I like going to conferences — especially those that are out of town. I like the excuse to travel, to meet new people and to hear interesting talks. But without an employer willing to spring for a ticket, transportation, room and board, I have to make sure that I can justify the expense. That means taking a good long look at just what I — and, by extension, my freelancing — get out of the conferences I attend.
This post is a guest post from Allan Branch, a one time freelancer who created LessAccounting for freelancers who need to keep track of money or send invoices.
If you’re reading this you’re probably not an accountant so bookkeeping is painful, boring and no one likes it. Let’s see if we can make this as painless as possible. Let’s remember that the reason to keep tidy books is to maximize your tax deductions. I make more on an hourly basis when I do my taxes than any other time of the year. If I spend a few hours properly putting everything together I can save (earn) thousands of dollars in reduced tax payments.
“It’s not easy — I’ll tell you that up front. If you hope to make a quick buck, or a fast million, you’ll need to find another guide. Probably one with lots of flashing ads in the sidebar. So you have your passion picked out? Here’s how to turn it into a living.”
“The internet is a fast-paced environment. People can come to your website at any hour from a wide range of locations, each of them with different intentions or needs. Unlike physical retail stores, you can’t see who is coming in and browsing around. You don’t know much about the people reading you. How can we develop a rough profile of all these individuals?”
“If you were using a good backup solution you could just keep on working, otherwise you could be in a lot of trouble. For those of you who don’t already have a backup and file sharing solution in place, you’ll want to learn more about Dropbox.”
“Humans. We love our common sense, don’t we? It’s brought us far as a species. If something causes pain, we tend to avoid it. If something causes pleasure, we do more of it. So when it comes to business, it only makes sense to stick to a niche where you can dominate and completely rock, right? WRONG!”
“You’ve probably heard people talking about social media monitoring. It’s wise to listen to conversations before you participate in them. Social media monitoring allows you to do just that.”
“For most entrepreneurs, ambition far exceeds even a superhuman workday. No matter how you slice and dice it, one person can only do so much. To do more, requires something more than working really, really hard. It requires delegation.”
“Professional web designers on the Mac platform rely on commercial heavy-hitters like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, and InDesign for their graphic design needs. And when it’s time to slice and dice, some depend on the excellent Dreamweaver CS4 for WYSIWYG design/development; while many Mac code jockeys swear only by editors like Coda, BBEdit or TextMate. Others prefer to mix, match or blend.”
“Emails are a great way to reach people, to keep reminding them that your site still exists and that they really should keep checking you out. After all, the people who receive your emails should already be familiar with you, they will have opted to receive emails from you, but now you have to make sure they pay attention to what you’re sending them.”
“A ‘personal brand’ is in many ways synonymous with your reputation. It refers to the way other people see you. Are you a genius? An expert? Are you trustworthy? What do you represent? What do you stand for? What ideas and notions pop up as soon as someone hears your name?”
Ask FreelanceSwitch is a new regular column here that allows us to help beginners get a grip on freelancing. If you have a question about freelancing that you want answered, send an email to email@example.com.
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The holidays are nice: we take off some time, eat some great food and generally get a break from the grind of freelancing. But the holidays don’t last forever. It can be tempting to fall into a holiday routine that keeps going well after the last present is opened, perhaps even after Auld Lang Syne is sung. Enjoyable as it might be, that routine won’t keep clients too happy.
Sooner or later, we have to get back to work. We have to readjust to the schedules and workflows that keep us productive during those parts of the year when we’re not celebrating. Getting back to those routines can be difficult, but it is possible.
One of the most frustrating things to me is when I’m trying to get work done over the holidays and get nothing but away messages. It seems like everyone in the world takes a few weeks off, even when they are in the office. And if you rely on others to help you work by way of getting information to complete the job, it can be really challenging.
So if you can’t get to the things you want to do right now, you can still stay productive while the rest of the world seems to be at a standstill. Here are some tips to help you stay productive during the holiday lull.
Are you about to go on a holiday break? Chances are good that your elected representatives are going to do the same thing.
In the United States, the Congress (our version of the Parliament) adjourns shortly before Christmas, and reconvenes just after New Year’s Day. During this time, members of the Senate and House of Representatives return to their home districts, where they conduct business from their offices.
This is the season of giving, whether it is for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or just to exchange gifts. So, with so many people here self-employed and thus lacking a company to give out those turkey dinners, terrific bonuses, and whatnot; I thought it would be a great idea to provide a list of real and fantasy gifts that would be perfect for the freelancer in your family, even if it is yourself.
The latest episode of Freelance Radio, the official FreelanceSwitch podcast, is now available! This episode, the panel (John Brougher, Dickie Adams, Kristen Fischer and Von Glitschka) talks about Kristen’s freelance dilemma and offers some suggestions. 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!
To celebrate the end of 2009 and the Christmas season, we’re giving away prizes on FreelanceSwitch and WorkAwesome. All you have to do to enter is tell us the most important thing you learned about freelancing this year in the comments–but make sure you read the instructions below before you do so!
“For a database administrator, DBM (database management) tools make tasks related to maintaining relational databases efficient and fast. Prior to the popularity of these tools, most DBA’s had to use the command line to create, edit, and delete databases. In this article, we present to you the top five most popular/most voted for database management tools.”
“So in honor of Dan Kennedy, who sometimes styles himself as the “Professor of Harsh Reality,” I thought I’d talk today about some of the not-so-kumbaya aspects of social media marketing.”