Tag Archives: freelance lifestyle

The Lavish Lifestyle of a Freelancer

by Mike O’Mary

bentleyI’m curious… What do you like about being a freelancer?

I’ve written in the past about the pros and cons of being a freelancer. Let’s focus today on the “pros.”

Below is a simple, one-question survey. Please take a moment to select your top three choices for answers. If you have other answers not listed in the survey, please tell us about them in your comments.

I hope it won’t influence your answers if I share with you that what I like most is the lavish lifestyle. But probe a little deeper and the questions come a little harder. What do I like most about the lavish lifestyle…the buckets of caviar for breakfast…getting all spiffed up for yet another white-tie event for freelancers…or the simple act of watching my driver wax the Bentley while I’m sipping mimosas on the veranda? Tough questions with no easy answers.

But that’s a different survey. Let’s focus on the basics first. What do you like most about freelancing? You’ll be able to see the results to date as soon as you submit your answer.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Mike O’Mary is founder of the Note Project, a campaign to write 1 million thank you notes, and of Dream of Things, a book publisher and online bookstore.

My Top Five Freelance Resources

by Joe Wallace

Top Five Freelance ResourcesIn my daily freelance work, I write on a variety of topics–everything from finance to music. To get all this done, I need a range of information, images, and research material, and I thought I’d share my top five resources here.

It’s not that I think these specific resources will help all freelancers, far from it, but I am hoping the sheer diversity of them will inspire other to share their own resources and consider looking in places they had not thought of using in their daily work before. I’ve learned that the most unlikely sources can often be of great value.

That’s why Portland, Oregon PR agency North is in my top five list. The insights about digital culture are thought-provoking and inform my work in social media for my clients. I don’t get a ton of writing ideas from reading this site, but it does inform how I market those ideas.

For royalty-free digital images, I’m a huge fan of Stock Xchng, which is where the image you see in my post today comes from. I use them every day.

HootSuite is a major time-saver for me. I run social media accounts for six different websites, plus posts on my personal accounts about my auctions on eBay and my Etsy store, so Hootsuite is a real lifesaver for me. I manage all my social media via HootSuite, and it sure beats running back and forth between accounts, with one big exception; Continue reading My Top Five Freelance Resources

Two Quotes

iStock_000012305069XSmallby Mike O’Mary

I have two quotes for you today. The first is from Maurice Sendak, the award-winning author of many children’s books, who once made the pointed observation that, “There must be more to life than having everything.” Unfortunately, he didn’t say what more there must be.

I used to subscribe to a newsletter called “The Meaning of Life.” Although it had the same title as the Monty Python movie, it was not a humorous newsletter. It was a serious attempt by a University of Chicago professor of philosophy to help people find and examine the things that add meaning to their lives.

At various times, the newsletter examined various traits and values that can help bring meaning to your life. Things like integrity, enthusiasm, honesty and spontaneity, among others.

Those are all things that we strive for in our lives. But it’s important to realize that those things are intertwined. You can’t have enthusiasm without integrity, for example, or spontaneity without honesty.

Those thoughts are not my own. I didn’t make the connection until I came across the following quote from Robert Schuller: “Integrity makes enthusiasm possible. Only honest people are subconsciously liberated to be totally spontaneous. Without that quality, enthusiasm is contrived and not an authentic motivating factor in life.”

If you want to have enthusiasm and be spontaneous, you have to be honest and have integrity. There are no shortcuts. And if you want to do more than “have everything,” you must aspire to “be” something. Being honest and having integrity is a pretty good place to start.

Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, a book publisher currently accepting creative nonfiction stories for anthologies on 14 topics, including an anthology titled “Advice You’d Like to Pass on to Others.”

Freelance Opportunities…at Starbucks

starbucks coffee

Wired reports on an interesting development that means more freelance opportunities at Starbucks. And possibly WITH Starbucks.

In the last few years, unless you have an AT&T account or purchase and use a Starbucks gift card, there was no such thing as a publicly available wi-fi signal at the famous coffee shop chain. iPhone users could happily freelance away thanks to their AT&T mobile login, but the rest of the freelancers had to make do some other way.

