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10 Resources for Beginning Freelancers

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.

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    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.

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    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.

    2. Freshbooks

    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.

    4. FreelanceSwitch

    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.

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    5. Billable

    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?

    8. Blinksale

    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.

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    9. WebWorkerDaily

    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.

    10. Slife

    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.

    More by this author

    The Importance of Scheduling Downtime How to Make Decisions Under Pressure 11 Free Mind Mapping Applications & Web Services How to Use Parkinson’s Law to Your Advantage 19 Free GTD Apps for Windows, Mac & Linux

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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