Tag Archives: Freelancing

Top 5 Deadly Reasons Online Freelancing is Not for You

5 Deadly Reasons You Should Not Become an Online Freelancer

Almost two months ago, I received a private message via Facebook from one of my ex-colleagues.  She told me that she needed my opinion whether she’ll go full time in freelancing and leave her regular job.  Of course, the very first thing that I told her was to go for it.  That was in the context that I know fully well that she’s a pro in her field and she’s a very talented, skillful, and resourceful woman.  A few weeks later, she informed me that she just handed in her resignation letter.  Hooray!!! *Claps*  But wait…

I might be an advocate for online freelancing but I don’t want people to be uninformed or be misinformed with the serious risks associated with this kind of work.  To many, online freelancers may seem fortunate enough to work on their own, have flexible schedules, and earn more compared to those ones working in the office, but don’t get carried away.  Online freelancing has deadly (literally) risks and you should know about this before you jump into the bandwagon.

5 Deadly Reasons You Should Not Become an Online Freelancer

1. You Pay for Everything

Unlike working in an office wherein your boss or the owner pays for every facility and utility you use, in freelancing you pay for everything.  From the electricity, computer, internet, software subscriptions, down to the repairs and any work-related emergencies – you are the only one responsible for them all.  Compare that to those ones who work in a traditional set-up and you would surely choose the latter because it’s hassle free.  You only need to focus on your work.

As an online freelancer, I keep tab on the additional obligations that I need to properly manage.  Working on my own teaches me to become self-efficient, self-reliant, and most of all I learned to manage my finances the hard way.  If you are not willing to face this kind of responsibility, then online freelancing is not for you.

2. You Can Lost Your Client Any Time

This is one of the main reasons why most people who are new to online freelancing have quit easily.  They quickly labeled the industry as unstable and hurriedly look for a “regular” job.  While it is true that you can lost your client anytime, it is also a fact that 80% of the time, the responsibility of making your client stay is in your hand.  Online freelancing is like having your own business.  You need to know how to keep a constant flow of loyal clients that are willing to work and stay with you.

For me, the most important aspect of freelancing is “Client Retention“.  Anyone can attract a client right away but keeping them for good is where your real skills can be measured.

3. You Don’t Have Instant Insurance and Benefits

Unlike regular jobs wherein insurance and health benefits are already part of the compensation, in freelancing it is the freelancer’s responsibility to get them and ensure they are being diligently paid.  For those who don’t want to be bothered by these things, then freelancing is not for you.

Of course,  this may seem a great disadvantage.  But, once you realized how “much” have you missed by not taking the opportunity to work on your own, you would never be bothered by health insurance or social benefits anymore. (;

4. You Are Solely Dependent on the Internet

Online freelancing is fully dependent on the internet.  If a catastrophic event would lead to the annihilation of the internet, then its bye-bye time for all online freelancers.  This could mean the end of your source of income, the end of your world, the end of Facebook, and end of everything. ):  But, you need not to worry actually because you won’t be alone.  The end of the internet would mean unimaginable lost of income especially for big corporations.  They would surely ensure that the world wide web would keep on going.

In ordinary cases though, the problem with internet is only limited to slow connection and brown-outs more especially here in the Philippines.  The simple solution is to get more than one internet connection (from different internet service providers).  You can get a cable broadband connection and back it up with a data connection that you can use during brown-outs.  You can also buy an electric generator to lessen your work distraction during brownouts.

5. You Can Lost Your Sanity

You can literally lost your sanity if you don’t know when to relax and play.  This can happen to new freelancers who forget that getting more clients is not the main goal.  The main goal is to make them stay and choose you every time a new project comes in.  The moment you accepted more clients than you can handle is the time you increase the probability of losing all of them.

One of the biggest advantage of online freelancing is you can work anywhere and in my case, anytime.  But, these don’t come in easy package.  You would only rip the rewards if you work hard and you know how to manage your time properly.

For those who are planning to embark in this life changing career twist, you should remember that nothing of high value can be gotten in an instant (except for those people who were born in rich and wealthy families).  Online freelancing is not a quick-rich scheme that promises instant cash.  It is a risky career move that doesn’t only need hard-work but persistence, endurance, time, patience, and most of all resourcefulness.

Are you planning to go full time in online freelancing? Share your enthusiasm and fears below.

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Freelancing is a Blessing – Jonalyn Jabinez #FreelanceroftheMonth

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From here onwards, I will be featuring fellow freelancers who successfully created their own career path through online freelancing.  Here, we would take a closer look on how they survive doing it on their own.

