A tribute to freelancing veterans

Freelancing veterans remembered here are the people who have sown the seeds for this area of work to develop to what it is now. Many years ago when freelancing was not very popular, few people would have had an idea of starting a new trend. They must have struggled to get themselves interviews and audience with employers who are likely to offer them work.

This is the time when we need to remember them and thank them for the effort they put in to legalize freelancing. Today, they have enabled employers to lead to a large workforce working at different places and different time zones adding value to work done in office spaces and elsewhere.

It is good to know a few veterans, if you are into freelancing. They are sources of much experience and exposure and can guide you well in your work. All this while we were speaking of talent and skills that will make a good freelancer stand out. But, somewhere we have forgotten to mention the experience that a veteran would have to offer. All the training that you may attend may not match up to the experience a veteran can share, to help you learn a few ropes in the freelancing arena.

Most of them must have worked their way up from a very young age. Talk to them about the challenges they have faced at the beginning. They would have valuable lessons to share. Many willingly share their stumbling blocks and learning, so that it sort of guides the new comers.

There is quite a bit to learn on how these veterans would have done their marketing for themselves. Many would have used methods which are outdated now. Careful thinking can revive some of those techniques to adapt to the new world and new generation of freelancers.

What else can veterans offer from their experience? Veterans can offer insights on different styles of work. Some of the older methods may not be prevalent now, but one can revive a few of their styles of work in an innovative way to suit today’s need.

Many of the veterans would have a winning streak in them, which is the reason for their success in work. It is important to learn how they have coped with the demands of their job. The humane element which is missing these days was present during their times. Suggest that the younger generation learn these traits from the veterans. They will give you enough stuff to remember for a life time!

Veterans will have lessons to share on self assessment and evaluation of oneself. They will share with you details on how to keep records of your work. They will also tell you how to plan and construct your career path.

Another area where veterans can provide insight is on pricing. They will share valuable lessons on how you may quote for your work. The present generation is not aware that a good reputation far outweighs the financial status of a person. Hence, try to learn these age old values, which these veterans practiced. Not that they did work for free, but some of them actually was not materialistic or even greedy.

What else can a veteran share about freelancing? He will share lessons on how to balance life and work. He will tell you lessons about how he enjoyed his time with family and friends. He will have stories and funny events that happened in his life during his younger days. Memories of moments that the younger generations miss out due to their involvement in the rat race of life! The competition that is prevalent among younger people to show off and to become winners all the time. Talking of this, yes, the veterans will teach you to take your failures in your stride. After all, life is about winning and losing. It is all in the game.

While you go through the glossary of their life, you will realize that there is no good or bad work. Any work that a person does is honorable. One has to be sincere towards the work he does. That is what veterans in freelancing or any other industry will teach you. That is what the great Indian leader and freedom fighter, Gandhi, says. This is the message that resounds all over the world, even as centuries pass by. The ultimate truth that the next generations will watch and learn from their ancestors and from their experience!

So here, I am saluting those veterans once again. You have shown us the path and we are grateful for it.

Why want to-be freelancers quit early!

Hearing good stories on how a Freelancer earns a lot of money being at home and the benefits enjoyed many get the desire of becoming one. Freelancer’s life might seem to be luxurious as (he) does work as a passion in his own leisure time and (she) could manage the family and need not depend on any other individual for income and support. This might not be the same for rest of the world. There are various views one might have working as a freelancer.

Being in a good day job already and looking to earn more money or joining the path of a freelancer due to comparisons with your colleagues might not help. You must be strongly driven by yourself. You must have the desire to succeed, willingness to learn and adapt to this life.

Expectations should be set based on how far you can coordinate with the job. Taking many tasks in the initial stages might not work as effective as you may think. The ability to take work comes with experience.

At the early stages one might be tempted to take more projects and learn more, but making it as a practice to work on it every day takes time. Freelancing might sound interesting but it has its own cons. You must be patient and learn slowly to get better results.

Ways to survive

A key criterion to succeed and compete in the freelancing world is starting to work.

Taking a simple scenario:

A lady who has a day job and desire to work as a Freelancer has received a considerable amount of work from a client, and she’s been given a deadline. Having taken the work with lot of enthusiasm, the will to improve and thriving to provide a quality job, all of a sudden gets personal problems and her boss at work wants her to extend and finish a project. Her deadline for the freelancing work is getting close and she hasn’t started with it, as she knew it wasn’t a big task and had the overconfidence of completing it. She’s now stuck between the jobs.

To avoid this kind of situations, one must start working from Day 1 and slowly show progress on it. Make sure you push yourself to do the work before you get diverted. Make sure freelancing is one among your top priorities in day to day activities. However when i mention this, i will not mean to project people being Workaholic but to give importance and spare some quality time.

