Freelance Switch is collaborating with FreshBooks to give each of 10 winning freelancers a 1-year Shuttle Bus suscription, valued at $168 (see the prize). Freshbooks is an online invoicing and time tracking-service designed with freelancers and creative professionals in mind, and it’s a service quite a few of the FSw staff use themselves. We appreciate their support in providing us with over $1,500 worth of prizes to give away!
We also thought this giveaway would be an excellent opportunity to create a super-useful resource for freelancers. As you know, one of the most important aspects of freelancing is creating an excellent experience for your clients. The ability to do this means clients will refer you to others and be willing to pay a premium for your work.
How to win
To enter the draw to win a ShuttleBus subscription, share your single best (non-intuitive) tip on how freelancers can create an experience clients will rave about.
Submit this tip in the comments section for this post, and make sure to fill out the ‘E-mail’ field so you can be contacted if your tip is selected to win a prize.
Entries are open to freelancers everywhere, and close at 12:00am August 7 GMT. Continue Reading
Photo by Khedara.
Okay, admit it: Business has been slow. And you’re wondering how you can turn things around.
A quick Internet search will reveal an abundance of business turnaround advice. Quite often, you’ll find a checklist of things to do. But, trouble is, some of those to-dos won’t show results for years. I’m referring to things like joining and getting active in business organizations, speaking to groups, seeking publicity, and cultivating others for referrals.
In addition to the not-so-helpful checklists, there’s the Perfectionist Trap. You know you’ve been snared when you’re spending hours, if not days, on creating the ultimate advertisement, postcard, flyer, website, or anything else that you think will improve your business.
I know the Perfectionist Trap very well. And I’ve learned is that it’s a luxury I can’t afford. It takes too much time away from finding new clients.
But what kind of new clients? If you’re feeling as desperate as I was a year ago, you may be tempted to open the phone book to the letter “A” and start dialing the first business name you see. And Martha’s Voice of Experience is here to say,“Not so fast! You have some planning to do first.”
I’m going to take you through a five-step process that I’m using to turn my business around. We’ll do some planning in the first step, and then we’ll take action. Continue Reading
At just 27, Morgan Porter is a thriving freelance designer. Focusing mostly on websites, the Richmond, Virginia native worked in the corporate world for a while before branching out on his own.
But success hasn’t been a piece of cake. While Morgan has improved his innate design talents, he’s also had to learn by trial and error how to make his business work.
That’s why I was eager to feature Morgan on FreelanceSwitch.com. He’s out there making it happen, proving that age isn’t really a factor in the freelance world. Continue Reading
The eighteenth episode of Freelance Radio, the official FreelanceSwitch podcast, is now available! This episode, we talk about a number of topics, including flaky clients, managing money, how to craft a great business name and more! Subscriptions to the podcast are available via iTunes and an archive of all podcasts will appear in the podcast section. We hope you enjoy it!
Photo by wili_hybrid.
Freelance Folder recently published a post on 5 Surefire Ways to Meet Deadlines for Freelancers and Web Workers by Abhijeet Mukherjee. If you haven’t read the post, it gives a nice breakdown of the topic. I’d like to take this opportunity to build on that post by looking not only at how we can increase our productivity in our day-to-day work, but also how we can change our mentality towards deadlines to create a healthier and more efficient workflow.
Abhijeet’s points and suggestions for meeting deadlines are:
1. Set expectations… with yourself.
2. Prioritize your work.
3. Keep track of dates and occasions.
4. Analyze your accomplishments every day.
5. Try to work only five days a week.
These points are great for keeping yourself on track and maintaining a proper balance in your work. From my experience I’ve found that it can also be helpful to turn the tables and put deadlines to work for you, rather than working against you. Continue Reading
Image by carrotcreative.
Twitter is some kind a strange marriage between a blogging platform and an instant messaging client.
You post updates that are made public (known as “tweets”) and people are able to respond to you directly, should they feel the need to comment. Keeping the platform “micro” is the 140 character limit on anything you post.
Posting can also be done in a variety of ways: through the Twitter web site, through integration with some IM clients like Google Talk, by text messaging a number from your cell phone or through a desktop client like Twirl.
Like almost every web-based service these days, it has a social aspect as well. You can make a list of people to “follow” so you’re given a list of all their updates.
Now, like many, when Twitter first hit the scene I raised an eyebrow and said “Why?” At first it seemed to be people posting instant updates and updating the world on how fast the line at the grocery store was moving.
