Desperation: The Best and Worst Thing for a Freelancer

Freelance

 

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Desperation can cause you to stay up later, try harder and take on projects that you have no previous experience with for a new challenge and to expand your repertoire. On the other hand, desperation can cause you to undercut, undersell and to stick with clients you may be better off without.

Clients can sense the “I-would-do-anything-for-this-gig” desperation. Again, this is not always the worst thing if you are able to stand up for yourself and bargain for a fair price. There is no crime in wanting something badly, in fact it shows passion and perseverance;  but if you aren’t firm about what you deserve in terms of compensation, clients can walk all over you.

Although it is easy to live by [client=job=money] model, if the client or the job isn’t a good fit, you probably shouldn’t take the gig – here’s why. I believe that equation should be more like this [client=good connection=(if you do a good job)possible other connections=ongoing work/ multiple jobs=more money, more connections and hopefully a great recommendation.]

Picking good clients is a skill that you will hone over time as a freelancer. Maybe you really get along with people in a certain industry or geographical area. I am not suggesting that you give up a job because the project seems hard or because a client can be difficult or don’t seek challenges outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it is a push and a challenge that is necessary as a freelancer to be exposed to.

Taking on “different” or “difficult” jobs and clients can be beneficial. It will give you more experience with overcoming adversity, it will sharpen your problem-solving skills and there will be a huge sense of accomplishment once you overcome  and complete this challenge/ job. (Not to mention you will go to your awesome clients and kiss their feet!) 

Just be aware of what you are getting into, and weigh the benefits to ensure that you will gain enough from the challenge. Is it a great portfolio piece, great exposure or even just a great connection to have? If you really can’t find many benefits, and you keep reminding yourself “but it’s a job” – you probably won’t be really happy. Remember. Don’t be too desperate!

Instead, be desperate in a different way and walk business-to-business with confidence selling your services. You would be surprised how many people appreciate the gesture and will contact you afterwards. If they don’t, follow up! “Hey I was that person that came into your shop and we were chatting about puppies. Remember that I am a freelancer and I told you that I can do X, Y or Z for your business? I just wanted to see if you had given that some thought.”

The worst they can say is no.

So go out there and be a certain degree of desperate as you continue to build your portfolio and earn jobs that you want!

Good luck!

Organization: Essential for Success

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday Everyone! There is still so much traffic here that I am going to post here, and to my new website www.thefreelancefix.com. I hope you all continue to read and enjoy!

Success

Organization is an essential part of both your work and your home life. Whether you are a student, a professional or a parent – being organized helps save time and stress. To me, organization is something that is fluid throughout your life. You adapt what organizational practices you use depending on what you are doing. Being organized as a student is very different than being organized for work or as a parent.

Being organized as a freelancer is also different. When you work a 9-5 job, your organization will most likely be planning your days with appointments and projects within that time. You always know when you are working and when you need to get things done. As a freelancer, you juggle the projects you have and don’t necessarily work 9-5. When you score a big project with a deadline, you have to rework your task list and schedule accordingly.

Organization and organizational needs are unique to every individual. Some people are great at memorizing things and don’t have to write things down, some people completely rely on their smartphones for their lists, calendars and appointments and some people (me included) prefer the good ol’ pen and paper method.

As an obsessive-compulsive list-maker and colour-coordinator, I find that I can keep my stress levels down by physically checking things off my many colourful lists. I will either colour coordinate by client, task or amount of time it will take to complete the task. If the day is really packed, then I will highlight in terms of importance incase I have to defer the tasks that I couldn’t get to until the next day.

An application that I have found incredibly useful in keeping my finances organized is Outright. I had tried many applications and websites for tracking income and expenses, but I didn’t like any of them so continued to track my hours on pen and paper. Outright is simple enough but still includes great features. Two weeks ago I stopped recording my hours on paper, which is a huge deal for me! On this program I track my income and expenses and it will email me every week with my income report. They have an option to export your reports to excel, and at the end of each month I print these reports for invoicing. Another great feature of this program is that you can download the app for your smartphone, this means that you can record hours and expenses on the go which can be handy. I would highly suggest checking this website out if you don’t yet have an app or website you use to track your business income and expenses.

I have always been a huge fan of Excel spreadsheets. They are so versatile and have so much potential to keep you on track and organized. I just posted an article to The Freelance Fix Facebook Page (if you don’t LIKE it yet, check it out!) The article went into detail about how you can use excel spreadsheets to plan big projects. It is a really interesting method that I would like to try, I suggest you check it out!

I am a tactile person, so the other thing that I really like is to have my work-related things in organized binders. I print all of my invoices and keep them in a binder that is divided by month. I keep all contracts and pitches I have made to clients in another binder organized alphabetically. I am not saying that this is super efficient – if you keep things on your computer in folders you cut out some time, and the middle man, but it is how I feel I have control and how I feel least stressed and most organized.

Lastly, my planner…

SuccessI really couldn’t live without my planner. It has taken me a while to find one that suits my specific needs, but now we are inseparable. And you can see my cup of highlighters in reach as well!

A combination of these methods is what keeps me productive, prevents stress and ultimately, by making me work as efficiently as possible, it opens the door to take on more work. I credit a lot of my continued success to always being organized. On Sunday, set yourself up for the week – for a week of success!

What methods do you use to keep organized? I would love to know via TwitterFacebook or the comments box below!

To My Awesome Subscribers!

HAPPY FRIDAY

Happy Friday Everyone!

In my last post I let everyone know that I have moved to an exciting new .com! I am still getting subscribers to this blog – I love you all and thank you so much for your support. I just don’t want you to be disappointed when there is no new content uploaded so I have removed the subscribe button from this blog all together. So please visit my new website at www.thefreelancefix.com and subscribe via the toolbar on the right-hand side of the page.

