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 Many would have used methods which are outdated now.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.

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 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.

Getting Started As A Freelancer

“When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.” – Sigmund Freud

Getting started as a freelancer is very much like chasing your own dream. Freelancers have full freedom to make a career out of whatever they wish to be. As they say  that it is the first step that is difficult; this short guide on how to get started as a freelancer will help you take that first step to a successful and fulfilling career.

How much time do you have?

The first step is to decide on how much time you can devote every day to working. You can work full time, part time or vary your timing depending on the project on hand. The amount of time you have in hand will help you decide the amount of work you can undertake and help you build up a schedule.

What is your area of interest?

The next step is to figure out your area of interest in which you want to work in. The biggest advantage of working as a freelancer is that you don’t have to limit yourself to one particular field only. There are many fields for you to choose from such as writing, software design, software testing, acting, designing and producing artifacts, tele calling, counseling, translation, tutoring etc. Even these fields have many subfields, for example, writing includes blog writing, article writing, website content etc.  Similarly tutoring freelancing jobs can be based on language, subjects etc.

Prepare yourself

Once you have decided on which area you are going to look for work for, it is then time to prepare yourself.  By preparing yourself we mean that you should brush up your knowledge about your area of interest.  Checkout various freelance directories to what kind of jobs are being posted on the board there. This will give you an idea of what is ‘in’.
For example if you are interesting in online or distance tutoring the it would be helpful to you if you brush up your tutoring skills and knowledge on the subject you are going to teach. If you are looking for jobs in web design then make sure that you know about the latest languages in use.

Prepare a portfolio

Some might call it a resume but we prefer to call it a portfolio. Your portfolio will be a showcase of the all that you know. It should contain all the information about you. It should concisely indicate all the work that you have done in the past. List your qualifications in such a way that they make it relevant in the area you are planning to work in. If you have any samples of your work then you can include them in the portfolio too.

How much to charge?

Now it is the time to decide how much you are going to charge for the work. You can charge by the hour or by word or by projects. Make your rate competitive. Remember you can always change your rate after projects and as you gain experience.

Start Applying

With all the above preparations, you are now ready to apply for jobs.  You can list yourself in freelance directories and also apply for jobs individually. If you are applying online then give them a two or three days to reply and make sure that you aim to build a long time contact.
Keep your mind open about some basic negotiations. Remember you are working freelance and therefore you can work on your terms.

Work ethics

It is very important for a freelancer to maintain his/her reputation at all the times. When you make a commitment make sure that you keep it at all times. Do not charge for something, which you have not done. Keep the communication lines open at all the times so that the client can reach you anytime.

By following the above steps, you will have a much easier journey in getting started as a freelancer. Happy bidding!