For the month of February, I’m featuring a friend who I personally know way back college days.  This person is a very strong woman with a big heart and has great passion for her work.  Above anything else, she loves her family, a doting mother to her two kids.  She’s one of the very few people in my circle that I respect a lot.

Photo: Jonalyn's Facebook

Photo: Jonalyn’s Facebook

This month’s featured freelancer is Jonalyn Jabinez.  Learn more about her and how she got into online freelancing by reading the online interview below.

What get you started in freelancing?

Six years ago, someone left Craigslist open in my computer at the office.  Whoever that was, I have to thank that person.  I browsed through the site and I got interested about the ad that looked for VB programmer. Luckily, I got hired and since VB programming was still so fresh in my mind that time, the client was so impressed about the program I made.  So he hired me for a part time position since I was still working from another company that time.  As months went by, I noticed that my earnings with my home-based job was bigger than my full-time work.  My client was so generous. He kept on giving me bonuses every now and then.  He even bought me a desktop computer with a big LCD Samsung monitor.  So with that, I resigned from my full-time job and started venturing into the freelancing world.

Describe Freelancing in 3 words.

Convenient.  Traffic-free.  Blessing

Are you fully satisfied with your freelancing career right now?

Yes, I am very satisfied because aside from providing my family’s wants and needs, I have time for them.

What are the main advantages in going freelance?

If you are just hardworking, you will earn more and that’s the main advantage in going freelance.  You are traffic free, you don’t have to wake up two hours ahead of your work schedule because you can work even in your pajamas.  You can still work even during out of towns as long as you will have your resources ready and handy.

What are its disadvantages?

Most of the clients would prefer you to work at their timezone.  If you have technical issues with your computer and other gadgets, you have to fix it by yourself in order to make the work done. And if either your internet or electricity is down in the middle of the night and you don’t have any back up, you have to look for a way to finish what needs to be finished.  A client may understand two to three times but sooner or later, they will think it’s an alibi.

What do you think is the main reason why only a few people last in freelancing?

Only a few people last in freelancing because they got bored.  And most people also think that freelancing is easy.  I have been working for almost seven years and it’s really not easy.  You still have to work according to the agreed work schedule.  Hard-work and perseverance are very important.  Newbies also demand for higher pay which got them discouraged if their starting rate is not what they expect.  In freelancing, you have to show what you got first and then name your price afterwards.

What advice can you give to those people who are planning to go freelance?

Just like working in a real office, freelancing also needs your hard-work, punctuality and commitment.

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Top 5 Health Insurance Providers for Freelancers

Travel Quote 3

Travel Quote 3

Working freelance can be an envious idea for fixed-time employees. The idea of being on top of your schedule without the need of dragging yourself up every morning to get yourself at the office on time or squeezing yourself on a bus every afternoon rush seems to be a perfect thing. What is even more exciting about this job is that you could schedule your own break, and oversee your house needs while working in your pajamas. You could even take two, three or more jobs at a time if you can, which is very unlikely for a regular job that eats up your time. It is no wonder that more and more regular employees quit their jobs to work freelance.

These are all too good to be true. There is no perfect world as they say. Though what had been mentioned are the good points of working freelance, before you immediately decide to quit your job, weigh the pros and cons of each. One disadvantage is that you will miss the benefits provided to regular employees like the health care benefit.

Paying for your own health care plan should not be taken for granted. If you had previously used the health card provided by your employer in one of the reputable hospitals in the country, you must have an idea on how much you saved. Can you imagine losing that privilege and pay medical bills out of your pocket?

If you don’t want to spend all your earnings from your freelance job better get a healthcare plan. It is not as expensive or as difficult as you think. Here is a list of some of the health insurance providers in the country that you might want to consider.

The following may not be the complete list of the members of the two organizations. This is the list of the members that offer health insurance plan for individual or family members. Some offer group or corporate plans but I have a great feeling that one of these may have what you look for a health care plan. (All price quoted are based on a 30 year old male or female. Premiums differ per age.)

PHILHEALTH (as low as Php 200/month)

This is the government subsidized health care provider. It is more affordable compared to other private plans but does not offer comprehensive package as others do. Check for the benefit coverage it offers so you’ll see if you’d need additional private health care plan.

