Creating a business plan for your freelance business might sound like the most boring task in the world, but just because you’re not keen on creating one doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
If you are a passionate, creative person, creating a business plan might be just the thing you need to be sure you dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
Contrary to some entrepreneurial thinking, planning need not dampen drive or hamper creativity or passion. Indeed, planning can be an illuminating and inspiring part of the business-building process, as research leads to new ideas and, occasionally, that elusive Eureka moment! —FreelanceUK
A plan is just that—a plan. No one can foresee the future and you never know what unpredictability lies around the corner. But if you have something in writing that charts where you want your freelance business to be in the future, you have a road map. If you change your mind, that’s okay. Your business plan will help you recognize the change and help prompt you to think carefully about it.
You may think you know what your goals are…but do you really? Where do you want your freelance business to be next year? In three years? In five years? If you can answer these questions off the top of your head—good for you! You’re already ahead of the game. If not, it’s time to start thinking.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when working on your business plan: Continue Reading
We recently asked our readers to send us photos of their home office to see where the magic happens. As you will see, no two offices are the same—and why should they be! We received photos from people who are freelance writers, designers, and web developers from around the world. Let’s see where our readers are working, shall we?
Henrik Eklund: Sweden
We love the natural light and gorgeous view of Henrik’s office. He has been a website designer and developer since 2004, running AO Media. Some freelancers might find it hard to work with such a view—but not me! Lucky guy…
Wayne Latham: Nevada
Wayne Latham runs WayLay Design out of his home in Nevada. We love the custom-made wall mounted wrap around desk and standing workstation. Sometimes it’s good to think on your feet—and Wayne has created a home office where he can stand up or sit down.
You can’t just be a writer or a photographer for a living anymore—you have to have some sort of working knowledge of many different skills, like blogging, crafting a press release, social media marketing, long-form writing, Photoshop. Every little bit helps. Especially when you are a freelancer.
I’ve written all sorts of things for clients—from keyword infused web copy to 3,000 word feature stories. I’ve shot and edited video, shot and edited photos, and more. I call myself a writer/editor, but the world might call me a multimedia journalist.
As a freelancer, your client might be looking for one specific thing—like a press release—and hire you to craft those for them. If you have a good working relationship, you can show this client your other skills, which could turn into other work. But what if you aren’t a freelancer? What if you have no background in writing at all but are a smart, capable person? The Atlantic Media Company might be looking for you. Continue Reading
Keeping people on your website for as long as possible is something everyone who owns a website wrestles with. The longer people stay on your site, the more engaged they become, the more you can sell—whether it’s your services or web advertisements.
But how do you do it? How do you engage your visitors and entice them to click through more of your pages?
Getting 1,000,000 unique visitors a month will not matter that much if they are all leaving in droves as soon as they get to your homepage. Keeping that traffic on your website is just as important as getting them to your website in the first place. —SloDive
Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, tackles this very topic in one of his recent “Ask Gerber” videos on Inc.com. I found his points to be helpful, so I thought I’d share some of his tips, along with tips from others, in this blog post. Continue Reading
I hate typos. They are so embarrassing. When I make one, I cringe and want to hide under a rock for a good 24 hours. Recently I had to make some room under that rock for Mitt Romney.
Last Wednesday, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s team rolled out a mobile app that had the word America misspelled. Oops. Sure, America has a lot of letters, and there is that pesky “I before C” rule, but come on.
The gaffe, presumably by some poor developer hired by the campaign, appears on “With Mitt,” the campaign’s newly released iPhone app. The app invites users to photograph themselves with their choice of 14 pro-Romney slogans such as “I’m a Mom For Mitt,” “Obama Isn’t Working” and “The America We Love,” and then share them on social media. —CNN.com
The typo has been fixed…but I have to say I am jealous beyond words at the people who got their hands on the misspelled version before it was caught. In fact, there is already a Tumblr blog called Amercia Is With Mitt! showcasing some great spoofs with the misspelled logo.
We all make mistakes. Obama has made them and former president Bush made lots of them. But when you are running for political office, they aren’t easily swept under the rug.
I’ve had some funny and weird things happen to me lately that concern freelancers. I don’t know if the moon is full or what, but I have gotten some great examples of how NOT to pitch an editor that I thought I would share with you.
A month or so ago I got an email from a university student who was looking for an internship for the summer. I get a lot of such emails from students in the spring, and, unfortunately, we don’t have the space or equipment to take on an intern at this time. But that’s not the funny part.
