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Money, Freelancing and Hourlies

I like money.  I don’t  care about lots of it which is lucky as I don’t  make tons of it.  I make a living and when asked by people who work in salaried positions how is work going I honestly answer like this. Not too bad.  Some months are great, some are OK and some are awful.  Thank goodness the awful months are way less than when I started out But boy I have made mistakes and I still do.  But here are some tips that have helped me enormously to improve my revenue stream and to get more business.  None of them are mystical or weird but just what I do.  I double down on them when I think things are going badly. Don’t Work for an Hourly Rate Ever Never under pain of water boarding quote an hourly rate.  Its ridiculous.  I can do now in 10 minutes what took me 3 hours 2-3...

On Death and Earnings

On Death and Earnings

If you just want to make €22 and make me €22 then click here to sign up for PPH or else read the fascinating blog post I have written. Last week and this week were a bit crazy for me.  My father was in the hospital and my mother in law passed away.  Sad but that’s life. As a result, I didn’t get much work done.  Rushing between two hospitals and the death of my mother-in-law last Friday meant that sitting in front of a Mac working fell way down the priority list. My father is out of the hospital (nothing major) and we are adjusting to the loss of my mother in law this week. Besides the sadness of the loss, it also showed me two things. The first was the importance of charging for work, something I write and rant about a lot but tend to be weak at...

Hustling Like a Hooker – Days 1-5

Hustling Like a Hooker – Days 1-5

This follows on from my previous post about being in a tough place as some work fell through the floor on me. So what to do – how could I make some money.  Well in the last 5-6 days I have done pretty OK in rustling up some new business.  It wasn’t pretty but here is what I did -.  There are no flash gimmicks here it was lots of email and out reach and still a way to go on getting back to pre-crash. Apps Do Help First I knew I need to hit the email hard.  Mailchimp does rock but I need to email a lot of people and fast. During some informal outreach with John Doherty of GetCredo he mentioned QuickMail.io and how we was loving the free trial.  So I tried it out signed up and am half way through it at the moment. IT helped with what I...

The Perfect Client

The Perfect Client

When I started out “on my own” I had this picture of the ideal client. They would be executives with large budgets begging me to do work for them.  Over time I would be one of the foremost people in web design in Ireland with an orderly line of CEOs with fat wallets lined up patiently outside my office, some would even have having slept over so as not lose their slot. Of course the reality is nothing like that. I now know customers come in all shapes and sizes and with hugely differing budgets and needs. I had a client last week who cycled across town to talk about his new blog, in contrast I just started a project  with a large charity in Dublin working on a large design and development project for 2017. Two vastly different clients. The most important thing I have learned is to treat all of these clients the...

Why I Don’t Travel

I rarely leave my office these days to meet prospects or clients.  When I tell people this they look at me with shock. No I haven’t grown a beard and become a hermit.  I still leave for lunch, meet friends for coffee. Walk my dog, go for a run.  But hopping a car to drive to a prospect is something that I have practically eliminated. Here are the main reasons why. International Me I work with about 6-7 customers outside of Ireland in the UK, US and one in New Zealand(to a lesser extent).  So my hours vary wildly and I have the tools (Skype, email, Slack recently) to manage our conversations.  We have worked well for several years and I don’t need to visit them so visiting you in Cork may not be needed either and you can come to me. The Time Suck Its all about sucking time out of my...

Getting Paid

Getting Paid

We all want to get paid.  As a freelancer (don’t like the word but it will do) you need to make a living.  When I first started out I made countless mistakes.  Still do. The biggest was thinking my dazzling personality and skills would ensure my success and riches and I would be sipping cocktails by the beach in a few years. I am not writing this from the beach. One of the main and massive improvements to my discipline is how I get payments and  write proposals. I don’t  claim to be perfect and wonderful but it works for me and I learned the hard way. Agree the Price AND the Scope Always have a proposal no matter how small the job.  Share it with your customer get it signed off. Make sure there is relatively no scope wiggle.  Don’t use any fuzzy words.  If needs wlak through it with...

Hoovering

Hoovering

I just finished hoovering the living room.  Why I did it is a complicated story involving teens being on holidays and refusing to do chores.  If you have teens you would understand and if you don’t its like trying to explain advanced astrophysics. I did it during work hours.  Heaven forbid! There are companies and people in my town who will clean your house from top to bottom in about 3 hours for about 90e uro,.  I used one of them once when my wife was on vacation.  They do a great job.  They did it while I was out and the house looked spotless and I was happy (as my wife was on her return). For the mathematicians amongst you the above task is about 30 euro per hour.  But hold on buddy.  Two of them do the job. I know as I arrived as they were leaving moving on briskly...

Why Freelancing isn’t Volunteer Work

Why Freelancing isn’t Volunteer Work

One of the things that I found very hard when I first started out working for myself 6 years ago was talking about money.  I of course wanted to make money and as I had left a salary paying job I had to make money. But when you work in the comfortable confines of corporate life where your pay check gets deposited monthly you basically have little or no skills in chasing money – unless you worked for a debt collection agency -. Having the ability to face up to a customer and say that item ABC will cost XYZ with an unblinking stare of confidence takes a lot of practice. It came back to me recently in two simple examples. Smiley Face Project – The Email Newsletter An existing client for whom I have done some well received WordPress work in the past asked me to do a PSD to email newsletter conversion for them....

My Favourite Application

I love apps and tools for making my life easier. You may call this lazy (I do sometimes) but doing something in one tenth of the time it normally takes always appeals to me. I always look at a task and see if it can be automated or made easier.  Whether it be an Excel macro or an app like Textexpander that I use hundreds (yes hundreds) of times per day.  I am always downloading new ones, trying them out and binning them if they don’t suit.  I have a core set that I really love using and really help my productivity.  One that is top of the list is Bidsketch What is Bidsketch? Bidsketch is cloud based proposal creation tool.  There are lots out there but this ticks all the boxes and more.  I am not going to list out all the features but an example will explain how I...

Its Not Magic

Its Not Magic

Its not magic. Its sitting in front of the keyboard. Typing, reading , trying things, screwing up. Trying something else. Learning something small every day. Writing crap blog posts, writing better blog posts. Working that extra hour in the evening and managing your time that little bit better. And then starting again. There is no magic button that you press to succeed online. If there was I would be hammering it morning noon and night. Tons of people think there is. They really do. They don’t see the blood sweat and tears. You sweat the small stuff. Then you try again. Its not magic. Photo Credits: Flickr Image by Evaysucamara