More News Stories
by creatework.com

ACN Newswire
Preparing your work station   

One of the many joys of freelancing is being able to work from any suitable remote location, obviously dependant upon your type of work. This means that you can completing your invoices from you laptop in bed while still in your pyjamas, writing articles from your favourite coffee shop, or you can be responding to your emails while enjoying the sunshine from your balcony. While this is fantastic, the majority of freelance work is done from a computer, and it is important to have a tailor prepared workstation for you to claim as productive space. Here are some things worth considering when you are setting up your workstation.

Firstly, do you require a desk? If you are going to be on your computer for elongated periods every day, it probably pays to ensure that you are professionally set up for your own comfort and health, which entails that you have a high quality chair as well that can support your back and posture for longer periods of time. If you are using a desk, is it big enough for everything you need? Will you be taking lots of notes and require extra space for this?
The next point to look at is location. Many people find it helps them to have a seperate work space from a living space so that the two different sectors of their lives don't blend together, but other's don't have so many problems with this. Is a home office essential to your needs, or will a simple desk in your bedroom suffice? Do you require a phone outlet within reach or will you be using your mobile instead? Is there enough light to be able to work without straining your eyes? Is there too much that you can't see the computer screen properly? Would you prefer to set your computer by a window to let in as much natural light to your working space as possible, or will the neighbours provide too much distracting entertainment from the apartment across the street?
Talking of distractions, what else exists in your work space that could take you away from your productivity? One of the benefits of having a dedicated home office is that you are less likely to fill a home office with things that can distract you, as opposed to working in a bedroom for example which is much more likely to have televisions, musical instruments, interesting novels and any number of alternative uses of your time looming over your subconscious as you try to push through as much work as possible. Be aware of this and try to minimise this when setting up your workspace, as otherwise you run the risk of procrastinating your responsibilities and having to cram before deadlines which can effect your productivity and, most of all, your quality often diminishes under increased stressed.
Other things to consider are your environment. Are you able to open a window to let in some fresh air? Are you able to control the climate to a comfortable level so that it doesn't distract your concentration? Does it help you to have a plant in the room to make it feel more pleasant to stay in there? If you are taking Skype or video calls, is there anything on the wall or in the room that could be considered unprofessional or inappropriate that your clients might accidentally see?
It is very important to tailor make your working space to all of your personal and business needs, and careful consideration of all of these elements will ensure that you can maximise productivity, maintain a good flow of work, and to work without distraction or discomfort. One last thing to consider, somewhat contradictory to the rest of this article, is that you shouldn't overthink all of this and you should just do what feels natural. If you worry too much about this, you might find that optimising your workstation becomes an obsession and in fact a distraction from your work itself, even if all done with good intention. If, after some time, you need to change, of course sometimes it pays to simply move your desk a few metres for a slightly different atmosphere and view, but don't allow this to cloud your mind and steal you from your work.
Overcoming common problems  

Freelancing often feels like a dream come true - you can be working in a field that is interesting and engaging to you from a desirable location on a schedule that you planned yourself, but it's not an easy way to earn an income. There are lots of bumps in the road between you and your pay check, but a lot of these are easily solved or avoided.