Treat it as your own business

Focus on the goal to finish what you have started with. As you have the liberty and the flexibility to work by yourself don’t give a chance to misuse it. Stay in the right path. You need make your mind that the job given to you is entirely dependent on you, so never let it loose.

Think ahead before you build the job. Spend some time to think how a business owner would react to situations when a new project comes in and the methods he would construct to implement it. You need to make sure your signature is created by itself in the way that you present it. You can do this by making use of the latest trends in your work. Feel energetic and motivated this can help you to survive

Lack of experience

Experience comes along with the work we do. None can be perfect at the very beginning. You must have the patience and overcome the fear of failure. The least feedback you might get from your first client might be to re-do your work again and again. But don’t lose hope.

Like how John Keats mentioned,

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced–even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it.

You must have the confidence to cope up from the stones thrown and you will be molded as a better person.

Keep a practice of learning while you work. While you work on a specific task don’t just find out what it is and implement try to learn the related things as well and this will be reflected in your growth.

Client relationship:

A freelancer generally quit when pressured by client and the way they are handled. Don’t let your emotions overrule you. Always remember to maintain professionalism. Keep your work and speech to the point. Sharing your personal life events may bring many other hidden problems.

Some clients might be harsh and some might be friendly. Make sure you can balance both the kinds of people. Be affirmative, keep the client informed on the progress of work every few days once, but this again depends on how your client wants you to be.

Have in mind the client will never know what you are working on and what he’s going to receive from you. Its certain that you must respond to your client as soon as possible, if the work is not complete sent a receipt of the mail received.

Avoid fear

One among the demotivating factors of quitting early is developing fear. This might be because you have just graduated and took the work or just beginning life as a freelancer.

Know that there are many students who are successful taking their part time jobs working as a contributor. It won’t be picture perfect but slowly you could see greenness at barren days.

You must have the courage to handle, face it more and more to get used to it. Do one thing each day which fears you to build yourself to face the world.

A French poet once wrote,

“Come to the edge, He said.

They said: We are afraid.

Come to the edge, He said.

They came. He pushed them,

And they flew . . .”

Drive yourself to the work you have we never done to explore the possibilities.

Having in mind these ground rules, let’s survive and face the Freelancing world.

Reasons Why Freelancers Should Be Paid More Than Employees

In our last post about ‘How to know when you are being paid enough’ we talked about freelancers being paid more than ‘regular’ employees are. There has always been a debate on whether a freelancer should be paid higher than an employee should. Many a times you will have clients claiming that xyz is the amount they pay to their employees and as a freelancer you should large less than that because they are giving you a ‘chance’. But, that is not true as a freelancer you should be paid more. Here are some of the reasons why:

You are always available

A freelancer does not follow the regular office times of 9 to 5 but is available all the time. Therefore if there is some work that the client needs to get done urgently then they can easily approach a freelancer to deliver within the time restrictions. Therefore for a freelancer who is available for contacts at all times deserves to be paid more.

You are flexible

The biggest advantage that a company/client gets when employing a freelancer is flexibility. In a company to make a change in the work plan or requirements employees have to go through proper channels, proposals, presentations and justifications. When giving work to a freelancer the client gets the advantage of making changes on the fly without wasting any time. Greater flexibility means better payment.

You are the expert

No freelancer can succeed without having some sort of expertise in his or her chosen field. Therefore when a client hires you as a freelancer he or she expects the best. And as they say no price is too great for the best! When the client hires a company to work for them then they do not know who actually will be doing their work for them and it is difficult to get one to one interactions. But you as a freelancer are always available with your expertise.

You do not ask for extra benefit

As a freelancer you don’t have to ask for extra benefits such as insurance, travel allowance, paid leave etc. that means that you save the client a lot of money so why should you not get your piece of the profit. When you look at any company’s financial growth you will see that the companies earn much more than the employees. Therefore you as a freelancer should be paid more than the employees because you are not overcharging or asking for extras.

You are more efficient

As a freelancer you are not time bound by any rules you are your own boss and you don’t answer to anybody. Therefore you get to organize your work schedule. This means that you are more efficient than employees who have to follow a particular schedule for work. This does not mean that you don’t need a schedule but the plus side is that the amount of flexibility you have you can plan your work the way you want. This means that the client gets a more efficient work and efficiency pays, right?

You can negotiate the charges

As a freelancer you deserve to be paid more because you negotiate the charges. This point is purely in your favor. Have you even been to an interview and accepted the first salary offer that you got only to find out later that the work is much more than you expected. As a freelancer you can always scale the charges up and down by negotiating with the client. The client will have to clearly define the work expected out of you.

There are a lot of negotiations involved when talking about money with a client but if you know how much you should be paid the road becomes much more easier.