Aren’t a subscriber yet? Check out my new post on Networking vs. Social Networking. If you like it, I would love to see you join my awesome group of subscribers!

Thank you everyone for your support.

I hope to see you at my new site!

Melissa

I have Moved!

were-moving1

Happy Monday Morning Everyone!

I am excited to announce that I have moved to a .com! For all of my subscribers, I just want to say thank you for your support, you can subscribe to my new address here http://www.thefreelancefix.com/ (On the right hand side.) Same content and everything, just fancier. 

Let me know what you think of the new design. I would love any feedback! 

I hope to see you all there. 

– Melissa

***If you have any comments, questions or feedback that you would like to send me privately, you can contact me at thefreelancefix@gmail.com

Hot and Cold with Google+

Google-Plus-Features

Today Google+ is on my mind. I’ve been playing around with it for a while, watching tutorials and trying to interact in the community and grow – but I don’t yet find that platform yielding many results. It is another online avenue to broadcast your content, but at this time I don’t think that many people are using Google+ to the extent of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

I’m maintaining a Google+ account in hopes that I will have a “leg up” when it “takes off” (which I am hearing will happen.) I love everything else Google – Gmail, GoogleDrive, GoogleReader (which they are getting rid of – bummer) GoogleCalendar etc., but for now, Google + is only “okay” to me. At this time I would much rather focus my attention on social media streams that are guaranteed to be viewed.

If you are interested, here is an article that I found on The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Google +. Do you think that the good is good enough?

What are your thoughts on Google+? Feel free to leave your thoughts, ideas, insight and advice in the comments box below!

{[Melissa]}

When Money is Tight

Budgeting

It is interesting how much you learn about yourself as a freelancer. Without a steady paycheque coming in, you learn how to budget well- and fast! You learn the difference between your wants and your needs, and ultimately you realize that you can live without all of that “fluff”.

That “fluff” can be anything – shoes, cosmetics (obsessed) clothes, throw pillows (obsessed), vacations, candles (obsessed), craft supplies or lots of eating out. It’s that nice, cozy padding. I’ve learnt that not only do I not need those things, but I thrive on the challenge of being thrifty, saving money and finding sales. Now I am more excited to grow my savings, then to be spending. The funny thing is that “fluff” that you are obsessing over online, in store, in your head and in your dreams will just disappear.

What helps me is that I love budgeting, spreadsheets and colour-coding. This is something that I find fun and not daunting in the least bit. If you do find it a daunting task, schedule time in your calendar to stay on top of your budget, that way there is no excuse not to do it.

I like to think of “freelance fluff” as the money you’ve been able to stash in savings until an “unexpected event” happens. Maybe  you run over a nail and need to buy 4 new tires (true story), or need cavities filled at the dentist. So be sure to account for monthly savings in your budgeting. Also, budget for taxes! You want to make sure that you have that money for when you need it.

Budgeting

One of the many great things about the internet is that there are a lot of free online tools for budgeting. Whether there are excel templates or microsoft word printables. There is no right way, just use the way that works best for you.

It helps with the stress of the ups-and-downs of freelancing when I can count on my budget. I know exactly how much I need to cover everything – rent, gas, insurance, cell phone, internet, cable, savings and tax money. I also budget in for things like entertainment and restaurants. Budgeting doesn’t mean that you can’t spend any money or have any fun. Just be smart about it. Believe me, it will pay off.

Have problems budgeting? Have certain tools that you love? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

{[Melissa]}

The Beauty of Scheduling Posts

Blogging

It is strange to think that there was once a time in our lives where technology was not as prevalent as it is now. It has become this ubiquitous thing that follows us everywhere – to bed, out to dinner, on vacation. It is this constant, nagging need to update and to stay updated.

As a freelancer and a blogger this is especially difficult to pace yourself on projects, posts and updating your own blog. One thing that has changed my life is scheduling posts – and even emails.

Yesterday I read this article on a great website/blog called Make a Living Writing. If you have never heard of it, or haven’t checked it out, I would highly recommend it. If you have, you will know that there are great articles on Carol’s site. The article was surrounding the idea of being more productive by focusing on one client’s blog posts per day.

This is definitely something that I am going to try. I can just imagine the sense of relief after focusing on one client and finishing a month’s worth of writing in one day. I think that without all of the jumping around from client-to-client, from a variety of “voices” and content would help my workflow and make me much more efficient.

The ability to schedule posts  is an extremely helpful tool if you find you like writing more than one post per day. Recently I began writing a week’s worth of posts on Sunday. Then I can schedule the pre-written posts to upload on the particular days and times that I choose. This means that during the week I can focus on other projects and writing with the comfort that what I’ve written will be posted at the right time.

home-page-late-night-eats

Another helpful thing is scheduling emails. I am a strong believer that you should not answer business emails outside of business hours – especially as a freelancer. Those lines are blurry enough as is, and I don’t want it to seem like I am always available. It just so happens that sometimes the only time I can answer emails is late at night before bed, this is why I love the ability to hit SEND LATER (I use a Gmail plugin called Boomerang) and have the email go out at 9:15AM the next business day.

This gives me the ability to  return emails in a timely manner, but also allows me to focus on writing when I am productive (first thing in the morning) without neglecting emails if I don’t get to them between 9-5. As much as it happens, you don’t want to be the person in someone’s inbox coming in at 3:27AM. If this is a tool that you think you would find useful, I would definitely suggest that you check it out.

Until next time!

{[Melissa]}