I came across an email exchange with a friend from 2013 today.
He was asking me if I had any advice for kids coming up in the design field. I re-read my response and feel strongly that these are still legitimate guidelines that I follow, and hope to follow for as long as I work.
1. Talk to as many people as you can and be sincere. You never know where your next job is coming from.
2. Barter, trade your goods for other goods. You will get more work, and barter situations are great. Going to a restaurant and getting free food, free beer, merch, a night out, etc saves you a TON of money in the long run and you get more work from barter jobs.
3. Practice Practice Practice. Composition and design type choices and more will get MUCH better with practice, and to get that practice, see number 2. School assignments are great for learning the fundamentals but most people (myself included) skated through them. When you are dealing with an actual "client" you will do better work.
Today would add one more though
4. Always value your work, your are only worth what you yourself think you are. If you are doing million dollar work, charge a million dollars. Do not undervalue yourself, your years of work, or your talent. If you make concessions due to whatever factors, always let people know what you normally charge, so that they can see the value in what you do as well.
*this totally applies to any type of freelance work*