As a freelancer, you do everything—manage the books, handle the sales, and make the coffee. All this on top of your actual job, be it writing, photography, graphic design, event planning…whatever.
There are some things you can outsource. You can hire a bookkeeper to keep your finances straight. These people already know how to use such software as Quickbooks, and outsourcing means you don’t have to spend the time learning the program or inputting numbers into a spreadsheet.
Did you know you can also outsource your social media? There are people out there whose job is to handle other peoples’ social media marketing, saving them oodles of time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Constant Contact, you name it.
Maybe you aren’t good at keeping up a presence on these social media platforms. Maybe you don’t know how to leverage them. Maybe you are just so busy that you don’t really want to take the time to learn. But should you hand over your online branding to someone? This is the exact question answered by the Young Entrepreneur Council for The Washington Post. Some of their answers, included here, are worth pondering. Continue Reading
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of mastermind groups. Simply put, they’re groups of people who come together to help each other grow their businesses to greater levels of success.
Some are very informal – they get together for lunch and brainstorming once a month. Others are quite formal, with applications before acceptance, hefty dues, and accountability requirements.
Being part of a mastermind group exposes you to ideas that you never would have thought of on your own.
There’s a good reason why such groups exist. Being part of a mastermind group exposes you to ideas that you never would have thought of on your own. And you’ll have a built-in support crew to turn to when things get rough. Better yet, your knowledge and experience can be useful to others. Continue Reading
Do you need to carry your freelance brand into print? If so, you can hire a professional designer to assist you with creating your identity. There is another option though. If your budget is tight and time is limited, there is no better solution than grabbing a high quality stationery brand template. You can present your business with a professional style, at minimal cost.
Chances are, not all of the proposals you send out hit their mark. Chances are, a good number of them get rejected at the first hurdle and don’t even get read. Imagine, the nerve of some people.
And there are really simple reasons as to why. There is nothing worse than being given the opportunity to bid on a potentially ideal project, to craft a detailed, comprehensive proposal – only to find that it hasn’t worked.
What are the most common mistakes consistently made in written proposals? Here are some suggestions on how you can improve yours. Continue Reading
I found an article on startupsmart that I couldn’t resist reading and sharing with you. The story is about the top home-based business myths and I know you freelancers out there will be able to connect with at least one of these.
The Hours are Easy
PLEASE! If anything, the hours are harder than working for someone else at their office. When you work for yourself you have to not only do the primary job, you have to handle your own marketing, manage your own sales, handle your bookkeeping, answer the phones or spend money to hire people to do this for you. Many freelancers, especially those just starting out or dealing with a down economy, don’t have the funds to outsource, so all of these duties fall on their shoulders.
Being organized takes a lot of time, leaving less time to do your actual job. Many freelancers who work from home don’t have time for a leisurely lunch, afternoon work out, or even time to throw in a load of laundry.
You Can Sit Back and Get Rich Quickly
Ask any freelancer and they will tell you they work hard for every penny they make. There are a lot of ads out there that tell you that you can earn thousands a week from home—it’s all bunk. When you are a freelancer you have to find your own work, people aren’t beating down your door. It takes time to make and build successful relationships that will turn into a continued profit. There’s nothing “quick” about it. Continue Reading
Launching into a career as a freelance editor is relatively easy. Unlike our web and graphic design colleagues, editors can start working on their own without too much investment in expensive software or equipment.
There are the usual prerequisites of course: You need a staunch command of language and a natural grace with rational and creative discourse.
There are the usual prerequisites of course: You need a staunch command of language and a natural grace with rational and creative discourse. A precision with words and an uncanny sense of good structure and narrative skills also helps.
And because editors work with all sorts of people with different editorial goals in mind, you also need thick-skinned diplomatic skills— to tease out ideas and endure rounds of revisions. You’re on your way to being a versatile editor when you can take apart a piece, then re-stitch it together again, and still convey the author’s original intentions.
But I learned early on that creative and technical ability alone wasn’t enough to succeed. Freelancing is a business after all. First, spend the time mastering the basics of marketing, operations and service delivery, and productivity. Read the “Freelancing 101 – The Basics” and “9 Tips for New Freelancers”. Michelle Goodman’s Anti 9-to-5 blog and her book My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire were my companions when the idea of freelancing first jolted me out of my cubicle.
Then, get your freelance editing business off the ground with these guidelines: Continue Reading
If you can write in someone else’s voice, writing for voice –e.g., scripting or outlining speeches and presentations for corporate executives, small business owners, and public officials — can be a lucrative niche. One of the great things about it is that once an executive (or that person’s “handlers”) get comfortable with you, you will have a steady stream of work, and it will be hard for any rival to dislodge you.
In the early days of this relationship, however, there’s a need for some quiet persistence and some diplomacy. The need arises because the speaker (or his/her advisors, in larger corporations) almost always wants to add more and more detail that dilutes and obscures the main message. Continue Reading
Freelancers and small business owners can learn a lot from how bigger businesses use their social media. You’re not going to be able to capitalize on everything these larger companies can, because your business model is different. However, there are some things big companies do to leverage their Twitter followers that freelancers can put into practice.
Some of these ideas were found in this FastCompany article. I weeded through all 21 of their tips to find the ones FreelanceSwitch readers can put into practice.
Offering coupons on coffee would work great for Starbucks, but clearly not for freelancers. But giving out your own special offer can help entice someone to try your services for the very first time, or attract a repeat customer.
Most of the freelancers that I know who utilize this are photographers. They’ll offer a special deal during certain times of the year (holidays, for example) for a special rate. Customers use a promo code to sign up for a photo shoot. Sometimes photographers will create a contest where someone gets a photo shoot for free.
It’s all about enticing new customers to your small company. Whether you offer photography services, graphic design, or marketing solutions—offering a discount makes it less risky for new clients to use your services. Continue Reading
At the end of a project, there are a couple of things you can do. You can hand the files or materials off to the client, a printer or upload them to a server. Then, you bill it and forget it.
A better idea is to conduct a follow-up meeting. Sales and building client relations are, or should be, an ongoing process. A follow-up meeting helps to enhance value, fortify trust and cement the relationship. It helps you do a better job next time around. It differentiates you from the other guys whose policy is: Do it, bill it and forget it.
Schedule a Follow-up Meeting
Those other guys are going to be spending a lot of time and money finding a steady stream of new clients, rather than leveraging their existing clients for additional business. The truth is in the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule. When applied to business, the Rule states that 80 percent of your business revenue comes from 20 percent of your clients.
It can cost up to five times more to land a new client than it does to build on your existing ones.
That little tidbit is a handy piece of information to mull over in your mind. To keep it company, here’s another factoid: It can cost up to five times more to land a new client than it does to build on your existing ones. Some sources go so far as to say 10 percent. Suddenly, it becomes apparent why you should foster and build on your current client relationships. The follow-up meeting is one tactic to help you do that. Continue Reading
Looking for a new client? The FreelanceSwitch job board is a great resource of freelance gigs and opportunities. These opportunities are in various fields, from development to writing to design, and come from a wide range of potential clients. The job board is hand-moderated by dedicated staff and volunteers from the freelance community.
Each week, we’ll feature a selection of the best job opportunities posted for the week. This week, we’re featuring jobs in Website Programmer, jQuery/JSON Developer, Blogger/Community Moderator and more!
View engaging conference lectures, interesting how to discussions, and high quality freelance advice via video here on FreelanceSwitch.
This week we look at The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Achor. We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. Continue Reading