When tax season rolls around, most of us just want to get through it as quickly as possible, without sending too large a check to the government, but also not getting in trouble for sending too little. It’s technically possible to do your taxes yourself (provided you have a spare week), but most of us rely on tax preparers or even tax preparation software to get our taxes done.
There are some big differences between tax preparers and accountants. While a tax preparer knows at least the basics of preparing a tax return, most don’t know a lot about the details of tax law. They don’t need to — most of the tax returns a tax preparer will ever deal with are for people who are employed. That’s a very different animal than a freelancer’s tax returns, so if you’re considering a new tax preparer, it’s crucial to make sure you’re working with someone who knows what to do with a stack of 1099s and receipts, rather than just dealing with W-2s. The matter is less urgent if you’re freelancing part-time and you actually have a W-2, as well as a few freelance clients.
If your freelance career grows, however, you may find yourself needing more specific advice than a tax preparer can provide. Continue Reading
Nowadays, it’s rare to meet a freelancer who’s not on Twitter. Most of us have an account, and many of us hang out there in our free time. Sharing our lives, and glimpsing into the lives of others in bite-sized chunks of 140 characters is strangely compelling.
But how about using Twitter for your professional life?
In a new series of FreelanceSwitch articles, I’m going show you how to make the most of Twitter as a freelancer. In particular, I’ll be looking at how to use Twitter as a marketing and networking tool.
If you’ve yet to dive into the world of Tweets, I’ll show you how to set up your Twitter account. If you don’t get Twitter, I’ll show you how to make sense of it.
I’ll also be looking at what to Tweet about, how to record and understand Twitter metrics, how to grow your Twitter following and find clients on the network, using Twitter for research, and the dilemma every professional Tweeter faces: to schedule or not to schedule?
Before we get into that, it’s worth deciding whether Twitter is right for your freelance business. Ultimately, you’ll only find this out by trying Twitter for yourself. However, this article will serve as a handy primer to help you make your decision.
Twitter’s a communications platform, which makes it suitable for marketing your services. But is it worth your while, and all the time and energy you’ll invest?
Let’s take a look, starting with the argument for Twitter. Continue Reading
Freelance graphic designers and web designers often have to get creative with their marketing efforts. Sometimes the budget simply does not allow for outsourcing.
Even more so, freelance graphic designers simply do not have enough time to spend on marketing. This is why social media is such an excellent method of marketing for freelancers – social media is free and can be updated regularly without a huge, initial time commitment.
For freelancers in the graphic or web design fields, Pinterest is just as important as Twitter or Facebook, or even more so, simply because of the nature of the site. In fact, it is now considered the third largest social media platform online.
Pinterest users search sometimes hours a day for inspiration, crafts, blog articles, and much more. When they find something they like, they repin it. This means that all of their friends can see this new pin and repin it too. Images and graphics are very popular on Pinterest, hence the connection with graphic design. You can almost think of Pinterest as a freelance graphic design resume of sorts.
While you may not have yet jumped on the Pinterest craze, as a graphic designer you may want to seriously consider getting involved. To make the most of your Pinterest marketing efforts, you’ll want to take some necessary steps for ensuring success.
The following is a complete guide to marketing on Pinterest for freelance graphic designers. However, with a little focus, any freelancer can benefit from the 14 points that follow. Continue Reading
Ah, the joys of freelancing: working when you want to, wearing your comfy clothes, setting your own schedule, being your own boss. There are myriad advantages to being the master of your domain. Alas, there are drawbacks as well — and the biggest one is fluctuating income.
When you’re juggling multiple jobs, all is well financially, but when you’re in the midst of a dry spell with an uncertain end date, it can be quite stressful. Still, with a little planning and organization, you can better your chances of weathering the thin times. Here are some ways to minimize at least this one worry in your life. Continue Reading
Nine decades ago Claude Hopkins advertising classic, Scientific Advertising was published. Hopkins argued that marketing was “a gamble” unless those doing the marketing measured the results of their efforts.
When marketers measure their results, Hopkins wrote, marketing becomes “one of the safest business ventures.” Metrics allow you to see the results of your advertising efforts compared to the time, energy and money you put in.
In Hopkins’s day, gathering marketing data was time consuming. The results of every marketing campaign had to be counted by hand.
With the Internet, tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights automate the process of gathering some data. However, just because some of the data is easy to get hold of doesn’t make it simple to understand and analyze. Even with data readily at hand, marketing is as much an art as it as science. You need to know how to read the data to make it meaningful to your business.
As a writer, I see it this way. Data tells a story. When you’re using data to improve your marketing, you want to find the stories within the data that help you boost revenues, find new clients and grow your business.
In this post, I’ll show you some helpful stories you can look out for in your Facebook Insights data to improve the way you use Facebook. Continue Reading
Many freelance consultants have a rather hit-or-miss approach to marketing their services. In truth, quite a few consultants do not learn to market themselves in the early days of their businesses because they are lucky enough to start out with business in hand.
That is, they leave a corporate environment, only to do their first few projects for their former employer. They moonlight until a solid long-term project comes along, so that when they give up their day job, they don’t have to do any selling.
Eventually, of course, they run as far as they can on their existing network and referrals and they have to start getting the word out about what they can do for new clients. They read a lot of books and blogs, and even take some seminars, on how to market themselves. They collect a lot of good ideas, maybe even plan some good steps toward building visibility and earning trust among their target prospects.
But I often see some unspoken assumptions underlying the details of those marketing action plans, myths about how marketing works that seriously undermine the results consultants achieve. In my work helping consultants be more effective in marketing and selling their services, I have seen several of these myths over and over again, perhaps because in some ways, freelance consultants are particularly susceptible to these assumptions. Continue Reading
If you want to be found online these days, you have to invest at least a little time into search engine optimization — effectively telling search engines what search terms your site should show up for.
Trying to show up just for the word ‘freelancer’ isn’t going to cut it. Companies like Freelancer.com have that particular word sewn up in just about every search engine. If you search for the word ‘freelancer,’ it’s rare to get the name of an actual freelancer, including in personalized search results in search engines like Google. 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 Programming, Web Design, Web Development and more!
Many creative freelancers struggle in their businesses because they don’t do enough promotion.
Face it, promotion doesn’t have the greatest reputation. It’s as if you’re supposed to don a promotion hat that turns you into one of those overly gregarious car salesmen.
Well, here comes Alex Mathers from a help site for creatives called the Red Lemon Club. His advice for the rest of us? Promote less.
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you probably already know that you often have to juggle several projects at a time. That’s not to say that you necessarily have to multi-task, but simply need to manage overlapping task schedules.
The more successful your freelance career is, the more likely it is that you’ll have to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. They might be part of a single big project or parts of several smaller projects. Continue Reading