Freelancing is all about flexibility. It’s one of the main reasons I hear that people are thinking about making the switch to freelancing. But what a lot of people with no freelance experience don’t really seem to notice is that most of us have set schedules. Without them, it’s pretty much impossible to get all of our work done in a timely fashion. Of course, those schedules may not have any similarity to the standard 9-to-5 — but there is some reason behind the times we do work.
I’m a graphic designer and a photographer. Permit me to share an ethical dilemma that happened earlier this month. I’ve been working on enhancing my portfolio site, and I needed a photo for the top header. And lookie-lookie! I found one! A desert scene I shot while visiting Phoenix, Arizona. Nothing says I’m an Arizona designer and photographer like that, right?
Well, not so fast. In order for this photo to work with my logo, I had to Photoshop several saguaro cactii out of it. This being Arizona, where many of my clients come from, someone is bound to say, “Hey, Martha, that scene is from the Desert Botanical Garden. I know that spot. Where did the saguaros go?”
Once you’ve invoiced a client and received payment, what do you do with your money? The typical answer is that it goes into your bank account, along with any other income you earn from employers or through other sources. It’s a simple approach, allowing you to spend your money without any problems. But that doesn’t mean that it is quite as simple when it comes to keeping your books.
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Freelancers have wide skill sets, but most don’t really offer mind reading. In order to make sure that your project is completed to your satisfaction, it’s important to carefully communicate with your freelancer. Even a relatively small miscommunication can affect the end result of your project, whether you need a website designed or copy written. And if a problem creeps in at a fundamental level, the way a freelancer executes your project can be very different from what you have in mind. The final project may be great, but if it doesn’t reflect what you originally wanted, you won’t be too pleased. Such situations can be avoided by making sure that you and the freelancers you work with are on the same page throughout each project.
When it comes to finding the right freelancer for your project, resumes don’t always tell you everything you need to know. With creative work, like a website or copywriting, a freelancer’s style can be far more important than the companies he or she has worked for. Looking through examples of a designer or writer’s work can make choosing between freelancers a much simpler matter, especially if you have a whole stack of responses to a job listing. The review process doesn’t have to be complicated: you can find the right freelancer by focusing on a few key points.
Sites like PixelLogo and LogoYes offer incredibly cheap logos, starting as low as $39 — which can seem like a real steal if you look at the average freelancer’s fee. But the actual value of such a deal isn’t quite what a business owner might hope for.
A logo, like other elements of a business’ brand, is meant to set you out from the crowd. The idea is to make your company more recognizable to prospective customers — to create a unique identifier. But when you purchase a logo through a service that just lets you browse through a collection of pre-designed logos, you won’t be getting a unique identifier. It’s still relatively rare to run into someone who has bought the same logo as you have — but it happens. And as more businesses purchase logos from these sites, the likelihood of encountering someone in your city using the same logo is going up.
There seems to be an age-old struggle between clients and freelancers: You need work in a pinch but don’t want to compromise on quality. Yes, I’m talking about rush jobs.
For many freelancers, this raises red flags. They’re concerned about being frazzled and not compensated for turning around top-notch work in a short span. You’re worried about meeting a deadline that just came up and saving your skin, too. If you can at all include more time for a project to be completed, do so. It’ll help you avoid rushing around—and probably save you a few bucks as well. But if that inevitable rush job comes into play, you’ll need to work with a freelancer that can swiftly get the job done.
Here are some tips on working with freelancers to complete rush projects.
On the surface, freelancers don’t look so different from employees: you assign them projects and pay them for their work. But if you consider how freelancers will interact with you, how they complete projects and even how they are paid, freelancers are a lot different than employees. It can require a shift to start working with freelancers, rather than trying to manage them like employees — but if you can build up a strong freelancer-client relationship, you can get much better results than trying to have an employee complete the same project.
This post is a part of our Client Week series (check that page for an index as the week continues).
Many people turn to freelancers to complete project-based work, but some contractors can be on the pricey side. In addition to providing their services, freelancers have to factor in other costs associated with self-employment. Still, there are numerous advantages to seeking a solo worker, and ways to optimize costs in doing so.