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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.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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