Do you consider yourself to be an entrepreneur?
Sure, you may call yourself a freelancer, designer, writer, consultant or creative professional.
But deep down inside, do you also think of yourself as an entrepreneur?
Believe it or not, your answer to that question is a fairly good predictor of your value in the marketplace. It’s also highly correlated to your overall level of joy and happiness as a solo professional.
That was one of several surprising findings in our recently published study on freelancing, the 2012 Freelance Industry Report. According to this detailed, 70-page analysis of 1,491 freelancers from around the world, 72% of freelancers consider themselves to be entrepreneurs. Continue Reading
Tens of millions of workers remain unemployed around the world. But the freelance segment of the workforce is not only growing, it’s actually thriving.
That’s just one of the many interesting facts I uncovered when I recently surveyed more than 1,200 freelancers in 37 different professions.
The findings of this survey are summarized in the just-released 2011 Freelance Industry Report, which is sponsored by the International Freelancers Day online conference.
This 53-page study (which is available free here) uncovered some very surprising and encouraging information about who freelancers really are, what we charge, how we work, what our biggest challenges are, how we feel about the solo path and why we do what we do.
Have you ever noticed that every group, activity and product on the face of the earth seems to have its own “day”?
There’s National Boss Day, National Teachers Day, National Bowling Day, National Puppy Day. Even National Pancake Day!
Yet freelancers, independent professionals and contingent workers, who in the U.S. alone compose at least one-third of the workforce (the ratio is even higher in other countries), don’t have their own day!
Well, that seemed totally unfair. So my partners and I decided to put an end to that by organizing the first-ever International Freelancers Day last year. And we’re doing it again this year, on September 23rd!
If you want to get hired, you have to position yourself. When you clearly communicate what makes you different, you make it easier to get noticed by your prospects.
Strong and relevant differentiation greatly increases the number of inquiries you get. It also helps you land a larger percentage of the prospects who contact you. Differentiation is especially important when you provide services that are more transactional in nature. In other words, services that companies in your target market are already buying. Continue Reading
There’s a very exciting online event happening in a few weeks. It’s the first-ever International Freelancers Day, to be held on September 24 and 25.
This two-day virtual event is the biggest-ever FREE online-video conference exclusively for solo professionals. It’s part of a global initiative to celebrate independent workers everywhere and the tremendous impact they have on the economy.
The conference will feature an all-star cast of 25 high-profile speakers, including bestselling authors and industry thought leaders such as David Meerman Scott, Brian Clark, Anne Handley, Mari Smith, Liz Strauss, Scott Stratten, Jonathan Fields, Dan Schawbel and many others! Continue Reading
I haven’t punched a clock in more than 10 years. And even when I did, I never cared much for the idea.
I guess I didn’t like the message it sent out: that I was being paid for my time — not for my ideas, creativity, excellent customer service and added revenue for my employer.
I still feel that way as a freelancer. I believe my clients hire me for my insights, ideas, creativity, results delivered and commitment to their success, not for my time.
If time is what you’re after, you can buy time anywhere (and for much less!).
That’s a big reason why I don’t price most projects by the hour. Instead, I quote flat fees 95% of the time. I want to keep the focus on the project deliverables, not on the time I’ll spend doing the work. Plus, I want to take on some of the risk and not create a scenario in which the invoiced amount is a big surprise to the client.
However, I still track time. Even when doing flat-fee work, I find that there’s tremendous value in knowing how much time I actually spend on every project. Specifically, a good time tracking system provides me with: Continue Reading
Why do so many freelancers fail while others who face even greater obstacles succeed? Is it natural talent? Is it hard work? Is it sheer persistence?
I find these questions absolutely fascinating. That’s why I’ve spent a great part of my adult life studying freelance success.
But it wasn’t until I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers that much of what I had learned came together into one unifying principle:
Success only happens at the intersection of preparation and opportunity!
To better explain this, let’s take this discussion outside of freelancing for a minute because there’s a fascinating lesson here. Continue Reading
In fact, after talent, knowledge and experience, time is your most important resource. And since there are only so many hours in a week, you need to treat that time with great care. That includes qualifying every potential opportunity to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
So how do you make decisions about which clients and projects to pursue and which ones to turn down? It all starts with what I call ideal client profiles.
The ideal client profile is simply a very clear description of the type of client you would love to have more of. It may be an exact replica of a client you’re working with today. Or it could be a combination of qualities you’ve seen in past and current clients.
Whatever that profile is for you, the important thing is that you have a very clear image of that individual. Doing so enables you to make decisions that will improve your income and your level of happiness at work. Continue Reading
Photo by oskay.
A few months ago, I wrote a brief post about the benefits of personal outsourcing. I explained how outsourcing some of your personal tasks — specifically those that you’re not fond of AND those that someone else can do more cost effectively — can help free up some of your time and enable you to become a more profitable and focused freelancer.
Many of you commented on how helpful the ideas were. You even asked for more suggestions on other tasks that could conceivably be outsourced. So I was asked to write a second post with a more exhaustive list of potentially “outsourceable” tasks.
Glad to do that. But first, I want to clarify a misconception I often hear when the topic of personal outsourcing comes up: the claim that paying someone else to take care of your personal responsibilities is a sign of laziness.
Photo by Jurvetson.
Please note: if you like this article, stay tuned: Kristen Fischer will be interviewing Ed tomorrow! — Skellie
I remember it like it was yesterday.
We were new parents and our newborn baby boy had a severe case of reflux. He was constantly crying and was waking up 6 to 8 times every night.
My wife had very little time for herself. She was exhausted. I was working long hours but did everything I could to help in the evenings and on weekends.
Around that time, my wife called one of her good friends to vent her frustrations.
She told her about how tired she was—and how she didn’t even have time to clean the house. She was on the verge of tears.
Then my wife’s friend said something I’ll never forget: “Why don’t you just hire a house cleaner? You’ll have one less thing to worry about.”
It was such a simple idea. But (I hate to admit this) we’d never thought of it! Continue Reading