Technological problems - A computer is often very central to freelance work, and is probably one of the most, if not the most expensive piece of equipment a freelancer requires to successfully complete a piece of work. When a computer is experiencing problems, it is frustrating enough, but when you are paid by the project and you are unable to make any progress, it is absolutely infuriating. Always make sure you have all of the contact details of the support team in charge of looking after technical problems in line with the make of your computer, for example, knowing the number for Apple Support for when your Macbook won't turn on. If you can solve technical problems yourself, it's great, but if not then you should know who you can contact who will be able to help you. Sometimes, it's also a good idea to have a backup plan, for example a second computer of a friend or relative you know you can borrow to finish off any projects close to a deadline when yours just won't co-operate. It might also pay off to know of another place you can connect to wireless internet on days when they might be doing maintenance to yours, or on days when yours isn't working to it's usual capacity, but the joy of working remotely is that this can be anywhere.
Finding work - Even after you have established yourself as a freelancer, there will probably be months where the work flow is a little dry and you struggle to find new projects to apply yourself to. The best way to maintain a steady workflow is by having clients who request repeat work from you, but when this isn't enough there are plenty of websites that connect freelancers to clients that might be able to help you score a one-off project to fill the void where your regular clients aren't requiring so much of your services. It is also a good idea to have some money saved to fall back onto for months where work is a little harder to find.
Getting paid - Sometimes clients are very reluctant to part ways with their cash, and this can create a lot of tension between you and them and an overall bad working relationship. Some freelancers like to request half of the payment before they start work and get paid the rest afterwards. Be clear with your clients when you can expect your work to be completed and how much you expect to be paid and by when before you start the project, and maintaining a good connection and rapport with them will help you to build up a trustworthy working relationship. If people fail to pay, if you are working through a freelance website, often they will help to be able to settle the debate, and if not, you may have to review your contract that you set up with the client and even approach a debt collection agency to assist you in getting your funds.
Meeting deadlines - Every client will believe that their project is your top priority when in priority you could be juggling any number of projects, and balancing these expectations can be very difficult. Make sure to keep your work varied and interesting to you, and to set realistic deadlines that still push you to work and to stay ahead of your competition. Aim to completely your work before it is actually due to ensure there is a little extra time for when things do go wrong, and be sure to structure your time off around the fact that you do actually have to be productive in order to be able to survive. Something will always pop up to delay the finish line, but if you plan for this to happen, it will be much less of a problem.

 

Keeping Clients  

Keeping clients is a key factor to ensuring a decent and fairly consistent flow of money into your account, and if you manage to maintain a good working relationship, it is very common for clients to keep requesting your work and services. As a freelancer, you are able to pick and choose your clients and associates to build up a professional circle of people you like to work with and who you trust, but keeping these relationships can often be hard work, especially with so much on the line from your side of the deal. Here are some good practices to make habit to ensure that they keep coming back for more.

Communication - It is a frequently used cliche, but communication is key, and it is probably used so frequently because it is true. Keep your clients updated with your progress, about any hurdles you have overcome or any problems you are facing, as well as any victories and positive updated you can provide them with. Keep a friendly conversation ongoing with them, as much as they are comfortable with, as the closer they are to being friends with you, the more they will want to work with you and to help you out as a business person. Always be friendly, nice, professional, and approachable. Maybe even send them an email to wish them a “Merry Christmas” to remind them that they are still in the back of your mind.
Keep your promises - Make sure that you adhere to deadlines, and maybe even provide work a little early to show that you are determined and to exceed their expectations, but not too early that they push you too hard to work to too strict deadlines that you can't keep up with. Schedule lots of checkpoints where you can talk to each other about the progress of the project. Provide all the work requested to the best standard that you can and within their requirements. Become like a reliable employee and put your money where your mouth is. If you can keep within your deadlines, they will be more likely to pay quickly and will trust you to deliver in the future when they need somebody to do some more work for them.
Make them feel like they are your top priority - You may well be balancing numerous projects in your freelance life, but every client will think that they are your number one priority, even though in reality they probably are just as important as everybody else. Always ensure your clients that they are important to you, and make yourself approachable and contactable while you are working on their projects, and also after you have finished them. Your client will likely know that you are working on multiple projects, but make them feel like they are special and that their work is enjoyable for you.
Appear professional - Okay, you are good at what you do, but do you appear like you know what you're talking about? If you have meetings with your clients, always be prepared so that they can put their trust into you. Always present yourself as well organised, reliable and friendly. Have an agenda prepared before the meeting, and ensure that all of their questions are answered and all of their worries are put at ease. Clients want to have a good relationship with you, but they also want to know that you can deliver results and be a professional when you need to be. Which leads us onto the next point.
Creating contracts - This will not only ensure that you should get paid, and if not it gives you a basis for legal backing, but also it ensures that the client and you are both reading from the same page of the same book. While this might seem quite cold and formal, it gives you both something to support yourself with, should there be any disagreements, and you should be able to settle arguments quickly.
Looking after your clients is a very important part of freelancing, and you should structure this into the time that you plan to work on a project. Good relationships will keep them returning for more work and will help you to establish yourself even further in the field.

