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Thursday, March 19, 2020

10 Things Freelancers Can Do While Waiting...

in line at the grocery store (or while waiting for your favorite senior citizen during the AM rush) or instead of looking out for that promised check, there's still at-home or freelance work out there.  Or if not, there's now is pretty much a good time to assess, explore, and possibly promote.  Most of us with marketable skills will often find a way to sell our services, even if its just a proposal to be a standby for rush jobs.

So here's a list of small tasks that people do as a way to get more money or get their name out there to uncharted territories.

1.  Create a responsive website - even though most hosting packages have this option, you may want to look at mobile versions of competitors for new ideas.  If your host doesn't offer any upgrade options, then it may be time to seek a new host.
2.  Propose to do a guest post - this can get into weird territory but when thought out, it can be advantageous for your business.  If you are a freelancer that's new to an industry, reaching out to someone who's established or their presence has a lot of traffic is a good idea.  It could lead to an alliance or they may contact you to help out with too much business.
3. Take a new profile pic - did you get a makeover or drop a few pounds?  Show off your new look and let future clients know that you care.  Yep, even if your battle of the bulge is ongoing or you like your plain looks, there's nothing wrong with taking a better pic than the one that's currently in your public profile.
4. Start a blog or increase your post times - while some are content with 1-2 posts a week, adding more visuals or relevant posts can increase engagement.  If your social media account has blogging options, this may be better.
5.  Create more visuals - infographics, video, or anything that tells your story without words is something few can live without.  Even if the final product doesn't refer directly to your operation, you can create something based on little-known facts or figures that your audience may not be aware of.
6.  Start a contest or giveaway - there's some good advice on how to start a sweepstake or contest for marketing purposes.  And it can be fun.  In the past, influencer marketing agencies were happy to offer opportunities on behalf of sponsors.  You can also reach out to live clients or through your online network.  This may be better than going through an agency since it only takes two parties to work out terms, as opposed to simply accepting money and not building a relationship.
7.  Find a student to help out - if you're in an area where school is going to be out for a while, and you could use a hand, see if a young person can help out.  Things like data entry, filing, or doing simple social media posts can help you during busy times.  Just like a regular job, allow time for training.  Also, it helps to compensate them, if possible.
8.  Look for better ways to plan your days - sometimes we freelancers tend to move by the seat of our pants when there's opportunity and time feels like it's going to run out.  This means some tasks get pushed to the side or eliminated entirely.  Before you hire a virtual assistant or project manager, find out what you can do to streamline tasks so that everything is completed in a timely manner.
9.  See if you can learn a new skill - while live classes may be out of the question, places like CourseHorse have online offerings by a number of learning institutions.  Even better, your local library may have partnerships with sites like, which can look good on your LinkedIn profile.
10.  Look to rest whenever possible - in addition to better health, taking time to let the body and mind pause for a few hours can lead to better creativity and productivity.  You may even be able to find shortcuts to daily tasks.  Then again, there's multitasking while you wait in line at the grocer's.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Host Virtual Events as an Income Stream

If you use live workshops to promote or sell other services, then chances are you may have to come up with another strategy.  Even though some people may be off work or have limited hours, you can still come up with some creative ways to sell that book, workshop or other money-making entity.  If you haven't considered hosting a virtual event in the past, then this may be another way for you to keep up with the rising cost of toilet paper and bottled water.

The Basics of Virtual Event Planning

While you may have heard of event planning courses, these aren't necessary unless you plan to make this your business.  Only those who go on to work with corporations should invest in a certificate, otherwise starting off with an inexpensive online certificate program is enough to give you a better idea of what's involved.

On the other hand, if you just want to do this for yourself, virtual event planning basics can be broken down into just a few steps.  A lot of people who run their own online webinars often say it's a learning curve in the beginning but once you get the hang of apps like Zoom, it all falls into place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Freelance Gig Worth Considering: Career or Interview Coach

While some interview coaches are also life coaches, you don't have to have a life coach certification to work with interview candidates.  Although marketing or public relations expertise helps, a degree isn't necessary either.  However, a graduate degree may be required if you want to work with college students.

