macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 19, 2011
South Africa
I'm planing on doing some freelance work for a while. But I'm very new at the hole freelance thing. There are a few things that I'll need to get straight before I throw my self out there.

I'll need to get my self a basic contract, with some terms & conditions and some hosting basics. Like where it will be hosted, what's included and who sets all that up, and if I should maintain the site or not.

Anyone who remembers when they first went out there on their own, who can tell me about what they learned to do and not to do. Some advices. Some guidelines or maybe some material I should study before. Any advices is truly appreciated!


macrumors regular
May 14, 2004
A google search for "freelance designer contract" would probably give you what you want. You can start with this one, , scroll down to "Free Docs".

As for rules,
1- Always take a deposit!

2- NEVER HOST A CLIENTS WEBSITE. It might sound like a good idea charging $20/month and giving your client a $5 hosting, collect an extra $15 per month but you will never hear the end of support calls. Its better to just set them up on godaddy or whatever (make sure it all works) and give them their email user/pass. If they want you to make changes, charge by hour. If there is a problem with the hosting, they can call their hosting company, or you can call for them, charge by hour.

3- Dont take on any client just for work, there exists bad clients and they will waste all your time. I usually charge ridiculous rates knowing they wont accept, or you can say your schedule is full.

4- Dont use print / adwords for advertising, it doesn't work. Best method is referrals, and your portfolio (Which you didn't link). Most work comes from these two methods. If your new, try doing free work for a cause you like, computer club or local sports club, to build up your portfolio.

5- Make sure you have a good portfolio!

6- Plan you finances, you could go weeks or months without income so save as much as you can. And remember you still owe taxes at the end of the year.

7- Have Fun!, freelancing is not for everyone (not steady work), but it gives you the most freedom to work whenever you want!

Heres a good article I like to live by: .

Also if your workload is too big or cant complete a specific task, dont be afraid to hire on additional help. Of course never let your help interact with the client and charge accordingly. Specialized contractors can be a big help when trying to complete something outside your field (like doing back-end work when your a front-end designer) but make sure you get somebody whose good at what they do.
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macrumors member
Jul 7, 2010
Tampere, Finland

Freelancing is not really a job. It's more of a lifestyle.
Deciding to be a freelancer is not a shortcut to good income and freedom.
It's going to be a long, heavy road before you even can taste the cake.
That said I don't want to scare you. Just be aware of the reality.

I've had my freelancing business since 2006 and I still feel that I'm far far away to perfect my business. I think I'm fairly good in my work, my customers are happy, but I've not yet find the golden road that gives me what I want 100%.
People pursue different things when they start freelancing. Yours might differ from mine, but basically I just want a moderately good income doing what I like, while still maintaining a lot of freedom and time to do other things I enjoy in life. To break away from the 9 to 5 cycle.

Web_God already gave you a good answer to your questions. So I'm not going to repeat all that. Just few tips.

1. If you are new in the field, start with your portfolio. Maybe consider doing some free work for some local business that you might think could benefit you later also (aka land paid work for you later). Or make some work for imaginary companies. I suggest the first one tho as you get experience for working with real clients. If you already have a good portfolio of your work from your previous job or such, then skip this step.

2. Make a basic contract (fill or extend accordingly with each client). Include payment schedule. 30% - 50% in advance for example. Stick to the contract and schedule yourself also. Don't be late with your work. If you can, put the due date as far as you can and deliver early.

3. I suggest charging by per project, not by the hour. Then all the extra stuff that is not included in your contract you charge by the hour. That's what I do.

4. Try to socialise, preferably face-to-face, and find a couple of talented guys. Then you can ask them to do some work that is not in your capabilities and are part of the project or ask them to do some work if your hands are full. This is expecially good when you have a good client that gives you work regularly. Then you don't want to say no, and risk losing that client. If you are busy and can't take the work yourself, you can ask help from your friends.

There is SO much more that I could go into, but unfortunately I need to work too.. :) FreelancerSwitch is a helpful source for more information. Try looking at their site.

Hopefully this helps a bit to get you in the right direction. And welcome to the ever growing brotherhood of freelancers.. :)


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 19, 2011
South Africa
Thank you so much guys. The advice, tips and and helpful sources gave really been helpful! I'v been reading one post after the other for last few days. Thanks for leading me in the right dirrection!
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