 

How to work faster  

Particularly for those who are paid by the project or paid by the page, it is important to be able to work quickly as a freelancer in order to make the most profit out of the time that you dedicate to a cause. While quality is important and helps establish your reputation, quantity is what will pay the bills. Here are a few tricks to help you boost your productivity and to work faster.

Make a plan - a lot of people benefit from having a daily plan, and, especially when you are freelancing, often there are no regulations or rules as to how you should plan out your day. It's very helpful to have set times for work and concrete but reasonable goals to achieve each day. It is also very important to schedule time off, and the beauty of most freelance work is that you are able to plan your own schedules around your social life and your time off. Just make sure you put aside enough time to work and not too much time to socialise. Many people find it helpful to have a very visual aid, and so utilise the calendar on your computer, or make a paper timetable and, most of all, stick to it. You may find it difficult to stick to your self allotted timetable at first, but as you become more accustomed to your work and how long tasks will take, your planning will become more refined and more accurate.
Prioritise - when making your plan, make sure you realise what work is the most important and ensure that this gets done first. If you let the important work linger, it will loom over your subconscious and stress you out. Like writing down a timetable, sometimes it helps to have a visual aid, and there is definitely a therapeutic feeling every time you cross a task off a list.
Time yourself - when you are too lenient with your time, or if you leave your allotted time open, you will almost always take more time to complete a task than if you push yourself. Sticking strictly to pre-allocated time slots is a good way to manage your time and to pressure yourself to work faster and produce more. It takes a lot of discipline and motivation to work when you have a whole day to complete something, so allocate the time to start and the time to finish. When you are new to your freelance work, it is also a good idea to time yourself completing tasks so that you have a fair idea of how long they should take in future, and also so you can set yourself goals to try and complete them faster to see an improvement in your workflow over time.
Disconnect - it is far too easy to switch on Netflix, to look at your phone, to type “Facebook” into the top of your browser or to watch the television. You have to be disciplined, and make sure you don't get distracted. If you can switch off your phone, do so. If you can find a quiet room without any distractions such as a television, that will probably be your best chance of getting work completed, and whatever you do, don't give in to the temptation to procrastinate on the internet. Make sure you allocate downtime and time for yourself, when you can allow yourself to give in to all of these temptations, as it is important to keep a positive and motivated mindset, and working too much will destroy this, but when it comes to your productive time, stick to being productive, and make sure the two don't bleed together.
Treat yourself - after you have completed a project, you will likely get paid, but don't let this be your only reward. If you can motivate yourself with small treats, and discipline yourself not to give in and take them before you have finished a task, then even something as simple as a delicious cookie can have a very positive effect on your workflow. Treating yourself for your hard work in small ways but frequently will help you to keep a positive mindset and to stay focussed during arduous tasks.

 

