Time management is a topic that often comes up in conversations among freelancers. That’s because each of us has to take responsibility for getting everything on her plate done, without someone else nagging us about the work.
But when you establish an agency, the situation becomes harder: on top of getting the creative work done that you need to keep clients happy, you also need to assign work to everyone else at the agency, if not keep checking to ensure everything get’s done.
For some freelancers, it’s a fast way to go crazy. For others, it’s just a matter of making sure that there’s a good system in place and that you know what your priorities are. Provided you feel comfortable with a little management responsibility, getting everyone organized is very doable. Continue Reading
Some of the more popular project management tools these days offer you the option of creating limited accounts for your clients, so that they can see your progress, review changes and otherwise interact with you on the nuances of the project faster than they might otherwise.
Despite the temptation to add clients to your project management system automatically, it’s worth considering which clients are worth the time it takes to set up an account. In many cases, it may be better to handle the project management details on your end and keep your communication with your client to email and phone. Continue Reading
As a freelancer, I find it incredibly hard to turn down work: even when I’m already at the point where I’m going to have to pull at least one all-nighter to finish the workload currently on my plate, it’s very hard for me to say no. These days, I don’t even bother.
I work with several other freelancers who I subcontract work to, making it possible for me to take on a lot more work and making it easier for those freelancers to find work, as well. Subcontracting can be one of the easiest ways for a freelancer to grow her business: if you do enough of it and rebrand yourself a little, you can wind up operating as an agency practically overnight. In the meanwhile, though, there are some ways to make subcontracting much easier. Continue Reading
As a freelancer yourself, working with other freelancers is a great way to support the freelancing community. Plus, we freelancers better understand each other, the difficulties we face in dealing with clients, and balancing life with work.
While hiring freelancers can be a cost-effective way to boost your personal business, you will want to make sure to work collaboratively in the right way, especially since it is you and your client that will suffer if things go wrong.
Finding the right way to hire a freelancer or even finding a good subcontractor can prove a difficult task without understanding a few major points about working collaboratively with freelancers.
To ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible when you join forces with other freelancers the following is a complete guide to help you along this path. Follow the advice below, and with a bit of maneuvering you will gain new, amazing relationships with fellow freelancers. These collaborative working relationships can take your freelancing business to new heights. Continue Reading
There are plenty of online solutions in today’s project management and collaboration tools segment aiming to ease freelance and distant work. The search for the one that is most suitable to you can be no less exhausting than the pursuit of your significant other.
The majority of teamwork apps have a specific focus: Do.com only for task assignment, SugarCRM for sales management, Intuit for accounting. Some well-established project management market players like 37 Signals or Zoho have a whole bunch of tools, but each of their services is intended for separate deployment.
Nevertheless, in the dynamic online world with tons of information to process daily “all in one” solutions seem to be more and more tempting. When saving time and resources is a priority, either dictated by your client or freelance needs, you will definitely address apps where most of the tasks can be fulfilled centrally in one service or portal.
To help you make up your mind on what is the online project collaboration tool for your freelance business, this post will cover the most versatile and well-reputed services, while taking into account a series of important factors including:
- Intuitive Interface – speaking about “all in one” solutions, it’s of vital importance to grasp how everything works from the first minutes and without reading a heap of guides.
- Comprehensive feature-set – for a freelancer to get hold of the maximum functionality, a virtual office can provide, it should combine tools on task management, forum or instant messaging, file sharing, calendar, CRM and invoicing.
- Accessibility – cutting edge technologies have given way to cloud apps easily reached from any location in the world with only an internet connection needed.
- Data Synching and Integration – no matter how many features a service boasts, it’s always handy when it can be easily integrated with other useful or popular apps to provide more opportunities for working in one and the same workspace without additional installs or tab switching.
- Customization – any collaboration or project management service should be ready to serve the needs of a variety of professional spheres and the more customization options it can provide the better for users.
- Affordability – cost effectiveness is everything. Some apps stick to the freemium model, giving away a part of functionality for free, meanwhile the majority will allow you only a free trial, with the flexible pricing options offered according to the number of users and amount of storage space used.
Do you wish you had more freelance gigs? One way to get more work in your pipeline is by collaborating with other freelancers and creative agencies that might hire you when they’re overloaded.
