This week on #bufferchat, we discussed how to find success with freelancing, with Kate Kendall, founder and CEO of CloudPeeps, as our special guest! The community talked about great skills to have while freelancing, advice for expanding one’s network, the best places to find freelance opportunities, and much more.

Read on to discover all of the awesome insights that were shared during the chat!

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Bufferchat on February 22, 2017 (Topic = Finding Success With Freelancing)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 38 participants; 325 tweets; reach of 1,196,364
2nd Bufferchat: 167 participants; 1,317 tweets; reach of 1,847,586

Q1: What key skills can help you be a happy & successful freelancer?

From Kate:

  • First: actively opt-in to it! You need passion, self-motivation, resilience and a focused, core skill.
  • A solid routine, support community, consistent stream of clients and optimized workflow also go a long way.

From the community:

  • “Self confidence! That is the most needed skill. If you don’t believe you can succeed, no one else will either.” @aperfectsturm2
  • “Having great organizational skills, & also knowing how to effectively prioritize responsibilities, projects, deadlines, etc.” @FatherFoodFun
  • “DON’T compare yourself to others – Especially comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle.” @indigoevstudio
  • “Setting boundaries with clients is huge! Creating available or “working” hours for myself has helped me stay sane.” @meganebannister
  • “Skills such as time/project management skills, quick-thinking, ability to stay focused & calm, are helpful as a freelancer!” @KatLoughrey

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: What are tips for expanding your network as a freelancer?

From Kate:

  • Dedicate 20% of time to networking & personal branding. Write a blog. Publish a newsletter. Start a YouTube channel.
  • Join freelance communities – online and offline. Head to meetups like and SPARK.

From the community:

  • “Be a social animal. Leverage existing contacts, build your personal brand. Go to industry meet-ups/conferences!” @modsquad
  • “Make a ton of connections Attend events, stay active in networking communities, HELP OUT! Never know when you need a favor.” @AnnaMariaSocial
  • “Clients can emerge from unexpected places, have a great “elevator pitch” for appropriate times in social situations.” @WillyTClark
  • “Find business meetups in your area and talk to people. I use on daily basis now.” @Opelova
  • “Network via a Twitter chat (like #bufferchat)! You never know who you might meet + get to know!” @MyCorporation

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: Which social media platforms are best to be on to build your personal brand as as freelancer, and why?

From Kate:

  • Depends on your service area: developers = Github, designers = Dribbble, non-tech = Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn.

From the community:

  • “LinkedIn. It’s professional and allows for not only information about you and your experiences, but examples of your work.” @ViamarkCarolina
  • “Obv varies with industry but Medium and LinkedIn Pulse are significant platforms for building brand as a freelancer.” @luckylou
  • communities, . chats on twitter, . professional groups.” @iamsongara
  • “Instagram is pretty good app to build your brand if you are running a product base brand. Visuals attracts.” @thedishasethi
  • “Go where your audience is! Define your ideal clients and figure out their digital oasis. Then post like a boss.” @hirenoah

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: Where are great places to find freelance opportunities online?

From Kate:

  • I’m biased here and must say for one curated list of great freelance jobs. 
  • There are hundreds of other online job boards – but I’d recommend striving to use your own network for referrals.

From the community:

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: How can you decide which freelance jobs to pursue & take?

From Kate:

  • Verify any freelance jobs against your value set, skills, current capacity, rates, the client, & your energy level.
  • I’d also recommend having systems in place where you can verify a client’s seriousness (e.g. take a deposit in advance).

From the community:

  • “The first thing is to be sure that you understand EXACTLY what the client wants and that you can deliver satisfactorily.” @kezielive
  • “Find your own score equation. Time it will take + compensation + interest in the project + who you’ll work with etc.” @TomVWeekes
  • “Try to sign a contract before starting to work. If the company doesn’t want a contract that’s not a good sign.” @AnaSofiaPinho
  • “I’ve found when freelancing especially, the client needs to match your morals. You have to feel good about it.” @revaminkoff
  • “Overstretching can kill you – start with a reasonable workload – and gradually add new gigs as you get more experience.” @andreatorti90

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: How can you stay on track and organized while balancing multiple freelance projects?

From Kate:

From the community:

  • all the way & for collaboration! Activeinbox for email, for ticketing, invoicing, etc.” @WPBarista
  • “Use the 3 P’s: Plan, prioritize and produce. No excuses. I plan visually on flipcharts and PM-style planners.” @Dwyka_Consult
  • “Whiteboards help a lot. I also use to manage projects that involve 3rd parties (writers, developers, designers, etc.).” @Beymour
  • “I use to organise all my projects & next actions. simplifies getting information into Omnifocus on iOS.” @nathanieloffer 
  • “Map out each day by the hour in advance. Blocks for billable, admin, training and FUN/Family. It’s a guide not a rule.” @mrwilde

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What’s your #1 tip or piece of advice for people who are interested in becoming a freelancer?

From Kate:

  • Just do it! Whether you want to do it full-time or as a side-hustle – the best way is to dive in and get started.
  • And don’t be afraid of asking successful freelancers who inspire you for advice. Collaboration > competition.

From the community:

  • “Find where you draw the line. Know when to say “no’. Know your worth. Your work is valuable and learn that early on.” @mldunseath
  • “Dive in head first, stay focused and be passionate about your work. Don’t look for instant results, they may come later.” @ShaeLisaJackson
  • “Think 3x before you take the plunge. Learn to manage your time really well. Create timeblocks for #DeepWork during the day.” @NabeelAdeni
  • “Start freelancing while you’re still employed, so you have something to build on when you strike out on your own.” @martinlieberman
  • “You’re going to feel alone — but you’re not. Be surrounded by people who are smarter, better than you. Challenge yourself.” @pjervis

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to Kate and to everyone who participated and helped each other in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Community Strategist at Buffer. In addition to her love of community building, Arielle also loves vegetables, cooking, practicing yoga, meditating, living mindfully, and exploring the connections between health and happiness!

  • I absolutely loved the chat on freelancing and am saving this for future refernce .Superb #bufferchat.