Going Legal - paying your taxes  

In a standard employment, contracts are signed at the start of a working agreement and, generally speaking, your boss takes care of all of the details after that. You tend to receive a pay check which has your tax and national insurance and any other legal fees (depending upon your country of residence or employment) deducted from your earnings, and any miscalculations are found out when the government does its annual review of taxes or when you do your yearly tax returns and any mistakes are reimbursed, one way or another.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome and most daunting tasks with freelance work and self employment is establishing yourself as a legal entity. Taxes and other legal fees have to be paid as per the law of the country of your residence, and this can get very complicated, however, if it doesn't get done, you will be breaking the law, and you risk the chance of having legal action taken against you.
Firstly, do a little research and try to understand the tax requirements of your country of residence. Different countries have different tax brackets, different laws and different processes that you should familiarise yourself with on a local scale so you know what is expected of you before you even begin. This should reduce the risk of receiving a large bill for your entire year of taxes that will completely demolish all of your savings and potentially cause huge problems for you. A good place to start, if you are struggling to figure it out, is by putting aside 30% of your earnings to put towards your tax. The actual amount can be higher or lower, but this is a rough average that should, at the very least, give you a foundation to work upon.
One idea is to work with a tax professional or an accountant. There are many small firms who specialise in supporting freelancers and self employed people, and although this can be very expensive, it can also save you substantially in the long run. These people know how to deal with tax, and they will be able to ensure that you pay the minimum and correct amount, and will do a lot of the hard work for you. They also will be able to understand all the deductions and credits you are entitled to, providing you give them a very clear picture of what your business entails. You should always ensure that you save all of your invoices and payment information from your clients to send off to an accountant if you wish to pay your taxes this way.
If you wish to tackle the arduous task alone, you should always save your invoices regardless incase of any disputes from the tax man, and also to help you fill out all of the information correctly. There should be sufficient information on the official tax websites of the country that you live in to help you understand how to complete your tax payments, how frequently it has to be done, and how it is regulated. Some countries also have a “Self employment tax” that you will need to be aware of.
If you think you can get away without paying your taxes, you are taking a huge risk. Not only if you get caught will there be fees, but also the accumulated interest on these fees, and it will also be on top of the tax with interest that you owe. It is far better to make sure you file an accurate tax return every year, and if there are huge discrepancies between you and the government, it could simply be some miscalculations from either side, and there are always payment plans available that should make it more approachable to tackle any debt that seems a little out of hand.
It's best just to do things right and properly. Register yourself as a self employed person to your government, set up a plan for your taxes, and make sure you are adhering to the regulations and guidelines set. It is a horrible and time draining task, but it has to be done for your peace of mind and to avoid big problems in the future.

 

Freelancing skills in demand  

Are you looking to move away from conventional office hours to arrange your own schedules, following a career that you are passionate about? If you have any of the following skills, perhaps it is time for you to start looking at freelancing work, as the market is demanding more freelancers in these particular fields.

Languages - communicating effectively with our fellow humans worldwide is becoming more and more of a necessity as businesses become more international and travel is becoming more and more popular. Some people are looking for private tutors online to help learn or perfect a second language. Other people are looking for translation services, which can be done remotely from your laptop. There are even companies that connect language learners with native speakers, just to practice and refine their skills. If you are strong in your native language and like the idea of teaching it as a second language, particularly English, there is likely opportunities you can take advantage of. If you are fluent in two or more languages, maybe you can chase down some translating or private tutoring opportunities.
Writing - there is a high demand for online content producers. It doesn't matter what you like to write about, there are likely employers looking for work in every field, and as long as you have excellent grammar, a large vocabulary, and a strong understanding of whatever language you are writing in, with an open mind you will be able to find work. You may have to start off writing about generic subjects set by your employers, but over time, with practice and with experience, you will be able to refine it down to something you are more enthusiastic about. You can use websites such as upwork.com to search for opportunities. There are also opportunities in proof reading, editing and copywriting for those who are more established in the field.
Marketing - for those who have an excellent grasp at social networking and are good at selling products, there are companies looking for people to utilise these skills to help boost sales. Often payment for work such as this is done on an incentive scheme, and so you have to be really motivated to make a good income, but payment can be really high for those who are particularly successful. When you become more established, marketing director and managerial roles are also possible to work remotely.
Web Development - do you have a knack for coding? Can you build websites from scratch? There is a huge demand for software savvy individuals as every new company is looking for an online presence but not everybody is computer competent enough to set this up themselves. Work can range from correcting errors on websites, general maintenance of websites, creating websites, coding and application development. As there is such a high demand for this work and not so many people able to deliver services for this, payment can be very high.
Accounting - for many jobs that have, for years, been conventionally operated from an office, there is a general trend for people to start freelancing. Accounting is one of these, as almost everything can be completed these days through a computer, and so it can be done remotely. You will most likely require some professional qualifications for this, however if you wish to become more flexible with your schedule, it is possible to work as a freelancer and not in the office if you want to be an accountant.
Graphic Design - it helps massively to have professional qualifications and experience, but graphic designing is a skill for which demand is forever increasing. You should establish yourself with an online portfolio and a strong website that shows your style and achievements if you want to work as a freelance graphic designer. As more companies establish themselves online, it helps them massively to have a strong brand and a strong logo, and if you are able to produce these professionally, pay can be really high.
Photography - photography is a very popular profession for freelancers, but is very difficult to become established in. You will need to have a good knowledge of photoshopping and editing, you will need a strong portfolio, a passion for your skill and also a unique style to become noticed, as well as all of the equipment you require to create the most professional work possible. This may require investing in an expensive SLR camera and some expensive software, but if you become successful, the benefits and job satisfaction can be very rewarding.