But Starbucks has finally realized what all those people typing away furiously at their Macs and Windows laptops REALLY want from Starbucks aside from those high-calorie pastries and pricey lattes. A place to get stuff done–an office away from home. One that has music that won’t make you run screaming for the earplugs (except when they play that Paul McCartney album AGAIN for the millionth time.)

According to Wired, “Starting July 1, Starbucks will let anyone connect to its WiFi network for free. This fall, the company will add a content network called Starbucks Digital Network, in partnership with Yahoo and other sites, which will include local content you won’t be able to read anywhere else. Both offerings will be free.”

Now that in itself is very good news, but did you see the hidden freelance opportunity possibly lurking in that sentence? Starbucks Digital is offering unique content on their free wi-fi network.
That means jobs for writers. Possibly permanent gigs combined with contract gigs. The free wi-fi wakeup call has finally come and that means VERY good things for anyone living within range of a Starbucks who doesn’t have a good indie coffee shop nearby. Hey, our sympathies are definitely with the indies…what can we say?
But if you’re in need of a steady gig and drooling over the notion of working for a company that could as a perk of employment or contract possibly set you up with free java? You’re probably already looking in the Careers section of Starbucks Inc trying to find those Writer Wanted listings.

The Freelancer’s Friend

pc magazine

Magazines like MacLife, PC, Wired, and other tech-oriented titles can be a freelancer’s best friend. How many times have you stared down the aisles at your local Best Buy or Apple Store, bewildered at the range of prices, models, and formats wondering how to make the leap?

It’s not just computers, either. External hard drives, wireless routers, even CD-R and DVD-Rs have so many choices it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s where the tech mags come in. There’s nothing better than reading a side-by-side comparison of the latest laptops, wi-fi gear, and software; the sections these mags provide on tweaking and upgrading your existing gear? Priceless.

MacLife is, for the Apple newcomer, one of the best you can buy. The magazine is NOT written for people who already know everything about their Mac. It assumes there are entry-level readers AND more experienced tech-heads in the subscriber list. If only more magazines followed this example!

PC Magazine is a great destination for the PC user, with “roundup” type comparisons and an excellent downloads section that can have you tweaked and running more efficiently in no time. Maximum PC comes a close second, valuable for how-tos for security, work-related issues, and just plain utilitarian things like recovering from a soda spill.

Freelancers who feel lost in the world of computer jargon, installation details and other issues will do themselves a big favor by adding these sites to their favorites list.

How to Get Ahead at the Office: Part One

Business Peopleby Mike O’Mary

This is Part One in a series of sporadic commentaries on how to get ahead at the office. These tips may not directly apply to your career as a freelancer, but if you have corporate clients, it’s important to understand life on the inside.

The most important thing to keep in mind as you attempt to work your way up the corporate ladder is that it is very important to attend as many meetings as possible. Attending meetings serves the dual-purpose of allowing you to network while also preventing you from having to do any actual work. What better excuse for being unable to assist with the latest corporate crisis than to say, “I’d love to help, but I’m tied up in meetings all day.”

So let’s say you want to attend more meetings, but maybe you’re a new employee. How do you work your way in to the inner circle?

One of my favorite strategies has been to be conveniently passing by a conference room with cup of coffee and notepad in hand just as people are beginning to congregate for a meeting. If you happen to know a meeting participant, stop and chat. If you don’t know any of the participants, just walk up to a stranger, introduce yourself and ask, “What’s up?” Nod with interest and prolong the chitchat until the meeting organizer says, “Let’s get started.” The key here is not to leave unless somebody specifically tells you to. If you prefer a more direct approach, look the meeting organizer in the eye and say, loud enough for all to hear, “Do you want me to leave?”

Occasionally, you’ll encounter a seasoned veteran who will stare right back at you and say, “Yes. Get out. Now.” But more often than not, the person will avert your intent, preferably slightly maniacal, gaze and mumble, “No. Why don’t you stay?” They might even apologize for not inviting you in the first place. Next thing you know, you’re drinking free coffee, eating donuts and doodling on your notepad. You’ve taken your first step into the inner circle.

Tune in next week for Part Two of this series and learn how to get noticed once you’re inside the meeting room.

Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, an independent book publisher currently accepting creative nonfiction stories for anthologies on 15 topics, including an anthology titled “Cubicle Stories: Life in the Modern Workplace.”