During the first year of my freelance career, I've had my fair share of customer scams, declined contracts and frankly the best part of it to find a customer with whom you can establish long term relationships.
Like any relationship, it's a two-way process, so there're some things you as a freelancer can do to show your interest, reliability, and determination.
Apply for jobs you're interested in
Yes, I've been there. Bulk applying is all I was doing at the beginning. Every job that remotely was somehow connected to my skills was good for me. I was not sure how I was going to survive, because I didn't have any savings so any kind of job was better than no job at all, that's when my stress kicked in.
So, why do I have this point here? The reason is, yes money is good motivation! They pay your bills and you feel like one of your milestones has been checked when you get that sweet payment confirmation email from the bank.
However, at least for me, money is not a long-lasting motivation, there has to be something else that lights the interest in the job. It can be challenging requirements, a new industry I never had experience in, new programming language.
Knowing yourself and your interests and motivation itches will help to navigate through millions of job postings looking for just one perfect match.
Going freelancing can be pretty stressful for both parties the freelancer and customers. Freelancers almost always are worried about their customers. Will they find one? Will the income be the same as they're used to during their previous job? Will they be able to structure their work-life balance? Will the freelancer be reliable? Will the freelancer be able to complete the work on time? How to manage time effectively?
Zillion of questions can spin in your head, and in each part of your job the best thing to do is, not to brag about your previous experience but present an honest picture of your skills and how you can help to solve the problem of this particular customer.
Saying "No, I don't have experience with that" is no guarantee that you just lost the customer, moreover, it shows your integrity.
Did not worked with PayPal API before? No one will scrutinize you for that! Familiar with 2Checkout or Stripe? Great! Then you probably will know what are you going to do in general.
Not saying that, and wasting your and your customer's time is worse.
Planning and organizing work/life balance has become a crucial part of my day to day life as a freelancer. There are days when I'm slacking, and there are days where everything is according to a vigorous plan.
Customers don't see every minute of your work, but they can feel the approach you're taking towards the work. At this age of integrations, it will be easy to create an ecosystem that can include your and your customer's favorite tools.
My approach is to either join their internal platform (slack, basecamp, click etc) or to create a new one in my environment (it's usually Azure DevOps if I'm doing heavy coding or Trello if it's a simple task).