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.
  3. Take short online classes.  I know, I know.  There are so many from which to choose and some are better than others.  My suggestion would be to start with your local library and if you belong to more than one library system (I live in Los Angeles county and belong to four), then take advantage.  Most libraries offer Lynda for free (and completed courses automatically show up on your LinkedIn profile).  Others, like Universal Class, allow students to connect with one another while they are taking courses.  Right now, Google Digital Garage offers a number of free and low-cost online learning options.
  4. Check your online real estate links.  Nothing is more embarrassing than accidentally sending a blog post with a dead link attached.  Although some hosts offer packages that alert via email, this isn't guaranteed.  Some freelancers or bloggers may do this once or twice a year but to be honest, it won't hurt to check every couple of months.  Unless your pages are new, it's impossible to check blogs and other social media profiles manually but this list of broken link checker tools can help with a service to meet individual needs.
  5. Look into tools that help with time management and organization.  In the past year, I've learned how to use a blog planner book, along with personal organization tools.  Oftentimes, we freelancers take pride in taking on multiple duties but over time, the methods eventually morph into just madness.  Throw in demanding clients and other obligations, the result can be simple burnout or a loss of income.  Tackling time-wasters early will allow for new opportunities.
  6. Work on your image.  While few of us have a fashion model look, there are things we can do to make ourselves more presentable.  Do you twiddle your fingers while speaking?  Look down to the ground when giving presentations or is your posture off?  Sometimes, a visual tweak can go a long way too.  I have a patch of gray/white hair that either looks sophisticated or matronly (depending on the hairdo).  While I consider myself to be somewhat perky, the pressure to conceal my natural being can be overwhelming.

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