Photo by jurvetson.
Three years ago, I noticed my design business starting to slip. And, wouldn’t you know it, that slip soon became a slide.
So, I tried various things that I’d heard were good for businesses like mine. Here’s how they worked out:
- Advertising. It proved to be a fabulous way to attract price-shoppers and tire-kickers. No more ads for me.
- Direct Mail. Although I had been diligent about sending postcards to the people on my in-house list, I found that they were becoming immune to my mailings. This, despite the fact that I was doing telephone/e-mail follow-up after each one. Combine this with the fact that printing and postage costs have really gone up, and you can see the reason why I’m now just an occasional mailer.
- Mentoring. I signed up for a local mentoring program. And got an experienced mentor. Since the business was deep into Slide Mode, I started exploring career alternatives. Well, in this particular mentoring program, exploring alternatives was bad, very bad indeed. So, I was kicked out.
- The Networking Circuit. Oh, boy, does this one get a lot of airplay in forums like this. The idea is that if you join the business/professional groups, go to their meetings, and get involved in the running of the groups, business will come your way. Didn’t work for me.
Photo by b0r0da.
“I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.” – John D. Rockefeller.
Most freelancers I’ve talked to have aspirations to start their own businesses. And build up a team of talent so good that they can dominate their entire niche. There are a lot of benefits of moving ahead from simply being a freelancer. But there are quite a few risks involved too.
Photo by Hamad Saber.
I recently talked to a client of mine who asked me how I keep tabs on my customers. He was concerned about giving clients a first draft then waiting weeks to hear back from them. I agreed that it can be frustrating to wait on clients when you want to get something wrapped up.
My first thought was that he simply needed to follow up more. Then I realized that there are people in business who don’t think to do things like that. And then I thought about the differences between men and women—and how they handle business. Did this client of mine just approach things differently because he was a man? Could be.
Photo by laffy4k.
Work-life balance is a problem for many people. Not just freelancers, either—anyone who works in a job that involves some kind of thinking is tempted to take work home with them. I suppose that maintaining a good balance is one of the benefits to menial shift work.
But freelancers have it worst. Without an employer, our income is more dependent on performance than any corporate employee’s income. And for the vast majority of us, there’s no real distinction between our home life and our work life, because our work life happens at home.
Here’s the thing that we lose sight of: becoming a workaholic does not improve your bottom-line or productivity.
Well, to make a long story short, the Carbonmade contest that we hosted a little shy of a month ago was a brilliant success. 150 freelancers from FSw signed up for accounts and created some pretty amazing portfolios.
As you might recall, Carbonmade generously donated some awesome equipment that any freelancer could salivate over. So I’ll list the winning portfolios below, and show the prize the winners won.
If you’re a winner, you’ll need to email email@example.com to claim their prize.
Creative Use of Technology
- 1. truepresence – A Western Digital Passport 250GB External Hard drive and a one-year subscription to Carbonmade ($120 value)
- 2. Sonata Creative – Corsair 4GB FlashVoyager rugged USB thumb drive and a one-year subscription to Carbonmade ($120 value)
- 3. kenton – A one-year subscription to Carbonmade ($120 value)
- 1. draw SINNA draw – A Western Digital Passport 250GB External Hard drive and a one-year subscription to Carbonmade ($120 value
- 2. The Creative Works Of Thomas C. Calder. – A Corsair 4GB FlashVoyager rugged USB thumb drive and a one-year subscription to Carbonmade ($120 value)
- 3. Megan Kearney – A one-year subscription to Carbonmade ($120 value)
The winners need to email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim their prize.
Great job everyone! The portfolios were absolutely stunning, and really showcased the power of Carbonmade’s easy portfolio system (demo).
And lastly, a big Thank-You to Carbonmade for generously donating the prizes.
Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
You’ve possibly read countless times that businesses with an online presence can benefit from having a blog. Of course, freelancing is a business, and a blog is likewise valuable to you, regardless of what you freelance in. Here are some reasons having a niche-focused blog can help your business. The tips are geared towards freelance writers, but much of what’s here can be applied for other types of freelance work.
Enjoying N.C. Winters’ fantastic weekly strip Freelance Freedom here on FreelanceSwitch? Then you’ll be pleased to know that as of today we’re lucky enough to be publishing a second weekly titled Creative License over at our brand new blog of design news – Creattica Daily.
Creattica Daily is the first part of a new project I am working on which will eventually turn into a bit of a monster portal of all things creative. The daily site is updated a few times a day with news and links from around the web, written by myself and the awesome Niki Brown of Design’o'Blog.
So come on over, enjoy NC’s first strip of his new weekly series. I’m going to have to launch some more sites so we can have even more NC comics!!
Photo by oskay.
A few months ago, I wrote a brief post about the benefits of personal outsourcing. I explained how outsourcing some of your personal tasks — specifically those that you’re not fond of AND those that someone else can do more cost effectively — can help free up some of your time and enable you to become a more profitable and focused freelancer.
Many of you commented on how helpful the ideas were. You even asked for more suggestions on other tasks that could conceivably be outsourced. So I was asked to write a second post with a more exhaustive list of potentially “outsourceable” tasks.
Glad to do that. But first, I want to clarify a misconception I often hear when the topic of personal outsourcing comes up: the claim that paying someone else to take care of your personal responsibilities is a sign of laziness.
Photo by Zach Klein.
I’m not a huge magazine editor. In fact, I typically imagine myself on the other side of the fence – where I’m frantically trying to say something and be employable at the same time. However, from working as the editor of NETTUTS.com, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve realized that, out of the dozens of inquiries I receive in a given week, 80% of them are deleted (usually after a standard form rejection response). It all comes back to Pareto’s 80/20 principle, doesn’t it? In this article, I’ll list the top five mistakes you can make when “selling yourself” to an editor like me.
Number 1: Don’t Make Me Work
Photo by angela7.
In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, there is tremendous pressure on organizations to offer quick and effective customer support. This is not only an important approach to achieving a high level of customer satisfaction, but also a way to potentially cut time spent on dealing with problems that could otherwise be solved in a quick and organized manner. As a self-employed entrepreneur competing in the IT industry, I’ve come to realize that the most effective and time-saving way to deal with most of my customers’ issues is by offering remote support.
Providing technical support from the comfort of the office allows me to resolve nearly 80% of all technical issues encountered, and subsequently saves the time and money which would otherwise be spent on going on-site to tend to minor issues such as updating a customer’s settings or installing required software onto their machines. Clearly, not all issues could be resolved remotely and on-site visits are still required ever so often; however, the use of remote desktop software has clearly reduced my costs and increased customer satisfaction due to the quick response time.