  1. It provides room and board subsidy, laboratory exam, and professional fees for confinement of more than 24 hours.
  2. It also provides out-patient benefits
  3. It offers special benefit package like treatments for TB, SARS, H1N1 and other special illnesses.
  4. Some cases classified as non-cost-effective as defined by PhilHealth are subject to approval like optometric services, non prescription drugs and services, fifth obstetrical deliveries and the like.

Blue Cross (as low as Php530/month)

Blue Cross is a member of Association of Health Maintenance Organizations of the Philippines Inc. (AHMOPI) providing medical and travel insurance. The following are good points to consider why to choose this health provider

  1. It provides maximum coverage limit of up to Php 3,000,000.00 and fully reimbursable on eligible medical bills depending on your insurance coverage
  2. It allows flexibility by letting you choose your own hospital, clinic or doctor.
  3. It offers comprehensive coverage
  4. Medical benefits are extended even when you travel
  5. 24/7 customer assistance is available for emergency needs

MEDICARD (as low as Php650/month)

This is the HMO usually provided by employers due to low cost of premium. Not too many may be aware that they also offer individual or family health care plan. Make sure to keep a list of the accredited hospital because they will reimburse you only 80% of the expenses not exceeding Php 5,000 if you’d been to non-accredited hospital in emergency cases. The following are the other benefits they offer:

  1. Hospital confinement
  2. Out-patient care
  3. Preventive Health care
  4. Emergency Care
  5. Dental Benefits

INSULAR HEALTH CARE (as low as Php1150/month)

This company is part of Insular Life Assurance Inc which has been in business for more than 100 years. It is formerly known as I-Care. Here is the list why you would like to consider this provider

  1. It offers competitive rate. For the exact premium rate, you might want to check directly with the company because that depends on every individual. To give you an idea, dental benefit costs only Php 336/member/year
  2. It has built-in life insurance. Being a member of the Insular Life Group, each policyholder is entitled of life insurance benefit depending on the coverage and on the schedule of benefits.
  3. It does not require PhilHealth membership. They pay 100% of the eligible medical charges.
  4. Reimburses up to Php 1,000.00 of the prescribed medicines.
  5. Offers  convenience because they are hospital-based.
  6. They do not require pre-enrollment medical examination.
  7. Provides free annual physical examination.

SUN LIFE PHILIPPINES(as low as Php1250/month)

Sun Life is not a member of AHMOPI but under direct regulation of the Insurance Commission. Among all the insurance companies operating in the Philippines, it was ranked number 1 in 2013. One of the protections they offer is the Sun First Aid. Here is the list why you will choose this product.

  1. It has a money back feature that is unique from other insurance policies. They will give back 50% to 75% of the premiums paid after ten years whether the policy holder had been hospitalized or not.
  2. It offers financial assistance in case of hospitalization. There is cash benefit directly given to the policyholder when confined, if hospitalization exceeds 30days, or if surgery was performed.
  3. It also offers benefits like those you will find in life insurance policies like, life insurance coverage, waiver of premium in case of disability, and accident rider.

In choosing a health care insurance, it is advisable to choose one that is regulated by the AHMOPI or by the Insurance Commission (IC) itself.  AHMOPI is the body that regulates HMO providers in the country. Getting one from a regulated insurance company adds another level of protection to your insurance. The organization will act as mediator between the policy holder and the insurance provider in case of disputes or any irregularities in providing the benefits.

When choosing a health insurance there should always be a perfect mix of quality and quantity. Although you are paying very cheaply in your health insurance make sure that it qualifies to all your bare requirements, such as availability of accredited hospitals or clinics in your area, treatments that you deemed important for your condition and if it will save you from all the headache of following up in your reimbursements because when it comes to health, money can be scarce. So we better make wise decisions!

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Juggling Freelancing and a Day Job: It Can Be Done

Juggling a Day Job and a Freelance Job

Juggling Freelancing and a Day Job It Can Be Done

Having a day job AND doing freelancing work is something that is quite common nowadays. Many employees feel the need to take on freelance work for many different reasons.

Financial considerations are, of course, the most common reason for getting freelance projects despite having a day job. The chance to earn extra money is an opportunity no one wants to ignore. But there are also other benefits to getting freelance work while having a day job:

  • The security of having a regular job while at the same time dabbling with additional work that would allow you to add more to your savings.
  • Getting freelance work helps beat the mundanity of your regular work routine.
  • You’ll be able to experience new things and develop more work experiences outside of what you do in the office. You’ll further hone your present skill set and acquire new ones. This will make you more valuable as a professional.
  • Freelancing allows you to grow your network and make new business connections.

