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Posts Tagged ‘Freelancing’

Four Freelance Mistakes That Keep You Stuck in a Rut

Ah, the catch-22 of freelancing. Yes, you get to have a flexible schedule and call the shots but yes, you have to do the hustle 24/7 and may find your so-called flexible schedule isn’t so fluid after all.

As pointed out on a post on Brazen Careerist, there are a few blunders freelancers make which keep them stuck in a rut.

1. Work for free. We’ve heard the argument all too often: “We can’t pay you for your blog posts, but the exposure is amazing.” Um, yeah. Exposure is one thing, paying your bills is another. Don’t get stuck in that rut and if you do decide to blog or work for free, make sure you’re getting something out of it like a link back to your Web site, etc.

2. Rely on job boards to gain new clients. As pointed out in the piece, instead of showcasing your creative work and shining on your own merit, you’re jumbled in a pool of other freelancers. There’s too much competition responding to job boards for gigs and it’s harder to justify your rates. They may be looking for the lowest possible price point and you won’t want to lowball your services. Instead of posting to gigs, your time is better spent networking and pursuing clients on your own.

3. Neglect to market yourself. Yes, you’re busy with clients — not only working with them but billing them and following up on payments. Therein lies the issue. In order to get to the next level, you’ll also need to market yourself, build your brand, get active on social media, the works. For instance, every morning devote the first hour or two of your day specifically for the best client ever: Yourself!

4. Take on every new client. This is a big one and may be difficult to get used to at first but we’re saying it’s okay to turn down a potential client. Walk away and throughout experience, you’ll become more adept at determining who can be a problem child so to speak before you take them on so you can avoid difficult clients altogether.

‘The Daily Meal’ Editor Would ‘Never Recommend’ Freelance Food Writing as Career

When we read about this piece on JimRomenesko, we did a double-take. Kudos to the editor for being brutally honest about his thoughts on the state of freelancing writing. Or not? You be the judge.

When Dianne Jacob interviewed Coleman Andrews, editorial director at The Daily Meal, for her blog, Will Write For Food, she inquired about his stance on not paying freelance writers and as it turns out, he’s totally fine with it. Read more

Three Ways to Expand Your Business

As media folks immersed in social media and technology, our skills are always being invited to be honed.

And for freelancers looking to expand their reach into other areas such as blogging into vlogging or designing sites into managing social media accounts, we’re accustomed to thinking outside the cubicle. The combination may sometimes lead to a one-two fist punch to bigger endeavors!

Well, according to a piece in today’s New York Post, there are a few ways to expand one’s business while keeping a few key pointers in mind. Read more

Three Ways to Increase Your Worth as a Freelancer

As freelancers, sometimes it feels like we’re always doing the hustle, right?

Well, in addition to producing for current clients there’s the constant task of drumming up more business. According to The Brazen Careerist, there are a few simple ways to make your time and skills more valuable, thereby setting yourself up to succeed and land more work.

1. Complete a certification program or take a class. By making yourself more valuable, you’ll get to add a line or two to your resume with a specific program or class. It shows you put your money where your mouth is and that you consider yourself your best asset. Even if the investment in a class itself doesn’t make or break a potential new deal, it can only bolster your knowledge and expand your skill set.

2. Under promise and over deliver. As pointed out in the blog post, “Going the extra mile for your client is simple and only takes a little common sense.” When you hit the ball out of the park every time you go to bat, you’ll be deemed more valuable in the eyes of the client.

3. Treat your business like a business. Sure, you may work from your pajamas when you’re at home but treat the business seriously. Plus, think of it this way: Work begets more work and clients beget more clients. Getting a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile and/or having a client recommend you to other potential clients is worth its weight in gold.

Four Ways to Determine Your Hourly Freelance Rate

Whether you’re a full-time employee looking to freelance on the side or a full-time freelancer, setting rates is something we all need to do from time to time.

Courtesy of a post on U.S. News & World Report, there are a few guidelines in order to determine what to charge.

1. What were you earning at your last job? In the piece, Lindsay Olsen writes, “Start by thinking about your last salary. Break that down into an hourly rate. You’ll want to charge more than that, most likely, because you probably won’t be freelancing 40 hours a week and you’ll have many other expenses to pay above the simple calculation.” Read more

Got Cubicles? New Business Offers Cubicle Rentals at Real Offices

Let’s face it: As freelancers we have several options for work locations and none of them truly include a traditional office with employees. That is, until now.

Sure, we can work from home, a nearby coffee shop or of course, rent coworking spaces whereby several freelancers also rent cubicles and convene at a communal water cooler.

Offering a twist to coworking, Loosecubes, gives freelancers the ability to work at host companies with spare desks. Consider it hoteling if you were actually in-house. Read more

The Freelance Hustle: Five Ways to Land New Gigs

Let’s face it, as freelancers we’ve been known to do the hustle. It’s in our blood and hey, even if it’s not, it has to become part of our life whether we’re born with it or not.

