It’s Monday and to lighten your week up, here are the Top 10 reasons you should quit your job today and become a freelancer. Drum roll please …. Continue Reading
It is important to stay on top of your game as a freelancer if you want to stay valuable and in demand. This means continually improving and honing your skillset. When you work in a job where you are surrounded by others, or when studying your trade at university, you will feed off other people and naturally push yourself to compete.
However as a freelancer, often working alone, you can easily fall into a vacuum where your current level of expertise feels good enough. Give in to this and your service may lose value over time. Unless you have a burning internal urge you may find it helps to put yourself into situations that force you to stay on top.
As a freelancer it is your job to keep yourself improving. This is true no matter what field you are in, but perhaps most critically those fields where you deal with technology – programming, web design, flash animation and so on. But even if you are a writer or illustrator, just keeping up with current styles and new ideas is invaluable.
Here are some things you can do to help keep yourself on top of your game:
by contributor Robert Janelle
Hi, my name is Robert and I am a slacker.
This is a problem, particularly for a freelancer who doesn’t have an angry boss who yells when you’re not working. A few months ago, I realized I need to knock off the bad habits and start becoming more productive.
For me, the first step in slacker rehab was to replace the angry boss with a to-do list.
A list of tasks is simple, yet incredibly powerful. The question, “What should I be doing right now?” is answered by glancing at the list. Get distracted? A look back at the list and you know where you were going.
Plus, there’s the endorphin rush that comes from crossing off tasks as they’re completed. The feeling is even better when you realize there’s nothing left on the list.
Of course, the to-list becomes useless if it’s neglected, like deferring tasks without adding them to a new list list or forgetting to add tasks as they come up. It would be similar to your boss not caring if you finish the project or not.
We’re approaching our first month anniversary and I thought I’d say a few words on how the site is going. We’ve been very excited to see the RSS subscriber-base for the site pass 4000 freelancers and in April the site received no less than 200,000 visits! That’s almost a quarter of a million freelancers! Holy Moly!
Jobs, jobs and more jobs
A week on since we launched the FSw Jobboard and it looks like its going to be a smashing success. There are already 200 people subscribed to the job feeds, loads more visiting the site, we’ve had about 20 jobs go through the board already and quite a few successfully filled!
A Growing Team
In the last week or so we’ve also started having our first new writers contributing, including the fabulously talented Robert Janelle hailing from fair Canada, and UK-born but US-based Scott Wills. We have plenty more contributors and articles lined up for the month of May, most just waiting for me to finish building the new column sections to the site (no rest for the wicked!)
Additionally we’re working on a system of occasional and continuous contributors to help systematize it all up. This will mean that at some point soon we’ll be opening up the site for one-off contributions to get a greater variety of voice on the site. As always Jack will be editing everything into super readable freelanceswitch goodness, Cyan running the show and me slaving over hot HTML code making the site pretty.
What can you expect in May?
First and foremost you’ll be seeing plenty more of the same great articles, lists and posts. But also our resource directory is coming to town, we’ve got a new wallpaper section, a cartoonist to make you laugh and forums so you can chat about whatever your heart desires, not just the latest blog post. Last but not least, as soon as we hit the 10,000 subscribers mark and feel confident that we’ll get a massive response then we’ll be launching the global freelancer survey.
Of course this site doesn’t run on thin air and its with great pleasure that we’ll be introducing some sponsors to the site to pay all those bills and help expand things out. In the meantime I thought a little word of thanks is in order to FlashDen.net (our sister site) and ColourLovers who have both done a lot to help get FSw off the ground!
So in short, thank you all for your support and the many emails we’ve received – if we haven’t written back to them all yet, it’s only because we’ve been overwhelmed by the response, but you can be sure we appreciate all the kind words, thoughts and suggestions and will write back as soon as we can.
And in the meantime enjoy your weekends freelancers!
Time for a roundup of useful links from across this beast we call the world wide web:
- Just finished a tight deadline? Leo at Zen Habits shares his 12 Ways to Decompress After High Stress.
- If you’re a freelance web designer and you haven’t read Kevin Airgid’s ebook yet you’re seriously missing out. You can download the Web Designer’s Success Guide for FREE at his site.
