It’s probably been a while since you learned the skills that moved you ahead in your career, but to keep that success going, you need to continue learning, indefinitely. But logging classroom time isn’t the only way to grow – by keeping an eye on like-minded entrepreneurs, you can stay abreast of current trends, keep your pricing competitive, obtain ideas for ad copy, and more.
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
I had the chance to talk with another freelancer the other day: she’s been offered the opportunity to take on a six-month project where she’d essentially be working full-time for a single client. The money is good, but there’s a catch in the contract—a non-compete clause. 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
In case you haven’t heard of Dropbox before, it’s a file-hosting service that lets people access their files from their computers, smart phones, tablets, you name it. More than 50 million people worldwide use the software. Not too shabby for a couple of MIT graduates.
There is a ton of file sharing software out there on the market, so I was interested to hear how Dropbox got started and learn about it’s rise to success amongst its competitors. As freelancers, we have a lot of competitors out there in the marketplace. Houston’s experience helps us learn how to differentiate ourselves from our competition. Here are my take away’s from this article:
Take Good Ideas and Make Them Your Own
Houston got his idea for Dropbox from a similar program used by MIT students called Athena. The program was simple to use, and anytime someone sat down on a computer and logged in, their entire workstation was summoned to the computer in front of them—even the placement of their icons and folders.
Houston knew that someone in the future was going to build something like this for the general public. Houston wrote some code on the Chinatown bus between Boston and New York that he thought would work. He shared his idea with Arash Ferdowsi, Dropbox’s other founder, and they got to work. Continue Reading
For the past four years, I have created a digital flipbook for every publication I have worked on—from the once-a-year publications for nonprofit organizations to the monthly publications.
Digital flipbooks are exactly what they sound like—a digital magazine that you can flip through on your computer screen.
As a freelancer, creating a digital flipbook for your clients is an easy way to offer them more without a ton of more work on your plate. You can even create a digital flipbook portfolio of your own work! It’s a great way to share your portfolio with potential clients—and it looks really cool, too.
Digital flipbooks are exactly what they sound like—a digital magazine that you can flip through on your computer screen. Now, many people (like me) prefer not to read magazines on their computers—but there are many, many more people out there who do.
Digital flipbooks are flashy and cool—and present publications in a whole new way. You can add videos, music, and moving graphics to a publication for added pizzazz. At the magazine I work for, these upgrades cost more to implement, so the advertisers have to upgrade their ads for this online optimization.
What they don’t need to pay for is a hotlink for their ad. When you do this, people can click on any ad they want to go directly to the advertisers website. Plus, these clicks can be tracked so the advertiser can see how well (or not so well) they are doing.
Most of these flipbooks are also SEO optimized, which helps their search engine ranking. It’s just another way for advertisers (or the people you write about) to be found online. And who doesn’t want to be found online?!
Flipping through a digital flipbook is easy. And you move through the publication page by page, like a regular magazine. Depending on the set up and company you use, you can also see little thumbnails of pages at the bottom of the page for your flipping joy. Continue Reading
This research looks at how people are using social media to look for and find work. Facebook leads the pack, with 44% of job seeking activity followed by LinkedIn at 26%. Are you a ‘super social’—someone who is highly active in social media circles with more than the average number of contacts? Twenty-eight percent of you found their last job through social networking, and 85% of you did so on Facebook.
And my mother thinks you can still find good jobs in the daily newspaper…
This infographic doesn’t just look at the millions of unemployed workers, it also takes into consideration the 61% of Americans (sorry, foreign readers) who are currently employed but are open to a new job. Continue Reading
Search Engine Optimization—three words that can make or break your website. If you haven’t been paying attention on how to up your SEO by now, it’s time to start listening.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engines. Go ahead and look your business up on Google. Does it appear at the top? On the first page? Second page? Anywhere? The earlier your website is listed (or higher ranked as they call it) the higher the chances are that someone will click on it to find what they are looking for.
