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    Freelancing, LinkedIn & Trust

    Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

    I must admit, I’m picky when it comes to joining social networks.  It seems like new networks are popping up weekly and my inbox contains invitations to join them almost as frequently. Generally, I’m not interested in the overhead required in managing a profile on yet another site, so more often than not: I pass.  The one social network I couldn’t pass on though, is LinkedIn.

    It was a couple of years ago that I first joined LinkedIn and it’s been good to me. For those of you unaware, LinkedIn is a social network focusing on work and career with a reported membership of 25 million people strong.  Think of it as a place where you can build social network which revolves around your professional life. Now, LinkedIn is great for worker bees of all kinds but of particular value for us freelancers. Here’s why:

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    Strength training: desk jockey style

    Friday, September 19th, 2008

    I believe a fit freelancer is a more profitable freelancer. From a fitness point of view, I dig the idea of having a job that allows me to work outdoors and do physical work.  That way I could enjoy being outside, keep fit and make a good living. As it turns out, I’m worth a lot more behind a computer and for the most part, love being there.

    Photo by ericmcgregor.

    Keep some dumbbells laying around the office and sneak a set in now and then.

    The downside of being a nerd is having my body atrophy when I don’t push myself to stay active. I mean, we all know that keeping in shape is a great idea (for a so many reasons) but I think it’s especially true for us desk jockeys who are in long-term peril of turning somewhat chair shaped.

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    Provide killer customer service

    Thursday, September 11th, 2008

    Customer service.  It sounds like something that only employees of large companies have to worry themselves with.  The fact is though, us freelancers provide customer service every single time we interact with our clients.  Lets take a look at customer service,  how it effects our businesses and how you can shine like a freakin’ rock star in the eyes of your clients.

    Photo by king edward.

    Keep your clients coming back with killer customer service.


    More than anything else, customer service will make or break your business and set you apart from your competition.  Yep, even more than your design work.  Many clients aren’t sure about what constitutes poor design work but you can be sure most of them know what poor customer services feels like. The good news is this: it’s way easier to consistently provide rock star customer service than it is to provide rock star design.

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    Love & outsourcing for freelancers

    Thursday, September 11th, 2008

    I remember one of my jobs as a young teen was packing shelves at a local supermarket. Needless to say, there was nothing about this gig I liked aside from the fact that four of my friends worked the same shift. I dragged my heels at this job.

    Photo by srbiosvert.

    Mr. Happy Brick never works a day in his life.

    The shelves I packed took longer than they should have and they were far from pretty. On the flip side there was Khalid, a fifty something year old fella who liked packing shelves. And because he enjoyed it, he’d rock up to work full of gusto and ready to pack the best damn shelf you ever saw.

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    Client satisfaction & farts in the wind

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

    When it comes to freelancing, reliability is massively important commodity.  This is doubly true for remote freelancing since people never get a chance to meet each other in person.  Clients who know they can rely on you are happy clients that keep coming back. As a remote freelancer I’ve been both a service provider and a buyer of services. If you play this game long enough, you’ll work with some stand up designers and developers and you’ll work with some freakin’ awful ones.

    Photo by joeshlabotnik.

    Ideally, your clients should always look something like this.


    One guy,  lets call him Wingnut, vanished on me like a fart in the wind on the tail end of a project. He was working on the front-end design for a site and two weeks into it he disappears. Trying to call him or email him yielded no reply so I start making alternative arrangements to get the job done.  Meanwhile, he is updating his blog and obviously not dead.

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    Working on retainer

    Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

    Let me set the scene here.  About five years ago I was in London, living in Wembley and working from home (in my undies as usual) and I picked up new client on Elance.  It was a very small project for less than a couple hundred bucks.  The client was in the US and looking for some quick banners to meet a late deadline.  I low balled my bid knowing I could turn it around fast and I needed the cash for some bills.  One thing lead to another and I got the gig.

    Smooth out the ups and downs of freelancing by selling your time in advance Photo by Powerdruns.

    Smooth out the ups and downs of freelancing by selling your time in advance.

    I completed this little project which turned out to be the catalyst for a great working relationship and over the next five years, this client would spend over a $100k with me, all from a small two hundred dollar project.

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