- Tim at The Site Doctor has a great resource for those starting a new business. It goes into a lot of detail and can also be downloaded as a PDF.
- Cameron Moll farewells freelancing and shares his final lessons learned. Some great advice for freelancers to consider.
If you have a useful link or article that you think FreelanceSwitch readers would be interested in, Send It In!
As a freelancer there are three main purposes for which you are going to use email marketing:
- Finding Your First Clients
- Staying in Touch with existing Clients
- Getting new work from existing Clients
In this article we are going to discuss the what, why, where, when of using email marketing, look at different products you can use including a review of MailChimp and then talk about the different types of mails you can send and look at some samples.
by contributor Scott Wills
(Note that any figures quoted in this article are purely for demonstrative purposes, you must consider your industry, country, expertise and other circumstances to determine a rate for your work)
Price your services too high, and you lose the gig. Price yourself too low, and you wind up feeling resentful about the project, which in turn may ultimately culminate in an inferior result. So what then is the best way to price a freelance project, win the contract, and make both you and your client happy?
Your Break-even Baseline
To begin, you have to establish your hourly baseline. What is the minimum amount of money you need to charge as your hourly fee? What is the minimum amount of money you need to cover your overheads without making a profit? This, fellow freelancer, is your break-even baseline. Once you establish a baseline and start to understand that earning anything less than this equals a bad, unprofitable business, it will make it a lot easier to determine how much profit you then want to make. In turn, this will ensure financial viability for your ventures, and can help price your projects more competitively in the current market.
Above all else, establishing a baseline is about being honest with yourself. If you are unrealistic about how much to charge a client, you are only fooling yourself and in the long run you’ll probably get hurt doing it.
We now have one more job resource for you to bookmark: The FreelanceSwitch Job Board!
Now you can take advantage of the fastest growing freelance hub on the net and list your freelance gig to thousands of freelance writers, programmers, designers and just about every other profession under the sun! And because we’d like this job board to go off, we’re giving you a full two months to use the job board completely free of charge. That’s right, post a job before July 1st and you won’t pay a cent!
So take a look, let us know if you have any feedback, and good luck with your job hunting and candidate searching.
Laith Bahrani is author of the unbelievably popular Low Morale series, a talented and Hercules-esque freelancer, and all round alpha male. FreelanceSwitch had a chat with him about what it’s like to have Sony and MTV knocking at your door, and the perks and pitfalls of freelancing…
FreelanceSwitch: Hi Laith, thanks for joining us. How did Low Morale come about?
Laith: Before I quit the rat race and flung my liberated carcass into the abyss of madness that is freelance artistry I occupied a respectable job as Creative Director in a large multimedia agency in Reading, England. Despite the decent wage and comfort of an established job, 3 years of pandering to the dollar-driven depraved demands of degenerate sales teams and clueless clients had taken its toll on my soul.
Image from iStockPhoto
As a freelancer, getting gigs often means pitching your ideas to potential clients. This is especially true for writers like myself. However, what holds many aspiring freelancers back is fear.
Personally, I’ve held back many of my ideas for fear of looking foolish to the potential client, but certainly the big one for most is simply fear of rejection.
Because of my fears I’ve spent a lot of time only pitching articles that I knew would be accepted (mostly business stories for small trade publications) even though it means fewer jobs and nights working in a call center to pay the rent.
Then while reading newspapers and magazines on shift, I’d see articles, usually personal essays, that were less than impressive and couldn’t believe someone got paid to write that drivel.
“Why?” was always what I would ask.
This post has been translated into Spanish by Diana at Artegami.
When you work a design job you will at some point have to present a concept or a sample of the design to the client for their consideration. At various places that I have worked and as a freelancer I have presented anywhere from 1 to 5 concepts at a time. The reasoning behind the different numbers seems to go like this:
We’re the experts, we know what is best. Don’t confuse the client.
The client needs choice. It is their project so they need some level of control.
The client should be getting value for their money.
In the end I settled on three concepts for most jobs but somehow always felt like I was making up extra rubbish to add in when the ‘real’ concept was the first one. So my question is how many concepts do you provide? And do you see any benefits or drawbacks to it? Answer in the poll and/or leave a comment…