You know you want to tackle that new standard for CSS you’ve been hearing about. Or, you know that you should understand how overrides enhance Joomla! extensions and templates. You’ve heard the term “MVC” or maybe “SDK” but you have no clue what they mean. Maybe you want to learn a new style of writing so you can build that personal blog. But excuses pile up, for instance: you don’t have the resources, or your current work load doesn’t give you the time, or the best excuse — you lack the brain power. And really, if a client isn’t paying for it how can you legitimize the time?
Yet, to stay current and competitive in our cutthroat freelance environment, you must keep learning the “bleeding edge” of your chosen profession, be it design, web development, programming, or writing, or something else. The challenge is to continually keep learning while working. Otherwise, with the tools of our trades changing so rapidly we can quickly get outmoded. So, how can we at least stay on “speaking terms” with new techniques and technology?
Imagine we’re having a conversation, and I’m telling you about where I live. I might describe how Eagleby is located between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and mention the names of important roads. I might explain that Eagleby is situated between twin rivers, and the bird life in our wetlands—including eagles—attracts bird watchers from around the world. I might also mention that the reputation of some parts of Eagleby is summed up by the name given it by the locals: “Illegalby”.
While I was talking, most likely you were only half-listening. Perhaps you were also thinking about lunch, organizing three things you need to get done this afternoon, daydreaming about how cool you think eagles are, evaluating some ideas for a new website, and wishing I would change the subject.
Now imagine that the context of the conversation was that you were about to drive to Eagleby to meet with me about an important job. You would have listened in an entirely different way. And that’s the difference between passive and active listening. In this article we’ll look at why active listening is an essential skill for freelancers.
Is Freelancing Right For You?: Does freelancing sound like a good option but you can’t make up your mind as to whether it would be the best move for you? Here’s a Harvard Business blog entry that discusses the various factors you need to consider before making such a large career change.
20 Tools For The Freelance Designer On A Shoestring Budget: Recently I set up a new iMac at Envato’s head office and found I was missing a lot of the software I’d acquired over the years at home. Though I ended up using the first item in this list, an article like this would’ve been handy a few months ago!
How To Get Featured By The Press (Repeatedly) Even If Your Blog is New: This article geared towards bloggers is still very useful to freelancers who want to generate some buzz. Learn how to use your blog (assuming you have one as part of your freelance business website) to attract media attention.
Every year around this time, I think of all the kids heading back to school—and I still can’t believe I’m not one of them. But I do think freelancers can benefit from this important time of year when people get refocused on school and work, and “fall” into a more steady routine. While you may not be a pupil anymore, here are some ways to harness back-to-school time and make it work for your business.
Envato’s birthday bash was a great success and everyone here is thankful for the wonderful community we have to celebrate such events with. Now that it’s all over, it’s time to declare the winners of the three birthday giveaway bundles!
- Beth J. Bates, for her comments on taking vacations
- Todd Galloway, for his comments on old-school marketing techniques
- Andy Ciordia, for his comments on SEO for freelancers
Congratulations Beth, Todd and Andy! Check your email for more information.
It’s been a hectic 3 days for us here at Envato. We’ve had a massively successful Birthday Bundle (over 5,000 sales in 3 days), lots of giveaways, a fantastic Tuts+ tutorial set up for free download and our first video interview. Here in the office we’ve also been celebrating today with a big lunch and lots of network gaming! With the birthday all wrapped up now though I thought I’d give you a very quick preview of what’s coming up in September…
The search engine ranking game is full of pirates and marauders; sort of like the high seas of the 18th century. In order to navigate through these treacherous waters (and protect the good name of links to and from your clients’ and your websites), it pays to understand your enemy.
This article provides a short overview of the downside of search engine optimization as well as offers tricks and tips of how to ensure that your websites legally reach the page rank they deserve so you can attract clients.
Many years ago, before the rise of the Internet and its latest be-all end-all, social media, business people used marketing and sales tools that we may not recognize.
For example, a lot of consumer goods were sold door to door. Your older family members may have stories to tell about the Fuller Brush man. Yes, you read that right. People used to buy brushes from people who knocked on their front doors. I don’t know about your neighborhood, but when people come knocking around here, this freelancer’s the only who’s home. Seems like everyone else is off at work.
One of the best things about working here at Envato is that we have an awesome team of people building, managing, writing, reviewing and working on our sites. Yep, things have come a long way since the early days when there was just a few of us trying to do everything!
Recently our awesome Tuts+ interviewer Emil asked if I minded being video interviewed with some questions put forward by the Psdtuts+ readers. Since no-one really wants to see my enormous head on screen for too long a period of time, I asked my lovely wife and partner in crime Cyan if she’d be in on the interview and we thought we’d put up the video to help celebrate 3 years of Envato.
I took a vacation not too long ago, though it wasn’t much like a typical vacation — and not just because I packed my laptop. I worked (although not quite as much as I do most days) on a trip that was supposed to be more about relaxation than anything else. I know I’m not alone on this one. Many of my fellow freelancers can’t quite disconnect, a situation made worse by the mindset that we can work from anywhere.
There are a few benefits, of course. We don’t have to tell our clients we’re going on vacation, and risk them turning to another freelancer. We can make sure that we keep income coming in, making it easier to actually take a vacation. But there are also some drawbacks: How relaxing is a vacation where you’re still on call, after all?
I’ve got another trip coming up later this year and I’m set on making it a true vacation. With a little planning in advance, I think I can pull off actually leaving the laptop at home. My plan has several steps, which should let me take a real vacation.