Posted in freelancing

Freelancing…what it is?

I come across my friends who are not aware of the term freelancing? I am so sorry for not mentioning explicitly what freelancing is all about? But the word “Freelancer” itself is so explanatory.

Wikipedia describes freelancer as “a person who is self-employed and is not committed to any employer for a long term.”

Fields in which freelancing is common include: music, journalism, publishing, screenwriting, filmmaking, acting, photojournalism, cosmetics, fragrances, editing, photography, event planning, event management, copy editing, proofreading, indexing, copywriting, computer programming, web design, graphic design, website development, consulting, tour guiding, video editing, video production, translating, illustrating and micro jobs.(from wiki)

Though it is difficult to gather data about all the above trades and conclude the number of freelancers the world has in the above fields, here is a quick infographics which would help you realize some facts about freelancing.

The first and foremost question is why do people freelance. I found this cool infographic from http://www.theblackandblue.com/2011/12/06/freelance-infographics/

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The advantages as you see can include, time management, having said that there are no schedule limitations; I would say freelancing is a job where you should be disciplined to the core to get the most of your time.

Yes, there is no commute and most importantly there is no one to boss around (isn’t it a big relief?)

But before taking up freelancing you should know whether you have the capacity of pulling off this responsibility wherein whatever you do establishes you as a brand. You are a budding entrepreneur while being a freelancer so the onus of the business lies solely on you. That demands more than 100% dedication and devotion in whatever you do. The word freelancing has a lot of free spirit to it, but with that free spirit comes a huge responsibility of being yourself. Try it if you dare..:)

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Wanna try freelancing?? for which trade???

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There are many different industries having different demands and workloads when it comes to working in those industries. Once, you are a part of one of them you try to find out people/ professionals who are similar to you and whom you can relate to.

I have been on this “find similarity” spree from the day I started freelancing and thanks to my observation I have been able to find out many trades which can be successfully taken up as a freelancer.

Photography:

Photography has always been a freelancing profession it just did not have

If you feel that you can see the world from the back of the lens better than what you see without it then this is a good option for you. The business of photography has been blooming as there is a huge demand for lifestyle photography.

Stand-up comedian:

A very skill specific job but then if your have lot many witty words in your kitty and you are sure that people are bound to find you funny enough to laugh their hearts out, be a stand-up comedian. As all freelancing trades there is no sure-shot pathway to success. It is a lot of hard work.

Painter:

I have been imagining a painter as a freelancer from my childhood days and it is still the same. This is a hugely creative field and I am sure, no creativity can follow deadlines. Rather it is hard to bind a creative mind with some crazy deadline.

Writer:

A lot has been written about writing and freelancing. This trade is for those who find their soul in words. Writer is a hard to find specie. Take this up if you have always wanted to weave words to let the world know what’s happening in your part of the world. Get yourself blogging or start writing content for magazines and alike.

The pain point here is how much should you charge for your services. Well, we are going to discuss this point in the next post and some add on to the above list.

But more than being a freelancer it is being natural in whatever you do. That’s the biggest key of success.

Posted in article, words, Writing

The “me” speech

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I have been away for a while with a packed schedule of trainings and this time I have done trainings to my heart’s content. Training opportunity is always a way to bond with a new set of people. The fun part is I get to know what is trending in all types of industries.  The professional issues which the trainees are facing and also their quest to learn despite of all the issues is something to learn from.

Being a trainer, the first thing which the professionals would like me to tell is what I do? In short they want me to give a “me” speech. Thanks to Carol Tice for introducing this word to me through one of her articles on her popular blog “make a living writing”.

Initially, I used to fumble and used to say whatever comes to my mind. “Well, I am a freelancer doing so and so and from these many years blah blah” but some time later I started feeling that it is not leaving any impact on the audience. Basically, if I am not able to say whatever I am doing in exciting way, it is leaving a question mark on the confidence levels I possess. While training confidence is  the most important virtue and it may act as a catalyst.

The “me” speech had to be exciting because the first and foremost purpose of it is to make you feel enthusiastic about the work you are doing. And training for a professional certification is generally a four day affair, which gives me a lot of time to network and bond with people of different trades.  This “me” speech was a part which I had to work on in order to make the first impression (and as a freelancer you might not get such an easy gateway for introducing yourself).

