Photo by oskay.
A few months ago, I wrote a brief post about the benefits of personal outsourcing. I explained how outsourcing some of your personal tasks — specifically those that you’re not fond of AND those that someone else can do more cost effectively — can help free up some of your time and enable you to become a more profitable and focused freelancer.
Many of you commented on how helpful the ideas were. You even asked for more suggestions on other tasks that could conceivably be outsourced. So I was asked to write a second post with a more exhaustive list of potentially “outsourceable” tasks.
Glad to do that. But first, I want to clarify a misconception I often hear when the topic of personal outsourcing comes up: the claim that paying someone else to take care of your personal responsibilities is a sign of laziness.
Photo by Julianne.hide.
One of the realities of being a freelancer is that you will have a wide variety of responsibilities in regards to running a successful business. You won’t have the luxury of passing duties off to another department, and your success depends on your ability to wear multiple hats and develop some versatility. The dizzying amount of responsibilities can be overwhelming at times, but it can also be one of the perks to being a freelancer. You’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at every aspect of business, and you won’t get bored from doing the same repetitive tasks over and over again. Whether you see this diversity as a positive or a negative of freelancing, you can increase your productivity by realizing all of your responsibilities and setting a plan for success.
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What’s one of the worst things that can happen to you as a freelancer?
Besides a lull in contracts, it’s possibly a lull in creativity that can have you wondering why you gave up salaried work. Sometimes the work just doesn’t want to be finished, whether you write, design, code or do some other type of freelance work. You’ve tried exercises to get your creative juices flowing, but maybe the flow is just not coming. That’s when it’s time to battle your creative blocks.
Photo by peasap.
As a freelancer, modesty will get you little. Unremitting self-promoters need only apply.
Expressing inadequacy or uncertainty can cost you precious time and money. Clients just want their job done. All they want to know is that you can do it. And you can!
We all have different levels of self-confidence and this changes throughout our lives. With age and experience, people tend to gain more confidence. Here are seven tips to help you excel now.
1) Visualize success. If you look at a map, yet have no destination in mind, how can you chart your course? Spend time regularly envisioning your ideal career situation so that you can figure out what steps you need to take to get there.
Photo by ktylerconk.
After nearly five months, I’m now convinced: remote working is the best working arrangement I’ve ever had.
Living in different cities, finding inspiration in a constantly changing environment and always meeting new people sure is sweet. It’s not without challenges though, and my Remote Working Works for Freelancers post lead to some interesting questions.
How do you find accommodation? How do you manage client demands? How do you find work? I’ve taken the time to answer these questions–plus a few others–to help other aspiring freelancers make remote working a success.
Photo by Helico.
The web allows us to offer our services and skills almost anywhere in the world. Many of us are able to speak more than one language and have already worked for clients overseas.
As a freelancing web designer who is currently in the process of moving from Germany, where I was born, to Melbourne in Australia (Good city, that. — Ed.), I’ve been able to establish a client base in both countries. Over the last 6 years I’ve been flying back and forth visiting friends and family while also staying in touch with clients and picking up new gigs.
Dealing with clients in two countries that are 10 hours or about 15,000km apart can create many new challenges. Simple things like the time difference make communication a lot trickier and depending on what nationalities you are dealing with, there can also be differences in business culture you should be aware of.
Photo by frischmilch.
Most of us have heard the cliché about the single freelancer who works around the clock from their home, devoid of any social life and consequently a sense of real purpose and meaning. The nature of freelancing lends itself to late nights and long hours, and we tend to shut out the world around us. We focus all of our energy on clients and deadlines, but we lose focus on one of the essential pieces in the pie of life: social interaction.
I was that cliché freelancer. All I was concerned with was becoming successful in my freelance career. My time and energy was completely consumed by my projects. When I finished one project, my focus quickly moved on to the next. I felt empty. I had everything I could have asked for from a freelance career, but in the process I had left my social life in the dust. It came to a point that I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a meaningful conversation with someone who wasn’t paying me!