But you also need to realize that keeping your day job and getting freelancing jobs will take a lot of effort to make work. Here’s how you do it:

Know your limit

You should need to implement goals for your work and make sure that it is realistic and something you can achieve. You should ask yourself how much time and effort you are willing to spend for a freelancing product without having any negative effect on your day job. Make sure that your responsibilities are manageable.

Know Your Tax Situation

Holding down two jobs means more taxes to pay. Make sure that you know your tax situation especially with an added source of income. Ask an accountant about the things you need to do in order to protect yourself from any liability.

No Conflicts

Arguably the biggest problem a person who wants to hold down both his day job and a freelancing gig faces is conflict of interest. There are two ways conflicts can happen. First, you may start using your day job time for freelance work. Second, if you are going to rely on your present skill set to get a freelance job then there could be conflict with your employer’s company. For example, if you’re an art director who works for an advertising agency and you get an art director freelance consulting job then there is an obvious conflict there. Again, know your limitations and if you think a conflict is happening resolve it fast.

Day Offs

Most day job/freelancing jugglers are usually faced with a dilemma. How can they squeeze both responsibilities with a limited amount of work hours? The obvious solution is to work on weekends. But experts are saying that you should still have a day off from work. Although a two-day off is the most ideal, setting aside one day can still work. You need to rest and recharge your batteries, so to speak. Getting rest positively affects your productivity so always have some time every week to relax.

 

About The Guest Author

Sean Stone is the CEO of LikeJobs.com, a job vacancies site.

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How to Make Yourself More Employable as a Freelancer

How to Make Yourself More Employable as a Freelancer

At a time when there are around 197 million people unemployed across the globe, there’s no doubt it can be incredibly difficult to find a job. This is highlighted even more by some of the latest figures from recruiters which estimate that upwards of 100 job seekers are now applying for a single vacancy.

So what can you do to make yourself stand out from the crowd and ensure you are picked ahead of numerous other candidates?

Get some experience

According to a study by High Fliers Research – a company investigating recruitment opportunities for university leavers – 36 per cent of jobs offered by employers in 2013 will be awarded to people who have already worked for them in some capacity.

As such, it is essential to get as much work experience as possible, even if this sometimes unfortunately means taking on unpaid work placements or internships. In addition to ensuring you already have one foot in the door at a certain workplace, this experience will help to develop key skills that employers look for – such as communication, organisation and trust, arguably three of the most important for a freelancer. You should also take this opportunity to demonstrate how punctual and eager to work you are, as these are aspects that will be looked upon favourably and give you the edge over applicants who are not currently in similar positions.

Social media

With the popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook increasing drastically in recent years, people are putting more and more information about themselves on the internet. As a result, it has become common practice for employers to search an applicant’s name and find their social media profiles.

Therefore, it is vital you make sure they do not find anything that would put them off employing you. If you are applying for jobs in a certain sector, try to make posts that show your expertise in that area and shy away from making risky jokes or saying things that could be construed as offensive. In certain circumstances organisations have used the content on staff’s social media profiles as ammo for dismissal, which has then resulted in employment solicitors having to get involved to ensure this was legitimate. Unfortunately this is being seen more and more so it’s worth giving profiles a quick once over to make sure there’s nothing on there an employer could look unfavourably upon.

Think carefully about your application

Whereas job seekers once speculatively handed their CVs out to employers en masse, it is now quite common to see applicants copy and paste answers to online questionnaires and send the same resume to a number of different companies.

However, the need to tailor your application to the specific vacancy cannot be understated. This will really pay off in the long run and it is a far more effective use of your time to submit a handful of good, targeted applications than numerous identical ones.

As well ensuring your CV is specific to the particular role you are applying for, producing a cover letter that is unique to the company is also essential. You should look to make sure you make reference to the firm and why you want to work there, as well as highlighting the skills and experiences you possess that make you the ideal candidate.

Time spent researching the company will not be wasted, because you will need this information when it comes to the interview stage of the process. Simply looking at the firms’ websites for a few minutes will not provide you with the required insight, so investigate further to see if you can find out specific details relating to what they do, who they work with and who their competitors are. These are all details that will seriously impress a potential employer and the fact you have done the research shows you are keen to secure the job.

