Tag Archives: freelance resources

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

Review: Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Writer (2nd Edition)

By Erin Dalpini

“Have you ever dreamed of becoming a writer but never took it too seriously, because after all, the words ‘starving’ and ‘writer’ are pretty much joined at the hip?” asks freelance copywriter and author Peter Bowerman in his updated edition of The Well-Fed Writer.

Well, have you?

Bowerman’s query brings up the quintessential conflict that faces all freelancers and wanna-bes at one point or another in their careers—how to write away the workday, without having to pinch pennies.

Maybe you’ve already made it past that point.

Great. This book is still worth your while.

Or maybe when you read the opening question, you thought, “Yeah, that’s pretty much me in a nutshell.” That’s even more reason to check out Bowerman’s aptly-named The Well-Fed Writer, in which he shares a slew of industry secrets that will assist you in successfully marketing yourself and your writing.

Compartmentalized into useful chapters such as  “Money Matters: How Much to Charge and How to Get Paid,” “Learning to Love S&M (Sales and Marketing),” “Where’s the Business?” and “The Well-Networked Writer,” this book touches on all the fundamentals of freelance copywriting while maintaining the spunk and attitude often lacking in the average guidebook.

I have to admit I was quite skeptical about “commercial” freelancing when I first started reading The Well-Fed Writer. Continue reading Review: Peter Bowerman’s The Well-Fed Writer (2nd Edition)

My Secret Freelance Business Resource

This post is sponsored by FiledBy – where authors can claim their free website and build their online marketing platform.


by Joe Wallace

An espresso machine as a business resource? Not directly, but yes. I can think of two recent examples of how sitting down with people over coffee has resulted in long-term value for my freelance work-even though those people have never paid me for my services. In fact, I did some work for at least one of my coffeeshop meetups for free just because they needed the help at a crucial time.

Let’s examine this idea in a different way–one that seems totally obvious to some, but will come as a revelation to others simply because it’s easy to lose sight of this stuff in the frenzy to get things done day-in and day out on the freelance front lines.

Everybody loves social media for freelance work. You can find jobs, make new connections, catch up with old friends and even old clients via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, you name it. Social media is awesome.

But the key word in the phrase “social media” is the word SOCIAL.

With that in mind, my secret freelance business resources include the in-person meetup, the phone call followup to e-mail discussions about freelance projects, ad sales for FZ, planning for the future, you name it.

When I think about making connections with people, I try to find ways to use my tried-and-true social media resources in ways that bring me in actual personal contact with people. Facebook is great for this–the local writer’s group is an obvious resource for the freelance writer. But what about using Facebook Marketplace to advertise your services? Or your latest e-book? It’s currently an under-utilized tool for freelancers.

Twitter can be used to spur impromptu meetups in the local area if you’ve got a circle of followers in your zip code. What could be better than a freelance writing group that formed spontaneously through existing social media connections?

One thing I’ve been meaning to do for some time now, but haven’t quite gotten it together to do? Take a stroll down the street in my neighborhood to the local Chamber of Commerce and introduce myself. As a business and finance writer (just one of my specialties) it makes perfect sense to get involved at the Chamber, even if it’s just to drop by and say hello every once in a while and see what events are coming up.

The idea of social media is wonderful, as long as there’s some social interaction to go along with the online discussions. Every time I leave the house to be social, without the media, I find it has lasting benefits–sometimes they’re financial, other times they’re about PR, and some are just about meeting good people…but they all have a positive effect on what I do for a living.

This post was sponsored by FiledBy – where authors can claim their free website and build their online marketing platform.

The Most Important Resource You’ll Need For April 15

freelance taxes

This post is sponsored by FiledBy – where authors can claim their free website and build their online marketing platform.

Tax time is right around the corner, and if you’re anything like us, you’re still trying to assemble your paperwork and get your financial house in order to make this year’s freelance tax filing ordeal work as painlessly (hah) as possible. That’s why we direct you to the most important source of wisdom for 2009 taxes ever--the IRS official site itself.

Freelancers, do not be afraid to learn the arcane rules governing self-employed filers. Husband and wife freelance teams, do you know whether you must file as a partnership or as a sole proprietorship? What about knowing the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?


The IRS small business/self-employed FAQ section answers these questions and many more. If you’re still scratching your head over issues such as your limits for deductible meals during business travel such as your travel writing trips or a weekend outing for a writing conference, this site is definitely one you need to know well.

