Something every freelancer has to face is the sense of dread when things start to go south in their freelance life. It happens for so many reasons: unexpected emergencies, clients backing out, or the Bill Monkey on your back wanted to remind you they were still around. Regardless of the scenario, you feel panicked, and begin to reconsider your efforts to freelance.
Instead of letting this bring you down, try to use it as a motivational tool to complete tasks and re-align your freelancing career! Today, I’m going to list and explain some of the ways I’ve been able to achieve this; and hopefully assist anyone who’s channeling a certain captain when they say: “It never goes smooth. Why don’t it ever go smooth?” Let’s keep that freelancing train chugging smoothly down the tracks, and running at full steam.
Every freelancer knows that a good tool can make a dramatic difference in productivity. And for freelancers productivity = earnings. That’s why I’m super excited to announce that the first ever AppStorm Freelance Mac App Bundle is now on sale and it’s packed full of Mac Apps, files and eBooks that is unbeatable value for freelancers!
Working from home, everyday is a vacation. Wrong! It’s equally important for freelancers working from home to take a vacation. You need a break as much as if you where working full-time on a factory floor, building houses, managing the cash register at your local mini-mart or working in an office.
We freelancers do have the ability to take a vacation when we feel the need for it, but guess what – often it’s an unpaid vacation with a lot of work when you get back from it. But there are ways to stay productive during vacation time, while fleeing the workload you have waiting at home.
Recently I took a vacation for 7 days, when I got back I felt more energized, and a new sense of purpose. How did I do it? Well, throughout my years in freelancing and management work – I’ve collected a few tips and tricks I always run with while on vacation. For those of you taking a spring break vacation, I’ve written down 10 quick tips for a productive vacation for all of you to make use of.
Being a freelancer can sometimes feel like a solo venture into the unknown, an exciting but nevertheless daunting prospect! We all have our particular strengths and individual weaknesses, but few of us would decline a little help with some of the more practical aspects of being a freelancer.
While not every tool on this list will be helpful for every freelancer, its overall aim is to provide you with resources that could help you significantly increase your productivity (do more…), get organized, work more efficiently, plan your to do items better, and maybe even save some money!
If you are a typical freelancer, you probably started your business as a one person show, working from home, and spending much of the first year performing every aspect of your operation. But as your client list starts to grow, there soon comes a time where you will find yourself with more work than you can handle, but you aren’t ready yet to take on the hassles of setting up an office location.
Also, at this stage of your business, you may feel a sense of uncertainty and resistance about letting someone else handle aspects of your business which are confidential in nature. Can you really trust another person to do the right thing by your business?
A trend that has been gaining in popularity is hiring virtual staff (employees who work via the Internet) to help manage your business. It is a relatively easy matter to visit online job boards, or outsourcing and freelancing sites to recruit a suitable person for your business. Recruitment can be done in a matter of hours or days, and the successful candidate could be starting work with you tomorrow! Continue Reading
Two weeks ago, in Part One of this article were tips on how to assess a rush job and when it might be a good idea to turn one down. Some of this season’s Layer Tennis contestants also shared thoughts about how they work under the strain of a tight deadline. In this half of the article are some tips for how to work quickly without completely abandoning your creative process. Continue Reading
As the holiday season begins, your freelance business may seem like its ending.
There are two schools of thought about end of the year work: You either have a lot because the company is trying to use up its budget, or you don’t get much because most of your clients are out of money or too wrapped up in other things (including their personal shopping). This isn’t a feast or famine situation for many freelancers–but it sure can feel like it.
I always find the end of the year and the beginning of the year to be slower. Why? Well, maybe the people feeding us work aren’t so concerned about us because it’s a time to rest, go frantic shopping or take a vacation. They get a steady check coming in no matter what, so if they can kick back a little, many people will do so. So again, it can feel like being on the bottom of the totem pole.
Instead of focusing on the negative, I try to see the holiday slow-down as a time to focus on things I normally don’t make the time to do. That can include taking time for myself, or using the time to focus on things like marketing. (For me, I try to work on book and magazine writing.) By keeping yourself busy, you will stay in control of your business. Otherwise, one day without any work can feel like a week, and what feels like a week can turn into what feels like a month. My goal has always been to stay busy.
