If you work with Adobe Illustrator or otherwise eat vectors for breakfast, VECTORTUTS promises to take your skills to a whole new level. You can already learn the secret to creating a cool water-ripple effect in Illustrator, or create a gorgeous watercolor vector flower illustration. There’ll no doubt be more top-notch tutorials arriving in the coming days.
If you fancy yourself a vector ninja, you can share knowledge and make cashola by contributing to VECTORTUTS.
In other news, Collis and I are busily preparing for the launch of AUDIOTUTS, which will feature high-quality production, composition, DJing, mixing, recording and mastering tutorials. We’ve got an impressive host of writers signed up to drive the site, including contributors to Computer Music Magazine, Future Music Magazine and Music Tech Magazine. It’s going to be awesome.
For children’s book author and editor Lisa L. Owens, breaking into the publishing biz came naturally. Studying English and Journalism at university turned into a slew of book writing and editing credits for major publishers.
Always a freelancer and now fully solo, the 42-year-old writer from Issaquah, Washington, has more than 12 years of experience under her belt and has put herself out there in an array of national and local industry associations.
I caught up with Lisa to find out how to make the transition into freelancing, take a prominent role in industry groups and maintain a blog at the same time. Continue Reading
The quality of design sites around has just been escalating and escalating. Last year we published two articles on finding design inspiration – 34 Places to Get Design Inspiration On and Off and the follow up 60 More Places to Get Design Inspiration. Since then I’ve been collecting new sites that didn’t make those two lists, and today I’m happy to deliver 33 New Places to Get Design Inspiration! Without further ado:
Photo by ^Vanessa^.
You’ve heard it before: “live within your means,” “a penny saved is a penny earned,” “don’t break the bank.” But do you actually put those ideas into practice? Or do you just pull out your plastic, figuring you can write it off at the end of the year anyway?
I used to roll my eyes when my parents lectured about money. But now that I’m writing full time, I consider my Yankee upbringing to be a blessing. With a recession looming in the United States, it’s time to get serious about saving money in your personal and professional life.
Heres’s how to get started… Continue Reading
Photo by re_birf.
I’m not a big fan of generalizations, but I’m also painfully aware that when it comes to freelancing, there are a number of women out there who aren’t getting the gigs and compensation commensurate with their experience.
You can blame society, you can blame your clients—and who am I to tell you that you are wrong? —But at the end of the day, there’s nothing you can really do except change the way you approach your business. In order to do that, you need to know the top five most common mistakes made by female freelancers and how to avoid them.
Of course, male freelancers make these mistakes as well, but in my experience these missteps are particularly detrimental for women. Continue Reading
Photo by JasonRogers
You’re at an interview for a project. Your potential client decides to select you for the job. Better still, they are willing to give you double the rate you had requested.
As you walk out of the meeting feeling confident about winning the project, you hear your inner voice start to nag you about a few small details. By the time you walk out of the building, you realize something: there’s a certain thing they asked you to do that requires a skill you haven’t mastered yet… and the project is due in 24 hours.
I’ve run into this problem a few times in my life. I accepted projects without really knowing if I could finish them. And yet, all of these projects helped pushed me to the next level. Nowadays, I understand why I was able to advance myself through that pressure: by using Parkinson’s Law.
According to Wikipedia, the law holds that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” This means that when given a limited amount of time, your focuses increases, and you’re forced to give attention only to what you need to do. By using this powerful law, you’ll be able to perform your best work.
You can also use this same law to increase your skill level. Continue Reading
Photo by kevindooley.
One of the constant struggles of freelance writing is finding work, and gigs in the print world (and, increasingly, online) require writers to pitch their stories to editors.
As a freelance writer, your pitch is your greeting card, your foot in the door, and, hopefully, your meal ticket. Because editors don’t usually have time to review full articles, those queries will likely affect the bottom line more than your writing itself.
That said, it pays to know how to sell yourself and your ideas: in other words, how to quickly craft compelling pitches.
Photo by psd.
If you’re a freelancer, I’m pretty sure you know the importance of a USB thumb drive. At a basic level, it helps you store important data and transfer files related to your projects from one computer to another.
If you’ve only ever used your thumb drive for the entry-level tasks of storing and transferring data, it’s time to unleash the hidden potential of this tiny device. Whether you’re a freelance writer, web developer or a freelancer on the move, you should take a look at the following tools, all of which take this device to the next level and convert it to a power drive. Continue Reading
Photo by notsogoodphotography.
Many freelancers I’ve talked to can list a whole lot of positives to going solo. When asked about the downsides, however, I’ve found many people say that they miss the opportunity to talk about work with their co-workers. You know, not just telling your spouse that today’s client was a pain in the butt: real talk about your marketing, business strategies, changes in the market and the opportunity to bounce new ideas off people.
One solution for this missing-link is to start a sparring circle of freelancers. You can do this either online or live, for example, at a coffee shop (this has the added bonus of getting out of the four walls). The idea is to find a small group of likeminded people who have the same needs. That is, to talk about their business with others who’re interested and able to give feedback.
Here’s what we’ve found works for us in our small sparring circle:
1. Do the basics
Start by answering the basic questions in writing: Who are you? What do you want to do? Who are your clients? How will you reach them? What do you charge? Even the more experienced people in the circle should do this as circumstances have often changed since the last time they took the time out to think about these things. The answers to these questions put everything that follows into perspective. Continue Reading
Photo by Dplanet::.
If you’ve been freelancing for awhile, you may have come to the financial crossroads of Mom and Pop versus larger companies. I think it’s far easier to make money with big clients who wield big budgets, who understand the creative process and the importance of marketing and advertising.
In 2004, after a decade of copywriting in ad agencies, I took my first position inside the marketing department of a large corporation. Suddenly I was across the aisle. For three years I interviewed dozens of freelancers and small agencies for projects in print, Web, and broadcast. I learned firsthand what worked and what failed during the interview process from the corporate perspective.
This experience has served me well. I developed a playbook of do’s and don’ts that has been tested and honed for my style in the freelance arena with Fortune 500s. If you’re courting corporate clients, here are 10 tips to consider during the interview process to land your next big gig. Continue Reading