 

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

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Top 5 Frugal and Work Related Reasons Why I Bought a Pocket Wifi

Top 5 Frugal and Work Related Reasons Why I Bought a Pocket Wifi

Before I will rant about the advantages and disadvantages of my newly bought pocket wifi unit, I will list first my expectations and well-thought reasons why I choose to subscribe to an internet service that would bleed me out Php999 every month (with no option to unsubscribe for 2 years).

For someone like me who tried to live frugally (though I often fail), buying another internet gadget and subscribing to another internet service is definitely a big decision to make.  Between the lifestyle that I badly want to maintain and my work, I tried hard to create my own reasons why I need an internet connection all the time.

1. There’s no stable internet connection and signal in the places where I frequently visit outside Cebu.

During holidays and my partner’s work vacations, we often go to his hometown, a small island that’s detached from the main island of Bohol.  My USB broadband stick doesn’t work there and I’ve been scouring for ways to solve my internet connectivity problem.  The thought of getting a pocket wifi has been playing in my mind with the hope that the signal should improve and would allow me to work even if we’ll stay there for a long period of time.

2.  I need a back-up internet connection if my broadband connection at home will break down.

Since I’m a self-proclaimed prepping advocate, the thought of having no internet connection back-up worries me a lot especially in times of calamities and in instances that disruptions of my broadband connection will occur.  As my work requires me to be online all the time, internet connectivity is always in the priority of my list.  The tediousness of going to internet cafes is something that I don’t want to experience again.

3. I plan to increase my frequency in traveling, thus I need an internet connection all the time to stay connected with my work and clients.

Who doesn’t want to travel? Everyone loves to go to their dream destinations without sacrificing their work.  This is one of the biggest reasons why I get a pocket wifi.  Though most hotels and coffee shops nowadays have wifi connections, the thought of not worrying if I can have a connection every time I entered a pub or check in into a hotel is quite liberating.  The days of asking passwords and become frustrated when the wifi connection doesn’t work is gone.  Working anytime and anywhere is very exciting.

4. If my pocket wifi will have good connection and signal at home, I plan to discontinue my broadband subscription on October to minimize expenses for my monthly internet connection bills.

This is something that I’ve been thinking for a while now.  I still have second thoughts in discontinuing my broadband connection because so far it is quite fast and reliable.  We plan on moving again at the end of the year, thus the possibility of disconnection is always high.  But, the thought of only having a wifi connection is something that I can’t see myself doing.  In my line of work, a back-up connection is a must.  Therefore, this reason is just a mere alibi. LOL!

5. To minimize my coffee shop expenses and avoid hanging out in expensive coffee shops just for the sake of getting a faster internet connection.

Obviously, this is my 2nd biggest reason.  Hanging out in coffee shops to get a faster connection for work is really expensive.  Also, I don’t plan to keep on avoiding places which I really like just because they have no wifi.

Lastly, though this is a bit silly and lame, I bought a pocket wifi because I want to check-in (in Foursquare) in all the  places that I go to.  Very, very lame but this is something that I personally crave.  Why? Just because.  Haha!

Do you own a pocket wifi?  What are your main reasons why you bought and subscribe to it?  I hope you also have some valid reasons like mine (except the last one). (:

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Freelancing: The Definitive How-To Home Phone Setup Guide for Freelance Bloggers

N.B.: The article below is not just helpful for freelance bloggers but to any freelancers who travel a lot.  It is written by Rachel Greenberg, a fellow writer from the TheDigest.com.

Whether I’m blogging silly photos of my cat in a bunny costume or offering tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur, the beauty of blogging is that I can write from the comfort of my own home. For all of those at-home bloggers that use a residential VoIP system, they get to experience the best of both worlds: they can work in their PJs, but they also have a fully-featured phone system that gives a highly professional outward appearance.

With VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), customers get a cheap Internet home phone service that is as fully-featured and reliable as any traditional home phone service, but without the high costs associated with traditional providers. In so doing, at-home bloggers can make every penny count without sacrificing quality home phone service.

Cost Savings

If I’m blogging just for fun, blogging full-time, or blogging for a little supplemental cash, I’m most likely in the market for a money saving telephone system.

Installing a telephone line in your home office with a traditional phone provider can result in a huge bill. Traditional phone services often charge installation fees and technician fees on top of you regular high monthly phone bill. And if you want to add a second line, that’ll cost you another pricey visit from the technician.

With a residential VoIP provider, however, you receive much cheaper monthly service, while in many cases installation is completely free of charge. VoIP services usually cost $10 to $20 per line, while traditional phone companies are notorious for charging between $20 and $40 per line.

