Author: savvy

Freelancers and Consultants May Need Established Work HoursFreelancers and Consultants May Need Established Work Hours



One of the joys of working as a freelancer and consultant is knowing that you can work whenever you want to, right? Many of us are drawn to freelancing or consulting work because we crave a more flexible schedule and do not want to be tied down to established work hours. What many of us find out rather quickly, however, is that if we do not set some regular hours, we are working around the clock and our clients and customers assume they should have free access to us at any time of the night or day. In reality, established work hours can be beneficial for freelancers and consultants too.

 

Keep in mind that establishing set work hours does NOT mean that you need to work 9 – 5. For example, someone who works as a financial consultant from her West Coast home may find that she is up early (5:00 am) so she can be working when the markets open on the East Coast. This may mean that she is finished working by early afternoon. A freelance writer may find that he or she works better when the house is quite; this means working evenings or early mornings and using the rest of the day for other tasks.

Establishing work hours can also keep you from losing perspective and working too much. Likewise, many of us find that when we DON’T have to work set hours, we slack off and do not get much work done at all. Establishing hours for work can help us to stick to a schedule and create a culture of productivity where we might otherwise find excuses not to work.

When you do decide to establish work hours, decide how flexible you will in regard to taking phone calls, checking emails and other “work-related” tasks outside of those work hours. Some freelancers and consultants find that they can break up their work hours and tasks instead of working straight through for several hours. This can be a good way to stay fresh and focused and mix in other activities and errands during the day. For example, you might want to check e-mail first thing in the morning and make a work plan for the day. Then, take a break and have breakfast, exercise or run errands. You then might be back at work at 10 am and start returning calls and emails. Be sure to let those you work with know when you are working and when is the best time to reach you. This will also cut down and being contacted OUTSIDE of those established working hours.…

How to Become a Successful Freelance WriterHow to Become a Successful Freelance Writer



You have decided you want to become a freelance writer. You would need to have a plan or at least an outline of what you would like to accomplish. You would also need to decide if you want to write for magazines, newspapers, ezines, etc. If you decide to write for a magazine it would be a great idea for you to purchase some of the magazines you would like to write for in order to determine what style of writing they are looking for. It is also important to know their guidelines before submitting any work. This would go for anywhere you would like to submit your material. If the guidelines are not followed you are basically wasting your time. Remember to follow the guidelines this will save you a lot of time and less disappointment.

 

If you have decided to work from home it is important to have your own space. You will need to have a computer, printer, comfortable chair, desk and a small filing cabinet to store your work.

It would be a great idea to start with a writing course. If you do not want to commute, you could take some online courses. Whichever one works best for you and fits your schedule. The course will allow you to get feedback on your material and will also enhance your writing skills, as you practice the many different styles of writing you should be able to receive lots of assignments.

Study other well-known freelance writers and learn from them. Read their material and become familiar with their style of writing. Try to find out how they became successful. The Internet is full of successful freelance writers. Join online forums and other organizations where you can meet other freelance writers. You would need to know who your audience is going to be or who you would like to reach. Align yourself with writers and readers who are interest in your material or style of writing. Networking will provide a great opportunity. It will provide you with the leads you will need in order to get your material publish, by building up your client base and increasing your income and notoriety.

One of the most important steps in becoming a freelance writer is managing your time. Since you set the hours you will work self discipline is a major part of becoming a successful freelance writer. You must learn how to manage your time wisely. You will have to determine how often you will work. The more productive you are the greater chance you will have to succeed.

Set financial goals if you want to make a certain amount of money a month challenge yourself and go for it. Make sure your goal is realistic. Write out your plans on how you will accomplish your goal. If you will write for magazines, online articles, businesses, etc. decide how many articles you will write in a month. Challenge yourself, but remember to be realistic.

