Tag Archives: freelance money

First Impressions Count

Joe Wallace Turntabling Rare RecordsI was just looking at a website designed to sell gear to freelancers, offering personalized service at a better price than with larger resellers. The site’s copy included, “We will connect you with the latest technology”.

But the site design was horribly out of date by about ten years. My first impression was definitely not good–how could a company offer to sell me “the latest technology” when the site itself didn’t keep up with that concept?

As it turns out, after a few minutes of exploring I discovered that the site had been last updated a decade ago, but was still haunting the Internet with its promises. And as far as being inactive goes, it’s probably a good thing–I shudder to think what would be happening to that business right now if it were a going concern.

I hate to admit this, but seeing that made me click over to my own resume page to give a critical once-over to it first-impressionwise. And naturally I found a few faults in my own presentation. Faults that will take a small bit of time to correct and update, but faults nonetheless.

The old wheeze is true–you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Sometimes making one tweak is enough to steer someone away from the wrong idea at first glance.

In the case of the site I found, simply not making the claim to hook up buyers with “the latest technology” and finding a more effective sales pitch would have gone over a lot better. Sure, that’s all moot because the site seems as dead as the Dodo. But it’s a valid point, regardless. Can you tweak your own presentation by a few sentences and make it more effective? In my own case, definitely.

Joe Wallace is an audio junkie who collects rare and weird vinyl records, vintage analog synthesizers, and likes recording when he’s not pounding the freelance pavement. His vinyl blog, Turntabling.net, is a repository for all sorts of weirdness and rare goodness on vinyl.

Freelance Money: There’s No Such Thing As Passive Income

Freelance passive income rulesby Joe Wallace

I don’t really enjoy reading my fellow freelance blogs at times, because I sometimes run into things that make me cranky. For example, the use of the term “passive income”, which I just ran across again while doing some research on freelance stats and figures.

Do you want to know the rules about making passive income from your writing online? Do you want to learn how to earn more money by using the techniques of passive income?

I have bad news for you. There is NO SUCH THING as passive income. And I really can’t believe there are still active blogs out there pushing the idea like it’s the hot new thing. Aren’t we DONE with that notion yet?

Look at the picture to the left. All those flowers, growing like mad. Beautiful, aren’t they? Wouldn’t you just love to step out on the back porch and watch these swaying in the breeze? And what a life they have, just soaking up the sun, waiting for the rain. Passive. You could sell these flowers someday and make some easy money.

Except for all that planting, weeding, landscaping and soil treatment.

So-called passive income is the same. Sure, you can write an e-book and throw it out there for sale, a digital download that you never have to worry about again. Once it’s up and out the door, it’s just waiting to be purchased and studied.

But you’re competing with 2.8 million other non-traditional books (e-books included) as reported in 2010. People who publish hardcopy books actually have it easier–only 316,000 print editions came out in 2010 according to this Reuters article.

So if you want to make some sales, you’re going to need to market yourself. It’s you versus 2.8 million others. Don’t get discouraged by that, but do accept the reality.

The same is true for your “passive income” website with all those affiliate links, article marketing sites, etc. Passive? Hardly. All that cross-linking, Reddit spamming, StumbleUpon posts and other activities encouraged by the passive income people don’t add up to couch potato, do they? Nope, passive income is another one of those goofball phrases made up to sell people on an idea.

It’s not ALL downside though–I can say this, one thing people who try to engage in passive marketing soon learn about is networking, and that is a very important skill for freelancers to hone at all career levels. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone with networking, forget that you need to swim with the sharks, and keep up with the latest trends.

Passive income can only be found one way, really…I’m off to indulge in that Quixotic weekly pastime later today–buying a lottery ticket rarely pays off, but if it ever does, it will be the first time in my freelance life I ever got money for doing nothing.

Joe Wallace Vinyl Collector and authorJoe Wallace wears too many hats. He writes web content and manages social media for clients in the finance industry, he’s an avid record collector, vinyl blogger, and author of WTF Records: The Turntabling.net Guide to Weird and Wonderful Vinyl.

He’s currently shopping for a publisher for the book and plans an official companion DVD when he finds a moment to breathe. His hobbies include writing bio blurbs about himself in the third person, collecting records too weird for most people, and eating sushi.

Contact him for assignments, to sell your record collection, or with an offer to be his agent: jwallace@joe-wallace.com

$140,000 Per Year on Elance.com?

by Mike O’Mary

Will work for food iStock_000004304868LargeI’m curious…do any members of the Freelance-Zone.com community have experience using Elance.com to get jobs? If so, how did it go for you as a freelancer?

