This might be a little base for some of you, but bear with me. This is important.
KEEP RECORDS OF EVERYTHING.
There. That’s all I have to say. Well, not really…
When you start a job, start a folder and place your work order (you really need to start this habit,) the job contract (again – start doing this. I’ll post on this really soon, plus give you a downloadable, customizable contract) and any other preliminary paperwork in that folder. That way, when you need to reference something, you’ll know where it is.
When you’ve done that – do it again. Take all those digital files, print them and put them in a real folder. Next, print out the emails about the job. Keep the records and keep the actual paper. That way, if you’re without electricity, you can still do business. If you have a hard drive failure, you can still work. If you lose something (and you WILL!) you can still work.
Staying organized and having informational backup are the most important things for a freelance graphic designer. If that’s not your strong suit (it’s not mine) you really need to make a habit of at least starting projects with organization.
A little due dilligence to begin with will go a long, long way.
Now, I gotta go and clean up the stacks of paper and the empty Red Bull cans. Like I said – organization is not my strong suit.