Here’s a celebration of all the ways we are uniquely freelancers… set apart from our cubicle counterparts, yet aware that we are perhaps still not so different. Or are we? Enjoy!
You Know You’re a Freelancer When…
- You’re starting to grumble about your 5-step commute from the bed to your computer. The snooze button is soooo much closer…
- The car stays parked in your garage for days at a time and somehow you continue to grow without sunlight.
- You can vacation as often as you want now. Chained to your computer and phone, yeah, but hey: the ocean looks beautiful from here and yes honey, I’ll join you out there in a moment! Continue Reading
Is it a loving spouse that goes to work every day, providing your family with the extra income you need to make sure the mortgage is paid, food is on the table, and your kids are not dirty urchins picking the pockets of the fine folks on the streets of London?
Maybe you’ve got a good friend that promotes you to his customers and business associates, and his influence is so vast that you doubt that you will ever be short of work from these contacts.
Or perhaps you have an amazing client that loves what you do, pays you handsomely for it, and trusts you to spread your creative wings on every project.
Have you said thank you to these folks lately? Continue Reading
Ask FreelanceSwitch is a 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ve got a 5:00 deadline, 3 pages of copy to revise, 2 logos to vectorize (or whatever magic you design folks use to make things pretty), and a status report to complete to wrap up another project. It’s almost the perfect trifecta –your three current projects ending at the same time. You’re smoking busy right now, but as N.C Winters points out – you might not have enough work tomorrow to warrant getting out of bed.
So what are you doing to keep fresh projects coming your way?
I’ve still got that new freelancer smell, but a few things that I’ve been trying to do seem to be working so far:
- Tweetdeck Alerts – anytime the word “copywriter” is mentioned on twitter, I get an alert that pops up. I quickly scan it, and if it’s someone looking for a copywriter I’ll send them a quick note. This would probably work with keywords like logo, graphics, template, etc. This has been a huge source of new business lately – small and big jobs.
- Job Board Mailing Lists – Most of the sites that I’ve found have an option for daily notifications about new postings within your search parameters. They seem to be delivered at the same time each day, so I set that time aside to review the postings and bid on the ones that interest me.
- PPC Campaigns – Not a lot of luck for me here yet, but I’ve been playing with Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, and Google ads. There are a few trial coupons out there, so you might be able to get some exposure without spending a dime.
Are you waiting for your next assignment to find you, or do you have some great ways to score your next project? Continue Reading
Being a freelancer has its perks. You are your own boss, meaning you can work at home and set up your own hours. As great as that sounds, working at home also has its downsides. The main problem is that it’s hard to be productive when you keep getting distracted by the 7 billion wonders of the internet.
We at FreelanceSwitch have offered many tips to increase your productivity, but these tips can only take you so far. Sometimes you just need a good tool or two to keep you on the right track. Here are some personal productivity tools guaranteed to enhance your performance. Continue Reading
Imagine it: you’ve been given the chance to look into the future and bring back one tool that will help you be the Best. Freelancer. Ever.
What is this tool? Heck if I know.
What is the one tool that will help you become the best? Even if it hasn’t been invented yet, what is it that you would like to see?
- Practical AI that can create copy that converts 99.9% of the time?
- Design software that directly interfaces with your cerebral cortex to produce the perfect image?
- Instant credit check to see what your client’s likelihood of paying will be like when the project is completed – before you start the project? (I’m thinking minority report meets credit score.)
- The ultimate espresso machine – perfect beans, perfect crema – exactly 5 seconds before you realize you want one?
Since freelancing is what you want to do for the rest of your life, what tool could you use to become the Über Freelancer? Continue Reading
One of the benefits that many freelancers with families cite is the ability to stay home with the kids: you can save a fortune on daycare if you have kids just by working from home and not sending the kids elsewhere. But there are situations in which having the kids at home all day may not work out. Trying to take client phone calls or multitask between watching the kids and working just don’t always work out perfectly.
