We still have two and a half weeks to go and the numbers are going up nicely. Around 2000 respondents have filled out the survey now which is great news, but we could use more!
Currently the US is well represented and designers are well represented, and though we could use more of course, what we could REALLY use is people from all around the world, all backgrounds and all professions. The more diversity we get the more useful the results become!
If you haven’t already, please do Click Here to Take the Survey
And if you run a site or blog and want to help out, don’t forget you can put up a link or banner and send more people over.
And Thanks to…
And thanks to all these sites for helping us along to promote the survey, we really appreciate it! If you have a moment, pay them a visit, some pretty neat sites in there actually, I particularly enjoyed the Designer Daily!
2 Write Hands
Siti Web Design Gallery
Small Farm Design
Dark Light Media
Thanks everybody, we really appreciate your help!
Dear Aunty Entity,
I have a client who keeps moving the deadline to a week earlier. This has happened two times in the last month and there were mistakes in the end products that we didn’t have time to fix. Now I have an unhappy client who is accusing us of being unprofessional. I’ve tried everything – even expensive lunches don’t work. Help!
It’s a fact of life that rushed deadlines compromise quality of work and ultimately the client’s business. If you haven’t already, draw up a project plan to be agreed by the client before the project begins. Project plans list tasks to be completed by the project team and the client. If you make it clear that some tasks need to be completed or approved before the next can begin this should go some way towards giving you a break and educating him about the project life cycle. It should also be made clear before the project begins that bringing the date forward/removing tasks from the project plan will impact on the project.
Mark Twain once said that if you woke up every morning and ate a live frog, it’d probably be the worst thing you’d do all day.
Consultant Brian Tracy used this quote to thread his anti-procrastination guide Eat That Frog, which I read through while procrastinating on a big feature article.
While Tracy’s book is more aimed at corporate workers (and I’ll never understand how reading the newspaper became one of the deadliest sins according to almost all productivity guides) procrastination certainly affects freelancers, hence I will share some of the lessons I learned.
Plan in Advance
Tracy writes that one of the biggest reasons for procrastinating is not being certain as to what you’re supposed to be doing. Throughout the book, he hammers home the value of advance planning.
I put this into practice quickly the night before I REALLY needed to start getting interviews scheduled by making a list of the people I needed to call and also made sure their phone numbers were on the list, which eliminated any excuse for not waking up and making calls immediately.
However, Tracy goes far more in-depth, writing that advance planning doesn’t just apply to starting a project, but other necessary tasks and even long-term goal setting.
One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is managing our time — if we don’t do it well, we won’t survive as freelancers.
Time management is about developing good work habits, and using time management tools that work without getting in the way.
As freelancers, we also want tools that can be used and accessed from anywhere — multiple locations, while traveling, and on the go with our mobile devices if necessary. So today we’ll look at a few online tools that are simple, easy to use, and effective — helping you manage your time and tasks without too much hassle.
This list actually contains alternatives for each type of time-management tool, so you have options to check out.
I have the memory of a fish, things go in one ear and straight out the other. So it’s comforting to me that my filing cabinet remembers all the things that I forget. Continue Reading
THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL THOSE THAT ENTERED!
Disclosure: Light is a paying sponsor of FreelanceSwitch. My opinion however is not (nor can be) paid for
If you’ve ever built a website for a client you’ll know all about those tedious and annoying updates clients love. Sure they can be an OK money earner for not that much work, but if you’re anything like me half the time you don’t charge for them and the other half you put it off until your client gets annoyed and you finally get around to doing something that takes you a few seconds and then you don’t charge for it anyway.
The alternative is to give your client some way to manage the content themselves. This can mean building a custom system, giving them a copy of Contribute and hoping they don’t hurt themselves, or using an off the shelf product. I’ve tried the first two options, but today we’re going to take a look at the last, specifically a product called the Light Content Management System or just Light for the keyboard challenged.
It’s been about four days and I just logged into the survey admin tool to see we’ve passed 1300 respondents already! This is really fantastic news because with three and a half weeks to go before we close the polling booth, it shows we’re going to get a great sample which of course makes the information that much more useful!
Of course we still have a long way to go particularly to make the survey results truly global, so if you haven’t already, please do go and fill out the survey. It won’t take you long at all – about ten minutes – and you’ll not only be eligible to see the full results when they go up, but also be in the running for a neat prize pack! Click Here to Take the Survey
And if you run a site or blog and want to help out, don’t forget you can put up a link or banner and send more people over. We’ve actually had a lot of great sites pitch in already, here are a few of them:
Thanks guys! If anyone else wants a linkback, just send me an email and i’ll put one up in the next survey update!
