Helping freelancers get better and better while working for you – For the client

Every employer would like to have a freelancer working for him and also him to work better and better. With every work assignment that he gives, the client would like to see improvement. The challenges that are ahead are quite a few, to get this done. The freelancer has to learn, work, contribute and stay on and continue to do better.

The usual method of providing internal trainings imparts the knowledge required to understand and do the work accurately. Such training will pertain specifically to the type of work the freelancer is involved in. This training goes a long way to help upgrade the knowledge about the new trends and innovations pertaining to the work.

Yet another method of getting people to do better is by providing training in related fields of work. Thereby the employee gathers new techniques and uses it to do better at the current one that he is working on. Incorporating certain techniques from related fields of work will add value to the output, since the knowledge base of the freelancer enhances thus.

Another necessary training, on the agenda, should be in time management. The freelancer is then better equipped to handle assignments to keep up with the time lines for delivery of work. Spending time procrastinating can cause discomfort to both parties involved. Even training in yoga and mind control helps.

There are other means to get better as well. This will include using mental techniques to kick start the day. Using energy management to control the mind and body enables an individual to be in control. “To do” lists help a lot. Listing tasks such that they enable you to complete them one by one by not stressing you up is a great way to finish work well.

It is important to learn not to over commit. This way one takes on work that one is capable of completing within a stipulated time.Employers can guide the freelancer to assess the work that he is undertaking. This will improve productivity of the individual bringing about better output.

Giving appropriate feedback also is a training that helps gear up the productivity of the freelancer. A freelancer should know what is right and good about his work. Accordingly, he can garner his skills. Not knowing about the other person’s view of the work done can only plunge him into darkness. He needs this guidance as well!

Most of the time, we find that there are online training offers for freelancers who take up a certain kind of job. Questions about the effectiveness of these remain unanswered. Generally, the ineffectiveness of such online random training is a truth never discussed since many do not want to share or discuss unpleasant experiences they have undergone.

On the contrary, there are quite a few resources available on line which will enable a freelancer to get up-to-date information from a variety of business leaders and thought leaders. There are also courses available online which when used will help brush up existing knowledge and skills. Some of these courses are available as videos to enable the student understand better. A freelancer could go through any of these to understand more about his area of interest.

Women are at a great advantage when running an entrepreneurship is concerned. In developing countries, there are quite a few organizations which the Government promote to ensure job security to women. There are loans available and proper guidance ensuring that women gain success in the world that is getting more and more competitive as days go by.

The success of a freelancer is in running his own business of freelancing, well. What is required is a focused effort on the work. Training may or may not help. Many times people opt for freelancing after a considerable stint in corporate world. Hence, they already will have the training and development done during their career.

Getting a business degree will help in boosting your image, as far as clients are concerned. They would want to know your educational back ground in order to assess whether you can promote their product. A qualification from a reputed university goes a long way in building the trust that is required to bring forth a business deal.

And last but not the least are training workshops which bring together freelancers from various industries thus enabling exchange of expertise on a common platform. More of such learning helps the freelancer to contribute better, with time.

What A Freelancer Really Is Wondering About All The Time

In our previous posts about how to be a freelancer we have discussed about in length about how you can be a freelancer in almost any field of work. Every freelancer whether he or she is a newbie or an established freelancer worries many times about some of the basic questions all the times. In this post we have attempted to answer all the basic questions in one place

How much should I charge?

The question comes up with every job. Of course it all depends on many factors such as the complexity of the job, the time required and the effort on your part. For example a simple article job without any complex technical mentions will earn you less than an article writing job, which requires understanding of complex technical mentions. The amount of money that you will charge will also depend on the client’s budget.

Many freelancers make the mistake of taking in less professional work to build up a portfolio but it only looks bad on the actual portfolio. Professional rates are to be maintained at all times.

Where to find a client?

