Freelancer Tools: Your Local Library

I am a freelance editor and writer. I don’t know how to write PHP, Javascript, or use Linux. So why am I reading a book on how to be a freelance computer consultant? One written ten years ago which is now hopelessly out of date, technology-wise?

Simple…I want to know how other freelancers do business and see if there are any “best practices” I can glean from their experience.

One of the best pieces of advice any freelancer will get about setting their rates is “never work hourly”. Sure enough, it’s true in the freelance computer consulting world, too, but I also got some great tips about dealing with hostile work environments, dealing with on-site freelance situations where hostile employees make your life difficult, and how to structure your payment schedule for long-term projects to make all parties happier with the arrangement.

I learned all this stuff for free, having checked out out the book from my local library. It’s surprising where you can learn cool stuff about the ins and outs of freelancing. I had a good laugh reading a ten-year-old book on marketing via the Internet. DId you know there are these great micro-publishing websites called “weblogs” (blogs for short)?  Ten years ago, people were convinced that television was DOOMED and that while “blogs” are amusing, they could never be taken all that seriously. After all, they’re so niche-driven, where’s the money in THAT? (Sarcasm alert. It makes me sad that I even have to put that in here, but there you go.)

The library is your friend…especially if they stock a copy of that book every new freelancer is tempted to buy, Writer’s Market. You do NOT need to purchase this book! Chances are the library has done it for you.