If freelancers could invent our own clichés, one might be: no two jobs are the same. Each gig we take on brings with it new personalities, new challenges and new rewards. Despite these differences, most any freelancing gig will fit into one of these twenty types.
Where does the job you’re (supposed to be) working on now fit in?
Have you done each of these kinds of jobs before?
My guess is that most experienced freelancers will have encountered quite a few!
1. The magnum opus
The job you’ve always wanted, the job you’ll tell your grand-kids about. You get asked to write a book, land design work for a super-company like Coca Cola or get an article published in Business Week. The money doesn’t really matter — though it’s probably pretty good! Because this kind of opportunity doesn’t come along every day, you make this job personal, you obsess over it and make sure every single detail has been polished to a brilliant shine.
These kinds of jobs can feel more like play than work. They’re hard to forget for all the right reasons, and can take your credibility and perceived value as a freelancer to the next level.
Magnum opus jobs can be time vacuums. Being paid $X,000 for a project doesn’t work out to much if you spend a hundreds of hours polishing up the bells and whistles.
Effectively taking on a huge freelance project can be daunting if you don’t know where to begin. This article shows that by breaking the project down into bite-sized deliverables, combined with leveraging the experience of outsourced, professional specialists, can yield positive results in terms of both quality of output and freelancer happiness.
The most treasured of all freelance consulting gigs are the ones that offer huge pay and high prominence. Successfully implementing one or two of these types of projects can be a huge boon to your portfolio and can help garner you even bigger and better contracts in the future.
Each week I get two or three requests for design work. They come sometimes from contacts, but more often than not they come from random people. Sometimes they even come from web-famous people or well-known companies. What is interesting about this though is that I no longer freelance, advertise for work or even have a portfolio.
Actually it can be pretty hard to contact me, though I did finally put up a little website for myself two weeks ago.
Although these days I turn away all this work, for some years I did in fact work as a freelance designer and happily always had more work than I could do – despite being inclined to overwork.
So how do you get web design jobs? Or any other type of job? Here are some things that have worked for me. Continue Reading
No matter what kind of freelancer you are, you need a way to accept payment from your clients. Out of all the payment options available, how do you choose the right one?
Being able to collect credit card payments is key. While some of your clients will still prefer to pay by check, many would like the opportunity to pay by credit card. Wouldn’t it be nice to run a credit card payment right from your own website, without having to push your client off to a third party site to process the transaction?
Stripe is a simple way to accept payments online. It was created by developers who believe that accepting credit cards on the web should be easy, inexpensive, and efficient for everyone.
The fact that you can learn anything from John Mayer might surprise you, but I learned a lot about how you can ruin your reputation through social media and interviews in this NPR interview with the musician on All Things Considered this afternoon.
I have to admit, I am not a John Mayer fan. He bothers me. I can’t stand to watch him sing. And after a couple of nitty gritty interviews in 2010—one for Rolling Stone and one for Playboy—I didn’t like what I heard, either.
In Mayer’s interview with Playboy, he made racial comments, talked about his sex life with his famous exes, and made homosexual comments—all of which made the public scream Too Much Information! Continue Reading
Have you ever been stiffed by a client? Many freelancers have—and it sucks. More often than not, the cost to take the client to court is frequently much more expensive than the unpaid invoice. So what’s a freelancer to do?
One thing they can do is join forces in a new civic action campaign created and sponsored by the Freelancers Union.
On April 26, the Union launched a web-based tool called The World’s Longest Invoice, where freelancers can come together and share their horror stories. You can add your unpaid invoices to the list at worldslongestinvoice.com.
Some of the unpaid invoices already listed include:
- $200 for violin performance on Busta Rhymes 2008 album, “Back on My B.S.”, submitted by Andrew.
- $7,000 for published children’s book illustration, submitted by Linda.
- $1,300 for marketing strategy, brand development, event planning, and copy writing, submitted by Allison B.
- $1,500 for environmental graphic design concepts for Rascal Flatt’s Tour, submitted by Adam J.
- $2,700 for WordPress development. Client cancelled the job two days before deadline and refused to pay for it because they didn’t use it, submitted by Sarah.
- $2,800 for iPhone application development, submitted by Charles G.
- $15,000 for 8 videos, filmed and edited, 5 minutes in length each, submitted by Ross F.
There are invoices listed for everything from pet sitting to web-related services, and everything in between. Continue Reading
The magazine I work for is looking to hire a part-time graphic designer to help the production department with creating print ads. The team has interviewed a few good candidates already, but nothing has stuck.
In fact, there was one woman who the team really liked. She showed us some great samples of her work, she had a flexible schedule, and looked like she would be the perfect hire to join our team. Our art director gave her a take home assignment on a Friday, hoping to see something on Monday. She gave this woman a logo, some copy, and a specific ad size to see what she could come up with in a specific amount of time. We never heard back from her.
Disappointed? Yeah! We were hoping this woman would knock our socks off. But she never sent in her graphics test. This led us to two conclusions: that she didn’t really want the job after all or she was creatively unable to do the work we needed her to do.
When I read this blog post on All Freelance Writing about freelancers providing a free sample to potential clients, it made me think about our situation. In this post, author Chris Bibey talks about a situation where he met with a client who wanted him to provide a free sample, based on their particular needs, within 24 hours. This is something freelancers should expect from time to time, Bibey says, as some companies will trust in your skills while others are more skeptical—especially when they have never worked with you before.