I ask because I’ve used Elance.com as a client, and I have mixed feelings about it. A while back, I mentioned to someone that I needed help from a graphic designer and a proofreader, but that I was on a tight budget. My friend suggested Elance.com. So I gave it a try and posted a couple of jobs.

As a client, I was pleased with the results. I got bids from graphic designers and proofreaders from all over the world. And the prices reflected the global nature of the competition. In fact, some prices were so low I couldn’t believe it.

In the end, I didn’t go with the lowest bidder. Nor did I go with an overseas bidder, although there were many. I went with U.S. providers, partly because of my comfort level, but also because I found that I could hire a U.S. freelancer and still spend way less than I had anticipated. In fact, at the end of the graphic design job, I gave the designer a bonus because I couldn’t believe how much work she did for the price she had quoted me. And that’s where my mixed feelings come in… Continue reading $140,000 Per Year on Elance.com?

Determing Your Worth

By Amanda Smyth Connor1269975_coins_in_hand

More than once I have undercharged for a project. It can be incredibly difficult to create the perfect quote for a job, particularly if you are working with a new client. Obvious concerns include the danger of overcharging and never hearing from said client again versus undercharging and hating your life for the next two months.

Determining your worth as a writer is the first step in negotiating with clients.

Important Questions that Need to be Answered

  1. How long have I been in the professional writing field? Am I new to this or is this old hat?
  2. What is my level of experience with projects similar to the one being discussed?
  3. Have I worked with this client before and am I comfortable with their standard pay rates or should I push for more?
  4. How comfortable am I with the subject matter/how much time will be devoted to research?
  5. Will I be dealing directly with the client or will I have an editorial liaison as a go-between?
  6. How many writers are working on this project? Am I worked as a team or am I working on this project solo?
  7. What is the turnaround time? Is it appropriate or “pedal to the metal?”

This is merely a basic list to jump from but what other questions would you ask yourself before putting together a project quote?

Amanda Smyth Connor is a community manager for a major publishing company, owns her own wedding planning business, and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

The Revolution Continues…

by Mike O’Mary

Crime Spree Mag coverTwo weeks ago, I talked about the revolution in the book publishing industry. No big secret, right? Everybody knows that we are in the midst of a major shift from print to digital in the publishing industry. And everybody is speculating about what that means for the “industry” – from the big publishing houses to indie publishers to agents to best-selling authors (who are now passing on six-figure advances because they don’t want to give up their digital rights!) to self-published authors (who would probably gladly give up their digital rights for a six-figure advance!).

Below are links to a couple of really great recent blog posts about changes in the publishing industry, and about the possible ramifications. Read them when you have a few minutes, but then come back because I have some really exciting news for freelancers, even if you’ve never written a book and never plan to… Continue reading The Revolution Continues…

Setting Your Freelance Rates

Paisley Babylon Blogby Joe Wallace

I’ve been writing a lot lately about setting freelance pay rates. There are several tactics you can use to arrive at a good rate for your time, but new freelancers are sometimes afraid to use some of the more aggressive ones.

Here is a list a tactics I have successfully used to arrive at a fair rate in the end. At least one of them I used THIS WEEK, the others I’ve used in the last year:

Be Direct.  The freelance game is a lot like playing poker. You have to feel out the client to see which approach works best. Sometimes, just asking “What’s your budget for this project” is a good way to get things rolling.

Aim High. In situations where I feel the client is likely to haggle, I throw out an introductory offer that’s higher than I expect to get. This give the client some room to talk me down a bit without me compromising the value I put on my time. I set a high and a low threshold for myself. Below a certain point, I can’t go. If I start out with my actual rate–what I feel my time is really worth, the client will still try to talk me down…

Quote Per-Project Rates. Hourly rates are quite frankly a pain to deal with. By quoting per-project rates instead, you don’t get forced to do a lot of extra bookkeeping–AND you subtly tell the client they are paying for your TALENT and not just your time.

Special Rates for Reasonable People. Freelancing is a two-way street. I do give better rates to clients who are reasonable, friendly and good communicators. As bad as it may sound, clients who start off the conversation as pushy, unreasonable or otherwise unpleasant get charged according to the amount of grief–and additional labor as a result– I feel I’m likely to experience. Continue reading Setting Your Freelance Rates