I grew up in a work-at-home household and, whether or not you’re comfortable with the situation as a parent, from the kid’s point of view, it’s not always a picnic. Having my mother home every day was nice, but the fact that I was banished to the basement when she worked with client made the situation a little less pleasant. I couldn’t have friends over at certain times and I’m sure there were days that I’d have loved to have gone to daycare. I could tell that it wasn’t exactly the perfect situation for her, either: she would mark off the days of summer break, barely able to wait until my sisters and I went back to school. What are the options for a freelancing parent? Continue Reading
Here at Envato we’re pretty famous for building a lot of successful blogs, like this one! We’ve done quite a few now, so last year I decided other people might find our techniques and systems useful. Today I’m really happy to announce my new book How to Build a Successful Blog Business which is a step by step guide to doing what we do, and it comes packed with case studies for our blogs including FreelanceSwitch! Continue Reading
Trolling the archives of FreelanceSwitch is a great thing to do if you’re trying to avoid doing actual work. So because you’re a super busy freelancer, I’ve taken the time – hours and hours, just for you – to grab a few of the more, shall we say “interesting” posts and gems from the crypts.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Guide to Freelancing 10 awesome steps to reframe how you look at your freelancing career. Also very useful if you think your head might explode if you are forced to watch anything else Twilight related.
The Six People You Meet In Freelance Internet Writing Hell Any post with a reference to a Commodore Vic 20 is going to get my vote. Unless it’s up against a TRS-80.
More Surefire Ways To Get Yourself Fired By The Readers Of FSw Laser pointer + your boss’s crotch = hello freelance world!
10 Reasons Why Your Last Collaboration Did Not Work Ego is probably #1 for me. Looks like it’s #1 for you, too!
What Disaster School Taught Me About Freelancing At first, I thought this article was going to teach me how to cause disasters. Turns out, it’s about preventing them. Oops.
If you’ve got an idea for a future off-beat post, please let me know! Or – if you found great success from one of these articles, we’d love to hear about that, too! Continue Reading
Sometimes, you’ve gotta be that “in your face” type of freelancer. By that, I mean client follow-up. You may have to duck in and check up on clients to make sure you’re getting the work. Especially in business, the early bird gets the worm. A client may not always think of you for a project first, so it’s good to stay visible without being obnoxious.
This is especially true if you have a client that gives you ongoing work. I don’t follow up much on clients that need a one-time thing. If I’ve written the website content for a restaurant, there’s not much else they may need other than maybe a brochure or a new menu at some point in the future. They have my contact information if they need me.
But if you work with ongoing clients–such as marketing or advertising agencies–the pipeline is rich for continuous work. So what can you do if you don’t hear from that client in a while? Get in their face. A little. Nicely. Continue Reading
Have you ever had one of those days where everything was going wrong? You missed a deadline, you lost a good client, an oft-promised cheque still hasn’t arrived, final notice on your cable bill came today, the client isn’t buying into the concept, your spouse is upset, your dog has fleas, and to top it all off – you just dropped your bread, and it landed butter side down. Worst Monday ever.
Here are 5 tips to help you blow off some steam before you climb up to the bell tower.
- Me Time – Go for a walk, go have a coffee, get extra sprinkles on an ice cream, whatever. Take 30 minutes for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how hard it is to explode when you’re halfway through a peanut buster parfait. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts.
- Buddy up – Before you get to the worst day ever, find a friend/coworker/distant relative and make an agreement to allow each other to vent – occasionally. Having someone that can listen and understand can help you refocus on your priorities. And hearing someone else whinge and whine about their piddly problems can be cathartic.
- Shout it out – Find a safe and quiet location – quiet as in no one can hear you, not quiet as in your local library – and then let it out. Hoot, holler, yell, cry, scream, speak in tongues. Say what’s on your mind until you can’t say anymore.
- Write it down – Write an email to yourself. CAUTION – write it to you, and to you alone. Make sure your name is the only one in the “to” field. Pour everything into the email. Construct cohesive thoughts, and organize your frustrations from terrible to horrible. Read this email. Do not save this email. Delete this email – do not send this email. If your email client has a self destruct option, blow up this email. This can be applied to any of your favourite communication channels – but like Thursday says in her recent article – be careful of burning bridges.
- Take inventory – Sure, everything sucks today. But you still get to live in a nice place, and you’re going to be able to find more clients. Make a list of all of the great things in your life. Like reading FreelanceSwitch every day – does it get better than this?
I’m sure exercise works for many of you, but I think I’ve been clear on my beliefs around that topic. What do you do to blow off some steam?