By Leo Babauta
I don’t know about you, but I always assumed that working as a freelancer would be the dream job — no boss, no lazy co-workers, no headaches.
Well, I still love being a freelancer, but the no headaches part was certainly wrong.
At least, it was until I learned a few essential steps that don’t take long to complete but that can save you tons of time and some pretty major headaches as you go about your work — and without the headaches, being a freelancer really is a dream job.
1. Find great clients. Every freelancer has had clients that are a major pain in the … neck. They are negative and critical, they are never happy, they are rude, they want things right away and to specific yet unknown specifications … they are major headaches. The problem comes when you continue to work with them. Ditch them, and find better clients. Your life will be so much better. Look for positive people who are genuinely fun to work with — and be sure that they’re professionals. Cyan and Collis from FreelanceSwitch.com are excellent examples of great clients — they’re fun, extremely competent, professional, and enthusiastic. Find people like them to work with.
2. Be clear about terms. When you’re entering into a freelance relationship with someone, it’s best to spell out, right away, what the terms are. Email them with a list of questions — rate, scope, payment terms, any specifications, format for submission, deadlines, etc. If you get this stuff clear up front, you won’t have headaches about it later. It’s good to come up with a list of this stuff so you can ask each new client the same questions.
3. Set deadlines. Work with deadlines, or things could sprawl out much longer than necessary. It’s best to overestimate how long it’ll take you to complete the entire project by at least half, but to set a sub-deadline for the next step in the project that you’ll need to complete. Submit each step along the way, setting deadlines as you go for each step.
N.C. has some shows coming up in San Diego!!
Second Saturdays at Distinction Gallery
JULY 14, 8pm
317 East Grand Avenue
Escondido, CA 92025
Open Artists‚ studios and Second Reception for Justin Bua Show.
LOVE / HATE show at Subtext Store and Gallery
July 26 – 28
680 West Beech Street, No.1
San Diego, CA 92101
custom vinyl show & silent auction.
If you’d like to see more of N.C.s work but aren’t in California, you can check out more of his work here.
In just about every team meeting, along with the creatives, the developers and the client, there is usually someone with the title: project manager. For the uninitiated this could range from the multiple-pierced, student office temp to a Prada-clad scare-meister who is rumoured to sleep upside down in a coffin. For those of us who are in the know (ie: have been making tea and booking cabs for a while), project managers are generally the ones who get it all delivered in the end.
But what do Project Managers do?
Have you ever surfed those job ad listings for freelance project managers wondering if you qualify or what those ‘key requirements’ actually mean? Below are some expansions on those must-have items:
Before you start: PM = Project Manager. In some circles, it also stands for Prime Minister or Pre-menstrual tension – go figure.
Organisational skills: A PM is supposed to essentially be more organised than the people you work with. The range can extend from: uses the trash can as a filing system to having every email/phone message ever received from anyone including their mother, printed, time-stamped and filed accordingly. First impressions count so getting to the interview on the correct date is a good start. Knowing why you are there is also a bonus.
Technical skills: Usually a requirement for the digital arena. However, it should be noted that in some organisations, being able to tie your own shoelaces to get to work is considered a technical skill.
Time for a roundup of useful links from across this beast we call the world wide web:
JDs Blog has a great article about how to improve your Time Management Skills.
Our favourite productivity writer, Leo Babauta, gives us his Top 10 Ways To Reduce Your Work Week. Considering most of the freelancers I know (including me) work upwards of 60 hours a week, we should all probably read this one!
For those of us who need to make the occasional speech or pitch, Lifehack has 10 Tips from Lincoln on Writing a Kick-ass Speech.
We all have our bad days – we may have lost a pitch, had a row with a client, or have just realized we’re getting really fat from being at a desk all day eating Doritos (how good are Doritos?) When this day comes, you should go read Wisebread’s 10 Killers Ways to Feel Like a Million Bucks (Even If Your Bank Account Says Otherwise). My bank account does say otherwise, but that’s okay because I’m silently stretching my hamstrings (note: that will only make sense if you read the article.)
If you have decided to start a blog but don’t know how, there is a very easy to follow guide at How To Split An Atom. The only tip I’d add to that is to ensure you have some kind of USP. Simply recreating your favourite existing blog will not make much of an impact, unless you’re a literary genius.
If you have a useful link or article that you think FreelanceSwitch readers would be interested in, Send It In!