What’s the biggest benefit to you in being a freelancer?
For me, it’s the beauty of having the freedom to choose what I work on, especially when maintaining multiple skills. That means that you can mix entrepreneurial endeavors with your freelancing. In fact, if you have expert skills in something, creating expert content between projects builds up a long-term stream of revenue.
For example, take a look at a Peter D. Marshall‘s website, Film Directing Tips. Whether or not you have any interest in being a filmmaker, it’s worth a visit to his site to see how he’s supplementing his income.
I have no idea whether he’s a freelancer or not, but he is a veteran filmmaker of over three decades. He’s taken his knowledge and created expert content and made it available for sale via his website. The website’s blog is a good example of blogging as a vehicle. The blog’s posts exist solely to promote his knowledge and his paid content, which includes audio files, video, PDF reports – all geared to the aspiring director.
This is a model you can adapt for almost any expert knowledge or skill that you have. If your freelance career is based around these skills, you’re likely to be something of an expert in them. Continue Reading
Have you ever wished you could blog about one of your personal interests — and that blog would attract a huge audience and allow you to earn in your living while you sleep? It’s a great way to supplement your freelance income or even replace it entirely.
It’s the dream of many bloggers. But few succeed.
Recently, however, I had a chance to talk to two bloggers who are living that dream. They built blogs about their passions and now earn hefty incomes from blog ad revenue.
First off, I saw Bill Belew present at NMX recently about how he built his six-figure business, which earns mostly from ad-clicks — sending customers to advertisers’ websites from his sites.
He operates a network of a dozen different niche websites, which together have seen more than 100 million visitors. He reports he makes a solid five-figure income from each site.
The sites cover interests of his including Asia, Christianity, and blogging. Several are on the Examiner platform, while others are independently hosted.
Belew says there were four steps to building his successful blog-based business: Continue Reading
Have you noticed this trend in blogging? Quite a few of the top bloggers don’t sell anything on their blog.
That’s right — no banner ads, no pitches on the bottom of posts, no page full of affiliate products.
The blog is nothing but useful information and resources. Take a look at Derek Halpern’s Social Triggers, for example.
Yet, these bloggers earn very well. For instance, recently popular blogger Jon Morrow announced he made $500,000 from his blog last year — and yet you will look in vain for ads or even sales pitches on blog posts on his site, Boost Blog Traffic.
For many of us heavily invested in eCommerce, the an economic recession has one positive spin: it bolsters and quickens our culture’s direction online. We are increasingly moving to the Web not just for product research, but actual browsing and buying. This year, more shoppers are comfortably online for all the reasons we expect: 24/7 access, no lines, gas prices, convenience.
In terms of marketing, online sales success is also thanks to well-crafted offers and promotions like free shipping and discounts that quickly expire. These are delivered through the simple, workaday effort of links in emails. Despite issues with spam, email is still a hardworking champion for sales and currently the ultimate marketing delivery vehicle for an online audience.
One of the smartest business decisions I’ve made as a freelancer is to stop charging by the hour. I want to take the plate and bat for this method — not because I’m trying to convince every paid-by-the-hour freelancer to do an about-face, but simply because I don’t hear a lot of discussion taking place about per-task payment and its pros and cons.
Throughout the course of the article I’ll outline the six strengths of per-task pay, then respond to a few of the questions and criticisms you might have. Let’s start with the pros:
1. You can charge based on value to the customer. Let’s say you’re a freelance search-engine optimizer. You see websites making the same mistakes all the time and can optimize any website for search traffic in an hour. If you’re charging by the hour, you might make $65 for your services. If your skills allow the website to make $50 more sales each week, your per hour price is just a fraction of the real value of what you do. You’re under-valuing yourself. A task-based price can help you change that.
2. It often sounds cheaper than it is. Let’s assume a simple logo takes you half an hour to make and costs the client $200. To the client’s mind, $200 for a finished logo is a lot cheaper than paying a freelancer the hourly-rate equivalent of $400 per hour (most clients would probably faint at the price!) I think a lot of clients will also compare the hourly rates you charge to the hourly rates they themselves make and think: “If I’m not worth thirty dollars an hour, you’re definitely not worth $70!” Separating payment from hours worked can help prevent that unfavorable comparison. Continue Reading
That old warning against putting all your eggs in one basket is still good advise. As freelancers, it’s important to spread your interests out: you’ll prevent burnout, and you’ll be less affected by peaks and lulls.
