Category Archives: Uncategorized

Staying Social and Sane

Credit/ Lifehacker.org

Credit/ Lifehacker.org

Hello, my dear readers!

I often joke that since I went freelance I’ve become something of a hermit who occasionally exits the cave to forage for food.

I was inspired to write on how to maintain a more social life as a freelancer by a post from PeoplePerHour. It’s a fine site to work through. Thanks, PPH!

Thanks to the following tips, you, too, can have a social life and work freelance!

1. Go Outside

This doesn’t mean take your laptop, coffee and various and sundry work items to get things done on your porch or deck (not that that’s a bad thing). Angela West of Web Designer Depot says she tries to take a little time each day to re-socialize, whether it’s leaving the house for a workout, a coffee break, a quick walk or drive…whatever. I think it’s fair to say we could all use a little human interaction throughout the day. Even if you can get out for a few minutes, it’s good for you. Little investments of time add up, after all.

2. Volunteer

A volunteer organization is an excellent way to become more socially aware, especially if you’re like me and have spent a majority of your waking hours writing, alone. I’ve never really considered myself a terribly socially anxious person, but I know for some, that’s a problem. West recommends the Toastmasters as an organization that can help you brush up on your public speaking skills, which may help considerably in easing your nerves when meeting other people or introducing yourself in a number of settings.

3. Pick up a Hobby

If there’s anything I’ve learned through my research for this post, it’s that I’m not alone when it comes to devoting too much time to my work. So, what is one to do if one isn’t working? I’ve been fortunate enough to find among my wife and I’s things a saxophone she used to play. Now, once a day, I take a break to play a little bit and learn something new. A change in activity really awakens the mind and helps multiple aspects of your life.

In your pursuit of work, it’s really important to keep your personal life well nourished. Taking time for yourself to reconnect with your loved ones or to try something new will do your body, mind and heart a world of good.

What do you do to stay sane as a solo worker? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

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Rush Jobs – Good or Bad?

credit: http://www.ehmac.ca

credit: http://www.ehmac.ca. I’m so sorry about the pun.

Hello, my dear readers! I hope this week finds you well.

I’ve been busy with various and sundry projects. Most at this point are longish-term, but I’ve also picked up a couple of rush jobs here and there.

Personally, I have mixed feelings regarding picking up rush jobs. Let’s take a look at the good and bad, shall we?

Pros

  • Rush jobs are quick. If you have a good, attentive client, you’ll get that money as soon as the job is done.
  • Rush jobs entitle you to charge more. If you can’t be free with your time, it’s permissible to make your client pay for it, and most of the time, they’re willing to do it if the deadline is absolutely not negotiable.
  • Rush jobs might not be as rush as they initially sound. If the deadline is negotiable, it’s okay to work with the client to see if you can buy yourself a little more time. If you’re going to offer your services to an already-warm client, you might as well milk it for what it’s worth.
  • It’s an opportunity to impress a client. James Chartrand of Men With Pens makes a good point when he says “In 95% of all rush cases, people sound urgent but almost all of them won’t blow at you when you say you can’t get to it right away. They want reassurance someone can help. They want to know they’re not alone to deal with this problem. They just want to be heard.Typically, people don’t really expect you to drop everything anyways – they’re just flustered and grabbing at any quick solution that comes to mind, or they’re not thinking about all the possible options they have at hand, or maybe they’re just trying their luck to see what you’ll say.” Yes, on one hand, the job might not be as urgent as it sounds. It’s always possible that it is. Either way, I think if you can pull the job off, you’ll look all the better  in the client’s eyes, and who knows where that could lead?

Cons

  • Rush work is stressful. I’ve learned this from experience; often times, there will need to be some changes made, and without enough time to do it, each change, edit, tweak takes priceless minutes (or God forbid hours), which has the potential to sour the client’s experience and the client-freelancer relationship.
  • Rush work is risky with new clients. It takes some time to develop a good freelancer-client relationship. When you first meet your client, it’s not a good idea to take rush work as the first job. This likely doesn’t do the first impression justice on either end. People act differently than normal when faced with an especially stressful situation. You really don’t want to start off on the wrong foot if at all possible!
  • Rush work could lead to more rush work, which leads to more stress, a more sour work relationship…it all snowballs downhill!

So the lesson in this brief article is if you’re going to take on rush work, pick and choose it on a case-by-case basis. And don’t be afraid to say no!

What are your thoughts on rush jobs? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

Cooling it – Staving Off Workplace Stress

stress-543658_1280

Hello, my dear readers!

It’s been so nice to have some more visitors to the site recently. For those of you who don’t know, one of my articles has been featured on Upwork. So thank you, Upwork, and you, my new readers!

It’s hot in Canada right now; it’s far from the stereotypes of igloos and dogsleds (at least not where I live). No, it gets pretty bad.

Since the heat’s not going anywhere, maybe it’s time to talk about a different kind of cooling off – chilling out at the workplace.