Free Features

VoIP systems can also offer your at-home business a professional outward appearance to the public. With VoIP companies, you can receive numerous free phone features, such as conference calling, call waiting, and call forwarding, which can make your residential blogging business seem more capable and efficient. Oftentimes, traditional phone companies otherwise charge you for these basic features.

Unlimited Nationwide Calls

Well-respected bloggers need to keep up to date on the latest trends, whether it’s a new technology popular among teens or a promising new anti-aging solution, you need to stay on top of the fads.

In some cases, you’ll want to receive first-hand information, and that more than likely means picking up the phone to call experts, witnesses, and other bloggers. It’s not uncommon, however, that you will need to interview someone who lives on the other side of the country.

The good news is that you don’t have to forgo valuable quotes and opinions from those subjects just because of your fear of long distance calling charges. Countless VoIP providers offer free and unlimited domestic calling on basic residential plans. These basic plans allow you to spend as much time as you want on a nationwide call, jotting down all the juicy details for must-read blog entry.

Low International Calling Rates

Some of the most successful bloggers have worldwide followers. Acquiring a readership that spans the globe means adapting to an international audience. Bloggers need to write about topics that will interest and intrigue international readers, and to do so, bloggers just may have to pick up the phone.

Regardless of whether I’m blogging about current events in China, or announcing a popular hair treatment in the UK, I’ll want to be able to cover every story without worrying about the related phone bills.

Fortunately, various residential VoIP providers offer affordable international calling rates. Many providers charge just pennies per minute for international calling, while others provide unlimited international calling plans. These international calling plans offer unlimited calling to various international destinations for a set fee each month. Residential VoIP provider ITP, for example, features a global calling plan with unlimited calling to 60 countries for a flat rate of $24.99/month.

Flexibility

Perhaps I’m conducting research at the library for my latest blog entry or maybe I’m just hanging out in the coffee shop while I work. With a VoIP provider, I can continue to send and receive VoIP calls even if I’m miles away from my residential landline.

One of the most convenient aspects of VoIP is that with a hosted VoIP system, you can receive your VoIP calls on virtually any mobile device, from PC and laptops to tablets and smartphones.

Simply log into your VoIP account on any of these devices, and a softphone will appear on your screen. A softphone is an on screen dialpad, which allows you to use your device to make a call through your regular landline phone number. You can also receive incoming calls to your home phone number this way.

This is a great feature for bloggers who want the freedom to blog outside of their homes and still remain accessible by their VoIP number. This feature also allows you to take advantage of those unlimited nationwide calls and low calling rates for international calls from any remote location.

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.

About the Guest Author
Rachel Greenberg
is a tech and telecom writer and editor.

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5 Ways to Bring Your Freelancing Career to the Next Level

N.B.  This week’s freelancing guest post is brought to you by Erica Moss, a fellow writer who is also a well-seasoned freelancer.  You will surely learn a lot of new stuff about Freelancing if you’ll continue reading her article below.EOD

Being a freelancer is a very rewarding path for creative and self-motivated people. You’re not tied to a mind-numbing commute or the same drab office day in and day out. You work on different and exciting projects, and meet new people all the time. Those who choose the freelance lifestyle are generally pretty happy with their choice, but finding new clients and new projects can sometimes be the most challenging thing they do.

The one thing that a freelancer should always dread is getting into a rut. If things aren’t improving, then sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of why you even became a freelancer in the first place. It can be extremely beneficial to your career and your well-being to break through these plateaus.

One of the biggest advantages of being a freelancer is that you have control over your destiny, but sometimes it can be nice to have some help. To that end, here are five simple tips to help get out of a rut or over a plateau and to generally improve your freelancing career:

Increase Your Rates as You Gain Skill and Experience

While it may have been okay to charge rock-bottom rates when you were trying to break into the field, your compensation rise should reflect your skill and experience. There is a human psychology element to premium pricing: Those who charge more and have the skills to back it up will often land the job over the cheaper but less-experienced person.

Don’t sell yourself short! You are really good at what you do, better than you used to be, and your rates should reflect that. Try not to let longstanding clients bully you or guilt you into keeping your rates low, either. You need to upgrade your tools and skills over the years, and they secretly know that. And on that note …

Upgrade Your Tools and Skills

Whether it’s learning a new version of the software you use or upgrading your hardware, tools or materials to reflect changing trends, it really helps to keep on top of things. Announcing that you now use a new version of a popular software package or have upgraded to a new device that can help you express yourself better can actually bring in new clientele.