This young woman did not spell check her email to me and misspelled the word “opportunity” to say “pooportunity.” This struck our art director and I as so funny we are still laughing about it at this poor student’s expense. Continue Reading
There are lots of reasons why people start a freelancing career. Maybe they’re sick of working for someone else. Maybe they want the freedom to work from home. Perhaps they are tired of the 9 to 5 routine. There are too many reasons to list, really, and we talk a lot about these reasons on this blog.
But there is one big reason that we don’t discuss often. Many people choose to start a freelance career because it’s better for their health. I’m not talking about stress—I mean people that have medical conditions may find it easier to etch out their own freelance career rather than work for someone else.
I recently found a woman who did this very thing. We’ll call her Susan for the sake of this blog post. Most of Susan’s clients don’t even know that since she was in her early twenties, she has been suffering from lymphedema. This condition leaves her right leg swollen from fluid retention and tissue swelling. “To be precise, my right leg is 20% thicker than my left,” Susan says.
I thought I would share Susan’s story with you as she told it to me. Read on in her own words: Continue Reading
Ready to grow your business? Tuts+ Premium has two brand new premium guides to help you! Veteran FreelanceSwitch contributors Amber Turner and Patrik Larsson have shared their experience navigating two very tricky areas of freelancing: rebranding your established business and increasing your client base with freebie giveaways. Continue Reading
Here’s the situation: You are a successful freelancer who has a hard time turning down work. And you’re busy.
Too busy, in fact, to do much of anything but work. Because you work by yourself, you are not only bogged down with the projects you owe your clients, you are buried under phone messages, emails, bills that need to be paid, invoices that need to go out, and don’t even mention updating your blog and website. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+? Please. You don’t have the time.
Does this sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be this way, you know.
Hiring an employee might not be in the cards for you for a number of reasons. If you work from home, maybe you don’t have room for someone else. Or maybe you just don’t want someone working out of your house. Maybe you live in a rural area where there isn’t a large talent pool to choose from. Maybe you’re a total slob.
The thought of hiring someone and paying them a salary might be overwhelming—and what if you have to fire them? There are lots of reasons why hiring someone to work alongside you doesn’t make sense. But you don’t have to sacrifice getting the help you need because of it.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a rut? I think most of us freelancers have been there at least once or twice in our lives—I know I have. I got this email from a fellow freelance writer a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. I figured if the topic resonated that much with me, perhaps it would resonate with other freelancers. So I’ve decided to share it with you.
Lately, I’ve struggled to get the creative juices flowing. My desire and passion for writing is still going strong but I’m struggling to get started. And it’s just been since school let out the first week of May. What do you do when this happens to you? Any advice?
This woman, we’ll call her Jenn, and I are both adjunct professors at a local media college. I don’t know about Jenn, but my semester was rough! I felt like I was battling with my students each week. It seemed no matter how many times I reminded them, they just couldn’t pass in any assignments on time. And my rule is that if you miss deadline, you fail the assignment. I really hate failing students, and the fact that I had to do it so often was exasperating.
I do know that I wasn’t the only professor in the sinking boat of missed deadlines, and I think Jenn was struggling with her classes as well. Which, in turn, made other aspects of her life a struggle, too. Like her writing. Continue Reading
Every five weeks or so, our team finishes up another issue of our magazine. The last week of production is always the most stressful. We send our issues to our printer on a Tuesday, and then we all sit back and collectively sigh with relief.
Those Tuesdays always feel like Fridays to me due to my adrenaline rush. By Wednesday, I am exhausted…but I still have the rest of the week to do…something! These three days, and sometimes the week after, are the slowest days in our production cycle, and while I really don’t feel like doing a whole heck of a lot…I have to keep pushing forward.
Here are some ideas I found online on how to stay productive when there isn’t a whole lot on your plate: Continue Reading
There very well may come a time in your freelance career where you need to hire a freelance contractor to help you out on a project. Perhaps your expertise doesn’t quite match what your client needs, or you are so busy you need someone else to help you reach your deadline. No matter the reason, you need to think carefully about who you hire to help you out.
Asking for a resume and checking references is an important thing to do whether you know the freelance contractor or not. I would do this before hiring anyone—especially friends or people you know well outside of a business relationship.
“If this person can’t name a few people they’ve worked with who can say good things about them, it’s not someone I should gamble on financially,” says Nicole Ouellette of Breaking Even Communications.
Know that when you do call people about the freelance contractor in question, they aren’t always allowed by law to tell you everything about that person. One good question to ask is, “Would you hire this person again?” If they say no, that’s a huge red flag. Continue Reading