I wanted to keep my success, but I knew changes had to be made to live a more social lifestyle. One night I sat down in my office and came up with 4 simple guidelines that would improve my social life, while also maintaining my freelance success.
Those of you who converse with strangers daily or who work from home will probably “get it”: there’s more to social media than just voting for an online friend’s article or broadcasting something on Twitter. What is that “more”? Social media conversation, thanks to web applications such as Plurk. Plurk takes Twitter’s communications paradigm in a more complex direction, adding in a host of features, an interesting interface, and the opportunity to build professional relationships.
So much has already been written about Twitter and its value to freelancers, marketers, artists and more. But Plurk is a new addition to the growing number of “my day in 140 characters” web communications applications such as Pownce, Jaiku, and Hictu. (Though Hictu differs from the group by offering the choice of text, audio or video messages and responses.)
Some people have likened Plurk to the MySpace of microblogging. While there seems to be a far more casual atmosphere in Plurk (at least in my stream), there is still much professional value to most people who utilize Twitter on a daily basis. It’s a matter of deciding what you need from Plurk and finding it.
Photo by silvia di natale'S.
Folding a regular Internet broadcast into my media empire—which, at the moment, consists of a laptop and two pens which actually work—has increased my visibility as a freelancer. Everything that comes with being a freelance writer is there: the flexibility, the endless reach to bump up against another human soul through art, the second-glass-of-wine buzz of speaking with admired guests. And you know who else came over to play? Rejection and self-consciousness. Hello, old friends.
The show that was rushed into production (after one of the entrants in the Kentucky Derby was euthanized right on the track) was fielding its first guest. Even after such an auspicious beginning, I was terrified, for this was Talking To People, which is horrifying on any level and even worse while still finding my footing as a radio hostess. It would be like recording my very worst cocktail party small talk, then broadcasting it over the World Wide Web.
Photo by wili_hybrid.
Freelance Folder recently published a post on 5 Surefire Ways to Meet Deadlines for Freelancers and Web Workers by Abhijeet Mukherjee. If you haven’t read the post, it gives a nice breakdown of the topic. I’d like to take this opportunity to build on that post by looking not only at how we can increase our productivity in our day-to-day work, but also how we can change our mentality towards deadlines to create a healthier and more efficient workflow.
Abhijeet’s points and suggestions for meeting deadlines are:
1. Set expectations… with yourself.
2. Prioritize your work.
3. Keep track of dates and occasions.
4. Analyze your accomplishments every day.
5. Try to work only five days a week.
These points are great for keeping yourself on track and maintaining a proper balance in your work. From my experience I’ve found that it can also be helpful to turn the tables and put deadlines to work for you, rather than working against you. Continue Reading
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Ever have one of those days when you can’t seem to write anything?
This is especially disheartening to the freelancer, since no work done means no billable hours. Here’s a personal account of an approach that I started using about seven years ago that really helped with my writing productivity — though it’s adaptable to other types of cerebral freelance work.
It started in Jan 2002, after an offline contract ended. I took a vacation to pursue personal short fiction writing projects. My intent was to make the best of three months, before going out to look for more offline work. (Which didn’t actually happen, as I landed a non-fiction book contract, and then life happened and diverted all my plans.) The net result of three months of productivity was the outlining of 100 short stories and novelettes outlined and sixty completed — or about twenty per month. Continue Reading
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As a creative professional, constant inspiration is vital to career success. Sure, home and agency studios can be stimulating, but regardless of how cool the fitout is, it’s still the same environment.
It gets boring.
You’ll need a change, and relocating to a park or co-working space for a fresh outlook is a great idea. Checking out art galleries and city architecture during a lunch break is even better.
Traveling and working from the road? It’s the best of all. After remote working for three months, here’s the story so far — from the coast of Costa Rica. Continue Reading