Editors Note: This contest has closed. Congratulations to the winners Holly, Mark Smith, and Brent. We’ll be contacting you shortly to distribute your prize. Big thanks to everyone who entered.
If you’ve ever needed to build a website on a quick deadline, then you know how difficult it is to make one from scratch. If you’re anything like me and don’t keep your web design skills sharp, or you don’t have a web design background at all, then you’ll be scrambling for help.
Fortunately, there are systems that take much of the workload off your hands. Every content management system (CMS) has a different feel. Some features work great for a particular audience, while those same features aren’t the right fit for other users.
If you’re a developer, then you might work with Ruby on Rails, WordPress, or custom roll your own CMS, but for those of us that are less code savvy Squarespace offers a solution that allows us to create a website without having to fiddle with CSS or databases. You can get your website launched in a hurry with Squarespace, with professional results, and a quality design. For those with web design chops, you can customize Squarespace quite a bit. Let’s take a closer look.
Jump down to the bottom of this post for the Squarespace giveaway. One of three winners will grab a full year of their Business class service for free (a $432 value for each winner).
A recent Freelance Freedom episode shows our hero driving around town, criticizing the design of business signs. It gets to the point where the wife has to put on music in order to silence him.
Our irritated freelancer has a lot in common with the people profiled in Stephen Key‘s new book, One Simple Idea. Although one might think of Key as an inventor, he’d rather use the term “product developer.”
Why? Because of the negative connotation that the word “inventor” has. Key notes that many people think of inventors as “hermit[s] with thick glasses, wild hair, and a pocket protector stuffed with pens.”
Ouch. That’s rough.
But since this is a book about licensing your ideas, it would be a good idea to make a good impression on the companies you’re pitching.
Now, you may have heard about what Key calls “the conventional method of bringing an idea to market.” It involves creating prototypes, getting patents, and building a company. Not the sort of thing that you became a freelancer in order to do.
Not to worry. You don’t have to.
I work for a magazine publishing company with a very small staff. We use email marketing to let our advertisers know what is coming up in future issues, enticing them to advertise. There is no way our sales team can personally call and visit each and every one of their hundreds of clients, so email marketing is extremely important to us.
When I first started at this company, they tried to put me in charge of our Constant Contact account. I know it’s supposed to be easy, but it wasn’t. I was extremely overwhelmed by my choices (400 templates? Really?) and I had to spend a ridiculous amount of time just learning how to use the program. I nearly had a mental breakdown.
Thankfully they reassigned that task to the art director, who, in her infinite wisdom of PhotoShop and InDesign, created the most beautiful template of our very own to use each month.
I’m not a stupid person. But Constant Contact got the best of me!
There had to be an easier way to send out mass emails from a third party account. I finally found MailerLite, and my email marketing stress melted away like a chocolate bar left out in the sun.
Online courses make me nervous. There, I’ve said it. They make me nervous because they are hard to do well, and, as a freelancer, I don’t like to waste my time (or my money) on information that doesn’t really help me.
But this marketing course by Firepole Marketing is different.
Their Audio Coaching Program is specifically designed for small businesses (which means freelancers) and entrepreneurs. Founders Danny Iny and Peter Vogopoulous speak the language of successful entrepreneurs, and have the credentials to back up their advice.
Like most people, I use a laptop everyday. I’m comfortable with all kinds of technology, and can’t live without much of it. Coding though, what actually runs my computer, is a mystery. And hacking, just seems like wizardry.
The idea of protecting my computer from hackers seems like I’d need to have more skills than Neo. So my default strategy became crossing my fingers and hoping no one targeted me. Not the best approach when on an open WiFi network, where your data is particularly vulnerable.
Fortunately, Private WiFi provides a solution. It protects your data when you’re at the local coffee shop, airport lounge, favorite sushi bar, or any open WiFi network you frequent.
For freelancers, managing money comes with some unusual problems — beyond the typical issues that someone managing their personal finances might face. There are books and tools out there that make the process easier, including I Will Teach You To Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi.
The book focuses on solutions that you can put to work helping you with your personal finances immediately, unlike many personal finance books that are more about the theory of what you might do to change your current situation. In addition to writing an incredibly reliable book, Sethi agreed to answer a few questions about personal finances for freelancers.