The best way to fine a client is to stay in the visible at all times. If you go out of picture for a long time and have not been in touch with things around you because you are ‘too busy’ then you will end up losing clients then gaining them. Initially the best way to get work is to approach the clients. If you have some trouble in a direct approach then the best way is to ask somebody else to help you get some work.

How to deal with a client who is unhappy with my work?

Unhappy clients can be easily avoided if you are consistent with your work and make a special effort to understand everything that is required of a job. However the world is not perfect and you are bound to encounter an unhappy client sometime. The best way to deal with an unhappy client is to be polite at all time and present with the completed work at all times. If things you out of hand then you should retract quietly.

How many samples should my portfolio have?

Your portfolio should showcase your latest and best work. Keep the number of samples limited to maximum of 12. If you have done a variety of work the select the best piece out of each category and place it in your portfolio. Keep in mind that prospective clients are more interested in the quality of your work than the quantity of the work. If the client needs more samples of a particular kind then you can also send the samples in mail.

How to manage money and other accounts?

For this it is important to understand the countries freelancing laws. You need to keep track of all your transactions for filing and tax purposes. Financial management is a must for any freelancer. Money also does need to be set aside for rainy days. You can get some advice from an account professional to help you manage better.

What kind of online presence do I need?

In terms of online presence you must have a website and a blog, which will be a home page of all your work. It will also be a one stop information bank for the client who want to know your interests and want to contact you. Make sure that the blogs are all updated and you answer comments on them. Also make sure that your website has all your latest details. It will also serve as a base to give free rein to your thoughts.

When To Say No To A Client

For a freelancer the client in the most important person. The client usually has the final say in the working and completion of a project. However, it is not necessary that the client is always right or you cannot refuse to what a client wants. Many a times it happens that even when you have completed the work the client keeps asking for some ‘little’ changes or additions before making the payment. It is ok to over deliver a little but when the little accumulates to large amount of work it is the time to say no. Many freelancers keep on doing -the work from the fear that the payment will not be made or the client will not give a good reference after the job. This does happen in some cases but these situations can be easily avoided:

Use the ‘can we process the payment while I do this’ technique. Client wants some extra work? Sure, you can do it but can they process the payment first so that your invoicing can go through? This way both parties remain happy.

It is ok to say no if you have other projects: Yes, if you have other projects at hand you can say no to the client for entre work citing the same reasons. If the client values your work then maybe you can work an arrangement both can benefit from.

Say no to the client if you have even a bit of suspicion: It is completely ok to say no to the client if you have even a bit of suspicion in terms of the amount of work or payment. Remember you want to work but the work should not go waste. A client who does not want to share contact information for is not giving the clear instructions for the job then you have the right to be suspicious.

Another time which you will have to say no to the client as when the client promises more work but keeps on delaying it. As a freelancer, long periods of no earnings can lead to a serious imbalance in your budget. Therefore, if the client has promised you more work but keeps on delaying the work and the payment then it is a good idea to pick up another work and ask your previous client for payment.

Say not if the client is offering you a profit: Many start-ups are based on profit sharing basis. If the client if offering you profit sharing in place of payment then you should say no because you don’t know if the business is going to make any profit or not. Granted it make seem very lucrative to be a part of the venture but think about how are you going to track the profits, are you going to be a partner, and how long the profit sharing will go on.

Say not o prospective clients if they are friends or family members: Working for friends and family members can be very stressful for both parties. For you, as a freelancer, there is an added pressure to perform extremely well and at a ‘reasonable price’. For the client it is to convey their review without hurting your feelings. You don’t have to say a direct no, instead use sentences like ‘I am too busy with other projects but I can refer you to xyz person who will be able to do it better’ or ‘I don’t like mixing business with family’ etc.

Say no if you are bulldozed in doing work for charity: Doing work for charity is a good thing if you have volunteered for it. If you are being bulldozed, (by making you feel guilty or appearing to your good nature) and the charity work is going to set you back then say no.