How To Know When You Are Being Paid Enough As A Freelancer

For a freelancer it is important to be paid well and paid regularly. I admit it is no easy feat but at times all you need is confidence in your abilities. There are mainly three ways a freelancer can be paid: hourly jobs, fixed price jobs and what I like to call give and take jobs.

We are all familiar with fixed price and hourly jobs but not many freelancers take advantage of give and take jobs. These are the kind of jobs in which you do something for a client and in return the client does something for you. For example you write for a photographer and in return he gives you some copyright free photographs or the web designer designs a website you. This type of exchange can be beneficial for both parties. However, the bottom line remains that a freelancer needs to be paid adequately. So how does a freelancer know that he/she is being paid enough and not running in losses? In this post, we will discuss some points, which will help you, figure out the answer to the question:

Do you have enough for overheads?

This is the simplest way to answer the question of adequate payments. When you are done with a job make a list of the number of hours you spent, number on internet hours (if your job requires the same), travel expenses and other expenses and compare it with the payment that you received. The payment is greater than expenses and you have enough left for any overheads then you know that you were paid enough.

Compare with a regular job pay

I know most people say that freelancers should be paid less than the regular employees should because they are just not ‘regular’. However, this is not true, you should be paid the same or even more than that. Therefore, you need to look at the big picture. Compare your earnings with somebody who is doing the same work in a ‘regular’ job. If you are earning at least 3% more than the average earnings then you are doing a good job.

You feel comfortable in taking a holiday

Many freelancers whom I know are not very comfortable in taking even a day off let alone think of taking a holiday. They feel that if they take a holiday in between jobs then they might miss out on some exiting chances or they feel that taking a holiday will put a stop on their earnings. If you as a freelancer fall in either one of the categories then this means that you are not earning enough. You should be able to earn enough to take a break sometimes.

For those who are just starting as a freelancer the excuse that you don’t want to take a break in order to build up a portfolio or to beef up their earning but if you have been successfully freelancing for about a year you should have enough money saved up to not to worry about taking a break with your family or doing some important work.

It is important that you do not compare yourself to freelancers who are working in a different area then you are. They have a different expertise and therefore the payment is different. You can of course compare yourself to your peers to get a fair idea of how much you should charge for your work. As a freelancer, you are rarely going to get regular office bonuses so the knowledge that you are paid well can be a highly satisfying and motivating factor for you.


How to prevent being cheated in freelancing jobs

Quite often, than not we hear about freelancers being duped out of their money or not being paid for the job that they did. It is not only a financial loss but also diminishes the moral of a freelancer. Freelancers especially newbie free levels often fall prey to the fact that have been duped It is easy to pre vent yourself from falling into such situations H you keep the follow­ing in mind:

There is no such thing as simple work and quick money:

Every now and then, you will see advertisements in the mail and newspapers proclaiming that where the job they are offering gives you a chance of earning quick money by waking on pastime basis or wake hg at your continence. This in the biggest trap to lure wannabe freelancers or cash strapped individuals. There is no such thing as part time jobs with lots of money. These are usually data entry jobs that will take up a lot of your time and pay only peanuts.

Avoid free samples:

I once applied for an article-writing job and the client asked for two free samples of the topics, which he gave. It was purely by chance that I learnt that he had asked for two samples each for eight different people. He hired none of us and got 16 articles for free You have to safeguard yourself against such scams the sure shot way to do this is to not agree to free samples of the client’s choice. You can give previous samples of your work. Ok it there is no way out of it than agree to do a small sample and not the full. The client will be able to figure out your work from the samples that you provide.

Safeguard yourself against no payment:

As a freelancer, you do not have a steady source of income. Therefore in the event of non-payment you can face a financial crunch. The best way to avoid this in to take part payment before starting the job and keep taking payments in parts throughout the job. If the client is not ready to give advance then make sure that you have the verified details of the client. This should include phone number (working and checked) email ids and physical address. In case of non-payment, you can then follow up for payment. There will be clients who will delay making payments by giving excuses. Therefore retain the rights of your, walk till you receive full payments

Accept payments through verified means only:

A way to safeguard yourself against bogus payments is to receive payments through a verified medium such as your bank account or on the credit card, which can be traced easily. Keep a record of the payment that you receive for future purposes.

Read the fine print

Many clients and freelancers prefer to sign a contract before taking a job. These contracts are usually legally binding. When you are signing a contract, make sure that you read the fine print about the payment methods and dates. Terms like ‘payment will be made when work is done’ can be misleading if the amount of work is not described beforehand. Therefore, make sure that you know the work and payment proportion.

There is not harm in asking for payments when the work is done because it is your right. Many freelancers face a problem of asking for payment when the client keeps increasing the work. For example, the client hired you for one assignment and then gave you another without paying of the first one. In such situations, it is always good to come out in clear with the client and discuss things rationally.