Today marks FreelanceSwitch’s three month anniversary and while the site is still a baby, it’s a bit of a milestone. In this quarter just past the site has put up 130 posts, received more than 3,000 comments, 9,000 subscribers, 750,000 visitors and most importantly it’s become the best freelancing site on the web (in my biased opinion). So congratulations to Cyan and all the writers, the commenters and the readers, you guys have been kicking butt and takin’ names!
Yesterday I put together mockups of a new FreelanceSwitch design. This is always a scary process as people seem to quite like this current one, but over the last three months I’ve been seeing it’s various flaws and limitations. So since we are going to be introducing a new character set to replace the current stock ones, it feels like time for a new design – actually in my head it’s always time for a new design No word yet on how long it’s going to take me, but the mockups look pretty neat!
All freelance workers (heck, all workers in general) know about the Dreaded Project: that item that sits on your to-do list, deadline looming or even long gone, too intimidating to tackle. We’ll do anything but that Dreaded Project, even though we know it’s the most important thing we should do.
Fear no more. We’re going to conquer that Dreaded Project and turn it into a tame little puppy dog in just 8 steps.
Then you can get it off your to-do list and breathe a sigh of relief. It’ll be a huge burden off your chest, and you can safely go back to diddling around online until the next Dreaded Project arrives. But that’s OK — you can apply these same steps to that one too.
1. What’s bothering you? Take just 5 minutes to think about this Dreaded Project. What’s bothering you about it? Why don’t you want to do it? Often our reasons for putting it off go unsaid, and we avoid thinking about it. We know it’s there, but it’s too dreadful even to consider. Well, take those 5 minutes and consider it. Often it’s not as bad as we first imagined. And if we know what the problem is, we can address it. Spell out your obstacles, and plan a way around them.
Adapted from The Freelance Designer’s Self-Marketing Handbook by Shaun Crowley
For many people, telephone prospecting can be a painful process. You know it’s a necessary activity—without it, your work will sooner or later dry up.
And if you wait until the long periods of downtime before you pick up the phone, the task is made all the more difficult—desperation is very easy to spot in the voice of a cold-caller.
This article shows you how to gather the courage and the impetus to phone for work, and how to improve your telephone technique for maximum effect. Continue Reading
I hate software.
Seriously. I’m a tech enthusiast, I live off the drug-like feeling I get when I unwrap (or better yet, unbox) a new gadget, but I still hate software. Why?
Because it’s so darned expensive.
If you’ve ever needed to make an Access database, for example, you know this story all too well: a new full copy of Access 2007 (the most recent version) will set you back $200 from Amazon.com, as you likely don’t already own it (it’s not a part of the bestselling “Home and Student” version of Microsoft Office 2007). If you’d rather get it as part of a package, don’t worry, it’s also a great deal: $415. That’s right – I didn’t leave out a decimal point or anything. Four hundred and fifteen smackers. That’s roughly equivalent to more than a month’s worth of food for one person. Access isn’t the only culprit: Autodesk (creator of Maya and AutoCAD), Apple, and a billion other software providers charge massive amounts for their software, which is a big investment for anyone – but particularly freelancers. If we’re not lucky enough to have access to an educational or other discount, we’re looking at full price retail for these programs that we need to do our job, which can be a big problem, especially if we’re just starting out. What choice do we have?
So what is The 2007 Global Freelancer Survey you ask? Well, it’s a survey that will reveal how we as freelancers are doing. We’ll be able to gauge things like how much money freelancers are making, how we work and if we’re happy with our lifestyle. Best of all you’ll be able to compare how you are pricing yourself with others around the world judging by country, by industry, by experience and expertise. It’s going to make for excellent reading! Continue Reading
According to Wikipedia, the term “Bible” may be used as a generic term to describe a book or text that any devotee to an idea should read, or a book that lays out a way to do things in a particularly well-accepted way. David Trottier, author of “The Screenwriter’s Bible”, apparently intends his new book, “The Freelance Writer’s Bible (Your Guide to a Profitible Writing Career Within One Year)” to be just that, an authoritative source for Freelance Writers. Can it live up to his and our expectations? Read on to see if we agree.
Are You The Touchy-Feely Type?
