Around the Horn: Week of January 19th

Posted: January 26th, 2009

Sorry, I’m a little late on the posting. The other day job took precedence unfortunately. So as we salute the pilot we all know as the U.S. Airways waterskier, I give you this week’s freelancing tidbits.

Arbenting: Ever think about what you give up when becoming a freelancer? Though it’s a little on the pessimistic side, they hold truth to them.

Being a Starving Graphic Artist Sucks: The best piece of advice I’ve seen in a while (not the part about being a starving graphic artist sucking). Short, right to the point and 100% true.

DESIGNM.AG: The 16 business lessons for freelancers and spoken from a wise man. Study each one because they all will be an issue with you at some time or another. Best one in my opinion: #4 Charge up front. Helps keep a steady cash flow.

Freelance Folder: One flaw of freelancers is their tendency to be a do-it-all to please their clients. For instance you may be a web designer and a client may ask you to write the web content which seems hard to pass up. This can get you in over your head, too.

Freelance Folder: Hey, I got on the bandwagon though fairly recently. Here are three reasons why every freelancer should have a blog.

FreelanceMagazine.com: So now you have have the hang of freelancing, are making nice income but want to take it to the next level. Here’s an article that outlines how to reach the top in what you do.

Freelance Switch: One of the biggest challenges to a freelancer is figuring out how to make themselves productive. Well, here are 46 tips for you, so take a few minutes to read through them. You may not get around to all of them but there are several that will be helpful to you. For me: Listing 3 – 5 things to do the next day and checking email just twice a day.

Freelance Switch: So you want to go about starting out in freelance the right way? Actually, even if you are a freelancer, have you done these 7 things to kickstart your freelance career? I know I don’t have my hand up but probably should.

Ink Thinker Blog: One thing that makes everything go smoothly in freelance work are contracts. They make sure you do the work you say you will (and no more) and you get paid what you were promised (and no less). They should be in use by EVERY freelancer, too. Here is a super resource for contract samples and tutorials. Have a look.

Innovative: You probably wouldn’t ever work for free but here are the only four times you should ever work for free.

Top Ten New Years Resolutions For Freelancers

Posted: January 26th, 2009

OK, January is almost over but we’re not suppose to forget our resolutions, right? Neither do the freelancers! So here  we have our best resolutions that we will get around to hopefully.

10. Tax time… time to file that overdue 2007 return.

9. Start counting surfing the internet and naps as billable time.

8. Start a “Ponzi” scheme thing for a little side gig (but don’t get caught like that Madoff idiot).

7. Finally replace sawhorses and door with a real desk.

6. Start adding invoicing inconvenience surcharge to invoices.

5. Stop drinking so much coffee. Start looking into nose candy.

4. Call up all my clients and ask for a raise.

3. Quit smoking (dope).

2. Start hiring interns to do all the damn work.

1. Shower more (or buy stronger incense).

Around the Horn: Week of January 12th

Posted: January 16th, 2009

What’s going on for freelancers in this shitty economy for the week of Jan 12th? I’ll try and make this as positive as I can.

CNN: Are you a freelancer and want some good news for a change besides the economy? Well, freelancers actually benefit in this recession. Here’s a little proof.

Chris Blassternardone: Thought about being an escort at one time or another, but chickened out? Try being a virtual online escort then.

Fast Company: One of the most pressing issues facing freelancers is the need for health insurance coverage which is hell expensive for an individual. The Freelancers Union has created their own insurance company that serves thirty one states and is currently in a trial phase. Let’s hope for the best.

Freelance Folder: Good reality check for freelancers… do your own excuses hold you back? If you are not where you want to be in your career then you may want to dig in on why.

Freelance Switch: Generally freelancers don’t like to spend money for their own business needs. Its sensible to cut costs whenever we can, but as a business you have to dig in those pockets and make sensible purchases, too.

Freelance Switch: Here are the top ten signs you may be charging too little. Hopefully, none of these apply to you.

Jon Bergan: On a more serious note, the top ten reasons why many freelance designers and start up design firms fail. Most of these don’t just apply to freelance designers but to all freelancers as well.

Rubiqube: How to create an addiction to your services, instead of the other “services” you may have in mind.

TravelBlogs: Flashpacking.  Ever heard of it? Me neither, but a couple quits their jobs and set off travelling the world with their laptops. The key to them… travelling light and  “backpacking with bucks and toys.”

U.S. News & World Report: Podcast interview with Michelle Goodman. She mentions the benefits of freelancing in a bad economy and tips to start out even right now. Major point: companies may be laying off, but if they aren’t closing shop they still need work to get done. That’s where freelancers come in.

Top Ten Freelance Job Board Disclaimers

Posted: January 15th, 2009

If you’re a freelancer and have had a go at the job boards, you may have noticed that sometimes employers  get real specific in their project description. Here are some of the favorite disclaimers we often hear… ok, maybe we exaggerate them a little.

10. “We’re a small start up so please price way below a fair market value and include lots of freebies.”

9. “Looking for a skilled freelancer with preference from Kokomo, Indiana.”

8. “Willing to pay up to $10.99. Overseas bidders welcome.”

7. “Applicants must speak and communicate effective medieval English.”

6. “WARNING: ADULT THEMED (psst… hardcore, gang bangs and lesbian action).”

5. “This should only take fifteen seconds for a freelancer who knows whatever the hell it is they do.”

4. “Canned responses will be put in a pantry for emergency use only.”

3. “The right freelancer will have the opportunity for continued work digging ditches outside our office.”

2. “DO NOT apply if you are not familiar with  Java, JQuery and John 3:15 of the Bible.”

1. “You must provide a resume, portfolio, references and hand in your water bong.”

The Monday Hangover No. 3

Posted: January 12th, 2009

Who Saw This Coming? Freelancers, That’s Who!

For those of you who are fans of American football, you may have witnessed a couple of events that came out of nowhere, not even predicted to happen in a million years… or at least this season anyway. First, the always inept Arizona Cardinals upset the heavily favored Carolina Panthers on their own home turf. Second, the mistaken-for-dead Philly Eagles beat the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. Now they play each other next week for the chance to go to the Super Bowl.

Being from Arizona, it’s quite shocking that after the twenty plus years of being in Phoenix, the Cards finally put together a winning season and have made it this far, let alone are playing for the Super Bowl. I can’t even say I’m a true fan claiming to be more of the fair-weathered type. They have been, after all, perennial losers for the past two decades.

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The Monday Hangover No. 2

Posted: January 6th, 2009

#2 – Are You Scared Yet?

While I’m really not at all surprised, I am quite fascinated how the universal topic of conversation is now… wait, can you guess it? Yep, the E-C-O-N-O-M-Y. I mean, it doesn’t just come up while chatting with your mates. It comes up in EVERY conversation including your parents, neighbors, clerks and any other human with a pulse. We as humans have to interact and there’s nothing like common ground to do so. I don’t think we realize what we’re doing in the process keeping the economy as the central theme though.

How many times a day do you worry about your job now?

How often do you just worry, worry, worry now?

We seem to all look down on this as a major crisis happening in our lives. I won’t sit here and tell you hasn’t been for many. It’s likely you may be facing a layoff if it hasn’t happened to you yet. Of course, there are those who lost a whole lot more than their jobs. Give thanks if the only thing you face is no job in the future.

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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.”

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