After probably spending countless hours watching and practicing tutorials, reading books, being out there in the business world and using many late nights for this purpose, you finally realized video freelancing is what you want to do. But up until now you’ve been your only client – Adobe Effects jobs are really well paid, but do you think you can convince people to pay you for it? In this article we will talk about some tips which will help you become a successful video freelancer.

Video motion

1. Be ready

You don’t only need to have the skills on your side, but also to be ready for challenges which you never encountered before. Motion graphics freelancing is not something very similar to web design, although you might spot some things that are the same here and there. It might be frightening in the beginning to quit your full-time job and become a full-time freelancer, but we all experiement this. It is difficult not to know when (or if) your first paycheck will arrive. Starting as a freelancer is easier to do when you don’t have bills to pay or family to support – it is easier to do it when you are young, because it gives you an early perspective on what can you turn your life and career into.

Be mentally prepared and get ready for landing no jobs maybe for a few months. Get also ready to reject proposals. Don’t jump into jobs you wouldn’t normally take. This is why it is good not to be under pressure. Declining on a job shouldn’t be something that only rich people can do – you should do this as well, because it will allow you to work only with people you like to work with – and we all know this will improve your results.

There are always clients you will have to reject because you don’t like working with them. We all know there are some guys out there impossible to handle. Be ready to turn them down and focus on future challenges.

2. Write intelligent proposals

This is a key in freelancing. There are so many freelancers out there that the only way to sort them out is the portfolio. However, in some cases (rather often I would say) clients also look very much at the proposal you send. They always appreciate if you put time and effort into it and this increases your chances to land a job.

In the beginning, when you naturally have a small portfolio or not one at all, the proposals you write are the only thing that will convince the clients to give you the job and the money.

3. Flexibility is key

In the beginning, when there is not that much of a portfolio you can show, being flexible and doing all kinds of job might be a way to improve your portfolio. Sure, you can only start doing this if you do have the necessary skills, but if you have them, don’t be afraid to advertise and use them.

4. Always be available

As a video freelancer on the internet you always have to be available. People in the US or China might post a job at a good rate in the middle of the night, or when you are getting ready to go to sleep. They might also need you to provide really fast. If you are there, do it! As a freelancer you can always take the second day off if you work the night before, this is the advantage you have over people working full-time and then freelancing from home for some extra money.

Seizing the opportunity is what every freelancer should do. Jobs come and go, but there are some really good ones you will miss if you are not willing to make some compromises. At least until you have a portfolio that allows you to work whenever you want, try to make these compromises.

5. Be good at communication

This is a key one. I can’t stress enough about how important communication with the clients is. I wrote tens of articles about it and I could carry on here for a long time. Not being able to properly communicate with the client is something that will sooner or later drive you to failure.

There are, obviously, clients who are impossible to deal with. I totally second that. But there are also clients who, if talked to properly, can be turned around. It is not only once I experienced this. If you don’t know how to communicate with clients, it’s a major flaw, so go and read some articles or buy some books about it – it is most of the time what will transform failure into success.

Also, answering e-mails very fast is something clients always appreciate. They love when you reply quickly because it allows them to communicate more efficient with you. If you don’t have one, a smartphone with a data subscription is something you really need to look into.

6. Have confidence

Being confident about what you can do is something crucial. If a client asks if you can do this specific job – unless you really can’t – make sure he will get the idea that you’ve done it before and it will be no problem for you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t encourage you to lie. I actually discourage you to do it, it is awful and you will lose a lot of respect. If you really did something similar before, the client will know when he will see the product. Lying doesn’t usually work and the door to that client will always be closed – let’s not talk about you not getting any good advertising from him either.

If you don’t think you can do a job, then the client will not believe in you either. This is why being confident is a key to you landing jobs.

7. Be aware of your limits

Talking about being confident brings in another issue – not knowing how good you actually are. This is something that needs a deep look into.

When you are new, you usually think everything is easy to learn and can be done only by reading some tutorials.Well, most of the time it is not like that. Knowing how much you can do and where your limits are is something that will spare you lots of problems. Not only you might land projects that you can’t really finish or deliver, but you might also ruin relationships with friends and clients; and, as we all know, freelancers do need viral marketing a lot in order to land jobs.

If you work on websites such as Elance or oDesk, having too much negative feedback (sometimes only one negative feedback can ruin you), will damage your chances of landing other jobs.

Nobody says you don’t need to challenge yourself – you do indeed. But there is a difference between pushing yourself and promising a motion graphics video in two days when you are yet to discover After Effects.

8. Challenge yourself

So we jump again from a point to another. Knowing your limits can also help you challenge yourself by letting you know just how much you can push yourself. When working a lot there is not too much time to improve and learn new skills – but this is also crucial in our careers. So the only way of combining working and learning is challenging yourself while working.

There is a delicate balance between pushing yourself just enough and challenging yourself too much, but you need to find it in order to be able to learn by doing. The key is in actually knowing your limits. I am sure the most successful video freelancers improve a lot year by year and seeing the work they did 12 months ago wouldn’t convince you it is their’s. This is what you need to achieve.

9. Discuss taxes

Discussing how and how much taxes will you pay is something you should do from the beginning. If you like what you do, video freelancing might as well become your full time job and it is easier for you to pay a small amount of money on each job than pay a large amount once per year. My advice for you is to pay a visit to a professional and talk about your financial situation and the taxes you need to pay. He might even save you some money, so make sure you do this from the beginning.

10. Increase your rates

I am sure this is something all of you thought of doing at a point, but I want to make sure you don’t forget about it. Keeping your rates from bumping up is good when you are a beginner, but when you build a strong portfolio and have more experience you just can’t work for the same amount of money anymore.

There is no problem to use your price as your advantage over the others, but don’t continue doing this for your whole career. When you have a strong portfolio to back up your proposal, make sure you insert a higher bid. In the end, you deserve it.


This is all for this time folks. If you really want to pursue a career in video/motion graphics freelancing, then these 10 tips will surely be helpful. I would like to hear some comments about this topic, what else do you think I should have mentioned?