Alright, I’ll come right out and admit it, I’m the type of guy who enjoys a well-done chick flick as much as I enjoy a good action movie. But after the first two pages (essentially the introduction), things get a little, uhm, odd. Perhaps I should explain better. When I first started this review, I thought it would be another interesting title on freelance writing, covering the same topics I’ve read before, but perhaps giving a new twist here and there. What I didn’t expect was a lot of idioms and philosophical discussions about my inner Warrior or my Safe Harbour.
I understand that this will appeal to some. But to others, sentences like “Invariably, the first three pages will be crap…”, and “in the voice of Morpheus from The Matrix…” wear on the reader (at least this one) very quickly.
For the freelance developer, project management can be one of those tough problems that almost make you wish there was someone else around to whom you could pass the buck. Cracking the project management nut however will make you both a better developer and a better freelancer. In this article we’ll discuss how breaking a project down can help you manage the job.
My company recently began releasing updates to our content management system on a weekly basis. Previously our approach was to determine which features should be included in the next release, compute a timeline appropriate for the requirements, and then get to work. Most of our timelines were at least a month long, while some approached 2 or 3 months.
Our new approach, inspired in part by the open source community’s “release early, release often” mantra, involves setting a regular release schedule (weekly in our case) and then prioritizing the features into these weekly buckets. Our goal is to deliver “business value” each week in some way. If a desired feature can’t be built in one week, we find a way to break it into smaller portions that can each be done within one week.
We also apply this approach to the websites that designers hire us to program. Breaking down projects into smaller, more-manageable increments is a discipline we’ve adopted with great benefit.
We certainly didn’t invent this approach. You’ve heard it said in other ways like “eat the elephant one bite at a time.” In the development world there are methodologies like Agile and XP that espouse similar ideas. As a freelancer looking to manage time, make customers happy, and keep motivated, the benefits of breaking a project into smaller pieces are definitely worth another look.
One of the things about being a freelance worker is that it is so free.
I did something revolutionary this week—I took a day off.
And after spending a morning at the gym and an afternoon sitting on the beach and later gardening, I really went into vacation mode. This was ground-breaking because I am a severe workaholic, and trying to apply better self-care practices to my life. (Generally, I work six or seven days a week, taking breaks, but still working continuously!)
Later that day, I let myself go online, but only for personal reasons. I posted to my blog about my relaxing Thursday off. And I was fine until I got a reply that said, “I wish I could take a day off and go to the beach.”
My friend didn’t mean anything conniving about it, but it got me to thinking how much I detest those little plugs people make. They always seem to hit my vulnerable spots, in this case, how emotionally hard it was for me to give myself a day off. It is difficult for me because of never-ending deadlines and that little-known syndrome only freelancers know about: the fear of starving.
If you’re in the market for a hiring a freelancer you’ll be happy to hear that our job board will remain free to use all the way until August 1st! That’s one more month of free job listings to help you find the perfect freelancer. After August 1st we’ll be pricing job listings at a rate of $20 p/month. We’ve intentionally set the price low as oftentimes a freelance job doesn’t have a huge budget to blow on advertising.
Currently there are almost a hundred job adverts on the board so I think I can say its looking like a big success and I hope that it’s proven useful for some of our readers as well in helping them find work. So to all our advertisers and applicants thank you for using the system, I look forward to it becoming THE place to find freelancers.
NB. Want a job with SEOMoz? Check out their job ad on FSw jobs!
I love discussing how much freelancers should and do charge, so when I came across a post at my favourite SEO blog – SEOMoz – on how much various SEO consultants charge I thought it was worth a link. Especially because believe it or not, SEO consultants go right up to a staggering $1000 p/hr – no that wasn’t a typo, I said one thousand with three zeros!
Specifically according to the site SEO experts charging on an hourly basis fall like this:
The simplest way to price a project is to charge by the hour. Rates in SEO vary with the lowest, entry level folks around $40-50, mid-tier consultants around $100-$200 and high-demand firms & people from $300-500. SEOmoz is obviously actively trying to limit our clients by going way outside the norm and charging $1000 / hour.
Aside from charging by the hour, the post also goes on to explain other methods of charging like:
- Pay for Traffic
- Pay for Rankings
- Monthly Retainer
- Modified Profit Sharing
- Standard Profit Sharing
- Contract Services
- Project-Based Consulting
The author – Rand Fishkin – also describes what projects tend to go for. If you’re a freelance SEO I highly recommend giving it a read.