Think about people in your field who are stuck in a rut and keep churning out the same thing over and over again — you don’t want to be that guy. Trends change, and you need to change with them to stay relevant.

Invest in an Online Portfolio

There are so many great online portfolio sites out there that no matter what you freelance in, there’s bound to be a perfect site for you. Many of the high-end portfolio sites have free basic services, but to really connect with others and make it worth the time, you should probably invest in the premium paid service.

If you’re an artist or designer, for example, Behance offers a premium service that can put you in front of serious prospective clients. Photographers might want to try selling their work on 500px or Smugmug. No matter what you do, having the right portfolio site might be the difference between a slow month and a busy one — and sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Take Your Social Media Networking to the Next Level

Whether you love it or hate it, social networking was “the future” of marketing a couple of years ago; now it’s the present. You’ll have a very hard time finding new clients online without the important connections that social media provides. At the bare minimum, having a current and modern website, Facebook profile and Twitter account is required. If you cannot or will not make these profiles and use these services, it might even be worth hiring someone to do it for you.

For every kind of freelancer, there is a valid and important social network. Image-based networks such as Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest can be incredibly beneficial for artists and photographers, while Facebook and Twitter are tremendously important for bloggers and writers — freelance journalists, for example, are expected to have active Twitter accounts at this point. No matter what your discipline or social network of choice, putting effort into your social media outreach will only benefit you.

Find a Mentor

There is nothing like a kick in the pants from someone you respect to get a fire lit under you. Sometimes only that human touch can get us to snap out of a rut. Find someone who is successful in your field or someone you respect and reach out to them. Ask them for advice; be humble; thank them. Remember that some day, someone might ask the same favor of you.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay on track. Remember: You are a freelancer, and the world is your oyster!

Photo above is used under Creative Commons License.  Credit.

About the Guest Author

Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online graduate nursing programs, which partners with Nursing License Map to provide valuable nursing license information. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.

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Freelancing $5 At A Time

N.B.: As what I have mentioned in the previous freelancing guest post that I published almost a month ago, freelancing is a very challenging field and it is not ideal for anyone.  But, if you managed to get your hands on it, it would become a stable source of income with limitless opportunities.  Below is a guest post by my fellow freelancer, Marc Lafleur, on how he managed to start a freelancing career.EOD

Are you dreaming of being your own boss, to start freelancing and take control of your financial life, but don’t know where to start? Have you heard about $5 mini jobs web sites but didn’t give them a try yet?

Let me share with you my story.

It all started in January 2012 when a good friend of mine told me about $5 sites where you can offer mini jobs and also buy mini services. My friend is a funny comedian so he offered was to dance in a spandex suit and do dedicated videos for $5 that people could buy for themselves, their company or their friends. I even bought one from him to wish happy birthday to one of my relative.

I ‘Googled’ it and found sites like www.minijoblist.com, Fiverr, and a few other ones. All have a similar concept and interface and over 15 categories of jobs that you can create: Fun videos, graphic design, tips and advice, video testimonials, social marketing.

One category stood out: Social Marketing. I found tons of people selling Youtube views, Twitter Followers and Facebook Likes. I really had no clue how to do this and had no other skills to sell at the time so came up with an interesting idea: what is I can sell the exact same things that other people sell on the site, and once I get orders I hire someone else from the same site to do it for me?

In example, I noticed that some people were selling 5000 Youtube views for $5. So I decided to 1000 Youtube Views for $5 and every time I would get 5 orders I would pay that other seller $5 to fulfill the job. Soon I was making $50 per day just by forwarding a few emails, which took probably 30 minutes! This little exercise taught me a lot about micro entrepreneurship and 5$ outsourcing. It taught me that you can sell absolutely anything on the internet, even if you don’t have a clue about the industry and even if you don’t have any skills related to the matter. Just sell it, and then find someone to do it for you for cheaper.

Less work, more profits, more time for personal activities that you really want to do. Sweet deal!

So I wanted to take this concept further and promote it on Google (www.buymorefans.co.uk). It was a steep learning curve but I did, and 1 year later I am financially autonomous and starting 3 new online businesses as we speak.

Take control of your life: Sell anything online, then pay someone to do it for you for less. Good luck!

Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.

