5 Tips For the Aspiring Part-time Freelancer

976083_74231444The down economy is making many workers realize that it is no longer safe to have just one source of income. On the flip side, employers are also making smaller jobs available to outside contractors, opening up more opportunities for people to have side projects outside of their regular day jobs.

Managed correctly from both sides, such working arrangements can be good for both parties. However, part-time web workers often need to do an even better job of managing client expectations and communications than full-time freelancers. Here are five tips for those considering web working outside of their day job for the first time: Read More about 5 Tips For the Aspiring Part-time Freelancer

Our Office: Working Together in a Tight Space

627564_sardinesLast week I woke up to find that my partner had rearranged my home office. She spent the better part of the morning turning it into our home office.
I shouldn’t have been surprised — I’d told her earlier in the week that we might become more productive if we work near each other. At that time it was merely a suggestion. I didn’t think that one day I would just wake up and find it a reality. Read More about Our Office: Working Together in a Tight Space

Are Your Clients Abusing You?

Being a web worker can mean learning to handle many facets of running a small business, including dealing with difficult clients, which can often be one of the biggest frustrations that come with the territory.
But how do you know if your clients are abusing you? Here are a few telltale signs and tips for how to fix and avoid these situations.
The work keeps creeping in. You start with one description of what is to be done and end up doing something entirely different or something that’s way more involved than the original task.
How to Fix/Avoid It: Have a contract and a clear and agreed-upon scope and schedule for each and every phase or project. Outline exactly what is to be done and when it’s due.
The client expects immediate responses or complete availability. Occasionally, you’ll come across clients who want 100% of your undivided attention. They expect emails to be responded to within an hour and work to be completed at an unrealistic pace.
How to Fix/Avoid It: Set expectations from the start. Explain when you’re available to clients, how quickly you tend to reply to communications, and how you prefer to communicate. You may also wish to explain how you work. For example, do you generally devote a set amount of time to each project or client per day? If so, explain this to clients on the front side so that they know what to expect.

Fight or Flight: When Instinct Influences Your Business

It’s a strange thing, but in times like these, when prospective clients have fewer dollars to spend and when there’s more competition in the marketplace due to higher unemployment rates, instinctive responses have a tendency to take over our business decisions.

It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of instinctive “fight or flight” response, so how do we break that cycle?

The Web Worker’s Advantage: A Nimble Business

nim·ble : quick and light in motion; marked by quick, alert, clever conception, comprehension, or resourcefulness.

Being a web worker has its advantages, and one of the biggest is that you can build a very adaptable and nimble business. Here are a few of the ways we stay flexible.

Leads and Letdowns: How Do You Find New Web Work?

Recently, I was commiserating with a friend looking for a new job about the unpleasantness of that task. I remembered the hours of fruitless toiling, sending countless resumes off into the void, along with unique, individually tailored cover letters for hundreds of positions. Days that first seem like a pleasant extended vacation eventually become a drawn-out reminder of just how little money you’re making, and just how unproductive your waking hours actually are.

jobhunting

Thing is, I realized that was what it was like before I became a web worker, when my ideal job was still a cozy 9-to-5 in an office somewhere, with a salary, benefits and a paid lunch hour. Once I gave up that ideal in favor of pursuing freelance opportunities online, the dreaded Job Hunting Process, which I thought was written in stone, largely ceased to exist. Sure, what replaced it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, either, but for all its faults, it definitely beats the cold dread of Workopolis and Monster.com. Read More about Leads and Letdowns: How Do You Find New Web Work?

Relocating Web Worker? Here’s What You Need to Consider

I’m not a big fan of moving, but I tend to do it a lot. Once a year is a rare treat, and generally it’s much more frequent than that.
Since I’m preparing for a move once again, and I’ve actually become much more aware of what it is I do and do not like about the places I’ve called my home office in the past, I thought I’d share a few tips for what to look for if you’re searching for a better space to work.

4 Tips for Making More Money while Staying Local

While some people have the luxury of working solely online, with clients dispersed throughout the world, the reality is that most freelancers need to cultivate local clients — those that they can meet in real life — in order to pay the bills.  Freelance web developer Matthew Pennell has written a post with four useful tips on making more money from local connections.

Matthew says that you should:

  1. Make local connections
  2. Find your neighbors online
  3. Participate in offline community
  4. Use search engine optimization to capture local searches

In particular, I think that the advice on getting out there and meeting your local peers (by joining some groups, perhaps) is valuable: you never know what opportunities might come your way through your network.

The advice to localize your SEO efforts is also worth bearing in mind. Localized searches (for example, “web designer in Bridgeport, Conneticut”) are much more valuable from an SEO perspective. As Matthew notes, there is much less competition for a localized phrase than a more generic one. Clients like dealing with local businesses that they can meet in person. It’s also generally true that local searchers are further along the buying cycle, which means that those searches are far more valuable, as the searcher is more qualified and more likely to make a purchase.

How do you make better use of local connections?