 

Freelance writing  
One of the most popular professions to take on as a freelancer is writing, and with more and more companies relying heavily on internet usage, the need for online content has really boosted this sector in the world of freelancing. A lot of people dream of running a profit making blog, however these can take years to properly establish along with a lot of time and effort, and so often the best way to gain experience, refine your skills and to put your foot in the door is to work as a freelance writer.
Freelance writing comes in many shapes and forms. There is a huge demand for online content producers - for people to write blogs and articles for websites of all different kinds of nature. Often employers will ask for a number of short articles of a minimum of 500 words to publish on a website, sometimes asking for very specific content but also sometimes only providing a very generic theme for you to interpret in your own way. Writing topics can be about anything, but some popular themes are travel, fashion, business, food and music, although this really is just the tip of the iceberg. Payment varies drastically, but freelance writers can expect to make a minimum of $5USD for each article which means, depending on your typing and work speed, you can make roughly $15 - $20 USD per an hour when you are feeling motivated and working well. Payment rises for more experienced writers who can prove that they have an excellent grasp of the language that they are writing in (typically English) both in terms of grammar and vocabulary.
As well as content producers, there are a number of other jobs for enthusiastic writers who are looking to freelance. For those who pride themselves on being particularly strong in grammar and spelling can apply to proof read work. Again, this varies drastically, as some employers might ask you to be proofreading short blog style articles and others may well be asking you to proof read an entire book that they have written. This tends to pay a little better than content producing, but tends to be on a pay-per-project basis agreed with the employer before you start work. It helps to have experience in proof reading if you wish to follow this route, and if you have none it might be a good idea to start of producing content to add to your portfolio that you have very carefully double checked for grammatical and spelling errors to prove that you are competent enough to successfully fulfil your role as a proof reader.
Paying towards the higher end of the scale is copywriting work. This entails developing advertising concepts and requires a high level of creativity and original thinking. To become successful, you have to be able to put a unique and individual spin on briefs to develop your own personal style, all while maintaining your client's values and messages that they wish to portray to a target audience. Often you will have to provide several different proposals for one project and, after the client has chosen one, it is likely you will have to continue editing this before you help to oversee the production phase and checking that all the content produced complies with advertising practice regulations. As this is much more technical, experience is often required, as well as a strong portfolio to provide to potential clients.
There are many more freelance roles for writers to fulfil, and this is just a vague idea of the oceans of diverse and interesting work that out there to discover. Some companies can be approached directly, however most will operate through a website such as upwork.com which allows freelancers to create a profile based on their experiences, education and previous work, and to apply to job postings through the website, although they do take a small cut of the final payment as compensation for their services. Freelance writing is an excellent way to develop your writing skills and technique, and with so many styles, topics, and diverse clients looking for content, it is an excellent opportunity to make some money on the side or to start a freelance career.

 

Finding work as a freelancer  

So you have purchased all of the equipment that you require to work your new job with professional ease, and you are mentally rearing to get started on your new freelance project. You have set up an online portfolio, maybe even a website or some social networking profiles linked to your new freelance work, but there is one thing missing between you and achieving your goal - the work itself. Unlike most jobs with conventional hours worked in an office, freelance work doesn't just come to you, and it doesn't grow on trees, and so you have to really proactively go out and search for it.

