How to choose your perfect freelance project

Jul 28, 2017

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

The internet is full of advice on how to choose a freelancer, and not so much on how to choose a freelance project. To avoid time-consuming and unrewarding tasks, spend some time evaluating the project according to your mindset.

After ten years in the freelance world, I have more than one project under my belt. Each of them formed my work style in a certain way and cost me a certain amount of sweat and blood.

But there was this one splendid job. So satisfying it was, it deserves a full analysis to answer an important query: What should you look for in your next freelance project to get a perfect one?

Comfortable Timing

Of course, you wouldn’t sign up for something due tomorrow if you’re completely busy for the next three weeks (or would you?). But there is more to it. When considering freelance job, check out if it brings any long-term opportunity.

My perfect freelance gig (so far) lasted for 12 months. Enough time to immerse myself in the subject and to create a strong relationship with a client. Not enough to get bored. Also, it guarantees you a stable income, which is great for planning an efficient budget.

Besides, long-term gives you enough time to wrap up the project politely in case you feel like it.

Payment Predictability

Yes, any job is good as long as it pays. But you know what’s much better? A job that pays exactly when you expect it.

The fee for my perfect project wasn’t my highest one. It was reasonable. But the fact that I could always rely on my invoice turning around in time kept me confident and calm.

Also, I was able to get a perfect efforts/payment balance. There is always a risk of feeling underpaid when you do your very best for a “one-night-stand” project. But when you divide commitment by numbers, the workflow gets more even and consistent. It makes clients happier, too!

Personal Growth Opportunities

There are a lot of well-paid non-urgent tasks, but what makes a good project into a perfect one? The emotional value.

My perfect project was for an NGO (+100 to karma). Also, it was a superb practice for what interested me the most at the time. Running daily social updates for the program was as close to the Brand Journalism as it could get. With every news update, interview, story or video I skilled up in my desired field, day by day.

It was like a Coursera, only better - since I got paid for it!

Social Value

I know, I know, that’s exactly why you left your office job - to work in solitude and avoid the soul-sucking cooler talks. We’re on the same page here.

But the beauty of freelance is an opportunity to meet new people from unexpected walks of life. Also, direct communication gives you way better quality of interaction with clients.

My perfect project gave me a chance to work with a sharp as hell hospitality professional. After 50 years in top businesses, he established a life-changing charity. You don't meet people like this every day.

Besides, his team was a bunch of extra positive and responsive guys and girls. The best part? Communicating with them was awesome, and limited to only 8 hours per week. Win-win!

Resume Weight

It’s great if you’re confident in your business to the point when you delete your resume and hit “Clean the trash”. I'm not there yet, and I doubt this is what career experts would ever recommend to anyone.

The perfect project must be a convincing addition to your portfolio. Will it be mentionable in your niche? Stretch your abilities? Teach you new skills? Do you need to run a workshop? Edit a video? Interview someone?

Strive for the accomplishments to be proud of. Whatever your field is, choose something that would impress your imaginary employer. It will make a swell drop-off in a talk with prospective client, as well.

“So, when I handled brand journalism for this highly successful NGO...” - you’ve got the point.


By now you know that my Perfect Freelance Yet was a well-paid brand journalism coverage for a cool NGO. Why on Earth would I stop working on a project like this?

Because, if I didn't, it wouldn’t be perfect.

The greatest perk of freelance is the freedom. You’re the one to choose whom to work for, where from, when, and for how long. When you get bored with a regular job, you start hating it. When you get bored with a freelance job, you have a luxury to wrap it up and stop.

Let your perfect project become your heartwarming memory. Keep great relations with the team you enjoyed working with. Ask for recommendations - it helps. Then, move on.

So, is perfection achievable?

The criteria will be subject to your personal preferences and life goals. But the principles remain the same. The project you're looking for:

  • Has comfortable timeline
  • Inspires your passion
  • Sets reasonable challenges
  • Aligns with your goals
  • Results in an accomplishment
  • Brings social connections
  • Ends well

Sounds perfect? Exactly.

Do you have any other top criteria? What project was the best in your freelance career?

Samantha Engman is a proficient writer for the number of online businesses. After ten years in marketing, she grew a strong commitment to the promising trend of brand journalism. Check out the useful tips Sam shares on Twitter