Stress is a killer, so don’t let it get you! Take a look at a few tips here.

1. Make Friends With Your Stress

No, really. Look, unless you’re the luckiest so-and-so around and everything is provided for you the moment you need it, you’re always going to experience some level of stress. It’s just going to be there.

The Freelancers Union suggests we look at stress another way. Stress can be a driving force, a vehicle to get you where you need to go. With a combination of stress and a strong cup of tea, there’s nothing that can’t be done!

2. Communicate

This not only applies to your everyday relationships outside of work but with your clients as well. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid by asking too many questions. I don’t think it detracts from your professionalism or mine when we pose multiple questions to our clients in order to make their experience with us better.

The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask!

3. Budget

We all stress about money. I’ve had some tough months and I’ve had some great months. If you find yourself dry on work, keep trying to find it. When you do and when (not if, but when) you find yourself in a good month again, set aside some money and keep it for a dry season. It’s not always easy, but it’s certainly possible, and I’m living proof!

4. Keep Marketing

To avoid slow periods, even when you find yourself slammed, keep sending out applications and queries to clients and prospects. Slow periods can be very stressful, but if you’re careful and keep at it each day, you can make that stress a thing of the past.

5. Stay Healthy!

I can’t stress (get it?) the importance of your health. When you find yourself stressed, it’s always  good to get enough sleep and exercise. They might seem like wastes of time at first, but don’t think of it that way. Think of it instead as a long-term investment for your well-being. Sure, at the moment you might not be getting work done, but maybe a little time away is just what you need.

Stay stress-free, fellow freelancers and readers!

How do you extinguish workplace stress? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

Happy Canada Day!

Freepicsimages

Happy Canada Day! I’m happy to celebrate life in this new country.

Happy freelancing this week, and for all you Canadians out there, enjoy the day off and enjoy your home and native land!

– Adam

A Fiverr Problem

fiverr logo

Hello, my dear readers!

Hope this week finds you well.

As much as Fiverr has its flaws, I’ve come to find it’s been working out for my business quite nicely. In, face, lately, it’s the source of a majority of my projects.

However, I feel there’s been an issue on the site that’s come to a head lately. There’s a section called Buyer Requests. The section acts as a meeting hub for clients and sellers. The client writes a short description of the work they want done and the sellers have an opportunity to make offers.

The Fiverr team’s made a great deal of improvements to this particular section in recent months, and I really appreciate it.

However, what I do not appreciate as much is sellers using the Buyer Requests section as a way to advertise their work. Here’s what I mean.

This is a typical Buyer Request:

Request

This is a seller ad:

Ad

I don’t know how well this works for other sellers, but frankly I find it at the very least rude. For buyers, it crowds out the rightful place of their request. For sellers like me, we read through each ad to see if we can apply. By posting what amounts to be spam, you’re wasting my time. And since time is money, you’re wasting my money.

It’s not the biggest problem in the world, but it’s an annoying one and I sincerely hope the Fiver admins have taken a look at what this particular section has become. It’s a nuisance, it’s unfair to seller and buyer alike and I really don’t think anyone who uses the site should stand for it.

Buyers of Fiverr, if you see these ads pop up along with your requests, please notify the site administrators. I don’t want to see sellers get banned necessarily; I just want the section cleaned up, and I’m sure you do, too.

Sellers of Fiverr, I’d really encourage you not to resort to this spam-like behaviour. I like getting ahead as much as the next guy, but there’s really no reason or profit to sharing your services this way. It hurts you, it hurts your fellow sellers and it could hurt the buyers we all rely on, too.

Ok, that’s my rant for the week. You may all go about your business and happy freelancing!

What do you think of sellers using the Buyer Requests section in this way? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

Work Music

Credit/Lakewood Music Boosters

Credit/Lakewood Music Boosters

Good morning, my dear readers!

I’ve been sitting here for the better part of an hour wondering what on earth I was going to write for this week when it hit me.

Some people like to work in absolute silence. For me, freelancing in my home alone is quiet enough; I need some kind of noise going.

It can’t just be any noise, though. It has to be something that plays in the background and stays in the background. Sometimes, and it shames me to admit it, I find myself distracted by the many media offerings of the internet. Please try to contain your surprise.

I recommend some kind of white noise or even some background music without lyrics (I suppose this is more applicable to writers than anyone else. Now, granted, that’s not the most entertaining environment. But that’s not really the point, is it?

You’re not in your “office” to be entertained; you’re there to work. And if you need some kind of noise to keep yourself moving forward (like me), so be it. Just make sure it stays where it needs to – minimized and in the background.

I’ve come up with a few recommendations that help me, courtesy of YouTube. There should be enough here to fill an 8-hour day!

Happy working!

What’s your favourite work environment? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day

 

Celebrate with some poutine, maple syrup and some Aero chocolate! Perhaps not all at once, though.

– Adam