Freelancing On A Shoestring Budget Made Easy With Following Tips

‘We might come closer to balancing the budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule’ – Ronald Regan

In my last post about the importance of budgeting, we discussed about why it is important for all freelancers to maintain a budget at all times. The unpredictable payment structure of your job as a freelancer will not let you have a fixed budget for every month of the year and there will times when you might be operating on a shoestring budget. In this post, we will discuss about some easy tips, which you can use to make a budget that will help you sail through difficult times without having to give up your freelancing dream.

Be realistic

The first thing to do when making your budget is to be realistic. Take the help of online budgeting tools or sit down with pen and paper and calculate your expenditure/ income ratio for the past one year. The easiest way to do that is to divide your income by 12 to find out the average income. For expenditure check your bank balance for the last year and calculate. Once you have the expenditure/income ratio, (which ideally should be less than one) then multiply is by ¾ and this should be your aim for the next year.

Most people tend be overshoot a bit when making the budget because they see the large picture with big amount of money. This is where you have to rein yourself, and make a budget, which looks achievable.

Fix a salary for yourself

This is my secret of budgeting and maintaining the budget at all the times. I have two bank accounts, one in which all the payments come in and the other which is my personal account. At the beginning of each month, I give myself a fixed salary and leave the rest of the amount in the other account. I have been following this practice for two years and have found out that I actually end up saving more than my budget indicated. My monthly budget is then based on the fixed salary that I get.

Ditch the credit cards

Credit cards are easy to carry and use but they can also be the greatest sources of factors that can upset your budget. The ‘buy now pay later policy’ can be quite misleading as you often end up paying more in terms of interests and fees. Therefore, ditch the credit cards when you are working on a shoestring budgets and pay only by cash. This way you will know exactly what you spent and how much you have left with you.

Create an emergency fund

‘Forearmed is forewarned.’ Every budget should have an emergency fund over and above the personal and business accounts. Set aside some money to spend in emergencies such as hospitals, broken computers, extra equipment etc. You can cut down on your monthly expense budget but on no account you should cut down on the emergency fund budget. Keep the emergency funds at a place where you can access the easily.

An emergency fund is the money that you can bank on to keep you afloat during the months in which you are looking for new jobs or have taken a break from working.

Be prudent in spending and bargain wherever you can

Of course, the first rule is that you should not buy what you need. However when you are out shopping for things that you do need, it will not hurt to be prudent in your spending. Check online and newspapers for deals and sales at various stores before you go shopping. You can always bargain for things from the local shop. Before going shopping make a list and stick to it. In fact, if you can take only amount of money that you will need so that you don’t end up buying anything else.

Operating on a budget needs some practice but if you follow through then by the end of six months you will be surprised to see the amount of saving you have.


Discounts, Deals And Free Samples: To Do Or Not To Do?

When a new product is launched in the market, the marketing company makes a marketing plan for the product. The marketing plan many contain discounts, deals or free samples or all three of them to attract customers and establish a base in the market. Similarly, when you are a freelancer you have to from time to time offer some enticing offers to attract clients. With more than 30% of the world population favoring freelance work over regular jobs the competition is tough out there.

Deals and Discounts are also a way in which you can keep your name in circulation. For example if your name is in circulation with deals or discounts for web designing then a client is most likely to hire you then go in search for freelancers whose names are not in circulation.

For freelancers the question of offering discounts, deals and free samples has often been a topic of debate. For some it is a great way to break into the market especially if they have just started as a freelancer. On the other hand, many believe that lowering your quote can harm their creditability as a freelancer. As a freelancer, it is very difficult to estimate the amount of work involved in a project. You can estimate but can never clearly define the amount of effort and time that will go into it.

