Many digital freelancers earning U.S. dollars are now receiving substantially less for the same work, as their own nations’ currencies gain strength against the U.S. dollar. The rates that U.S. companies offer to remote workers may no longer compete with their local firms. Read more »
It’s important to be proactive and figure out for yourself how your strengths and weaknesses drive your web working preferences. You can improve your job satisfaction and make you happier in your work by finding projects and jobs that play to your strengths and preferences. Read more »
If you’re just getting started out as a freelancer, the sheer volume of advice out there about what software to pick up can be intimidating. Luckily, there’s a new Mac software bundle that actually acts as a really good one-stop shopping solution for new freelancers. Read more »
Independent online workers appear to be doing relatively well, according to a report from Elance, which shows earnings increasing for online workers in 40 out of 50 states. And that’s true even for those workers are located in places where other job hunters seeking are struggling. Read more »
The landscape of the workforce is changing. Approximately 30 percent of the U.S. job market today consists of freelancers. If you’re hiring independent specialists, or are anticipating moving toward this direction, here are seven tips to make sure you get solid ROI on your new workforce. Read more »
When you’re trying to run your own business, you need time to experiment and try new methods and approaches to your systems and your work, but you also need time to reflect on what’s working so that you can modify your direction as you go. Read more »
Lots of clients like you to track your time and submit reports detailing your daily activities, so they know their money is being spent well. It’s good practice for them, and it’s good practice for you Read more »
If you pay attention, you can find inspiration and lessons to apply to your business everywhere you look. I’m surprised how many lessons I’ve learned from some of my favorite celebrities. Read more »
If there’s one thing I’m figuring out, especially lately, it’s that you have to be willing to make the approach. You have to be willing to ask for what you want. Ask the person to be a guest for your blog or podcast. Ask to be covered on another person’s site or radio show. Ask someone to join you for lunch or coffee. Just ask. Read more »
If you want to hit 2010 running, you may well be planning to update your portfolio over the next month or so. It can be tempting to just gather together all the projects you’ve done recently and drop them into your portfolio alongside everything else, but […] Read more »
Throughout our careers we freelancers experience alternating seasons of high and low activity. While we may still have projects during seasons of low activity, they may not be as demanding or as regular. During high-activity months, however, we have several leads and potential clients sending queries […] Read more »
We all have stories of that great project we worked on once, or that fabulous client with whom we established the world’s best working relationship. These experiences make inspiring stories that spur us onwards and upwards, to new projects, and new adventures. But this week, I […] Read more »
As we move into another holiday season, I’m already noticing an increase in my stress levels. During the holidays, we all face additional expectations on our time. We still have our regular work to do, but we also have holiday shopping, additional expenses, extra cooking, family […] Read more »
Although freelancers and corporate employees both have stages of moving on in their careers, it tends to happen more often in freelancing. Clients sometimes lose funding or focus. Other times we’re called in for short-term projects and aren’t hired again. But there are other times when […] Read more »
As a freelancer, I get the chance to work with startup companies that are still too new or too small to have a lot of in-house staff. Because of this, I’ve become familiar with the common characteristics that many startups share. As I come to expect […] Read more »
Recently, I’ve noticed that more new clients are coming my way with a single request: to help them revive or resurrect a project, web site, or product that has failed in the past. I’m also capable of creating failed projects myself — sometimes I look at […] Read more »
In the corporate world, it’s easy to track positive mobility in your career. You could get a promotion (a move upward to a position of higher rank or pay), or laterally to a position of similar rank, but with different tasks or projects. Advancement in a […] Read more »
Many web workers are familiar with bid sites like Elance — those sites where a person can post a project and solicit bids. Whether you rely on bid sites to sell your services or you just pick up the occasional gig for a little extra money, […] Read more »
Not long ago, I wrote about TDWcamp, a BarCamp-like event for web workers held in Paris a few months ago. It was useful, edifying and a ton of fun. Today, while browsing some showcase articles at Smashing Magazine, I discovered Freelance Camp, a network of freelancers […] Read more »
Last week I explored the concept Noded working. “Noded” is really a subset of a much wider phenomenon emerging in the world of work — the notion of “portfolio careers.” In her blog on the subject, Katie Ledger — co-author of the forthcoming book “And What […] Read more »
Being a web worker can mean learning to handle many facets of running a small business, including dealing with difficult clients, which can often be one of the biggest frustrations that come with the territory.