The “me” speech is totally effective in launching yourself in front of your prospective clients without much hassle.  You never know at what instance you may bump on a potential client.

Let us take a look at what should you include in the “me” speech.

–          A brief and an exciting introduction about yourself and what you do.

–          Couple it up with what kind of clients you would like to work with as in your expectation from the client ( You never know you may be talking to a prospect)

–          Give some instances of your work as well to make the other person understand what exactly your scope of work (if time permits)

–          Be yourself while narrating your “me” speech

For some days now, I have been working on my “me speech” and though I have not crossed my ways with a good amount of prospects as yet, it gives me a huge high saying good things about me and my profession.

Wanna try it???

Here is Carol’s blog if you would like to read.

(The image credit http://www.etsy.com)

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Do what you like….

It is always a pleasure meeting people and knowing what are they made up of!! Freelancing has been fun just because of these people whom I meet every now and then, who make me realize that “Yes!! I am doing the right thing”

Freelancing is more about conviction. Conviction of doing things which you like. Because it is difficult to be  in somebody’s shoes throughout your life. Think about it!!

Good-Evening-Quotes-4

Posted in article, freelancing, words, Writing

The Write Thing!

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Imagine a day when there is a cloud of words surrounding you all the time. The august company of words is overwhelming at times. Besides making you feel assured, it helps you identify yourself over and over again. Be it just a simple blog post or an urgent requirement from a client, words keep coming on the interface of mind and they find their way to the console through the fingertips. Is it really that simple? No…not really.

Let us take a look at what exactly goes in for an article.

A bunch of thoughts

A lot of thought has to be poured in, followed by constant mulling over words. The palette of words presents some good ones, okay ones and the best ones. Choosing them appropriately to build a string of sentence can prove to be the toughest task if there are specific requirements from your client.

The harmony of words

Every article has to have its own persona. You have to set the tone of your article right at the starting of it. It is also very important to understand what you want to tell your reader. Do you want them to just follow the article as instructions or you would like to present your readers with the harmony of words which stays with them for a long time. I usually prefer the second one. Of course there are readers who would never indulge in reading huge paragraphs but the onus lies on you as an author of the article to create the attractive synergy of words, which appeals every reader. Always measure your successes based on whether the non-readers are finding your articles appealing or not?

Offerings to the reader

Packaging is a great deal. If you have all the above things in place without good packaging, the words will surely be losing their sheen. Relatively, whatever efforts you have put in creating the right perspective about the subject matter would not be as effective as it would if the presentation is not paid due attention.

In case of the articles on your blog, always have proper formatting and couple it with a good image. See to that the image is relevant to the subject matter you are writing. Spellings and grammar check is an essential part of packaging along with the right page size.

All your words should get the due respect when you are offering them to your readers. Ultimately, they are the ones which are building your relationship with your readers. The simile of thoughts, the perfect tone and the presentation blends together for building an everlasting connection with the reader. I am sure there are no exceptions to this at all

Posted in freelancing

Freelancing Essentials

Well…from the comments I received on the last post, it is obvious that I should take up writing about the essentials of freelancing.

As a freelancer you are your business’s sole representative, a lot more responsibility of pulling in business lies on you. Putting in some extra efforts to get paid nicely is worth it. These extra efforts may include investing in some important machines and tools to track your work and having record of your work.

Here are some important points to work on when you are about to start your freelancing gig

–        Have a good workstation and comfortable place to work at. It might so happen that you might have to work more than 10-12 hours from that place.

–        Internet connectivity is of utmost important for all types of freelancing assignments. Loss of internet connectivity is like losing your business. Invest in an internet connection with possibly good bandwidth

–        Keep most of the office use material handy, you never know which stuff might be required at any point of time.

–        Create and Maintain important documents like invoices, your timesheets etc. to have a clear track of what are you up to. Besides giving you an idea of pending payments it also tells you the amount of work you have performed during the last period.

–        Scanning documents wherever necessary and linking them with your excel sheets or time sheets is also a good option to centralize all the resources at one place.

–        Have a printer or scanner handy. You can also choose to invest in buying the best of these machines once you are earning sufficiently. Make it a point that you maintain all your important machines periodically.