But as I’ve slowly adopted the service, as a freelancer writer, I’m beginning to find more and more uses for it. Continue Reading
Back in April 2007, FreelanceSwitch launched with just a blog and a vague plan for some extra features. Since then we’ve added forums, a job board, podcasts, a book, and some neat resources. But I’m pretty sure this site could be even more awesome, so it’s time to plan up FreelanceSwitch v3, and this time we thought it would be good to get some community feedback.
So if you have a moment, here are a couple of questions you might have some thoughts on:
- Are there any services you’d like to see offered here?
- Are there any other resources or tools you’d like?
- If you’re a job board user, is there anything you’d like improved or added there?
- Would you like to see anything done differently with the blog itself – e.g. more frequent posts?
And of course pretty much any other feedback is always welcome. As you know we’re very committed to making FreelanceSwitch (and all our sites!) the best they can be, and besides we’d like to put that job board and advertising revenue back into the site to make it even more useful!
Freelance designers have a number of different methods for finding work. In many cases, simply getting your profile and your work exposed to more people can lead to an increase in work. There are a number of sites that provide excellent opportunities for designers to show-off their work and send visitors back to their own portfolio site.
Some of the sites on this list require more of an ongoing effort in order to truly produce results. I don’t suggest trying to use all of these sites. For the best results, choose a few that you think will work best for you, and become an active user.
1. Behance Network
Behance Network is a huge, “free platform for the world’s leading creative professionals.” You can set up a profile, share some of your work, network with other designers and professionals, and even look for work.
While flickr is primarily a place for users to store their personal photos, it’s also used by a growing number of designers to display and share their work. Users can set up their own accounts and profiles, and they can also join groups, such as the PSDTUTS group.
A good percentage of Virb users are in the music industry, but it is a home to all things creative, and many designers are setting up profiles. The pages can be completely customized to show off your creativity if you’re ambitious. Continue Reading
Photo by Frischmilch.
Before going out on their own, many freelancers struggle with the idea of how to position themselves in their market of expertise. Considering many freelancers have at one time worked in an agency setting, it’s tempting to have the agency mind-set when crafting your promotional materials.
For example, the decision of whether to use ‘I’ or ‘We’ can dramatically affect the way you’re perceived by prospective clients; “We can deliver excellent results” sounds much larger than “I can deliver excellent results”. The big question, then, is this: do you want to be an agency or a freelancer? Continue Reading
Photo by Torchondo.
If you’re a web-working freelancer of any sort, you’re probably following umpteen RSS feeds in your favorite feed reader (Feed Demon, Google Reader, etc.), with your subscription list growing by the day. Are you overwhelmed by the number of RSS feed items in your feed reader that you haven’t read? Are you tired of the “same” items appearing over and over in your subscriptions, even though you’ve read them already? Is using an RSS feed reader becoming counterproductive, even with a structured folder system?
Maybe it’s time to declare RSS “feed reader bankruptcy” and find another way to monitor your niches.
That’s what I did maybe 8-9 months ago, though I’ve never said it publicly. In fact, I didn’t even admit it to myself until recently, fully intending to go back to my Feed Demon app. The massive quantities of unread items and the duplicates generated by some blogging platforms just overwhelmed me. Half my day was spent browsing through feed items I’d never have time to read or use in any way.
Freelancers tend to be generalists, which means they need to monitor multiple niches all the time. For some people, a good RSS reader is ideal. If you’re not ready to give up feed readers just yet, I recommend you read Chris Garrett’s excellent 21 Niche News and Feed Reading Productivity Tips.
However, if you are fed up with using an RSS reader, what do you do instead to stay on top of a specific niche? Continue Reading
Photo by Ella's Dad.
Once you have left the land of COLA raises, paid sick days, and employer-matched 401Ks, not only do you need to be the writer/programmer/web designer for your business, you also need to be your own CFO.
Here are some absolutely necessary components for your business (and life) financial portfolio:
1. You need insurance. In addition to car and home insurance, you must also now fund life, health, and disability insurance. Without these critical coverages, not only could you be swamped with debt brought on by an unforeseen medical situation, but your business could lose its most important asset—you!
2. You need to pay your taxes. Religiously. As soon as income hits your mailbox or PayPal account, it is imperative that you take 30% off the top and tuck it securely away in a separate (interest-bearing) savings account. This money will then be ready to pay your monthly, quarterly, or annual IRS bill, in full and on time. Continue Reading