Around the Horn

Posted: November 28th, 2008

  • From Freelance UK: Freelance graphic designer Andrew Chipperfield explains a typical client we should all be aware of: “Then came the turning point for me. He asked to meet up to discuss some bigger opportunities he might have for me. So i went to meet him, as it turned out, at his shop. I turned up to see his £80,000 LandRover with personalised number plate, and a few people working for him. At that point, I decided to get the meeting over and done with, and that I wouldn’t be doing any more work for him. I didn’t want to work with someone who blatantly lied to me.”
  • From CNN.com: Kate Lorenz interviewing freelancer Ryan Saale on trying out freelancing part time: “A lot of people don’t want to commit full-time skills to a part-time or temporary gig. In this economy though, it can allow you to not only try on a job for size, but to also improve your skills, impress a potential long-term employer and network like crazy with people in your chosen industry,” she says. “Instead of nervously waiting for the right full-time career, you can potentially make something better happen in the short term.”
  • Here’s how I earned my riches as a freelancer… so can you!
  • Still squinting while reading this?
  • I can’t deny the fact that self-employment has its perks. Some of these perks are the guilty pleasures that make you say “I’ll never go back to that 9 to 5″, whenever you see an interesting full-time position on one of those job boards.

The Monday Hangover

Posted: November 24th, 2008

#1 – What Really Keeps Us Back

As a freelancer, there will for sure be times where you’re left thinking ‘How can I do better?’ but continue on to do the same things as always. The goal is to keep growing… and to increase your income in the process. I have fallen into this train of thought many times and finally realized what trully can better yourself, or hold you back: the people you work with and the clients you work for.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ll lump both clients and coworkers together since this applies equally to both. All can be categorized into one of three categories:

1. Trustworthy and reliable – Both you and them are on the same page. Expectations are high as far as meeting deadlines, no delay in communication, payments are received on time. Basically a problem-free relationship.

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Top Ten Greatest Promises By Clients

Posted: November 18th, 2008

Sometimes you can use a little laughter as a freelancer. What better way than to hear the heartfelt promises of your most beloved clients. We bring you the best of the best.

10. “That check will be good in a couple of weeks.”

9. “If you can do this, there’s more work for you in the future.”

8. “There’s only a couple changes I need.”

7. “We can’t pay you much now, but we’ll have more money later.”

6. “I’ll find someone to do the same for only half as much!”

5. “We may even offer you a position later on.”

4. “I’ll tell all my friends about you.”

3. “Can you do [you task here] for free to see how you work? If it’s good, we’ll hire you.”

2. “I’ll have your payment tomorrow.”

1. “That estimate sounds great! Let me get back to you on that.”

What Does Freedom (At Work) Really Mean?

Posted: November 5th, 2008

I remember all the way back when I was sixteen years old, I had at the time a job which I thought had the greatest freedom that a job could possibly have. To an extent it still holds true to me today. You see, I worked in a rather rundown cheesesteak shop (without a sign I might add) inside a large shopping mall. The pay was borderline free for my employers here but I had it made.

I worked alone most times, made myself a sandwich when I felt like it, called my friends, gave free food to my friends once in a while and cut out early nearly every day I worked. Don’t tell mom but I even drank beers from next door in the back room. I probably would have worked there for free if they would have inevitably fired me (which they didn’t).

Although this wouldn’t fly in today’s place of employement (that sandwich shop did close down by the way) we still have an idea of what kind of freedoms are ideal for us in the workplace. Can you picture a drunk tank where you can clock in and sleep until you sober up? How about just coming in whenever you feel like it, having a two hour lunch or having a beer while you’re at a meeting?

It would seem our perception of freedom in the workplace is derived from wanting to skirt the rules our so-called superiors set for their employees which is true in a sense. Workplace freedom is, however, the desire to break free from the CONTROL that our employers have to place on us in order to for us conform and do our jobs.

Though I hate to use political references, you can view this employer control as a kind of socialism where your freedoms (to come in late, drunk, etc.) are suppressed for the productivity of the whole, which is the company. The downside to this is that it is totally necessary for a company to survive. OK, maybe there are exceptions like the Google campus, but we all can’t work there, can we?

Then there are the freelancers who would be the democratic adversary to the “socialist” company. A freelancer’s freedom, however, isn’t what you’d expect. Sure, you can expect to sleep in and wake up hungover once in while but what you would actually consider freedom in the workplace actually becomes a distraction to the freelancer.

Control for a freelancer is not placed in the hands of another but within himself. It is ironic that this complete control often drives new freelancers to quit and go back to their jobs. After all, YOU have to look for your own work, manage your own business and make sure you are making ends meet and then some so you can continue. This is all on top of the actual work you do. This added responsibility often drives people to quit freelancing or to not even start at all.

The truth is freelancing does have it’s learning curve and there are certainly going to be times where what you are earning will become an issue. The way to deal with that control, however, is to use it to your advantage. In other words, learn the ropes, take your punches and keep on rolling. I’ll admit that it’s easier said than done but when the end of that learning comes near you won’t regret it. Only then you’ll see what freedom at work really is.