Before you start approaching potential clients, it is important to be fully prepared and confident in your own abilities so that the client trusts in your pitch and picks you above all the other freelancers looking for work. Ensure that you have a strong portfolio, and also some good and clear examples of work that you can send to them upon request that are specialised in the field that you would be working for if they accept you. Be prepared with a cover strong cover letter that describes some of your experience, your ambitions and goals, why you would be suited to the project and also what will set you apart from everybody else applying for the role. While a lot of freelance work agreements can seem casual, it is important to take everything as professionally as a conventional job interview, because that is essentially what the client is doing when you offer your services to them.
Once you are ready to approach clients, the difficult task is locating them. You may have some people enquiring about your services if, for example, you have set up some social media profiles, and maybe some friends will recommend you to their friends and so on, but really, for the majority of your work, you will have to find it yourself, and until you build yourself a reputation and a brand for yourself, people are not so likely to come to you.
Some companies you can approach directly. They may be advertising on their websites for freelance work and will provide an email address or application form. You can target specific companies that you are interested in working for, and even if they are not advertising about vacancies, it may be worth asking anyway, even if just to leave your contact details with them for any upcoming projects you may be of use for. You have to push aside the idea that you are annoying as persistence is the only thing that pays off - you must go all out with passion and enthusiasm just to get your foot in the door. For freelancers working in a local setting instead of exclusively on the internet, this is often a better option, and for those jobs which require your physical presence, it often pays to visit the companies you wish to target in person so that they can get to know you.
Another method to obtain work is through freelancing websites. There are a number of different platforms where you can create yourself a profile page which reflects the work you are interested in, your experience, your skills and your personality, and then use this to apply to advertised jobs within the website with covering letters and possibilities to provide samples of your work to potential clients. A few examples are peopleperhour.com, freelancer.com and upwork.com which all operate in similar patterns. Most websites like this will take a small compensation out of the payment package to compensate for their services, and a few will ask for a membership fee as well. For those with little experience in freelancing, this is certainly an excellent way to start to gain experience and to start to build up a portfolio. Clients who are happy with the work you produce will often ask you to continue producing for them and so you can start to build a professional network of contacts that you enjoy working with and start to refine you work, which will likely start as quite generic, to something which is more tailored to your interests and the direction you wish to travel in professionally.

 

How to stay motivated  

Depending very much upon your business and your profession, but if you are somebody who works from home, or somebody who is in charge of their own schedule, there will always be times when work is the last thing you want to focus on. One of the key factors to having a successful business is to stay motivated, and in some cases, a lack of motivation can have serious consequences on your monthly income. Sometimes we even start looking for distractions that we can use as an excuse to get out of progressing further, and we always hate ourselves later for wasting the time in retrospect, especially when we are forced to catch up during a time when we should be enjoying some time off. Here are a few tips for creating and maintaining motivation, that can also help you to manage your time.

Manage your time off - Time out of production may seem like a waste when you are driving to create a new business, but if you don't take time out to relax and to rejuvenate it will have a larger negative impact on your productivity and time. Make sure you build some time into your schedule to sit back and to relax and to do whatever it is you enjoy doing. When you do go back to work, you will return with a fresh mind and spirit and feel more motivated to push forwards with what needs to be done.
Do the hard thing first - Is there a big problem that is intimidating you and making you dread going back to work? Is it looming over you every minute of every day, following you around like a little rain cloud? Get it done! The quicker you can get that problem out of your way and out of your life, the better you will feel about working and the easier it will be to progress on with everything else. If you leave this until later and keep putting it off, not only will it bring your mood down, but it could hinder the rest of your work and productivity.
Work in the morning - Get up, have breakfast and go! Much like procrastinating larger problems, procrastinating your productive time means you are more likely to let it slip away and to just not bother in the end. If you start early and keep pushing through, you will feel a more positive vibe and feel more motivated to finish.
Avoid the impossible - Some things just can't be done, but if we hang onto these and convince ourselves that they are possible, we will just continue to hit brick walls. It seems obvious, but it's amazing how many people persistently insist that some things can be fixed. Focus on what you can achieve right now and get that done. This can all be done while keeping a larger and more difficult goal in mind, but the only way you will attack the bigger problems is by using small steps.
Stay healthy - Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in terms of regular exercise and food helps you maintain a positive mood. If you have a positive mood, you will feel better about attacking problems and large workloads. This goes hand in hand with ensuring you spend some time on yourself and doing what you love - a happy worker is a better worker. Staying healthy also ensures you minimise the chance of sickness and unscheduled time out, which can be a real killer when you are running your own business.
Make your bed - This is a bit of a strange one, but if you can visually represent to your subconscious that you are starting the day and leaving behind your sleep and the idea of being counter-productive (lying horizontally and sleeping being the opposite of getting work done) it can have a very positive effect on the mind. Generally speaking, being neat and tidy helps us keep a clean and tidy mind which helps when trying to organise thoughts.
Make a schedule - And most of all, stick to it! Manage your time in hourly blocks, but do remember to be reasonable and not to put too much pressure on yourself that you reject everything. Also make sure you schedule in time for scheduling time, which sounds ridiculous, but otherwise you will be behind before you've even started.
Reward yourself - You've completed some tasks. You've been productive. Give yourself a pat on the back! Self rewarding is a way to motivate yourself, and depriving yourself of little joys until you have finished what has to be done (providing you have the willpower to resist) should help you through big tasks.

