I’m writing this in a coffee shop in Cleveland, Ohio after a long day of driving, record store reviewing for my blog Turntabling.net, AND managing to do my usual rounds of freelance social media and writing work for my clients. The photo is my current work space, how do you like my temporary office? It’s cozy and the staff are friendly. Thank you, Phoenix Coffee in Cleveland Heights! You are awesome.
I took this 13-day trip (I’m on day two by the time you read this) as an experiment. How would the driving, the travel writing, AND maintaining my usual freelance agenda work out? Would I run myself ragged? Would everything go smoothly or would I encounter Mister Murphy and his damnable law at every turn?
That’s what I want to find out. It’s one thing to outsource your clients temporarily, or put them on hold, to take on a juicy assignment or even a vacation. It’s another thing to try and keep the work rolling as usual even if you shuffle your delivery times and let your clients know there is an extra factor making your time even more at a premium than it already is.
On day one, I found myself dealing with a “when it rains, it pours” scenario. Not only did I manage to make all my clients happy as per usual with the social media and writing stuff (so far so good!), I also got some e-mail today requesting MORE for new clients.
Be careful what you wish for–it will come at the time your time is at the highest premium. I’ll have more reports from the road on these sorts of issues–my next post will have plenty to say about the technical issues related to connecting while on the road and delivering the goods even when you aren’t sure where your next Wi-Fi hotspot is coming from. Stay tuned.
4G wireless has been promised for some time, but now it’s finally being delivered as Sprint and other companies roll out the faster connection speeds and new gadgets to handle those speeds.
There’s been an ongoing shift towards mobile connectivity, but now with mobile router/wi-fi hotspot devices such as the Sprint Overdrive and the Verizon MiFi, the game has really changed in favor of the mobile freelancer. Will you even bother with a hardwired home Internet connection after checking out these 4G mobile products?
You might in some cases–at press time, Verizon’s data plan for the MiFi included transfer limits of 250MB a month for the $40 monthly plan and 5GB for the $60 plan. That’s bad news for anyone who wants to download media, send photos or other media on a regular basis. Sure, 5GB is a lot, but so is a $60 a month data plan on top of your cell phone bill and home Internet connection. The Sprint plan promises to be more generous–Wired.com reports Sprint will offer unlimited 4G data transfer and 5GB of transfer on the 3G network for $60 a month.
That’s all well and good, but don’t forget that companies like CradlePoint have third-party gear that can take your existing cell phone 3G signal and turn it into a wi-fi hotspot, too.
Continue reading 4G Wireless For Traveling Freelancers
Mobile- loving freelancers rejoice, CradlePoint has the solution for your write-anywhere needs. One of the biggest hassles for many cash-strapped freelancers is wi-fi connectivity. Starbucks makes you charge or use their gift cards to access wi-fi, and some shops (including some Panera Bread locations) have a time limit on their free wireless access.
And what if you aren’t anywhere near a coffee shop, public library or college campus? Plenty of freelancers avoid these areas like the plague–the noise factor alone is enough for some.
Enter the CradlePoint PHS300, a battery-powered personal wi-fi network for those who have 3G wireless accounts. Plug in a cell phone or USB modem that has 3G wireless access and you have an instant wi-fi network. Work anywhere for up to three hours per battery charge on the PHS300. Did we mention there’s a car charger for this and you can connect multiple users?
Here’s the rub–your cell phone must support tethering, and AT&T currently does NOT–at least not for us iPhone junkies. iPhone users with third-party hacks on their phone (known as “jailbreaking” and done at your own risk as a violation of the TOS) may be able to use the CradlePoint, but we haven’t verified this.
But plenty of cell phones and USB modems DO support tethering, including Blackberries and some Motorola RAZR models. Check a full list of compatible devices at the bottom of this page at CradlePoint.
Gizmodo, one of my favorite gadget blogs, has accidentally come up with a brilliant marketing idea. Intended as a spot of harmless fun, the entry “Harass Your Neighbors With Your Wi-Fi Hotspot Name” advises people to rename their wi-fi networks all kinds of amusing, snarky things including “ISawYouNaked” and my favorite, “KeepThatNoiseDown”.
Funny thing is, this can also work well for marketing your writer’s blog or resume site. Do you have a short URL? FreelanceZoneDotCom might just fit, though I haven’t tried yet. How many people are within range of your wi-fi network? You might just discover a sympathetic neighbor, or even a fellow freelancer lurking in your ‘hood.
Of course, you can always resort to “YourDogWon’tShutUp” but isn’t a nice friendly chat with the offending neighbor a better way to go? Especially when you’ve got shameless self-promotion to consider.