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Freelancing: How to Build a Client Base Part 1

N.B.: I decided to go full time in freelancing almost a year ago.  My reasons?  To have a more flexible working schedule and to get better income opportunities.  And, as what I expected it is indeed very rewarding and I am encouraging everyone who is interested to try it.  If you are currently committed to your office job, you can freelance in part time basis.  That’s what I did for more than two years before I decided to quit my previous job.  But, just like any other fields, you need to take risks and work hard before you can pat your shoulder and officially welcome yourself in the challenging and enjoyable world of FREELANCING. (:

In freelancing, one of the most important factors that can affect your career’s success is on how to find the RIGHT clients.  Finding clients can be easier especially if you already have enough experience and you got a very good portfolio, but finding the RIGHT ones is one of the most challenging predicament most freelancers have to face.  But, for this post, we will discuss first the basics in finding them.  Here’s the first part of the Freelancing series written by my fellow freelancer, Wes Burns.  Though he uses freelance writing as the example career in this post, the advices can also be applied in other careers. – EOD

Photo Credit

Freelance writing is one of the few “work from home” gigs that can actually bring in real money. Although it helps to be a talented writer, you don’t need to be the next Shakespeare to land jobs as a freelancer. As long as you can string a few intelligible sentences together, there’s a job out there somewhere with your name on it.

The most difficult part of getting started as a freelancer is finding clients. Well, let me restate that – the most difficult part of freelancing is building a client base that brings in consistent money. You can scan job boards for one-time gigs, but the key to lasting success is building a list of clients who return to you for multiple writing jobs.

I’ve spent time on both sides of the fence. There was a time when I was the guy looking for jobs, and there was a time when I was the guy who hired writers. My goal with this post is to use my experience to help you build a reliable base of income as a freelance writer.

FINDING CLIENTS

The first step in building a client base is getting your name in front of prospective buyers. Let me assure you that there is no lack of opportunities out there. The only thing that makes it difficult to find clients is sorting through all the spam and scams that litter the internet.

Let’s take a look at a few legitimate methods for finding freelance writing gigs.

Matchmaking Websites

The easiest way to get your name out there is to visit freelance job boards such as Freelancer.com and Elance.com. These websites act as matchmaking services between those who need jobs and those who need writers. There are dozens of other matchmaking services out there, but I trust Freelancer and Elance the most.

There are pros and cons to using matchmaking websites. On the pro side, there are tons of open jobs right now. If you take a look at either website right now, you will find hundreds of writing jobs ready for the taking.

The downside to using these websites is that most jobs don’t pay much. You and every other aspiring freelance writer are going to be competing for the most desirable jobs. Prices tend to get pushed down and it becomes a buyer’s market. Don’t let that discourage you though; I’ll explain how to make more money in a little bit. The main thing for now is to get in front of clients.

Webmaster Forums

Webmaster forums are places on the internet where website owners congregate to talk strategy. In these forums, webmasters discuss SEO, advertising, making money and everything else related to running a website. There are tons of webmaster discussion forums out there, but two examples that come to mind are WickedFire.com and WebmasterWorld.com.

You will soon learn that as a freelance writer, the majority of your clients are people who run websites. Thus, webmaster forums are “target rich environments.” Join these forums, participate in discussion and let people know that you are looking for work.

Note: do not join these forums and spam your services. Many webmaster discussion forums have special areas where you can pitch your service. It also helps if you can establish a name by participating in the forum as a regular member.

Bonus Tip: If you specialize in a certain type of writing, look around for webmaster forums that focus on that niche. For example, I used to be a big poker player and got my start by writing about poker strategy for clients over at the PokerAffiliateListings.com forums.

That website is a discussion forum designed specifically for people who run poker websites. Joining that forum gave my career a huge boost because it was full of people who needed the exact type of content that I love to produce.

Craigslist

I don’t have any experience using Craigslist to find writing jobs, but I do know of several freelancers who use Craigslist. You can use Craigslist (and other similar sites) to browse open jobs or post your own ads offering your work as a freelancer.

I stayed away from Craigslist when I was looking for new clients because it was full of spam and scams. The only advice I can give you in that regard is to proceed with caution and back away if a job seems suspicious. If someone tells you to visit some random website or makes big promises up front, it’s probably not a legitimate offer.

Note from the Blog Owner: This post will be cut-off from here.  The 2nd part of this series will be published next week.  That part will teach freelance writers on how to write their pitch to potential clients.

About the Guest Author

Wes Burns is an experienced freelance writer and website owner. He got his start as a freelance writer and eventually worked his way into running his own websites and partnering on others with his clients. You can find his latest work over at OnlineFileStorage.com.

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