But how do you know if your clients are abusing you? Here are a few telltale signs and tips for how to fix and avoid these situations.
The work keeps creeping in. You start with one description of what is to be done and end up doing something entirely different or something that’s way more involved than the original task.
How to Fix/Avoid It: Have a contract and a clear and agreed-upon scope and schedule for each and every phase or project. Outline exactly what is to be done and when it’s due.
The client expects immediate responses or complete availability. Occasionally, you’ll come across clients who want 100% of your undivided attention. They expect emails to be responded to within an hour and work to be completed at an unrealistic pace.
How to Fix/Avoid It: Set expectations from the start. Explain when you’re available to clients, how quickly you tend to reply to communications, and how you prefer to communicate. You may also wish to explain how you work. For example, do you generally devote a set amount of time to each project or client per day? If so, explain this to clients on the front side so that they know what to expect. Read more »
It’s a strange thing, but in times like these, when prospective clients have fewer dollars to spend and when there’s more competition in the marketplace due to higher unemployment rates, instinctive responses have a tendency to take over our business decisions.
It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of instinctive “fight or flight” response, so how do we break that cycle? Read more »
nim·ble : quick and light in motion; marked by quick, alert, clever conception, comprehension, or resourcefulness.
Being a web worker has its advantages, and one of the biggest is that you can build a very adaptable and nimble business. Here are a few of the ways we stay flexible. Read more »
The two biggest problems for most small business owners when it comes to marketing a business are effective planning and consistency.
After what seems like a lot of effort attempting to drum up new business, it’s easy to get discouraged when you aren’t seeing results, but with the right tools and the right approach to planning and carrying out a lead generation plan, you’ll find yourself gaining more and more confidence and traction with your efforts.
Step 1: Setting Up the Nuts and Bolts of Your Plan
First, you have to take the time to carefully consider your options for marketing and promoting your business, rather than just taking a scatter gun approach.
There are many possible tactics for finding new clients and customers, but if you try to do everything, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin. That said, during the evaluation phase, you should throw out every possibility, carefully weighing the pros and cons of each. Then, after you’ve evaluated them, select the tactics most likely to lead to success for your particular business, taking into account your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as your available resources.
You need a tool to help you with the process. I like using Bubbl.us for this, since it’s like mind mapping and allows you to throw out every available option, while keeping you organized. Read more »
I write today to profess a forbidden love. It has burned in me too long, and must be released… I’ve got a thing for Internet James Franco. Let me be clear about this. I have no actual interest in the talented and reliable co-star of Milk, […] Read more »
Starting a business can be a huge undertaking, but fortunately for the aspiring web worker, it doesn’t have to be. The really great thing about starting a web working business is that it getting set up can be easy and low cost. Read more »
I’m not gonna lie, a big reason that I like my current freelance tech blogging gig is the gear. But even if I wasn’t in this particular line of work, I’d still take an unnatural amount of interest in outfitting my office or workspace, regardless of […] Read more »
I read about a study over the weekend that suggests the number of competitors can impact our motivation to compete. The researchers found that with a small number of competitors, people had increased motivation to compete, but even with equal chances of success, our motivation can […] Read more »
Finding work on the web isn’t easy. The time I’ve spent looking for work on freelance job sites has always left me fairly underwhelmed.
Okay, that’s a huge understatement. I dislike having to sign up for different services to access the details of the jobs they’re offering. I loathe having to wade through the reams of alerts I receive from each one. And I can’t be bothered trying to remember which ones require me to buy a subscription in order to pitch for jobs, and which ones don’t, as well as all the other little nuances of each service.