This year, I’ve noticed the slow-down coming on a little sooner than normal, but instead of freaking out, I’m making a list of all the things I can do during the slow-down. Why? Because it’s easy to get negative when you feel upset by it. Instead, you can turn to your handy-dandy list and always have something to do. (It also keeps me feeling busy, and I am the kind of person that needs that rhythm to feel good.)
Here are some ideas for what to put on your holiday slow-down to-do list: Continue Reading
When you think of iOS apps for freelancing you probably think of Time Tracking and Invoicing right? That’s what I think of, and while there are a lot of great apps for doing precisely those two chores, there are in fact a lot of apps to help you do a lot of other things too. Like what?
How about an app for scanning in business cards for filing? Or an app to turn your iOS device into a flash drive? Or maybe an app to let you control your machine remotely from your iPhone? You can do all these things, and a heck of a lot more.
Over on our sister site iPhone.AppStorm we’ve collected 90 Awesome iOS Apps for Freelancers that include those examples and many, many more. Head over and check it out!
I run my freelance web design business from home where it’s more comfortable, cheaper and generally a lot easier to access. But with that comes distractions from my Xbox, the great British daytime TV, and my bed. The lack of communication and contact with real people can also be a downside as well. Sure it means I can get work done without their distractions but sometimes you need help, input or just a kick up the ass.
I frequently hit motivational brick walls. It’s not a design brick wall, or writer’s block, it’s just having the will power to start work. I’m not sure why it happens but sometimes I can’t bring myself to open those files and start working.
Figuring out how to get motivated in these situations can be a big issue if you’re freelance and depending on yourself, so how do you get over it? I’ve put together a little list of some best practices for getting motivated. Continue Reading
College freelancers, many of whom probably live on campus, can attest to this: it’s a pain in the rear to stay productive when you live with others. Even if you don’t live on campus or go to school, sharing living space can really put a damper on your productivity levels, hindering both your academics and your freelancing. So for all of those student freelancers that struggle with productive efficiency while living with others, and for those that realize that they could get a lot more done if it wasn’t for your cohabitants, here is a quick list of tips and tricks I have learned to help take back your productivity away from your roommates.
I’m a freelance magazine writer. Often a source will e-mail me a bit of information for an article after the interview, and I’ll think, “Oh, I’ll remember it’s here” and file it away in my assignment e-mail folder. But when I’m writing the article, do I actually remember that so-and-so sent me some extra details three weeks ago? No, I do not. So why is it that each time this situation comes up, I’m certain I’ll remember the information later? The smart thing to do would be to add the info right away to the interview transcript or article assignment sheet so I’ll see it when I start to write.
I think that many of us try to rely on our memories, and then they let us down. Sometimes we just get lazy. It’s easier to say “I’ll remember this when I need to” than to set up systems to make sure we’ll remember it. And since we freelancers are always juggling lots of work at various stages of completion, it’s understandable that some things would slip through the cracks. (At least that’s what I tell myself.)
I learned my lesson. Today, when a source sends me a couple of important bits of additional information, I immediately paste the info into the interview transcript. Here are some other tips keep track of things to remember–with emphasis on information and tasks freelancers need to manage. Continue Reading
This is the second article in my series of resources for the traveling freelancer. You can find the first one here.
Finding Friends & a Place to Live through Hospitality Exchange
When traveling extensively a person starts to feel a bit alone and her wallet starts to get lean quickly. Measures must be taken to alleviate these negative side effects when living out a dream! An option for the adventurous traveling freelancer is a hospitality exchange, which is good every once in a while but will interfere with your work if you do it often. Through sites like Hospitality Club and CouchSurfing travelers can stay with local members for cultural exchange and free accommodation in most cases.
A good experience can end in guest and host becoming friends, while in a bad experience host or guest might steal from the other. For obvious reasons, it is really important to be conscious about safety. I have been a couchsurfer for more than three years, and I have made several good “couchsurfing friends” through hosting and surfing. I also have been stood up by guests and made to feel uncomfortable by male hosts. There are many positive and negative aspects of using couchsurfing, most of which can be applied to similar sites: Continue Reading