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!

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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!

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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

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]}

Make Time for YOUR Blog

BloggingLet me begin this post by first admitting that the above photo is one of my all-time-favorites. I still giggle every time I look at it!

Being a freelance blogger for a living, I find it difficult to keep up with my own blog (as you can see by how few posts are up.) I spend all day writing for other people to help get traffic to their site and to help market their business. I am able to see firsthand how much of a difference my social media and blogging work has for my clients and how they get more business and build a following and a narrative for their business. So why am I not doing the same to get myself more business?

I am a list-making, goal-setting, colour-coordinating kinda gal. I realized that I need to use my strengths and my passions to market myself. If you have read any of my other posts, you will know that I have be majorly delayed due to the fact that I am overwhelmed where to start and that I wasn’t sure which direction to go in with my branding.

It is interesting that I have had more epiphanies and organizational break throughs since I started blogging for myself. As a writer it makes sense that I have (and always will) find the most clarity in my mind as I express myself and communicate through writing. I have always found it the best way to collect and organize my thoughts.

This leads me to my point. No matter how sick you are of blogging, or starting at a computer screen by the end of the day – prioritize updating your own blog. I always put it on the back burner because I thought I would have to spend time doing research for my blog. As of now, it is just a way for me to document my experiences, challenges and advice as a freelance and hope to grow it as I get into more of a routine.

Each month, week and day I have goals that I want to reach for my clients that I try to attain through my work for them. I have made it a priority to do an equally good job for myself and my business as well. I have a goal to post 2-4x a week and I am going to stick to it. I need to make, and keep, this commitment to myself.

I would love for people to come to my blog and to like my style of writing, my personality and hopefully want to reach out and chat – or even work together! That is what I am hoping to accomplish with this blog. If you would like to take this journey with me, feel free to subscribe to my blog. You will find that option on the right –>

If not, feel free to check back once and a while. I appreciate your visit. See you soon!

{[Melissa]}

Branding Yourself as a Freelancer

branding-matters-foxhound-large

I have set a big goal for this week. This week I want to nail down my freelance branding. I have been struggling with this for a while and have remain “undefined.” This “undefined” status has created “undefined” work, and I am getting further away from where I started.

It is imperative for my own confidence, for my portfolio, for my social media and for pitching my clients to have my brand and my identity solid.

So how do I decide which direction to go? I am teetering on a few things. Do I go with my name? It’s a safe bet that I can’t get sick of. Should I use something creative – or will people find it cliche?

This is something that I have found difficult, but I am working hard to get it done this week.

Wish me luck and stay tuned!

Also, if you have any suggestions, please leave them below. I would love as much input as I can get.

{[Melissa]}