Day 2: Examine Your Freelancing Resources

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This is Day 2 of 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Business (or Make Yours a Better One). Click here to find out what we did in Day 1.

Yesterday, you made an inventory of your possibly marketable skills. Today, you take a look at your other freelancing resources.

Freelancing is one of the cheapest businesses you could set up. But it does require some resources.

We have a simpler listing exercise today. Just make lists of all the resources that are already available to you right now for your freelancing business.

Make a list of

  • the office equipment, software and materials you already have
  • how much money you have at your disposal to invest in your freelancing business
  • people who can give you support
  • how much time you can devote to freelancing

Office Equipment

Whatever freelancing field you’re interested in, whether it’s writing or providing virtual assistance, you will most likely need a computer. Is yours up to speed? What software do you have? Write those on your list.

Also include peripherals, such as your printer, web cam and microphone. You’ll also want to list other pieces of equipment, such as a video camera or audio transcription equipment. And don’t forget home office furniture and space.

Money

Chances are, you can start freelancing without spending any money. However, if you find that your computer is outdated, or the software you’re using isn’t up to industry standard anymore, you may have to spend a little to make more.

This is where having a little amount of money to invest in your freelancing business comes in.

Later on, you’ll also want to have some money to improve or expand your skills, market your services, systematize your work… you get the idea.

But don’t worry about your expenses – yet. For now, just write down how much money you have saved up, or how much credit you can access, when the need arises.

People

You may not have employees (yet) but you may find you need other people in order to freelance. For example, if you’re a stay at home Mom with a preschool-age child, will you be able to work and look after your child at the same time? Do you have family or friends who can babysit for free or a token fee a few hours a week? Or will you need your mother’s help to pick up your housekeeping slack?

Just make a list of people in your circle and how they can support you. Include your tough girlfriend who can give you a butt kickin’ when you procrastinate. And don’t forget your sister who’s your biggest fan and is always cheering you on.

You’ll need all the people support you can get. Believe me.

Time

Finally, take a look at  how much time you have available, or you’re willing to devote, to freelancing. Unless you’re a single person without a job or any other responsibility, chances are, you have limited time to freelance. And even if you were, you would of course like to leave some free time, say, to spend with your girlfriend, or for online gaming (or whatever your hobby is).

If you’re still working, then your time is much more limited. When, exactly, will you do freelancing work? Is it from 6-11 pm every evening, plus all your weekends?

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, will you work during your baby’s naps only? Or when your children are in school (lucky you!)? Write it down.

Now you have a clear idea of the “capital” you have for your freelancing biz, both in terms of your skills and the material and other resources you have available.

Note: As you go through today’s exercise, you may think of things you need but don’t have yet. If so, make a separate list for those. Just get them out of your head and onto a sheet of paper.

You’ll need this all this information for our task tomorrow. In the meantime, how did you find today’s task? Do share by posting a comment below.

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PS: This exercise was inspired by John Reese’s Business Accelerator class.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov
18 Responses to Day 2: Examine Your Freelancing Resources
  1. Chris Anderson
    October 6, 2009 | 10:45 am

    Having support is a huge motivator. For me personally when things are progressing slowly, it’s not hard to start getting unmotivated. Having support from others is a must at times!

    Time is another big thing too. I have two children and I have to work around their time as well as my regular job. I just have to do things slowly, a bit at a time when I can. Eventually I’ll be able to put a lot more time into it.
    .-= Chris Anderson´s last blog ..Todoodlist Review =-.

    • Alexis
      October 6, 2009 | 11:42 am

      Oh yes, time is a big issue for me as well. But I don’t consider my kids to be obstacles to freelancing. They’re the reason I’m freelancing!

      So I need to always remind myself to keep them first. It’s easy to forget when client deadlines loom, or to get carried away when we’re doing something much more enjoyable and creative than changing dirty diapers.

      Anyway, my resource limitations keep my goals limited too. I know other freelancers probably make much more money than I do even while they juggle little kids and housekeeping. I just can’t do that, and I’ve let myself off the hook.

      Lexi

  2. Chris Anderson
    October 10, 2009 | 10:45 am

    Oh most definetly! They are not obstacles, but as you said they come first. I put as much time in my work as I can, but the kiddos will always have some of it no matter what.
    .-= Chris Anderson´s last blog ..Friendly Competition, It’s a Powerful Motivator =-.

    • Alexis
      October 10, 2009 | 4:06 pm

      Oh, Chris, I hadn’t meant you. I have come across some WAHMs who said their children were obstacles to their work, or something to that effect.

  3. Nikki
    August 23, 2010 | 6:04 pm

    It really helped me to organize myself and see that I am fully equipped to do my freelancing from home. I really never thought of looking around and making a real inventory of my office. I know that wasn’t exactly the point of the exercise, but I did learn that there is nothing holding me back in terms of material goods.

  4. Karine Delvare
    August 27, 2010 | 7:00 am

    Time is the resource I find the most difficult to evaluate.

    Being a SAHM preparing for a future freelance career, I counted every hour free I have in a week: when my child sleeps, when I put her in day care, when my husband takes her for outdoor playing. This amounts to 28 hours per week, how great! I could already be a WAHM after all, with all these hours free?

