6 Things They Don’t Teach You In Freelance School

Brad Bartlett
4 min readMay 1, 2023

If you’re gonna make it in the freelance game, you’ll have to learn some unexpected lessons.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Freelancing can be an incredibly rewarding career path that offers flexibility, creativity, and the opportunity to pursue your passions.

But here’s the deal — there’s a lot you won’t learn from any online course or textbook about what it really takes to be a successful freelancer.

I’ve been out on my own for nearly 4 years now and there’s still a lot I’m learning along the way. Some lessons can only be learned the hard way — and often that’s the best way.

But if I can help spare you some of the bumps and bruises I’ve experienced, here are 6 things they don’t teach you in freelance school:

1. It Takes Time To Build A Client Base

Most freelancing courses focus on teaching you how to create attractive portfolios, send proposals, and approach clients.

And boy, do they make it look easy!

But what they don’t tell you is that it takes time and effort to build a solid client base. You’ll likely have to send out countless proposals and pitch yourself dozens of times before you land your first paying gig.

If you are going to build and maintain a successful freelance career, you will have to invest time and energy into getting your name out there.

2. You Will Make Mistakes (And That’s OK!)

Some of my biggest learning experiences came from mistakes I made early in my freelancing career.

Whether it was sending out an unprepared proposal or missing a deadline — everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them and not let them prevent you from moving forward.

It’s OK (and common) to make mistakes — just be sure to own up to them, work hard to make it right, and move on!

3. You Will Have To Sell Yourself

One of the most critical skills for any freelancer is being able to sell yourself and your services. You’ll need to be able to explain why you are the perfect person for the job and show potential clients why should…



Brad Bartlett

Professional Freelance Copywriter. (www.bradleebartlett.co) Musings on #freelancing, #productivity, #self-development, and more!