Teaching is a perfect compliment to any freelance lifestyle. It’s a good way to offset the typical solitary days of the self employed, and it will help keep your public speaking skills honed. Another benefit: it gets your name out there. If you teach a course in line with your specialty, you’ll establish yourself as an expert in your field.
When a student in your accounting class runs into trouble with their books, you may be the person they look up. But any connections can be beneficial, so if you’d rather teach a class about your side hobby of beekeeping, it’s still valuable exposure. Continue Reading
A few years ago, I did a couple of projects under the table for a local company. They paid me in cash, with a quiet understanding that they didn’t plan to issue me a 1099 and I didn’t plan on declaring that income.
I don’t work that way anymore, but I know the appeal.
There are a lot of negatives to such an arrangement — which led me to make sure my income taxes actually reflect my income — and it’s worth giving them some consideration before going one way or the other for cash-only arrangements.
Editorial Note: A few times a month we revisit some of our reader’s favorite posts from throughout the history of FreelanceSwitch. This article was first published in March 3rd of 2009, yet is just as relevant and full of useful information today. Continue Reading
Part guesswork, part experience, part number crunching – how ever you look at it, determining your price is a difficult task. Here are nine factors to take into consideration when pricing your services:
1. Your Costs
If your rate doesn’t include enough just to break-even, you’re heading for trouble. The best thing to do is sum up all your costs and divide by the number of hours you think you can bill a year. Whatever you do, DON’T think you can bill every hour. You must account for sick days, holidays, hours working on the business, hours with no work and so on.
Also make sure you factor in all the hidden costs of your business like insurance, invoices that never get paid for one reason or another, and everyone’s favourite – taxes.
2. Your Profit
Somewhat related to your costs, you should always consider how much money you are trying to make above breaking even. This is business after all.
3. Market Demand
If what you do is in high demand, then you should be aiming to make your services more expensive. Conversely if there’s hardly any work around, you’ll need to cheapen up if you hope to compete.
Signs that demand is high include too much work coming in, other freelancers being overloaded and people telling you they’ve been struggling to find someone to do the job. Signs that demand is low include finding yourself competing to win jobs, a shortage of work and fellow freelancers reentering the workforce. Continue Reading
What do you do if you have one main client and for some reason the work from that client dries up? Perhaps the client goes out of business or goes in a different direction or just has a lull in business?
Your main source of income is then gone. Which is why it’s crucial for anyone who relies on their freelance revenues to have multiple streams of income.
That’s easier said than done, of course, as many freelancers have two or three main clients and are happy to focus on those alone. But as many experienced freelancers will tell you, that’s a mistake.
Today we’ll look at a few different ways to set up multiple streams of income to make your freelancing business more stable and ensure that you’re living the freelancing good life for years to come. Please note that the following are just different options you can choose — I’m not recommending you do all of them. Continue Reading
When my father left his industry to become a consultant, he was as much of a business rookie as any of the new freelancers who visit this site. Since we’re talking about the early 1980s, business advice for solo practitioners wasn’t as plentiful as it is today.
So, my dad made the trek down the very long driveway of a highly successful neighbor named Richard. He and his family didn’t just have a house in the neighborhood — they had an estate. That’s where being a world-renowned expert in your field can get you.
During their conversation, Richard offered three rules of consulting success. Continue Reading
Knowing exactly what your clients have to spend on a particular project comes in handy.
Just being able to lay out the most bang they can get for their buck is one of the easiest ways to make a client happy, provided she has realistic expectations on what she can get for her money.
But it’s often awkward to bring up the topic of budget. Some clients aren’t sure about what they actually have in terms of budget, certain freelancers may feel greedy asking for more information about money and so on. I’ve even had a client at a non-profit tell me that her organization wasn’t setting a budget for the project — that they wanted to see what I came up with — when I knew that they didn’t have a lot of operating capital to begin with.
It can seem like there’s no easy way to ask about budget. Continue Reading
There are ten simple words that can make you a wealthy freelancer.
That is, if you take them seriously.
Before I share them with you, there is something you need to know about freelancing.
The Problem with Freelancing
Life can be tough as a freelancer, especially when you’re first starting out.
Building your credibility and reputation can be difficult and it often seems like businesses won’t give new freelancers the time of day.
But there is a reason for that. Continue Reading