It helps to keep a pulse on what type of counseling job seekers need at the moment.  Keep in mind that not industries are the same and people can only be true to themselves when communicating.  Your goal is to open their eyes to hindrances and seek solutions that will give them more confidence about what they have to offer.  Presentation is everything when it comes to interviewing.  Some people with so-so resumes (in terms of work history) have been able to score a job based on how they were able to sell themselves.

This is a growing field due to many factors that are happening in the current work climate -

  • People who desire to change careers
  • People who are over 40 and haven't been on an interview since Clinton was in office
  • People who want to become freelancers but don't know where to start
  • ...and yes, people over 40, who want to change their line of work and be their own boss after spending nearly half of their life working for someone else.

And the list goes on...

Those who've served time or got fired from their last job, and a growing interviews. There's also a niche for disabled workers that want to supplement their disability income.

Even if a candidate has none of the above issues, they could still be selling themselves short of that dream job.  Nervousness, lack of knowledge, and even a modest attitude can kill an opportunity.  With careful thought and the ability to execute a reasonable strategy for your clients, you can build a nice client base.

Setting Up Shop
In the beginning, it may help to be a specialist instead of a generalist.  Those specialties should be 1-3 industries with which you're familiar.  If there's a small employment agency in your area that has an influx of clients, you may want to start off offering free services until you get your feet wet. There are a number of helpful career resources but depending on your long-term goals, you may want to seek some formal guidance from a veteran career coach or educational institution.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Creating the Right Freelancer Profile

Selling yourself is more than selling your services or skillset.  It's about creating the ultimate package that says confidence, enthusiasm, and the willingness to get the job done.  Unfortunately, freelancer profiles with a cat wearing sunglasses (mine are prescription LOL) don't always translate matter how cute it is.

Although it may not be necessary to hire a professional photographer, it may help to work on a number of personal properties that exude the quality traits you bring to every job.  In other words, don't spend a lot of resources or time trying to look like a supermodel.

Maybe instead of focusing on a photo, start with your bio.  If you have a WordPress account, there's plenty of room for you to share personal info, social media accounts, and other things that visitors (which can turn into paying clients) may find interesting.  If you write for a living, or do it as part of a marketing strategy, having at least one bio is important.

The nice thing about modern bios is that most aren't as stiff or formal for online publications. Many contributors or writers may include personal interests or something quirky.  Here are some funny bio ideas people use for their social media accounts.  Once you get on a roll, take a snippet to include with your next article submission.

Monday, March 2, 2020

A Freelance Gig Worth Considering: Specialty Employment Agency

At one time, it seemed like employment agencies were sprouting up in cities big and small.  Big
agencies were branching off into smaller subsidiaries or veteran recruiters were going into business for themselves.  While this sounded good at the time (a decade before the last recession), it became too much after a while.

A few had so much growth that they didn't know how to prepare for the day when there were no jobs to be filled.  From there, it wasn't uncommon to see someone who was hired as a receptionist in May to become a placement specialist by July.  Although there's nothing wrong with either job title, over time it came down to who was willing to partake in overly aggressive sales tactics, instead of making an appropriate match.  This was the downfall of many smaller agencies in the 21st Century.

Now that this nastiness is over (and hopefully, never to return), there's a new market in town and it's called people who don't fit traditional job roles who need to reach more prospects.  You know... your indexer, scopist, senior event planner, or specialty-size fashion designer. These people are so busy hustling they seldom have the time to market themselves properly.