The question is, will DoNanza change all that? Is it the online job search revolution we’ve all been waiting for? Read more »
Palms and crystal clear water. White powder and blue skies. Camels and rippling sand dunes. Whatever your idea of a perfect vacation, if you’re not on a permanent salary, your dream getaway can all too easily stay that way: a dream. If you don’t get paid leave, taking a holiday involves a number of issues. But if you can get over these hurdles, you’ll be on track to check out and kick back… Read more »
Some of you may recall my article a few weeks back, Time Tracking Via the iPhone: 5 Apps Reviewed. In recent weeks, I have continued to experiment with a few different time tracking apps. That was until I came across Time Master, one of the most […] Read more »
In a previous post, I explored the differences between freelancers who monetize just one professional skill and those who sell multiple skills. If you’re the latter kind, and market yourself as a copywriter/designer/consultant/etc., then you’ve probably faced this dilemma: Should you sell all your services through one storefront or have several? Is just one blog or web site enough, or should you create separate sites for each service you offer? Read more »
Public radio program This American Life expanded its second-annual live theater simulcast to a full episode broadcast to more than 400 theaters nationwide last week. While the radio program itself will be aired May 1, the Fathom Events-produced evening was so popular that even out-of-the-loop nerds […] Read more »
Web workers are often hired on on a contract basis. The benefit, and the failing, of contract work is that it is not permanent, and almost always ends. Sometimes you may have ample warning of a contract’s end date if you’ve established a set term beforehand, but sometimes the end comes unexpectedly, and you should always be prepared for that unfortunate possibility. Here’s a guide to the steps you should take when a contract closes. Read more »
Some years ago a web designer asked me if I thought it was right for him to design a site for a religious group whose values he completely disagreed with. “The site is actively promoting their beliefs,” he said, “and I’m not sure I want to be a part of that.”
I was reminded of his dilemma last week, when a potential client contacted me to ask if I could write sales copy for his multilevel marketing scheme — at twice my usual fee. After doing a bit of research on the company, however, it became apparent that this person was running a scam.
As freelancers, we sometimes get requests that we find shady. These can range from the above examples to creating promotional materials for companies whose ethics we don’t completely agree with. How do we deal with these requests? Read more »
You may be a great designer, illustrator, or just a generally creative person, but that doesn’t automatically translate to profitable enterprise, as we’re all probably painfully aware. However, there are a variety of services that provide an avenue to sell your services and make it easier […] Read more »
“What’s your workday like?” Whenever a cubicle-dwelling friend asks me this question, they seem to think that my answer will be representative of what a freelancer’s typical day is like. I often start my answer with “It depends.” Lately, I realized that I didn’t even know how my colleagues would answer this question since we never see each other. I had no idea if we were working on the same project in the same way, or if there were differences in our schedules, apart from the time zones.
This made me wonder: how do most freelancers schedule their day? Do they have a fixed routine? Is there a common element in the way we structure our work days? I decided to ask around and see what other freelancers have to say. Read more »
Thanks to a few lucky opportunities at school, my transition from print to web was a gradual process, and a move that I made voluntarily. That’s not the case for a large number of writers currently making the same transition. The print journalism and publishing industries are in big trouble, with no sign of turning a corner anytime soon. More and more print publications are switching to the web, and finding it hard to deal with the fact that they can’t just move their existing content and keep on doing the same thing, business as usual.
Likewise, writers can’t just keep producing the same kind of content for a different medium. The web, and its readers, demand a different kind of writing, delivered in a different way. It can hard to find the right mix, especially if you’ve spent your entire professional life writing one way, only to be asked to completely change that up. Here are some tips and resources to help get a handle on just what kind of change is required. Read more »
While some people have the luxury of working solely online, with clients dispersed throughout the world, the reality is that most freelancers need to cultivate local clients — those that they can meet in real life — in order to pay the bills. Freelance web developer […] Read more »
When we took our first steps in this world, our feet were unsure and our legs were struggling. The same could be said for freelancers who are venturing onto the web working path for the first time. There are bound to be mistakes and struggles on […] Read more »