My advice is as follows: there is nothing wrong with providing a free sample to a potential client as long as you feel that it could turn into a paid gig. Unfortunately, there are people out there who collect as many free samples as they can from as many writers as they can find. When everything is said and done, they did not pay a dime yet have plenty of unique content. —allfreelancewriting.com
We face criticism from all sorts of angles, both in our professional and in our personal lives. It never ceases to amaze me how often complete strangers will offer up advice on everything from parenting skills, to recipe enhancements, to the exact right way to get from point A to point B. Everyone is an expert.
But while you can sometimes shrug off a critical remark, you don’t forget it. At least I don’t. To this day, I remember one of my high school friends poking fun at my stick-straight legs saying, “God took rulers and drew your legs.” That was almost 20 years ago.
Some people offer up constructive criticism in a kind and gentle way. Others are more abrupt and brisk. As a writer and editor, I’m used to harsh criticism about my writing. I actually had one editor hit me on the head with a rolled up newspaper when I did something terrifically boneheaded as a newbie. That was humiliating.
I actually had one editor hit me on the head with a rolled up newspaper when I did something terrifically boneheaded as a newbie.
As a freelancer, we meed to have a thick skin—how else are we going to deal with all those rejection letters? But it’s hard, really hard sometimes, to keep your cool.
Here’s an example of how NOT to deal with criticism:
I worked with a freelance writer who handled a monthly column for a bit at the magazine I edit. She was new to us, but had been writing for the local newspaper for years. She frequently took issue with how I edited her pieces, and had no trouble letting me know, via email, how much she disagreed with my critique of her stories. A pattern started developing where she would send me a scathingly mean email, questioning my intelligence and experience, followed by a very nice apology email from her about her earlier email.
When I would get these harsh emails, my blood would boil. I learned to wait for the second email apologizing for her behavior and respond to that email—not that it made me any less upset about the first one. Continue Reading
I got a call yesterday from a publishing house in New York City. One of my former interns had given them my contact information to use as a reference for the job she was applying for. I was pleasantly surprised to get the call.
A lot of the former interns who have worked for me, or with me, go out and look for jobs. And a lot of them use me as a reference. Rarely do I ever get a call from an employer who is interviewing these students. I always wonder why.
According to researchers at Cornell University, people are more likely to lie about their work experience on a traditional resume than they are on a social media page, like LinkedIn. In fact, the study found that 92% of college students lie at least once on their resumes.
The study says that websites such as LinkedIn can lead to greater honesty when it comes to résumé claims such as experience and responsibilities. That’s because claims are more easily verified in a public, online setting, so liars are more likely to get caught. —Associated Press
Sure, many people fib on their resumes to make themselves look better. They say their hobbies include reading classical literature or writing poetry when really they spend the majority of their time watching reality television. These things are hard to verify. Which is why people have interviews—to test the legitimacy of the actual resume.
But college students, and others who are looking for work, need to be aware that employers are savvy. They are looking you up online before they call you in for an interview. And if they’re not—they should be. Continue Reading
Pomegranate is a mentoring emagazine for creative entrepreneurs—that’s you! Their March 2012 issue is all about creating value for your customers.
Creating value is the easiest way to differentiate you from your competitors. To be honest, when I choose vendors to work with, the lowest price doesn’t always win out. I look for what they can offer me beyond the sale—and often it’s the little “extra” things that make paying a little more completely worth it.
“There are two kinds of clients out there—clients who are looking for the lowest price and clients who are looking for the greatest value. Who would you rather work with?” —Peleg Top, Pomegranate
I truly admire the sales director for the magazine I work for. Her consultative selling method and willingness to partner with clients makes her a great success. She doesn’t just sell advertising, she listens to what her clients need and comes up with solutions on how to help. Very often her solutions help us make money, too, but there is always a mutual benefit. When your clients realize you are working with them, and not simply for them, you are creating value.
We make the most money out of working with clients who believe in value. So we work extra hard to find ways to offer added value to these clients. In the end, it pays off, and you can do the same thing with your clients.
I really liked the creating value suggestions Pomegranate editor, Peleg Top, included in the March issue, so I thought I’d share them… Continue Reading
The phone calls usually go like this:
Caller: “I want a website for my business.”
You: “What kind of business do you have?”
Caller states the nature of the business, launches into a list of pages that he or she wants on the site, and then asks you for a price quote.
Not a very satisfying encounter, is it?
The caller seems most interested in price, and you? Well, you’re interested in a relationship. As in, the kind that lasts for years.
It might not be possible to have a meaningful relationship with price shoppers, but it’s worth taking the time to learn what your potential clients want in a website. This article will help you create a prospect qualification questionnaire that can be used via telephone or Internet or in face-to-face meetings. Continue Reading
I am a great proponent of saying thank you. I’ve written about gratitude on this blog before and know that you can’t go wrong by thanking someone. Who doesn’t like to be thanked?
I recently read a post on Business Insider about why an email thank you is preferred, and I bristled. On the shelf above my head is a huge box of thank you cards that I send out whenever the need arises. I know how much I love getting thank you notes in the mail from people, so I always send out handwritten notes. It’s just my preference—but it doesn’t mean that I am 100% right.
I thought I would take a look at the difference between an email thank you note and a handwritten one, and single out the pros and cons.
Jessica Liebman, the managing editor of Business Insider and the author of the “why you should send an email thank you instead of a handwritten one” also wrote a post about the importance of sending a thank you note. Liebman is in charge of all the editorial hiring at Business Insider and says that the majority of people she interviews have one thing in common: they never send a thank you email. Continue Reading