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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Freelancers Who've Been Affected By CA AB5..All Hope isn't Lost

If you work as a content writer, rideshare driver, or transcriptionist for other companies, chances are that your income has been impacted by the Assembly Bill 5 that went into effect on January 1.  A lot of companies are either cutting way back on hiring California freelancers or limiting income opportunities.  While the logistics can be complicated for both gig workers and employers, there are some options to keep the money flowing without losing your mind.

For those of you with other challenges, like disability or child care, now may be the time to hit up government resources.  Since other statewide factors, like new rent control laws, impact the number of resources available at the moment, it's best to keep in touch with anything that might bite in the future.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be covering some out-of-the-box thoughts since not everyone needs to be a web developer.  It also helps to be wary of predators out there who may try to pry away your mad money or place you in a weird predicament.  A few years ago, I was contacted by an organization that needed people to "maintain" ATM machines near me.  Although I worked for one of the biggest banks back in the day, I'd never given thought as to who wiped the fingerprints off the keypads or picked up trash.  The company that reached out to me had a website and I was speaking with a live person (who sounded like a teen).  They even sent out a kit that contained a badge and tee shirt with their logo.  Anyway, I didn't do it because it sounded scammy.

Three things to consider for fast income:

  1. If you're a writer, try branching out into coding or transcription.  Since some writing jobs call for fast turnaround or articles written in HTML format, it may help to add this as a solid skill.  While there are many free and low-cost coding options, it's best to take baby steps before stepping deep into web development.  This includes bootcamps that deduct tuition from future earnings or have a fluctuating payment system (*waves at Udacity*).  The same applies to transcription because those with natural skill excel faster than those who've struggled with typing or editing in the past.  This is just a word of advice before you go spending on an "investment".