    But then, there is no more time for relaxing. Sure, I do relax when playing with my child, but I found out after a few years that I really enjoy drawing alone, or watching a movie with my husband – these have to happen during these 28 hours. I know some WAHM manage to devote all their “free from child” hours to their career, but one of the reasons I started freelancing was the quality of life.

    So, hard to figure out how many of these 28 hours can be spent for work. It will of course depend on how tired or demotivated I am (like, right now, being pregnant means I need more rest!) – so I just managed to decide a minimum number of hours where I “should” work. Knowing that if I feel like it, I can take the other hours to rest or play or do anything I want to, makes the minimum work hours far easier to accept.

    • Alexis
      August 27, 2010 | 7:58 am

      Hi Karine, Thanks for sharing! Yes, it’s hard to actually quantify time — there’s always much less of it than we expect to have! I suggest aiming low at first and then adjusting as you go along. Of course, family is the first priority and then there are so many other things we want to do other than work, right? Besides, our child is growing and changing every day. The routine you’re following this week could very well change next week. Stay flexible and open-minded. That’s my two-cents anyway. :-)

  5. Bonnie
    January 11, 2011 | 10:04 am

    Lexi,
    This was a great exercise and it really helped me to see that materialisticly speaking, I have everything I need to start my freelance business and that the “financials” I had set up were for in the future – way in the future. It was good to see that my only obstacle seems to be time management – something I never learned very well. It’s hard to manage your time when you work a full-time job, go to school full-time and have 5 beautiful children who depend on you (and who you depend on, sometimes, too!)

    • Alexis
      January 11, 2011 | 10:12 am

      @Bonnie – Wow, you’ve got a LOT on your plate! Freelancing is one of the easiest businesses to set up; you need so little to get started. I hope you’ll soon figure out how to fit freelancing into the reset of your life. I know people accomplish great things when confronted with great challenges :-D

  6. Brian
    April 29, 2011 | 12:43 am

    This was a great exercise for today. My resources are in place. All that is lacking is my time management. This task has helped me to see things in a better like. Thanks again Lexi for this.

    • Alexis
      April 29, 2011 | 9:41 am

      @Brian – I’m glad you found the exercise useful. Keep going!

  7. johnrelaxoffice@gmail.com
    October 18, 2011 | 6:58 am

    This equipments are very useful for office furniture. Very nice collection..

  8. Christina Crowe
    October 23, 2011 | 11:34 pm

    Hi Alexis,

    I just signed up for your 31 Days to Start a Freelancing Business Course and, I must say, I’m loving it so far! I love the actionable steps in each assignment, and the lessons from yesterday and today really helped to give me a clearer understanding of exactly what services I can provide and what I have at my disposal to use towards my freelance writing business.

    For so long, I’ve been afraid to hire myself out because I didn’t want to get tied down to flat and hourly rates (as opposed to the residual income I get from affiliate marketing and Demand Studios). But earlier this month, I finally made the decision to give it a try – after one major source of income washed away, I was in dire need of an alternative to help out my financial situation.

    That’s when I joined Elance. Little did I realize that it would actually be so exciting! I mean, I get a thrill just marketing myself alone – I love the challenge of targeting each proposal to fit a client’s needs or striving to meet each milestone of a project and being rewarded as I get closer and closer to the end goal. And just yesterday, I received my first job on Elance after a week of perfecting my profile and sending proposals (I was expecting it would take weeks or more!).

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for putting this course together. My next goal is to put up a portfolio on my own domain name (I already have one registered) and hopefully market myself to potential clients off Elance.

    I’m sure I’ll learn loads in the days to follow!

    Christina
    Christina Crowe´s last blog post ..Goals and Achievements – May, June & July 2011

    • Alexis
      October 24, 2011 | 9:48 am

      @Christina Crowe – I’m so happy you’re finding the series useful! And that you’re taking action — that’s the most important thing. All the best to you :-D

  9. John
    November 12, 2011 | 4:36 pm

    It’s nice to see links to days 1,2,3,4,8,15,28. What about the other days? You could put the day number in the url. Or you could put links in the next for the next and previous.

  10. Elizabeth
    February 14, 2012 | 6:02 pm

    Hi Alexis!

    What a great ‘resource’ your website is – particularly this 31 Days guide. I’m on Day 8 but I thought I’d come back and post a few comments.

    I aim to start my own little venture by April after testing the waters since October last year and seeing the freelance work grow. I’m in full-time work, but handed in my notice recently as I couldn’t continue to do both and I would prefer to go my own way. Risky I know, but I have savings and the freelance work is really growing.

    With this exercise, I discovered that I can start off with relatively low resources at low cost. And that I have friends who’d be interested in being ‘back-up’ if I need to outsource the work. A great start.

    Thanks so much for the structure and advice.

  11. Justin
    August 20, 2012 | 1:34 am

    Not much to post on this one but I will make an effort to be useful to others reading this. If your like me you have a hard time expressing yourself in written communication but you can see the value in seeing your thoughts on paper. I am using an android phone to take my notes. I use a app called evernote and have a speech to text assistant all I have to do is speak what im thinking and most of the time it writes exactly what I say. Great for saving time and keeping on track. Thanks and on to day 3

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