Since this type of work doesn't have the traffic as say, a clerical or IT worker, it will take time to nurture.  You can also use this as a way to broaden your network and find more jobs for yourself (and your friends who don't want to or can't work a "regular" job).  Use your existing network, join associations and engage LinkedIn contacts strength in numbers = more $ in your pocket

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Six Things Freelancers Can Do Between Clients

Isn't time management fun?  Unless you're established, it can be feast or famine for the first year or so.  And consider yourself lucky if you're getting somewhat steady work in your beginning stages.  However, there's nothing worse than getting caught off guard.  If it hasn't happened to you yet, consider this a warning because you may find yourself on the receiving end of an unexpected opportunity.

What, you ask?  Like clients who want a long-term writer than can tweak their WordPress content. Someone that needs a coder with photo editing or enough Adobe skills to place JPEG images properly. If you enjoy transcription work and have a solid reputation, you can advance into the big leagues of law or medicine without spending $$ on advanced training.

So this is to say that preparation not only saves time but can put you ahead of the competition.  It can also make you available for other types of jobs that may be a consideration when the burnout happens.  Until you've been there, never say that it won't happen to you because it does sneak up on a person.  The most common instance is after a freelancer's been back-to-back with clients over a period of time.

Things are calm, you have a few dollars in your pocket and nothing to do.  This is the perfect time to do one or more of the following:

  1. Take more headshots.  More companies and clients are getting picky about having a face to match the incredible profile you've been showing off.  Although a selfie makes sense, it doesn't always serve the purpose.  Hiring parties want to see full-frontal pics with eyes visible and no diagonal shots that look like they were taken on a whim.  In case you can't hire a professional, a desktop tripod that holds a point-and-shoot camera or smartphone should do the trick.  Make sure the background is clear and there are no distracting elements that will show up on the photo.  Taking recent pictures is also a good idea if you've had a drastic physical change (give yourself a high-five for getting rid of that holiday pooch).
  2. Create motion images for your brand.  Window's Movie Creator (formerly Movie Maker) is easy to use and the final product can be uploaded to your YouTube account or sold as a marketing tool.  If you have something short, Adobe Spark is a free program that can be edited on YouTube or another streaming video service. Add still or moving images, presentations, or audio from your past work or create something that can be used for branding purposes.  Newbies or those who have a less-than-vibrant social media presence should note that visuals tend to connect audiences through emotional appeal.

Friday, February 21, 2020

A Gig Worth Considering: Home Inspector

If you live in an area where the real estate market is vibrant, a home appraiser or inspector may be a freelancing gig worth looking into. O*NET rates this job as having a "Bright Outlook" with steady growth.  Many who enjoy this go on to work full-time, making an average of  Not to be confused with home staging, which focuses on interior visuals, assignments call for you to inspect, analyze, and write extensive reports for financial lenders to reviews.  This is a service needed by banks to approve newly-built properties as well as older homes for sale.

The first time I heard of this position was a couple of decades ago.  A mutual acquaintance took a correspondence course for a few dollars and after completion, realized they could make a tidy sum for just a few hours work.  Today, the average appraisal fee potential buyers pay is around $350 per visit but those who live in larger cities can command at least $800.

Training is also minimal but depending on the state, it can be an ongoing process and there are a few instances where college hours are necessary.  Some states call for new graduates to complete an apprenticeship or put in a number of hours.  This is required in the state of California, along with being able to pass a LiveScan fingerprint process.  While some schools may cost in the early hundreds to a little more than a thousand, there are some low-cost options for home inspection training.

Since the requirements vary by the state, it's important to look these up before signing up with any school.  We all know that the internet is loaded with scammy folks looking for someone vulnerable, so it's best to begin a sound investment having facts in hand.  If you happen to have an extreme life event, such as a felony or filing for bankruptcy, it's best to check with your state government since they issue the license.

So while this isn't something a person can start overnight, it may de ideal for mystery shoppers who want to expand their knowledge.  Although the process is a lot more detailed than submitting a normal form that takes anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to process before getting paid (see where I'm going with this).  Sometimes, thinking outside of the box (web development, coding, or dealing with a government gig), is what indie thinking types need while being able to pay the bills.