Why it’s important for freelancers to take breaks

Posted on: April 22nd, 2014

I hope you had a fun Easter filled with chocolate and sunshine. Did you decide to work over the weekend or did you take time off?

I usually spend time working ON my business over the four-day Easter break. However, this year I had a long weekend off. (Well, apart from giving some initial thought to a presentation I am giving later this week.)

I spent most days over the holiday weekend walking. I strolled around Kew Gardens, I followed the Thames path at Richmond and I explored the newly-opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. (Sunday was wet, so not ideal conditions for enjoying a walk.) Today, I am back at my desk and it feels ages since last Thursday afternoon. The difference is, I also feel more refreshed.

As freelancers, it’s important for us to take time off – even if it only for a few days. It is far too easy to get sucked into working all the time. We say ‘yes’ to projects even if we know we are busy and the result is we have to spend our weekends working. But we end up not recharging our batteries.

Two tips to help you achieve your freelance goals for 2014

Posted on: April 6th, 2014

We are now in the second quarter of 2014 (and, in the UK, it’s now the start of the new tax year) so it’s probably a good time to reflect on what happened in your freelance business between the beginning of January and the end of March.

Take out your list of goals you want to achieve for 2014. How much progress have you made towards achieving them?

Don’t worry if you haven’t much all that much headway yet, you still have nine months to go until the end of this year.

TIP 1: Just make sure you take one action today towards achieving the first goal on your list. And another action tomorrow, and so on…

Have you achieved the income targets you set yourself? If so, congratulations! If not, do you know what the reason might be? It might be because something was out of your control, such as the client decided to cancel the project, or they took the work in-house, or you were off sick for a couple of weeks and couldn’t earn anything.

Act Like A Startup: Four Customer Acquisition Tips

Posted on: March 24th, 2014

Dave Marcello is co-founder of Collabo, a virtual water cooler for solopreneurs. Following a ten-year stint as Director of a marketing agency, he is now a freelance creative marketer for startups and small businesses.
www.letscollabo.com
DaveM@letscollabo.com

At some point in every freelancer’s career, you come to the understanding that no matter what your specific skill set is, the ability to consistently identify and close new business is the lifeblood of your operation. But aside from schmoozing networks and attending industry events, I find many solopreneurs have difficulty in the business development area. Never fear, there is hope! It can be found in a similar scrappy-and-crafty work environment: startups.

For a just-born, early-stage startup, there is a magnifying glass over every effort made to acquire and grow its customer base. And with limited budgets, laser focus, and unbridled passion, there are plenty of parallels between startups and freelancers. Here are six ways you can adopt a similar approach to increasing both the quality and quantity of new clients.

7 steps to take you from ARGH!! to AHHH!!

Posted on: March 19th, 2014

Three reasons why your technical knowledge isn’t enough AND how to earn more money, be more likable and be happier too.

85% of your financial success is down to your EQ, MQ & BQ, only 15% can be attributed to IQ.

As a freelancer, you are the biggest influencer in your business and you are what people are buying into. Your biggest asset in business, and in life is YOU; so investing in YOU is the best place to get the greatest ROI.

Your success or failure is down to your ability to relate to others.

Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85% of your financial success is down to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge.

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As a freelancer, what’s your biggest challenge?

Posted on: March 10th, 2014

In the 23 years since I started freelancing (I know, I know, that’s a really long time…), I’ve faced many challenges along the way. In no particular order, they have included:

  • Clients are REALLY slow to pay, seriously impacting my cashflow.
  • Clients reschedule projects that clash with others already in my diary.
  • The cycle of feast and famine (linked to above). One month I may have very little work on and the next I don’t know how to cope with all the projects that are being thrown at me.
  • Clients don’t keep to their side of the schedule but the end deadline can’t move.
  • Clients decide to bring the project in-house in order to ‘save money’.
  • Clients go bust, owing me money.
  • I turn work down because I am fully booked, only to find that a project from another client is then put on the back burner or cancelled completely. (Seriously annoying, that one!)
  • A senior person on the client side decides to get involved when the project is well underway and completely moves the goalposts.
  • Technology fails on the day when there is an urgent deadline (never happens on a Saturday morning).
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My ten tips for freelancers

Posted on: March 2nd, 2014

When I wrote the first post for this blog back in 2010, it was top ten tips for people thinking about going freelance.

Here are ten more tips, for those of you who have already taken the plunge:

  1. Always take time to work ON your business to help ensure you have a pipeline of projects
  2. Be active on social media – it’s a great way of raising your profile
  3. Invest money and time in keeping your skills up to date
  4. Choose a networking group that’s right for you and make it work hard for you
  5. Always meet your clients’ deadlines
  6. Don’t discount your rates
  7. Be prepared to say ‘no’ to a job
  8. Get to know other freelancers in your niche: they are a good source of leads and they can help you out when times get busy
  9. Be efficient at sending out your invoices: the faster you send them out, the faster you will be paid
  10. Always include your terms and conditions when you send out a quote to a potential client.
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