 

Common Freelancing Mistakes  

Freelancing is becoming more and more popular in almost every industry sector. Companies are seeing benefits by charging per project instead of hiring people on the traditional 9-5 daily grind, but as a newbie to the world of freelancing, there are many traps you can fall into that can have very negative effects on your pay, your sanity, your reputation and in fact on your social life, which is probably one of the reasons you decided to move away working standard hours. Here are a few things to look out for when you are starting out to help you establish yourself well economically and professionally.

Taking on too much work - when you start out, it's very easy just to keep saying “yes”, but it is very important to know your limitations. It is a good idea to start off by taking only one or two smaller projects until you are confident with taking on more work to tackle simultaneously, as this way, although you will most likely find yourself underworking at the start of your freelancing career, you will not find yourself drowning under your own ambitiousness. Taking on a little bit of work to begin with will also help you to establish just how long each piece of work can potentially take and will help you to plan out your schedule a lot more accurately. If you do take on too much, you can find yourself stressed and overworking which can have a very negative effect on the quality and the quantity of your output.
Lack of planning - working as a freelancer is similar to running a small self employed business. It is a good idea to have dedicated hours to work. It is a good idea to create a legal entity, to file your taxes, and to maintain thorough and accurate bookkeeping. It is important to recognise this as time for working as well, and sometimes it is worth considering this time when you are charging a client for your services. Stay professional, even when the contracts seem casual, and people will treat you more professionally. In another interpretation, planning will help you utilise your day and minimise your procrastination.
Becoming established - working as a freelancer often requires very short term contracts, and you can't depend on your clients to provide long term work unless they offer a long term contract. In today's market, new companies are constantly being set up and old companies are often fading out and the market is quickly changing, for better or for worse. Make sure you don't put all your eggs in one basket, that there is a backup plan for those difficult months when the income isn't coming in as solidly as other months, and that you keep an eye on what is happening in your desired industry sector for new and improved opportunities. Sometimes it helps to make your clients people rather than businesses, as even if a person changes industry or company, he or she will have a good connection with you and will seek you out for your services.
Online presence - these days, almost everything is done online. Make sure you are promoting yourself on freelancing websites. Make sure you have a Facebook page for your business. Make sure you are savvy with all the social networking platforms that will benefit your business. Utilise your personal profiles to advertise for your business, as you never know which old contacts of yours may be looking for your services or who may know people who are. Make a profile on Linked In, so that other professionals can find you. And most of all, maintain all of these and keep them clean, professional, and well updated. Online presence is an excellent form of self advertising, and your name and reputation become like a business that you have to promote.
Undercharging - everybody needs money to survive, and freelancers are no different. It is easy for companies to pay freelancers too little, but you need to ensure that, while working competitively against other freelancers, that you are not undercharging for your services. Likewise, you don't want to dissuade potential employers by charging too much, so finding the balance is essential for successful continuation of your business.

 

  
1  2  3 
  
Page 1 of 3
Top