According to an article on The Daily Muse, there are a few strategies to land new gigs. Even if you’re already doing some of them on a daily basis, it’s good to be reminded you’re on the right track.

1. Do pro-bono work at first. In the piece, Jessica Gordon writes, “Doing work for free obviously isn’t a long-term strategy, but it is a great one if you’re just starting out and trying to make contacts. If there’s a website you love or a business you want to work for, volunteer to write a blog, document an event, or do some design work for free.”

Is this a beneficial way to get your foot in the door? You bet. The only key is to not continuing to work for free in the long-term. In the short-term it’s a savvy move but once you get the experience, meet new contacts or have your mission accomplished, look elsewhere. As in paying clients.

2. Build a website and self-promote via social media. “Promote it like crazy,” she writes in the piece. Yes, this means Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr. Shout it from the rooftops! Make your entire network aware that you’re available and looking for freelance work!

Some people may have issues with asking for help but if you ask, you will likely receive. Leveraging social media is also a great way to follow editors you’re interested in connecting with; find out what’s on their brains and more importantly, if they share this information, what they’re working on.

3. Get your work into new clients’ hands. A portfolio is important but making sure people actually see it is truly valuable. In the piece, an illustrator subscribes to ADBASE, a database of publishers, design firms and ad agencies. This database continuously updates its content as art directors move around so you don’t have to stay abreast of their whereabouts.

4. Break out of your shell. Now is not the time to be shy; put in face time, meet up with new contacts for coffee, and accept the fact that you may be shy in most parts of your life but this is not one of them. Force yourself outside of the comfort zone by going to events even if you may not feel like it and giving yourself the challenge of exchanging business cards with one person; at the next event increase it to three, etc.

5. Search online job postings. Okay, this may sound like a no brainer but sometimes we may get so caught up in introducing ourselves to new people and offering our services and updating our statuses that we overlook the most obvious one of them all: Job listings. Yes, recruiters and editors actually review resumes so if you think your CV will be submitted into a black hole, think again. And if you don’t think you’re exactly qualified for a specific opportunity or you’re looking for freelance work and the job posting indicates full-time, it never hurts to introduce yourself as a freelancer for potential gigs down the road.

Four Ways to Make the Most Out of a Flexible Schedule

Sure, as freelancers or full-timers who work from home, there’s a benefit of flexibility but with that flexibility comes the challenges of self-discipline. Especially as warmer temps are here to stay, it can be particularly challenge to create structure and of course, stick to it!

According to a piece on The Daily Muse, there are several ways to become more productive when you create your own schedule. For starters, the piece recommends giving yourself a hard stop to officially create an ending to each and every day.

Adelaide Lancaster writes, “Try giving yourself an official end to the workday. If you’re tempted to burn the midnight oil, try working with your computer unplugged — when your battery is dead, you’re done.” Others have recommended setting a kitchen timer. It can also serve to instill short 20-minute breaks (Facebook, anyone?) and when the buzzer rings, it’s time to get back on task.

With an open schedule that can pretty much begin as soon as you wake up and not end until your head hits the pillow again, Lancaster recommends putting everything on your calendar. Whether it’s an e-calendar or your old-fashioned written to-do list, it’s all good.

In the piece she indicates, “Not only will it force you to budget the amount of time each task should take, but it will also help you plan a more realistic day for yourself.” Plus, it could be self-defeating and deflating if you bite more than you can chew and realize you only tackled two items on your list instead of ten.

This applies to the job search as well. Whether you’re gainfully employed right now or seeking work around the clock, sticking to a schedule and giving yourself breaks are still important. After all, a job search may begin to feel like a job in itself!

For another tip, Lancaster points out assigning one project task for each day. So, instead of feeling overwhelmed by a monster to-do list with a range of items like invoicing clients, cranking out a book proposal and picking up dry cleaning, if you assign one task to each day, you’ll “approach each day with clarify of focus, and end each day with a sense of accomplishment of progress.” Sometimes it’s fun to create a separate list (a “ta-da” list) to literally keep track of all the big things you were able to check off that lofty list!

Lastly, one way to make the most out of a flexibile schedule is to know when you’re at your peak (maybe it’s at 8 a.m. in the morning right after your first cup of coffee), and also when you start diving into the snooze zone. Lancaster indicates most of us can become unproductive with a sense of predictability so the key is knowing your triggers.

“Maybe your trigger is online — Facebook or a sale email from J. Crew — or maybe it’s the unfolded basket of laundry. Either way, we get off track and we become entranced, only to “wake up” 40 minutes later having accomplished nothing,” she writes in the piece.

 

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