Due diligence is the process that an employer or client does to determine if you fit with their requirements. It often involves interviews, either in person or by phone or email, references by others, say a contact at Macromedia or Industrial Light and Magic who knows you ability, a resume / CV that honestly explains your skills and experiences, and if relevant to the work you need a portfolio Web site.

Try not to make the Web site too creative. Remember, the client has much more to do in life than spend time evaluating your work and they need to get through the process very fast. If the site is difficult to navigate, the type fonts too small, or such design problems as not enough contrast between type and the background, then don't blame the client for never contacting you again.

Clients will look for professionalism in your communication and the information you submit to them for their due diligence. Some look at your email address for clues. If you have a domain and you use a Hotmail or other consumer email address than don't expect to rank high in their evaluation of you. What does it cost to have your own domain with at least some information about you on a Web site and your email address is from your domain? An amazing number of freelancers have nothing. Why should a client spend any time evaluating them?

Develop your CV and online face:

A CV (curriculum vitae) or resume is critical. It is a brief explanation of who you are, what you've accomplished, where you've been, and what your experience and skills are. It should also contain an objective and reasonable summary in columnar form of your skills and the degree of your skill. Remember, if you make it look better than you are you will probably be fired quickly. Always be honest with yourself and the employer. Have an objective friend look over your resume and make "corrections".

You can do an online search for the terms above and find about six million Web pages of advice. There is no need to repeat that here. Find a format that will help you explain about you quickly and effectively.

Explain your investment in yourself. Just listing education doesn't communicate the whole picture. Clearly state what would be important to the client's due diligence. Maybe you got all "A's" in programming in a US university or all "5's" in a Russian university. The client needs to know what the scale for the grades are if the scale is from another country and they need some kind of validation that you made a major investment in yourself. In graphic arts examples of your work is more valuable than grades. Programmers should supply some code from a useful application.

Administration of the project:

Keep time sheets even if the project is fixed price. This is a clue to your use of time and by reviewing the time used in past projects you will do better at estimating your time and price for future projects.

Use a simple contract that are available for free online if the client doesn't have one. It is critical for the health of the relationship that the agreed terms and understandings are in writing.

Freelancers should have real invoices and bill the clients as agreed in the contract. This seems to be a major problem with even experienced freelancers.

Proper business practices are part of your "face" in the industry and help you achieve credibility with your clients. They are just as important as the quality and timeliness of your work. You should develop these skills as much as your technical skills.