–        Update your CV regularly, as this is the only document which serves as an interface with the client.

–        Register yourself on all top social networking sites in order to share your work in case you are supposed to.

–        Pay attention to the Intellectual Property while sharing something on the web.

These are off course words of caution for making the most out of freelancing. Remember what you invest is what you get. So, at first it is necessary to invest in a lot of positive energy in whatever you do. The rest will certainly follow with this kind of posts or through your experience.

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Freelancing – starting hiccups

So are you a freelancer?? Well, can you please share how I need to tap on opportunities? This is a general question which people ask as they are curious about what goes into freelancing. On a lighter note, people don’t grow up with a dream of being a freelancer rather freelancing is a career choice which people opt out of no choice mostly . Most of them for sure make it big and some of them do not. This is the reality!! But that does not mean that freelancing is not a good option. I would rather say it is the best option for people who are proactive, would like to take things in their stride and work head on to earn money. Here, the hardwork pays!!

Let us check out some of the starting hiccups

How do I start?

The first step to freelance is to know what your strength is, can you paint well? Do you have graphic design skills which are outstanding? Can you write well? Can you train people with zeal and passion? Knowing your saleable skills is the first step of freelancing.

I know what I am good at now what next?

Internet is a superb tool to find out resources for the skills which you already possess, unless you have proper certification of your skill, who will award you with work? The next thing after knowing what exactly you want to do is getting certified for your skills. If you want to be a writer, attend a course on creative writing so that your skills are enhanced and you can approach and convince your clients more professionally.

Search for freelancing platforms

There are several platforms for freelancing such as odesk.com, elance.com, freelancer.com etc. You can refer to these websites, get yourself registered and find jobs in the suitable category. You can also work your way by spreading a word via your Linkedin profile. Social networking websites like facebook, twitter also help create a good clientele if you share your professional updates regularly.

Building local clients

Spread a word among your colleagues and friends about the kind of services and work you offer. Building local clients and getting business regularly from them is a very important aspect of sustainability in freelancing.

I came across all these questions when I started out, I am sure you too must be thinking about the same..Now, atleast you have this page to step in.

Dont forget to check out the myths and realities of freelancing here.

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Myths of freelancing

Being a freelancer is like being in the spotlight as many people stare at you with different perceptions and prejudices.

The other day at work, one person asked me a very funny question which really left me wondering about people’s perception about freelancing. I should rather praise his straight forward nature for asking this question. He came to me and asked, “Are you a sole breadwinner of your family?”.”We (meaning a couple of his friends and him who were sitting on the same table ) have so many financial obligations, we would never be able to freelance” he said frowning.Instead of speaking further, I kept mum because you cannot really change this perception. Its a myth that freelancing does not earn you money.

There are several other misconceptions regarding freelancing like

Myth #1 People with financial obligations can not freelance.

Rather, I would say that the traditional jobs have been fulfilling our requirement of stability for years together. More than the income source, it is this illusion of stability which we have got used to and which keeps us from taking risks. There are large number of freelancers who are the sole breadwinners of their families and are doing pretty good.

Myth # 2 As a freelancer you can work at anytime you want

Yes, we can certainly work any time we want but there is a little cliche in it. You have to exhibit SUPERLATIVE discipline in order to keep up your commitments with your clients. Because one late delivery can cost you your daily bread.

Myth # 3 As a freelancer you have lesser responsibility than the traditional job

As a freelancer you are the face of your work. It shows up when you perform any work without responsibility. With one small mistake you may lose the job as well as a client. One has to be utmost careful about meeting the deadlines specified by the client providing good quality of work.

Myth # 4 People do freelancing because they cannot find a job

All the freelancers have not always opted for freelancing by choice, but that certainly does not mean that they have taken it up because of lack of skills or survival instincts in corporate world. Yes, it does not offer you “Titles” which you can flaunt with. But it surely equips you with the most important skill of surviving by yourself without any halo of a brand name.

Myth # 5 Freelancing is not a lucrative career option

Any career is a lucrative one if pursued with right dedication and commitment. You can earn as much as your traditional job if you consider freelancing seriously and are ready to put your 100% efforts.

The real need of the hour is to shed the inhibitions and take risks. Remember, there lies a root of entrepreneurship in freelancing!!