The Week in Freelance: August 3rd

Posted: August 7th, 2009

  • Web Design Dev has a must-bookmark list of 20 rules all freelancers should follow. Even if you’ve been in the biz a while, it doesn’t hurt refresh yourself on these.
  • Do you use a contract before starting any project? Contracts clearly outline the work you do for a client plus the terms for receiving payment and are a must to avoid potential conflicts later on. Get to know what should be included in a contract too. [from Mayhem Studios]
  • Freelancers have the freedom of a flexible schedule and can sometimes find themselves working the twilight hours of the morning since that may suit them better. Keeping regular business hours may actually benefit you more and here are five reasons why. [from The Freelance Writing Jobs Network]
  • Looking for advice… on anything legal, business or just on life? Here is a good start. [from MakeUseOf.com]
  • Sparkplug CEO on strategies for a down economy: A tip we probably havent thought about; “Make sure that you’re doing all that you can to reach as much of your target market as possible.  I’ve actually seen some entreprenuers pulling back from their usual marketing activities becuase they perceive that their market is cash poor and unlikely to respond. That’s a mistake.”
  • The Logo Factor fills us in on the continued debate between the good and evils of spec work and crowdsourcing.
  • Here’s a new concept. Theme each day of your workweek. Make it fun and you just may be more productive in the process. [from Freelance Switch]
  • Is being self-employed causing you to work seven days a week out of fear you may be passing up opportunities for work? I believe it is just that: fear. Take a day off or a vacation when you need it. Available work doesn’t all of a sudden dry up. [from The Wall Street Journal]
  • If you are a designer and need a boosts once in a while to get into your creativity zone, this “little guide” just may help. [from Zen Habits]
  • Sometimes we are on Twitter too much when we should actually be working (or having a social life outside of it). We can rationalize our use of it better, hoever, with ways to use Twitter for our business. [from Web Worker Daily]
  • Here’s a good laugh for all you programmers.

The Week In Freelance: July 27th

Posted: July 31st, 2009

  • Freelance Folder on seven lies that freelancers tell themselves: We have a tendency to believe certain things about ourselves and our business that give us a false sense of the reality of freelancing. Sometimes they negatively impact our attitude and our bank accounts.
  • Web Worker Daily has five ways to tell if your clients are abusing you and polite ways to prevent it altogether.
  • From Bizzia: Its hard to say no to any work that comes your way. The drawback is that it can pile up, delay completion and stress out you and your client. Therefore, it helps to learn to say no without losing the client.
  • Web Worker Daily on finding the perfect full-time telecommuting job: One of their points that helped me personally; “While many large companies have reputations as great telecommuting employers, there are many small companies willing to consider employees who want to telecommute. While you may need to do a little more convincing, the financial benefits of working with telecommuters can be particularly attractive to small businesses…”
  • From The Simple Dollar: Trent Hamm has an insightful podcast on the realities of freelancing. He discusses his own personal habits and touches on organization, diversifying your income and the process of being able to blog for a living.
  • From The Freelance Writing Jobs Network: In case you still haven’t learned, it is always best keep negative rants and incriminating photos away from any public medium. To reinforce this further, “If you rant about all your clients or former employers on your blog or forums, we can find it. If you’re an incredible gossip, we’ll find it. If you’re stirring up trouble, we’ll find it. This may have no bearing on the job I’m hiring you for but if you’re saying stuff about everyone behind their backs, what will you say about me?”
  • From Sparkplug CEO: Need a good reason to start a blog? How about to get your freelance business found; “Image [sic] you write just three new blog posts a week. […] In a month you’ll have an additional twelve pages published to the Internet where you prospects and customers can find you! […] Now if most of your competitors only have an old outdated five page HTML website you’ll effectively eliminate your competition from the Google Map!”
  • Think you can disconnect from social media for a day and survive? It just may be good for you. [from bkmacdaddy]
  • Zen Habits on three ways to enhance your willpower: “[…] people only have so much willpower. When you have to control yourself, there is less willpower available to you for other parts of your life. This fact is a good one to know because people who lose their will-power often do things that they would rather not. They become aggressive, sexually impulsive, and give up too early on puzzles.”
  • Here are two questions to help you gain perspective on life… and you career. [from Zen Habits]

A Sign of Hope For Freelance Developers

Posted: May 28th, 2009

oDesk has some pretty encouraging news for freelance web developers:

It seems that while the UK and Bolivia have seen a dramatic decrease in the hourly fees software developers are able to charge, in the United States–despite the recession–software developers are now charging an average of 35% more than they did in 2008.

[…] The exact reasons for the incredible rate increase in the face of America’s much-beleaguered economy may remain a mystery. However, it’s good news for those with software skills. As for the less tech-savvy freelancers among us, it’s a sign of hope. Doom and gloom predictions of meager future paychecks don’t always turn out to be true.

Bad economy… what bad economy?

UPDATE: Jon Engle’s Copyright Infringement Case

Posted: April 13th, 2009

Last week, I wrote a post on freelance graphic designer Jon Engle and an $18,000 bill he received for allegedly using copyrighted material from a stock art website. This case had caused an outrage around the blogosphere and Twitter in overwhelming support of Jon and a donation collection was even set up for his defense fund. Well, the other side has spoken. An excerpt of Stock Art founder Robert Askew’s open letter concerning this case:

Dear Respected Design Community,

I have been fighting for artists rights for over 11 years to the point where it has devastated both my business and the livelihoods of my artist alliance . I’m guessing we only license 1 image these days to every 50 which are stolen and profited from. I personally have uncovered over 500 for- profit companies whom have stolen over 8,000 images from my artists!!!! I can not expose this story to the point which will soon be shared, but please know one thing about this irony! I have fought this matter with my own personal investments to a point of bankruptcy. I love my artists and their right to earn money from their unique, artistic, intellectual property! If anyone is interested in the entire story of my experience, please contact me personally at accounts@stockart.com/.

I do want to personally thank you for your concern. I understand your concern! Stockart.com is proud to advocate and represent the copyrights and works of the many award-winning and talented artists who have provided their work to Stockart.com for rights managed licensing for over a decade.

In addition, The Logo Factor, a graphic design blog with no relation to either side, did a little investigating into the matter:

Seems Stock Art are ferocious in protecting their illustrators property and copyright (certainly something that I’d demand if Stock Art were representing me). [Jamie] Silverberg [a lawyer representing Stock Art] denied harassing Jon’s clients, but told me that they had contacted two in order to see if the client’s had legitimate licensing rights to their client’s work. I wondered how likely it would be that Stock Art’s established illustrators would risk their reputation, and Stock Art’s business, by copying some designer they found on the internet. To make matters worse, the issue revolved around the licensing for no less than 65 images to which it appears typography was added and the images uploaded to various portfolio sites like ElanceLogopond (while they didn’t expressly tell me so, the $18,000 bill is likely the result of licensing fees for the 65 images in dispute. Works out to about $275 a pop). I was also told that before contacting anyone, IPG perform extensive research into the background of any disputed images, including creation date, history and when it was added to the Stock Art site, pointing out that some of the images “in question” have been on the Stock Art website for almost a decade. Logopond, the supposed source for the designs (at least according to Jon’s blog), had only been online since June of 2006 at the very earliest. The worst point, from a designer’s point of view anyway, was the dispute involved the work of over twenty illustrators. With illustrations and icons that just happened to mirror their exact personal style. And if that wasn’t enough, Jon had previously been billed for other Stock Art licensed work, after it was discovered that it may have been used without permission. He paid that bill.

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