While having a regular freelance writing gig is nice, can you keep up with the ongoing need for fresh content?
Can you balance the workload with other projects?
Say you have a client who has you blogging weekly or even daily. Have you found it easy to come up with simultaneously original and useful content each and every week or even every day? In some saturated niches, it’s not always easy producing regular content.
Here are some tips you can use to to blunt the edge of writing dry spells, if they happen–or prevent them altogether.
Before starting this post, I had not completed a single article or post in over four weeks–my longest dry-spell since I started to take blogging seriously in 2005. This was mostly due to recently getting into non-writing and long-term writing projects. So while I did earn some income, my concern was for what would happen when those projects ended. A creative dry spell has a habit of perpetuating beyond control if you don’t forcibly do something to get out of it. Continue Reading
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you probably already know that you often have to juggle several projects at a time. That’s not to say that you necessarily have to multi-task, but simply need to manage overlapping task schedules.
The more successful your freelance career is, the more likely it is that you’ll have to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. They might be part of a single big project or parts of several smaller projects. Continue Reading
Freelancing, by definition, is a solitary existence. You probably sit at a computer most of the day, writing, designing, drawing, networking, and have little face to face interaction with peers who work in your industry.
I don’t know how you write, but I need it to be quiet to be productive. Deathly quiet. I have never been able to listen to music—even the classical stuff—while doing homework, working on a paper, or writing a magazine feature or blog post. If it’s rowdy outside my office, I shut the door, and people know not to bother me. When the phone rings, I groan unhappily. A ringing phone is my nemesis.
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.
Continuing with the theme of time efficiency in practice sessions, in this post we look at the best ways of tackling new repertoire.
If you’re following a balanced musical diet in the percentages that I suggested last month i.e., warm up, scales and arpeggios, study and pieces, it might be that you only have a half hour a day available to prepare for performance, auditions and competitions.
While it may seem a tall order, particularly when it comes to learning new works, success can be yours providing you maintain consistency in your sessions. Little and often is always far more efficient than blocks of several hours a couple of times a week.
Look on repertoire practice as the musician’s apple pie and cream reward for eating the meat and vegetables, rather than the centerpiece of the meal!
Editor’s Note: Every Tuesday, we ask freelancers to talk about skills specific to their field, whether it be design, programming, or music. Today Marion Harrington shares how she breaks up her practice routine to stay a freelancing musician!
How many roles do you assume in an average day? Here are few of mine: spouse, musician, pet sitter, writer, runner, editor, cook, internet entrepreneur…the list goes on.
Looking back to my years as a music student, at the time I didn’t realize quite what a privilege it was to be able to spend all of my waking hours breathing, thinking and making music. Finding time to practice was never an issue.
After graduating, it’s a different story. Each passing year inevitably brings with it a new series of responsibilities both musical and non-musical.
The game then bizarrely changes from striving to be the scholar ranked #1 for the most practice hours logged in a 24 hours period to bragging about how little tooting of your flute or blowing your horn is required for your playing to remain at a professional level!
In the real world, finding time to practice can be challenging as this very necessary activity does not generate income in itself. If you’re to maximize your income streams as well as juggle all your other commitments, you have to learn how to make every available practice minute yield results – a skill which is often not taught during training.
It’s not how much time you have available that matters but what you do with what you have that holds the key to efficient practice on a very tight schedule. Continue Reading
The holiday season is one of the best times to be a freelancer. Setting your own hours means steering clear of the malls come 5PM – the time when stores become filling with tired cube-dwellers anxious to shrink down their to-do list.
But on the flip side, stepping out to shop during the day can snag your productivity. Just how to balance the two? Continue Reading
Over the past few months, I’ve been finding all types of new and exciting clients, with new and exciting projects. One of the things that I’ve noticed is the variety of projects that are out there. From quick projects – “The easiest $50 you’ll ever make” – to longer term projects, with multiple sections spanning a few months. FYI – the $50 project was completed very quickly, the payment – still waiting!
For some reason, I’ve always felt the need to compare my results with those around me. It’s not to be competitive, but more to ensure that I am not leaving anything on the table. I want to ensure that I am providing as much value to my clients as possible.
So my question to you, dear freelancers, is what is your average project time to completion? Not including the initial negotiations of what will be done and what will be paid, but the actual time you spend working on a project, from the moment you start until the final file is sent to the client.
I know it’s not summer for everyone reading FreelanceSwitch right now, but up here in Canada it still is. And one of my favourite things to do in the summer is to camp, but this year it was a little bit different, since this was my first summer as a fulltime freelancer.
Sure, I could have gotten way ahead of my projects, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I figured it might be possible to tether my iPhone to the laptop, and keep connected while everyone else was making smores. We’re back home now, and other than a slight campfire smell coming from the laptop, it’s pretty hard to tell that I was not at my office all week. The clients were communicated with, the articles were uploaded, and the invoices were sent – all while enjoying way too much junk food, liquid refreshments, and beautiful hikes through an amazing forest.
Funny, I think I showered as frequently at the camp as I have been at the home office. Might need to fix that for the future…
Sitting at a picnic table and putting the final touches on a new website helps your spouse realize the possibilities that freelancing can provide. We’re already thinking about finding a trailer and cruising through the US. I promise to shower before we stop in for a visit.
Where is the best place that you’ve been able to freelance from? Any tips and tricks to make it seamless to your clients? Continue Reading
A friend of mine had an interesting post on her blog recently. She shared the soundtrack of her life, with each part of her world arranged by an individual tune.
As a freelancer, I’ve been trying to figure out if I am more productive with the music on, or with the only sounds in the room being the clicking of the keyboard and the snoring of my dog.
I’ve tried a few different audio stimuli:
- Hard rock – no, not screamo, but good old classic rock and roll. AC/DC, Stones, and sadly, Nickelback.
- Talk Radio – maybe it’s just me getting older, but I am starting to appreciate some of the content on NPR and CBC
- Binaural beats – Could be that this is psychosomatic, but if I need to maintain intense focus (read: get it done before the pressing deadline) I put on some good headphones and click on the binaural beats. Something magical about theta waves or something like that – but, it hasn’t failed me yet.
Nothing is a clear winner yet, and each seems to be more useful for certain tasks.
What do you use? Are sounds, or lack of sounds, the best tool to help you pump out quality projects? Continue Reading
As some of you might have noticed, I am Canadian. It’s apparent in some of my writing – color/colour, humor/humour, affluent/effluent – but for the most part, it really doesn’t matter.
This past Monday was a statutory holiday in my province (that’s Canadian for state), but because I have many American clients, it wasn’t much different than any other Monday. The kicker – the rest of my clients are Canadians, so I can’t take the American holidays off either. Ohh, poor freelancer. No more long weekends.
So, I’ve figured out a few ways to create my own stat holidays, and give myself a few long weekends. Continue Reading
One of the benefits that many freelancers with families cite is the ability to stay home with the kids: you can save a fortune on daycare if you have kids just by working from home and not sending the kids elsewhere. But there are situations in which having the kids at home all day may not work out. Trying to take client phone calls or multitask between watching the kids and working just don’t always work out perfectly.
I grew up in a work-at-home household and, whether or not you’re comfortable with the situation as a parent, from the kid’s point of view, it’s not always a picnic. Having my mother home every day was nice, but the fact that I was banished to the basement when she worked with client made the situation a little less pleasant. I couldn’t have friends over at certain times and I’m sure there were days that I’d have loved to have gone to daycare. I could tell that it wasn’t exactly the perfect situation for her, either: she would mark off the days of summer break, barely able to wait until my sisters and I went back to school. What are the options for a freelancing parent? Continue Reading