You can become a successful …

Struggles of a New Freelance DesignerStruggles of a New Freelance Designer



Are you one of those freelance designers who often find them selves struggling to find clients? Or do you find your self not getting clients at all? I was personally stuck in this category for quite some time. The number one reason why, the lack of a portfolio, along side many other various reasons. So if you are still stuck in this category, I am going to share with you a few tips, and ask you a few questions to try to get you… back on track.

 

Lets get that portfolio up

How many times do you find your self saying, “I just don’t have the time to make a portfolio”. Well look at it this way, do you have any clients taking up your free time? Use this free time to design your self a portfolio. If you find that your having a hard time designing your self a portfolio, DO NOT feel shame in hiring a fellow designer to design one for you, this will also give you more time to design for clients. Remember that we often become our own biggest critic, and designing for our selves can often lead to hours upon hours of pain and agony. Once you have your portfolio design completed, you will feel relieved and satisfied, and finding clients will get that much easier. But trust me, this is just the beginning, but you are also that much closer to the light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

No work for the portfolio?

When I first started, I often caught my self saying “but I don’t have any work to put in a portfolio”. Well this one is easy. If you are calling your self a designer, then you must have some work on that hard drive of yours that is portfolio worthy. Even if it is only two or three pieces, put it in your portfolio! Clients want to see some work, showing them a blank page or promising greatness definitely wont help you. I often found that experimenting with new styles and design techniques made for some great portfolio pieces, I still do this at slow periods, and trust me… IT HELPS.

You have more time than you think

Now even I find myself still falling into this trap! “I just DO NOT have the time to get things done”. Ok, in some cases this may be true, but more likely than not, you are probably just procrastinating. We have so much going on around us, everything will and can distract us, you just cant get away from it, or avoid it! My best suggestion is, in-brace it. Although this may sound bad I think it helps. I find this keeps your mind to stay fresh, and imagination pumping. If you find that letting these distraction be part of your life are causing you to just procrastinate even more, then make your self a schedule, plan your days out. Giving your self some time to get away from …

5 Surefire Ways to Screw Up as a Freelance Consultant5 Surefire Ways to Screw Up as a Freelance Consultant



Ok, there are likely more ways, but here are some proven methods for screwing up as a freelancer.

1. Be disorganized. Ever lose a timesheet with 50 billable hours on it? Lose notes from a customer phone call or a design session? Clients want you to be more organized than they are. Don’t let your inner slob out.

2. Annoy the customer. Customers can be completely infuriating sometimes with unreasonable requirements, curt e-mails, idiotic support requests, and such. You feel completely justified yelling at them. Don’t. You’re getting yourself caught up in your personal feelings instead of focusing on being helpful to the customer. Want to keep customers for a long time? Learn to play on the same team all the time.

3. Be invisible. What’s worse than being a pain in the ass? Being completely invisible! If customers don’t know where to find you, don’t know that you exist, don’t know whether the project is on time or late, have no idea what services you offer, don’t remember that you’re there to help them when they consider their next business expansion… you might as well hang it up. Stay in touch with clients during projects and check in once in a while after the project ends. Work on your client marketing every day until you have a backlog… and then work on it some more until you can hire a subcontractor for some of the work you don’t want to do. Then work on it some more. Make sure you have an ad on sites like FreelanceLocalTech to make it easy for clients to find you.

4. Play politics. Two managers at your client’s office are in a political scuffle and you think one of them is right and the other is a jerk. Here’s a really great recipe for failure: pick sides. No matter who wins, you’re guaranteed a one-way ticket out of there. Never ever ever ever get involved in customer politics. Keep your opinions about employees at your customer site to yourself, unless the boss asks you about an underling and even then hesitate until you feel your arm being twisted out of its socket.

5. Act like it’s not your problem, even if it’s not your problem. One of the underlings at your client screws up the project and you want to just throw up your hands and let him fix it. Bad choice. The client isn’t paying you to let failure happen. The more helpful you are to the person paying the bills, the more bills they’re likely to want to pay. Be proactive about problems, warn the customer of risks before undertaking a path, basically look out for the customer’s interests and the customer will make sure your invoices keep getting paid.…