The IRS has a reputation for being mysterious, unreasonable, and downright Byzantine in its rules and regulations that govern our work; I suggest that it’s a simple lack of knowledge in some cases that trips up the up and coming freelancer. It’s not so hard to grasp, for example, that you can create a small company without a tax ID number—if you have no employees, excise or pension plan tax returns, you can use your Social Security number instead. It’s there in black and white, all you have to do is look it up. And that’s the way much of the information for self-employed people is presented on the IRS official site–simple English.

Don’t be intimidated by what you think you know about the IRS. Read the rules for yourself and then decide if you still need to pay a tax pro to help sort you out. You might be surprised at how quickly you grasp some of the finer points. Don’t hesitate to go to the tax professionals if you feel in over your head–but at least give yourself a chance to become familiar with the rules first.

This freelance resources post is sponsored by FiledBy – where authors can claim their free website and build their online marketing platform.

My Favorite Freelance Resources

joe wallaceby Joe Wallace

I have a set of unusual resources I like to use to keep pushing my freelance career forward. A lot of them are things I use to keep tabs on the next big thing, some of them are related to finding freelance jobs, and some of them are about the craft of writing. In no particular order, here are my favorite freelance resources:

Google. Not the search engine, which I use for research, but all the other features. I give my clients access to my work via Google Documents instead of e-mailing attachments, I use Google Alerts to keep me posted when people are reposting or otherwise discussing my writing, and I like to keep track of how my blogs are doing via Google Analytics.

Craigslist. I never use Craigslist to look for freelance work, but I do use it to look for deals on office equipment and other things I should be spending money on to further the business. Sometimes I use Craigslist to hunt for new advertisers for Freelance-Zone.com, too—a company advertising jobs for freelancers on Craigslist is one I probably want to get to know better.

Wired.com. Some people read Darren Rowse to take the pulse of the pro blog world, but I do my own research a bit differently. I like the info Darren Rowse puts out, but I find that information to be far more valuable when coupled with reportage coming from and intended for techies and word nerds not necessarily involved in the pro blogger side of things. Call it triangulation of information–I like to find the sweet spot in today’s fad-driven marketplace by using a combination of intel from a variety of sources.

Small, unknown blogs. There’s nothing more valuable to me than reading the perspective of a new freelancer, pro blogger, or other creative just starting out in the business. A fresh set of eyes on old problems often reveals plenty of new insight. When it doesn’t, you’ve had a good laugh.

Marketplace. I listen to American Public Media’s daily finance report on my Chicago NPR station, and in the two years it’s been quite valuable to be as a freelancer. Financial literacy as a self-employed creative–especially when you’re successful enough to worry about changing income tax brackets and other problems related to cash flow issues–is NOT an optional pursuit. If you want to be a successful freelancer, you have to be aware of your finances, the issues that affect them, even the ones that don’t seem to hit close to home–the collapse of Lehman Brothers, for example–but ultimately DO change the landscape for you as a self-employed business person.

I suppose I should throw a freelance gig-related resource in here. Part of the secret to my own personal freelance success has had much to do with networking, being creatively diverse, and not putting all my eggs in one basket. That’s one of the reasons why I’m a big believer in creative temp agencies like Artisan Creative. Creative temp and placement agencies are not for everyone–they don’t take all comers and your creative chops are only one part of the picture. But if you’re skilled, you’re a people person who can work as part of a team, and you bring an optimistic attitude to the table, a creative temp agency is a great addition to your list of freelance job options.

When it comes to doing the job hunt on your own, I strongly recommend scoping out the Careers and About Us section of any media website you run across. Going directly to the source has been a very productive strategy for me, and while I can’t knock the job sites for passing on the latest details on current gigs, my own personal experience has been better when I take the direct approach. Your own results may vary.

Freelance Poll: What’s Your Most Valuable Online Resource?


Many sites have lists of their favorite resources, but most of the lists I read are aimed towards other freelancers. I’m much more interested in what freelance writers consider their most valuable, specifically “for them” online resources. So I’m conducting this little poll, held in our comments section. Please feel free to chime in with your personal favorites.

My own personal favorites include Google Trends, which can be a huge help when looking for timely and relevant topics on the web. It you’re pitching queries to web-based publications, it helps to be on top of the latest and hottest stuff. Another great resource I use–especially when I write blog and Twitter posts–is Topix.com. I like to pull relevant headlines and stuff them into posts where it counts. A recent example—I found contradictory headlines on the economy (“Sales Drop In April” vs. “Consumers Splurge”) and made a nice bit of hay out of that.

What are YOUR favorite resources?