We’ve decided that August is going to be the biggest month yet on FreelanceSwitch. Why? Well we have a few little things like the survey results (now past 2500 respondents) coming out, the new site design which Collis is sending off to have built this week, we’ve joined a blog network (see below), and later today we’re putting up a huge list of inspiration sites to continue on where our 34 Places post left off. Also as you may have heard we’ve been working hard these last couple of months on a FreelanceSwitch book titled “Hired Gun” which *cross fingers* will be out this month too!
So today’s big news though is that I’m happy to announce that FreelanceSwitch has joined the coolest new blog network around, LifeRemix.
We’re rubbing shoulders with quite a few of my favourite sites like: Black Belt Productivity, Behance, Cranking Widgets Blog, Happiness Project, LifeClever,
LifeDev, No Impact Man, Pick the Brain, Success From the Nest, Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Workweek Blog, Unclutterer, WiseBread, Zen Habits.
Actually the neatest thing to come out of this so far is that I discovered Behance, a site that made me rather jealous. If you’re a designer, go check out their super blend of classic, swiss aesthetic and great content.
By Leo Babauta
As a long-time freelance writer, I know that marketing your freelance work isn’t always an easy proposition.
In fact, marketing is anathema to many of us … but if you want to survive as a freelancer, you’ve got to learn the wily ways of marketing.
Luckily, marketing skills aren’t that difficult, once you learn some basic ideas, and for those of us on a tight budget, there are some free or cheap ways to do that.
1. Blog. This one’s my favorite, of course. But it’s not enough to create a blog and hang up your shingle. You’ve got to work at it. Commit to writing one extremely useful post every day on your blog. If you do this, eventually you’ll get some readers. Other blogs will want you to write for them. You might hit it big on one or two of the social bookmarking sites. And then, my friends, your name will begin to spread. Be sure to have an “About” page on your blog that tells exactly who you are, what you do, and how to contact you if they want your services.
And now, for the winners of the Light Product Review and Giveaway!
We couldn’t go past Drury Bynum as our pick for originality:
With the extra money generated from using Light, I would invest in efforts to learn to better communicate with animals. My office surrounded by trees and birds and every time I go outside they are chattering away. I know their language is complex and specific, like alerting one another when I’m around, “Brown Cap Man! Brown Cap Man.” Heck, they probably even make jokes about me, “Ugly shoes, bad choice, Ugly shoes, I’d go with purple”. Purple, I know, but birds like different colors than we do, that’s one thing I’ve learned.
Here in New Jersey, the summer is coming to an end. With only one month left before hectic fall schedules begin, I’m trying to plan ahead to get in that much-needed summer vacation that I never quite managed to get to. My freelance writing career has kept me busy over the past few months, and I take solace in coffeehouses with air conditioning during these humid weeks.
Most of the world’s careers seem to happen in seasons. Summers are spent working less or taking long weekends. Winter is for being inside cozied up. Fall is consumed with the kids heading off to school, and by the time spring hits most people are trying their best to get outside and lap it up. In between, work happens. But I find that the seasons change a little differently for freelancers.
This summer, for example, I have yet to get to the beach. I live five minutes away and love the water, so it’s a huge shocker. I’ve been busy working on completing my second book, and that’s taking precedence. That and the hoards of work that I’ve had coming in.
Dear Aunty Entity,
My clients think I’m very expensive and query every invoice I send them but I’m still only earning enough money to pay the rent and have very little left over for anything else. How can I charge a fair rate for my services?
Signed, Dire Straights esq
Dear Mr Straights,
I’ll freely admit that back in the days when you could charge the equivalent of the GDP of Tanzania, the chairman’s first born and a small mountain of Bolivian marching powder for a 10 page brochure website, the average freelancer was a lot more well clad and fed.
These days, the bottom line is on service, the product and on top of all that, the client has the nerve to ask for return on investment‚ or ROI in the exulted circles – bangs per buck for the rest of us. It helps to know what other people are charging for the same services. Some people post rates on their websites, others offer a quoting service. You might want to phone around a few agencies and get a quote.
Adii.co.za recently interviewed Collis and I about FSw. If you want to find out a bit more about FreelanceSwitch (and read us babbling on) you can check out the interview at the site. We covered topics like:
- What we did before the advent of FSw and why we decided to launch the site,
- What we think of blogs and blogging,
- Collis weighs in on the most important aspects of blog design,
- We give our most important pieces of freelancing advice and finally,
- FSw’s future plans – revealed for the first time!
So check it out and let us know what you think of where FSw’s heading next!
By Leo Babauta.
Working without a boss, freelance workers need to find ways to motivate themselves, keep themselves organized and productive, and actually get things done on their own.
It’s a challenge faced by any freelance worker. Enter Getting Things Done, freelancer style.
David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) is one of the most popular productivity systems, especially among those on the Internet, freelancers among them. In fact, many of the early adopters of GTD were freelancers, as they knew that the power and flexibility of GTD is exactly what they were looking for.
However, GTD’s flexibility can also be a difficulty for many people, so today we’ll look at ways that GTD can be applied specifically to freelancers. Continue Reading
We’re pretty awesome people.
We’re experts at marketing ourselves, work full-time without a boss to hound us about it, and are constantly improving the quality of our products and services. We’re freelancers.
And though working at home can be tough sometimes, with the distractions of family, TV, and the Internet pulling us away from our work, it’s definitely worth it. There’s one distraction in particular that I’ll focus on that takes away so much productivity, yet does so in an incredibly stealthy way. It’s something I call “queuing,” and I’m sure you’ve seen it before.
Web developer Roger Obando signed the mortgage papers for his new house, then walked into his boss’ office at to give notice that he was quitting to work freelance.
Sounds crazy, but his employer (Blitz Digital Studios, a leading Flash development firm) understood and even became his first client. Since then, he’s done web development for some huge clients including Fox, Yahoo, CBS and Sony. In fact, his work on Sony’s site scored him a Webby award for Best Home/Welcome Page.
In this interview, we talk about networking to score clients good uses for Flash on web sites (and obscene uses…) along with the many ups and downs of freelancing.
By Leo Babauta
Let’s face it: email has become the default way for freelancers to connect.
We use email for nearly everything: contacting potential clients, we discuss assignments and projects, we submit completed assignments, even doing research.
Sure, there’s chat and IM, there’s the phone, and a number of other connection tools. But email is the most important for most freelancers, and as such, your email skills shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here are a few of the most essential that you should polish:
Limit email checking. One of the problems of being connected all the time is that you’re being interrupted all the time. You can’t get work done if you’re constantly checking your email — your time then becomes at the mercy of anyone’s request. Turn off your email notifications, and focus on your work when you’re trying to get something done. I recommend setting two times a day for processing email of 30 minutes a day — once at mid-morning, and once by the end of the day. This keeps you in touch enough to conduct business, but leaves you with large chunks of time to actually get your work done. Keep your email processing times short, and restrict yourself from email at all other times. It may sound impossible, but trust me — it’s doable.