Looking to give your karma a boost in 2012? Why not consider working for free? Let me clarify: not working for free everyday, but donating your time and experience to help others and to learn from others as well.
Designer Roy Barber has embarked on a project whereby he spends every Friday freelancing for free at a different agency, which, he says, gives him the chance to work with some of the smartest people in the industry. In return, the agency gets an extra pair of hands for the day and he writes up the experience and his learnings on his blog. —Net Magazine
I really loved this idea—it’s sort of like freelance interning. Remember how psyched you were to land an internship in college? You get to be around all sorts of really smart people doing exactly what you wanted to do when you “grew up.”
Roy Barber came up with the idea after hiring his own intern. He got to teach this student things about freelancing that he would not have learned working as an intern at a larger company. Barber figured there were things he could still learn from larger agencies that he wouldn’t experience working for himself as a freelancer.
Some of the agencies he has been working for for free have even offered Barber jobs. He’s increased his clientele and is booked up through the new year. All for volunteering his time.
Not all businesses will be open to this idea—but you’ll never know if you don’t ask. There are other ways to offer your services and learn from others, too, that don’t include giving up each of your Fridays.
I have been a freelancer for more than a decade and over that period of time, I have seen a lot of changes–everything from a giant increase in credibility if you actually are a “freelancer”, to technology changes in such a short period of time as to rival any other sort of change over the last century.
Through all of these changes, one major thing has happened. Specifically, the list of things that were once considered de rigeuer in order to have a successful business no longer apply.
According to a recent study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 47.7% of women believe they are capable of starting a business compared to 62.1% of men. This lack of confidence persisted throughout all economies and cultures that were included in the study.
So what gives? Let’s delve into the issue a little more…
Many freelancers, in a wide range of fields, think of hired writing help as something for larger projects, for corporate clients, not something for the independent one-person shop. It can be hard to imagine hiring someone to help with writing tasks if you:
- Cannot see a reason why you would need writing help, or
- Cannot visualize how you would work with that writer.
Why Hire Writing Help?
Some freelancers feel a little guilty when they do not do their own writing. It’s on their list of tasks they mean to do. But they avoid it, or they do not have time, or what they write just does not seem to have the impact they are looking for.
Part of the problem is that everyone one of us knows how to write, and we all do it every day. It is hard to farm out a task that seems like an extension of a daily activity. And that’s just the kind of thinking that perpetually postpones the creation of marketing content.
It isn’t a question of whether you should do your own writing on principle. It is a question of what gets the writing done. A white paper that is never finished (or never started) will bring you exactly zero new prospects.
What are some symptoms that point to the need for a little help?
Have you tried getting a small business loan from a bank for your freelancing career only to be turned down? You are not alone.
Some freelancers who need access to cash have turned to something called peer-to-peer lending. It’s an interesting model that both Prosper and Lending Club, the two leading peer-to-peer websites, are using. Here’s how it works:
Peer-to-peer lending, or social lending, it is a way for investors who have money, to lend directly to borrowers looking to borrow money. It is a win-win for all parties. The investor gets a better return on their money than a traditional savings account or CD and the borrower gets a lower interest rate than they would likely pay for a credit card advance or bank loan. —Peter Renton from SocialLending.net
Whether you are looking to consolidate debt or set yourself up with a home office for your new freelancing career, peer-to-peer lending cuts down the wait time and administrative fees from banks.
Are you a graphic designer or copywriter with a disappearing proposal problem?
You know the drill: You find an interested prospect who requests a proposal. You write a masterful proposal – one of your best ever! Then you send it to the prospect and wait for an answer. Which never comes.
It’s as if your proposal has disappeared into a black hole. What did you do wrong?
The answer isn’t as simple as you might like it to be. Proposals fail for a variety of reasons. Which can make reading Marketing Mentor’s Proposal Bundles feel like a painful, but ultimately beneficial, experience. Continue Reading
As freelancers, we’re told to collect as many testimonials as possible — but what do we do with all those great descriptions of how amazing we are to work with?
There are some people who believe that testimonials should be plastered over everything, from business cards on. But there are a few uses for great testimonials that are particularly effective. Continue Reading
View engaging conference lectures, interesting how to discussions, and high quality freelance advice via video here on FreelanceSwitch.
This week we look at Philippe Starck Thinks Deep on Design by Philippe Starck. In this video Philippe Starck, With no pretty slides to show — Stark spends 18 minutes reaching for the very roots of the question “Why design?” Listen carefully for one perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not. Continue Reading
I really liked this article on Mashable.com’s business page about giving yourself a raise in 2012. With the economy being what it is (and has been), the thought of raising your freelancing rates might make your heart rate increase and sweat collect on your forehead. Before you go ballistic, ask yourself this question: when was the last time you adjusted your rates? If it was a decade ago—it’s time to give yourself a raise.
Whether you are a writer, photographer, or graphic designer, you need to make sure your current freelancing rates match your abilities.
With the rise of the Freelance or Gig Economy, more professionals are shifting from full-time positions to self-employed, freelance or contract roles. And often, for company employees accustomed to regular raises and pre-determined fee hikes, the notion of being in charge of one’s own prices is challenging. —Nellie Akalp for Mashable
In this issue of Ask FreelanceSwitch, we look at showing your clients the value of your work and invoice software. 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 email@example.com. Continue Reading
According to an article in the Indianapolis Star, nearly 5% of the workforce in the U.S. held multiple jobs in November, up slightly from the same time last year.
For some, working two jobs has become the only practical way to get by. Some who take on extra work do it to pay off debt, cushion their savings or provide a fallback in case they lose their primary job. Others take part-time work hoping it turns into a full-time position, despite typically low wages and few, if any, benefits —Indianapolis Star
Holding two jobs for many freelancers is a way of life. Let’s take a look at a few case examples of how this can work well, and a few pitfalls to consider!
Social media marketing is one area of marketing that some organizations question, especially since the true impact of social media marketing can be elusive.
With all the changes to the way social media marketing takes place, businesses are reasonably concerned with whether or not social media marketing is worth the hassle?
To be fair, we all know social media can work. But is it worth the effort compared to other marketing methods, such as web banners or even more traditional approaches like postcards.
To answer this question for your website and business you have to take a long, hard look at your goals.
Social media does one thing better than any other marketing media: it generates word of mouth. If this is the best way for you to sell your company and the most efficient for driving traffic, then social media will be well worth the effort.