Design insights and articles straight to your inbox

Thanks for signing up!
Something went wrong! Try again

Join 500+ designers  ·  Unsubscribe at any time

5 freelance learnings of 2022

2022 was my first full year of freelancing. A year full of learnings and reflections that will help to improve my freelance business. Here are 5 of the most important lessons I learnt:

Bryn Taylor profile picture

Jan 3, 2023

Jan 3, 2023

·

3

 min read

5 freelance learnings of 2022

The importance of saying no

A big pull towards freelancing is freedom of choice. What I work on, who I work with and when I work.

So in 2022, I said no to 90% of the opportunities that came up. Because the project was a bad fit, I didn’t have enough capacity, or just wanted to spend more time on side projects.

I have little interest in overworking myself. Life balance is way more important to me than growing my income.

Saying no helped me to focus on what I enjoy and see the most value in.

Block out time off in advance

It’s easy to get swallowed up by your daily work routine. If I don’t block out time in advance — I know it’s unlikely I’ll take proper time off work.

In a permanent job, your time off is part of your compensation. For a freelancer, it’s not. So it’s natural to fixate on the lost income if you take time off. Forgetting the other benefits.

I had a lot of time off in 2022 — but most of it wasn’t entirely off work. A little work here and there or responding to a few emails. For 2023 I’ve already blocked out time throughout the year. Time to travel or switch off from work.

Diversify to level things out

A lot of 2022 was pendulum swinging between too much work and not enough work. Both are stressful. From worrying about how I’ll be able to deliver the work to worrying about where my income will come from.

So in some quieter months, I invested time in my future business. I wanted to diversify my income. And focus my efforts on areas that could build semi-passive income. Areas that need upfront time but little time going forward.

I started selling Webflow templates, set up Gumroad to sell digital products and monetised content with affiliate links.

The goal was to flatten out the pendulum swings. Reduce the risk of taking on too much work and reduce the risk of low periods with no income. Also to protect me from external factors. If there is no client work tomorrow — I can shift my focus to other areas.

Admin takes a lot of time and kills focus

This year I learnt how much time is lost to general business admin.

Sending invoices, chasing payments, payroll, back and forth with my accountant, expense receipts, tracking time, and responding to enquiries.

It’s not only the time these tasks take — but also the time it takes to shift focus back to work.

I will put more effort into automating, eliminating, or batching these processes.

Up your rates to meet the demand

If you have a lot of work enquiries, raise your rates.

You’ll filter out clients with small budgets. But you’re still left with a pool of clients that’ll pay the higher rates.

Often, the lowest-paying clients are the hardest to please.

Pushing your rates is an important way to get feedback on the market too. Find out how different types of companies respond to your rate. You’ll be surprised.

I recently started mentioning my rates in my very first email response. It’s a great way to filter leads before wasting time on an intro call.

It's natural to get imposter syndrome and think it’s too much money to be charging. Here I find it valuable to flip the perspective. Think from the company's perspective and the value you add to their business. It’s a different scale of thought.

That day rate you think is too high isn’t a blip on the radar to most businesses.

Conclusion

Freelancing in 2022 taught me a lot of lessons. Lessons that will help me focus on the things that matter to me. Helping me to build a work life that works for me. And for that reason I’m looking forward to 2023! Thinking of going freelance, not sure how to make it happen? Here is how to start.

This article may contain affiliate links — I only ever recommend things that I love and use myself.

Share this article
https://www.bryntaylor.co.uk/writing/freelance-learnings-2022
Copy link
Copy link