There are some basic ways for you to increase your search engine ranking organically, to give your site better results when people search for it. No one really knows the “best” way or “right” way to increase your visibility in search engines, but there are some SEO strategies you can implement that can help.
I found three hot tips from this article that I thought made a lot of sense. These strategies are free, so why not give them a shot? Sure, they take a little time to implement, but if they bring more traffic (and more sales) to your site, what do you have to lose? Continue Reading
I really like the 60-Second Solutions videos on Entrepreneur.com. I thought that the recent video by communications coach Carmine Gallo on creating a 60 second strategy to tell your story was especially useful.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain to people what it is you really do. Many people hear the word ‘freelancer’ and don’t quite understand what it means, other than you probably work from home in your pajamas.
Gallo suggests you come up with one sentence answers to the following four questions to keep your “What I Do” story to 60 seconds.
What do you do?
Are you a graphic designer? A freelancer writer or photographer? Do you have a niche or topic (like small business, agriculture, health) that you concentrate on? Turn this into one sentence. Example: I am a freelance blogger and I write about small business financing for several online magazines. Continue Reading
Picture this: You own your own catering business. Long days of persistent marketing and hard work have paid off and you have a steady stream of corporate clients. At a networking luncheon, you’re seated next to another caterer new to the area. She seems pleasant and you’re enjoying her conversation.
You’re just about to bite into your chocolate cheesecake when she asks: “You do a lot of business with Big Juicy Client. Who is your contact person there?”
Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But the same thing happens to many freelancers. While most self-employed individuals understand the taboo behind asking a colleague for contact information, at the same time, a fairly large percent don’t. It can be uncomfortable when someone asks you for information that you don’t care to share.
Lately, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the future of freelancing.
I’ve been a freelancer writer for thirty years and I just can’t get the same rates that I used to — where’s the future in freelancing?
Are these awful bid sites really the future of freelancing?
There seems to be new freelancers every day. Is more competition the future of freelancing?
While I’m not a psychic or a soothsayer, I can see the future of freelancing. That’s because the future of freelancing doesn’t change — it is what we make it.
A few weeks ago, we announced we were running an update to the Global Freelancers Survey. We asked readers to participate in order to make it successful – and boy, did you ever! When the poll finally closed, we had over 3,300 participants from every corner of the globe. That means we have a winner for our Grand Prize!
We used a random number generator to flip to entry page 41 and participant #24, which means Samuel from Kansas (United States) is our Grand Prize winner! Samuel will receive the grand prize package which includes a 32GB wifi Apple iPad, $100 in merchandise from MOO.com, a free copy of WPBids, and all the other fabulous prizes listed in the survey announcement. Please join me in congratulating Samuel!
The Global Freelancer Survey was a huge undertaking for us, and it was a project I was especially invested in. I’d like to thank everyone who participated. We really couldn’t do it without you! I’ll be digging through all the data in the coming weeks, but we’re already learning some interesting and sometimes surprising things about freelancers as a community! Some preliminary things we’ve learned include:
- Male freelancers out number female freelancers at a rate of more than two to one.
- Over half respondants identify themselves as a web developer or web designer.
- Of freelancers who have worked fulltime, most feel they are working more hours now than when they were an employee. (And yet the majority feel they have more time!)
- On average, freelancer writers are earning much more than their salaried counter-parts.
- Overwhelmingly, freelancers state they feel happier since they started freelancing.
Interested in hearing more? Stay tuned! All participants (with valid e-mails) will receive a complimentary copy of the survey results from Rockable Press. Additionally, Rockable Press will be publishing a comphrensive book (written by your fearless FreelanceSwitch Editor!) on the state of freelancing today, including in-depth survey analysis, interviews with top freelance professionals, and how to make the information work for you and your business! The book is tentatively planned for early next year, so watch FreelanceSwitch for updates. Once again, thanks to everyone who participated! Continue Reading