • What type of projects are you looking for?

For example, do you like being part of a bigger team? If so, look for companies that promote groupthink, encourage in-office meetings and are fostering collaboration. If this doesn’t sound like you – you might be looking for more autonomy. Try a smaller company that lets you run on your own.

Be reliable – Being reliable will never go out of style. You are only as good as your word, if you make a commitment – keep it. Make sure to hit your deadlines, complete the task as outlined, and be available to make changes (if that’s part of your scope).

Find your niche – This can be easier said than done, especially when starting out and you need business. As you experiment with different clients, see which services and industries speak to you and narrow down from there. Think of it like a menu at a diner, can they really be that good at all 200 things they offer? Hone in on your skills and passion and see how your business thrives.

Freelancer Don´ts

Oversell or lie about your skills – This is a no-brainer and remember that there’s a difference between experiencing imposter syndrome and being dishonest about what you can do. If you worked in Photoshop once 10 years ago, are you really proficient in it anymore? Probably not. Keep to what you know so you don’t get caught in your own bluff.

Rely on AI to write your work – We know that AI is taking over, but don’t rely on it for everything. You can lean in to it and think of it more as your virtual assistant, but as it stands right now, AI hasn’t finessed your personal touch, which is why someone hired you in the first place.

Put all of your eggs in one basket – Excuse the expression, but it’s true when it comes to freelancing. These jobs are often short-term projects and many times wind up being filled internally by other candidates. By diversifying your projects you protect yourself, but also are able to enhance your portfolio – hello freelancer do #1.

Don’t lose hope when you’re let go – Being let go is part of the process. Sure, you hope if a project is going well that it can last a little longer, but more often than not, each project will come to an end. Make the end of a project work to your advantage. Ask for an “exit interview” and discuss what worked well and what didn’t, if they could hire you full-time would they, and most importantly – try to get a review or reference!

These are a few of our key freelancer do’s and don’ts for 2023 & beyond. It’s short and simple but hopefully helps each freelancer sharpen their skills and work to a more successful year, whatever that means for you.