And while Sethi’s book focuses on personal financial decisions, it’s clear that the techniques work just as well for the finances of a freelancer’s business. He says, “Absolutely. Freelance income can be more sporadic than job income, but the tools I recommend are still applicable.”
Successful freelancers know that time is money. Efficient task and time management are the key factors for freelancers. One freelancer may simultaneously lead several projects, need to communicate with a dozen of clients, and have numerous deadlines to hit. To turn freelance chaos into prioritized work order, there are many project management tools in the getting things done software market.
However, most project management tools are expensive or don’t meet freelance needs. Let’s face the truth: the majority of freelancers are budget-limited, work in small teams with multiple clients located worldwide, or are scattered all over the country. Thus, freelancers want cheap, ideally free, highly customizable project management solutions for efficient team-working.
Let me introduce 10 free, open source project management products that are likely to fit your freelance requirements:
Collabtive is a web-based open source project management suite. A quick look inside shows that Collabtive has all the basic features: milestones, task management, time tracking, calendar. Moreover, you can import Basecamp projects and get RSS updates. Laconic, clean interface can be enriched by paid plugins provided by the vendor.
Is there a book in you? If you’re a photographer, the answer is probably a resounding “Yes!”
Whether you’re dreaming of producing one of those coffee table books with a hefty price tag or if your desires run to creating a client-wowing portfolio that doesn’t look like all those other portfolios, you’re in luck. Thanks to the proliferation of print-on-demand companies like Blurb, Fastback, Creative Books, and Shutterfly, getting your photo book into the hands of readers is easier than ever.
Note that I used the word “readers.” That was deliberate. The reality of the photography book publishing world is that it’s difficult to find buyers. Photography books are like poetry books in that the supply far exceeds the demand.
However, there are a few photographers whose books are collected like fine paintings. Expect to find their books on some very high-priced coffee tables. But these people are the exception, not the rule.
As Twitter continues to grow at an incredible pace each day, the importance of the platform grows with it. Developing a strong social media presence and growing your network of followers demands being active on Twitter. Fortunately, there exist many tools out there that assist us in making our life easier and more efficient on Twitter.
Here are ten tools that will increase your efficiency, while allowing you to retain your genuine personality when tweeting.
1. Buffer – Never Flood Your Followers Again
Full Disclosure: I work on Buffer.
Buffer is an App that allows you to tweet more of the great content you come across each day, without overwhelming your followers. Via one of the browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) you can “Buffer” any article as a Tweet that you come across. Instead of being posted immediately, all these tweets will be tweeted well spaced out over the day.
Best bit: To understand more about what your followers like, you will receive analytics about clicks, retweets and reach for every Tweet Buffered.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a skeptical person when it comes to the value of most forms of social networking. While there always seems to be stories of a friend of a friend who is landing clients with Facebook, I’ve yet to see most social networks as little more than a way to connect with your peers or a way to waste a huge amount of time.
Part of my problem is that I have never really invested in creating a strong social presence or spent the time on learning how connection points like Facebook can be run to deliver value to potential clients. So before I write off Facebook completely I figured I should learn a little more about it. For this reason I was looking forward to Rockable Presses’ most recent book Successful Facebook Marketing.
I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to caffeine. For breakfast I either have a can of Diet Coke or a small iced mocha with skim milk from Dunkin Donuts, which happens to be a 5 minute walk from my house or a quick drive on my way to the office.
I am well aware that having a can of Diet Coke for breakfast is not healthy. I should be eating poached eggs, whole grain toast, a banana, and a glass of pomegranate juice. Here’s the thing—I can’t eat first thing in the morning or I feel sick. Here’s the other thing—I don’t have time.
I suspect that many of you that work in the fast paced media world might also have a caffeine addiction and also don’t have the luxury of a breakfast that includes all of the food pyramid. Am I right? So coffee (or Diet Coke) it is.
I’ve created a list of some of the top coffee makers that should perk up any freelancers day. And, depending on your lifestyle and taste, there is a coffee maker for you on the market; I guarantee it!
Photography is one of those “doing” fields. Meaning that you’d rather be doing photography than reading about it. Especially when the topic is the business of photography.
Nothing wrong with wanting to be a doer, but there’s much to be said for the insights and reflection that are prompted by the reading of a good book. Following are four that will help you grow your photographic business.