10 Resources for Beginning Freelancers
The idea of making a comfortable living without leaving your home or putting pants on in the morning is an idea that makes many people drool all over their office clothes. No more commutes, no more company politics.
There are negative aspects to freelancing—clients can be slow to pay or demand millions of revisions that decrease the quality of the product—but the positives by far outweigh the negatives. But, if you want to work for yourself and from home, you can do it.
All you need is the right knowledge, the determination to make it happen, and the skills to deliver what you’re selling.
To that end, here are ten resources that’ll help you achieve this goal. If you do this right, you can craft your work life the way you’ve always wanted. I for one always hated meetings and phone calls that took hours to get through ten minutes worth of content; you can bet those were the first things to go when I found my feet as a freelancer.
If you have a skill, you can do this too. If you’ve been at it for a while and nothing seems to be working, it’s probably because you’re missing some fundamental element of what is required to make this work. These resources can help you too. These are all resources I’ve used myself, whether it was to get a grip on how I spend my working day, invoice clients, or find jobs.
I’ve included a few job boards in this article. If they aren’t job boards for writers, they’re job boards that cater to writers among others, and that’s because I can’t vouch for the quality of any job board that I haven’t used.
1. ProBlogger Job Board
In all honesty, this was not the board where I found most of my freelance work, but it was the place I found the ad for this very website and subsequently got the gig, and thus deserves an honorable mention. The ProBlogger Job Board is a handy tool if you don’t just want to work from home, but want to work on the web, publishing your articles on blogs and various other types of websites.
Every freelancer needs a good invoicing system, or they’d soon become overrun with a chaotic mess and plenty of unpaid bills. Freshbooks has been a pretty good option for many of my invoicing needs and there’s a free plan available. It’s got some cool time tracking abilities built-in, but I don’t use them myself.
3. How to be a Rockstar Freelancer
How to be a Rockstar Freelancer is a book by Collis and Cyan Ta’eed. It’s the bible for freelancers. Don’t get started until you’ve started reading this book. I spent a lot of time looking for a good reference and resource on all things freelancing, and Rockstar Freelancer covers just about everything you need to know. I know at least five six figure earners who, if asked how you should get started in freelancing, will tell you to get this book.
It would be a bit silly to mention Rockstar Freelancer and leave out FreelanceSwitch. FreelanceSwitch is an informative and popular blog that covers all things freelancing, whether you’re a writer, designer, developer or something else entirely. They also have a fantastic job board that costs $7 a month for a subscription, but it has resulted in more paying gigs for me than any other job board out there.
Billable is a great time tracking utility for Mac OS X (all freelancers use Macs, didn’t anyone tell you?). In fact, it can be used to keep track of not only your hours, but every piece of work you do that needs to be invoiced, and even knock up the invoice for you. I use it to track each article I write with an affixed billing price, as well as my hours on jobs that are more about fulfilling a role as opposed to completing a project. I don’t do hourly billing, but keeping track of how many hours you spend on anything is definitely important as a freelancer so you can prioritize and schedule more effectively.
6. Freelance Writing Jobs
Freelance Writing Jobs is one of the most popular freelance writing communities on the web, and they publish very frequent job round-ups. The blog’s authors dutifully scour the Internet for job postings that pay decent rates and publish them in one convenient place. Priceless, both literally and figuratively speaking.
7. Freelance Folder
Freelance Folder is another great freelancing blog with useful content from a whole bunch of varied and experienced contributors. The blog was founded by Jon Phillips, who plays guitar in a rock band. C’mon, a site run by a successful freelancer who also plays guitar? What more could you want?
Blinksale is another cool invoicing service. I use Blinksale and Freshbooks pretty much equally and find both to be great services, and my having feet in both camps is mainly a matter of various clients being on one service or the other (though your clients don’t need to be using these services, it does make things easier). Like Freshbooks, there’s a limited free account available.
WebWorkerDaily is a blog for people who work from the web, and it’s not centered around doing well as a freelancer so much as it is about making your web-working experience more pleasant and productive. It does cover freelancing to a degree, but you’ll also find out which new apps, web services, Firefox extensions and so on will make your life easier.
Slife is an app that tells you how long you spend in various apps on your computer. I use it as an analysis tool—should I swap Flock out for Firefox when I’m writing lengthy posts because of Flock’s inherently distracting and social nature? Slife lets me compare how much I switch from writing my article to using the browser during a given period and decide which is the more productive option. The saying time is money is more true for freelancers than employees, so tracking it and optimizing it are very important activities.
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