So the question arises whether you should be doing it or not. The answer is it will depend on project-to-project basis. However, there are some good and bad points, which you can consider to make your decisions easy:

The Good

  • If you have very few clients or have just started then offering discounts and deals can bring you an influx of clients.
  • Free samples of your work will help the client judge your understanding of the project and therefore chances are that you might bag a long-term project.
  • Limited time discounts or one-time deals can get you some quick cash.
  • Discounts, deals and free samples are a great way to build a portfolio as a freelancer and gather some testimonials.
    They are a great way to get into a tight budget client.

The Bad

  • It may seem that you are getting desperate for work and therefore offering the discounts.
  • You might end up attracting clients who want to get a lot of work done by paying meager price, which might not look so good on your portfolio.
  • When you offer a discount, the client might think that you feel that your rates are not justifiable. This might come across as a wrong impression.
  • Of course, you have to use your judgment at times to decide the course of events. Consider the following factors
  • Your current client network
  • Amount of work that you can take on
  • Is it going to put you in loss?
  • Will it benefit you in other ways except monetary

I once had a client interview me for a writing job who wanted five free article samples before hiring me and the job was of a total of 10 articles! Needless to say, I had to decline the offer, as it was clearly a sham to get some free work done. In addition, you have to be careful of clients who do not release your payment until you do some extra work.

When you are offering any kind of deal or discount then make sure that you make all the terms and conditions clear to the client before starting. Remember the idea is to get them to offer you more work and not to think that you are willing to work for less.


Freelance Marketing: Is It For You?

Freelance marketing is a dream job for any persona who is interested in marketing. However, like all other freelance jobs it requires a lot of hard work, organization, discipline, responsibility and patience on your part. If you want to strike out in the world as a freelancer marketer then here are some points, which you should consider before taking a plunge:

Do you absolutely love marketing?

Marketing has never been a fixed timing job. And with freelance marketing you will have to give up the timings entirely. As a marketer it is your job to be on the pulse of the marketing at all times. Even if you are marketing about a small product or targeting a particular demographic, you have to take the global approach. This means that you cannot ever say ‘my working timings are done for the day’.

The other aspect of marketing is that you have to absolutely love it at all the times. Ask yourself if you love people, products and the impact they have. The joy of having to see your marketing campaign take off and be a success cannot be compared with anything else.

Do you know your stuff?

It is one thing to love marketing and other thing to know about your stuff. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down all the things that you think that you think are needed to make a marketing campaign. Do not refer to any help when writing this, write from your own mind. When you are done writing then take a stock of what you have written and what you have missed.

Are you aware of true meaning of terms like branding, return of investment, targeting, engagement, sales, marketing, advertisement, social media marketing, follow up etc? Can you convince the client that you know what you are talking about and why he needs you?  These will be the two important questions that you should know the answers to.

Do you have the right image?

Nobody in this world today in looking for an oily haired sleek looking marketing executive to market his or her product. The world of marketing has moved much beyond its ancestral marketing rules. Marketing today is done both offline and online. As a freelance marketer you will have to know how to combine both means for a successful campaign.

Therefore, before bidding for freelance marketing jobs ask yourself if you have the right image and if not then are you willing to work hard for building one. Your image includes your qualifications, skills and portfolio. Of course your confidence and communication skills top in the list of the image building exercise.

You need to create a brand of yourself. The idea behind this is simple; if you can market yourself then you can market anything. The way you market yourself will say a lot to the client about the way you will market their brand.

Do you have funds to sustain yourself?

When starting out in marketing as a freelancer you will have to promote the brand that you have built for yourself. This will require some expenditure from your side. Sometimes you will need to eve handout some freebies as a part of the promotional package. This means that you might have to give the client a small taste of what he or she can look for if you get the whole project. Therefore make sure that you have at least some backup funds with you that can carry you until you get the payment for the project.

Do you have the tools for the trade?

The tools of the trade include a computer, internet connection, a working email account, telephone number and an office space, in case you need to hold meetings. These tools will help you in getting your work done in time and stay in touch with your clients easily. You will be easily able to present a professional front by utilizing these tools properly.