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    30 second customer service pays dividends

    One of the best and arguably easiest ways to generate good faith with your clients is via the customer service you provide.  I’m an advocate of providing killer customer service wherever possible for many reasons.  A large part of that killer service is how fast you get back to your clients.

    "Man, our web guy really makes life easier."Photo by marinacvinhal.

    "I got the answers I needed and my boss loves me."

    Yep, speed is important!  The old cliche is that “time is money” and when your clients consistently get super fast responses to their queries, your stock with them invariably goes up. It’s also important to understand that as a freelancer one of your greatest strengths is your mobility. Studios and development teams aren’t generally able to respond as quickly as you are.  So get guerrilla and leverage that competitive advantage to the max!

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    Inserting hyperlinks in WordPress image captions

    Users of WordPress 2.6 will know that you can insert captions underneath photos and images within your posts. If any of you have tried to add hyperlinks within a caption, you’ll also know that WordPress will strip that link faster than a suspected terrorist at LAX when you hit save.

    "Baby, I know how to add hyperlinks to WordPress captions". "Yeah, that's so hot".Photo by superbomba.

    "Baby, I know how to add hyperlinks to WordPress captions."

    Now, I’m not techy enough to know exactly why WordPress strips links from captions but it does. I do know that with some fiddling about, I finally found a fairly straight forward workaround that doesn’t involve custom fields or plugins.

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    Freelancers: Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Other?

    With the US Presidential election coming up, I got to wondering about the political tendencies of my freelance brothers and sisters. Are we freelance web designers and developers a tight flock that predominantly lean one way when it comes to our politics? Or are we scattered and varied in our political beliefs. Let’s find out!

    Freelancer! Which way do your politics lean?Photo by pgoyette.

    Which way do the politics of freelance web nerds lean?

    In the spirit of democracy and elections, tell us who you’ll be voting for in Elite Freelancing US Elections Poll which is over to the right on the sidebar. If you aren’t American, close your eyes for a sec, pretend you are, and cast your vote. And don’t worry, the voting is anonymous and no one will be able to tell that Joe Frankenwiener at 378 Pewpew Rd., Boulder, CO. voted for the Green Party or anything like that.

    Average salary for web designer & web developer jobs

    At the time of writing this, job giant SimlpyHired.com claims to have over 5.8 million jobs in their database. According to their web design and development job data, the salary range for a typical position in the US web industry is $55k to $74k. This spans general web design and development through to specialist niches such as user interface design.

    Average web job salaries for 2008.Job data by Simply Hired

    Average salaries in web design and development for September, 2008.

    What surprised me the most was that flash design and development jobs have a lower average than general web design and development positions. I’d always assumed that the niche skill set of working with Flash paid better, not worse.

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    Freelancing, LinkedIn & Trust

    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

    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

    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.

    Differentiation

    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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