Networking to grow your rolodex of freelance contacts can help you line up subcontracting assignments.
I’ve had several gigs that involved subcontracting — I’ve been a subcontracting writer for an agency that had a Fortune 500 client, I’ve split big projects with other freelance writers, and I’ve served as project contractor and paid subcontracting writers I hired. So I’ve seen this setup from all sides.
Subcontracting work out allows you to take on bigger projects than you could otherwise tackle alone. For instance, I had a large government-agency writing project I once split with a writer because the tight deadline wouldn’t allow a single writer to complete all the needed research and interviews.
If I hadn’t been able to find another qualified writer in my local market to share one recent freelance project, I would have had to pass on an assignment that netted me over $6,000. Hopefully that little example whets your appetite for the earning potential you can unlock by collaborating with other freelancers.
Now that I have your attention, let me say not all subcontracting arrangements are created equal. You will fare better if you ask some key questions before you sign on, either to be a subcontractor or to subcontract some of your own work out to other freelancers. Continue Reading
It’s easy to see the financial benefits of using certain tools: for some freelance niches, not having the most recent copy of the Adobe Creative Suite is the same thing as walking away from every client who is more up to date. But project management tools don’t have such a clear cut value.
There are plenty of freelancers who manage big projects with what amounts to a stack of sticky notes and a calendar — a minimal cost when you look at tools that might charge a monthly subscription or have a one-time cost with a couple of zeros on the end.
Putting a number on saving a few minutes here and there can seem barely worth the effort. But the reality is that project management tools, used correctly, can save you a lot more time than just a few minutes at a go. Continue Reading
Hi. I’m Shane. I tweet about my misadventures running (with some pretty smart people) a 100% freelance driven agency at @justlikeair. Working with freelancers offers an interesting conundrum. In a polygamous environment, a genuinely free market, how do you build loyalty? Why would a great freelancer choose my urgent project over someone else’s? How do we stay attractive after the 3rd date (project)? What about after dating (without getting married) for 3 years? After all, the best freelancers get to pick from a wide pool of suitors.
Check out the slides from the entire talk. The article below elaborates on section 4. Continue Reading
With the economy so unstable and a personal down-shift in the number of good-paying projects, I have begun to search for a full-time job, or at least a part-time job to fill in the financial gaps. My preparations for this search has included some deep thinking about my skills, assets, and what it is I really offer a client and how different that is from working in a company. Based upon my discussions with contractors, recruiters, and line managers, I’m finding that the current needs of organizations differ enormously from the work I’ve done for the past twenty years as a freelancer. For me, the shift from “one-stop-shop” web designer and marketing writer to some sort of singular role on a team within an organization that creates web sites is a paradigm shift.
This article is part therapy and part research about what we offer to our clients as freelancers and how that translates back into corporate life. Continue Reading
I read a series of great articles by Jaan Orvet and Andreas Carlson (“Strategy Basics: It’s Really About Having A Plan” and its follow-up, “Strategy Basics: Getting Your Clients Ducks In A Row“) on Carsonified’s Blog called “Think Vitamin” and on the importance of having a sound plan for a successful project. This is basic project management logic, but so often when we start a project the client has not fully developed what they want to do as well as many of the details of how to accomplish it.
Sometimes, a client will come to you with a fabulous project: something that you want to work on that just happens to be open-ended and will pay a nice chunk of your bills for months to come. You go in very excited about the project and the money and generally it’s a good gig. But the ending might not always be what you want. Maybe the client puts a sudden end to the project. Maybe the client has been following your every step and taking notes in the hopes of handling everything in house as soon as he’s learned all he can.
These situations are not necessarily bad, but if you plan for them from the start of the of the project, you can make the final transition for the project much easier when it does come around.
Photo by | spoon |.
I’ve started a design project with a new client. How often should you contact your client or contact them with updates and do you have any tips for this?
Remember: A client wants to feel loved like everyone else. Even if you have no news, a brief email every day or two days, even to say ‘hello’, is a non-intrusive way of letting the client know that you are thinking of them and have the project in your mind. This also keeps you fresh in their minds — flow-on work usually happens this way.
It’s a good idea to submit a weekly work-in-progress update once the project has started. Try and submit this at the same time each week –- Friday afternoons are good as a ‘close-off’ for the week. Continue Reading