How to Telecommute Successfully: 50 Tips and Resources

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 6:06pm by Site Administrator

Telecommuting is a beautiful thing, what with skipping traffic and wearing fuzzy slippers to work. However, working from home doesn’t come without its trials. If you’re not prepared for them, you may find yourself experiencing a serious drop in productivity and motivation. Not to worry though, here are some tips that will have you on the path to telecommuting success with just at little effort and preparation.

  1. Stick to a ritual. Make sure your work and home life don’t become too blurred. Create a ritual to transition from one to the other in the morning so you’ll be prepared mentally to get to work.
  2. Simplify your schedule. One of the pitfalls of working from home is the tendency to try too hard to prove you’re really working, which often results in doing too much. Simplify your tasks and only do what you really need to get done each day.
  3. Set limits for work. Don’t let work start taking over the rest of your life. Set a starting and ending time for work each day so you won’t work longer hours than you would if you were at the office.
  4. Make a plan. Don’t just jump into your work in the morning. Figure out what you need to get done and plan out exactly how you can accomplish it. The structure will help you to get more done.
  5. Schedule everything. Schedule not only your work time but your down time as well. Plan out times for breaks, lunch, and household chores so they don’t interfere with getting things done.
  6. Find quiet. Working at home can be full of distractions. Find a quiet place in your home that will allow you to get away from it all and concentrate.
  7. Work smarter. Don’t work harder just because you’re at home, work smarter. Be organized and focused when it counts and you’ll get more done in less time.
  8. Allow some distraction. It’s easy to overdo it and deny yourself any pleasures when working at home. You should be cautious of these distractions, but allow yourself the occasional distraction to break up your day. It’ll keep you happier and more productive.
  9. Don’t forget about your health. Sometimes working at home can take a toll on your health simply because you’re no longer climbing those stairs to the office or walking to the train every day. Make sure to take time to exercise and take care of yourself.
  10. Find a work space. While not everyone has the luxury of their own home office, set up a private and out of the way space to work. Make sure you have room to spread out, and surround yourself with things that make you feel good so you’ll get more done.
  11. Keep connected with coworkers. Don’t miss out on colleague friendships just because you’re working from home. Keep in touch with your coworkers so you don’t feel isolated working from home.
  12. Find your optimal work time. Everyone has a time of day when they work their best. Figure out when yours is and schedule your most challenging tasks around it.
  13. Be responsive. Check your email and voice messages regularly so you can quickly respond to issues and inquiries sent your way.
  14. Keep in touch with work. Let bosses and coworkers know where you stand on projects through emails and phone calls.
  15. Promote yourself. It can be easy to be passed over for promotions and raises when you’re not in the office all the time. If you are doing good work from home, make sure the right people know about it.
  16. Take advantage of associations. There are many associations designed for those that work at home. Try joining the American Telecommuting Association to meet fellow telecommuters and get advice and resources that can be helpful.
  17. Get dressed. It can be quite tempting to work in your PJs or sweats, but you’ll be more productive if you feel professional. You don’t have to put on a suit and tie, unless you want to, but at least put on something you’d be willing to leave the house in.
  18. Keep track of your time and work. Keep a spreadsheet or log of the time that you put into work each day. It will serve not only as a record for your employer of your work, but can give you a sense of accomplishment as well.
  19. Practice self-discipline. Telecommuting can take a serious toll on self-discipline. Learn to keep a lid on those voices telling you to head for the couch and you’ll be much more successful at working at home.
  20. Make downtime productive. Don’t waste time waiting around, make that time useful. Whether you’re waiting for a response to an email, or just for your lunch to heat up in the microwave, use those minutes to get small, easy tasks accomplished.
  21. Use a timer. If you’re having difficulty staying focused, try using a timer. Work without stop for a set amount of time and then take a break. Breaking up your day into smaller chunks like this can help you get more done.
  22. Limit incoming calls. You don’t need to take your phone off of the hook, but it can be to your advantage to screen your calls to avoid becoming distracted.
  23. Share your work. Don’t feel that just because you’re working at home that you have to do everything yourself. If you’ve got too much on your platter, don’t be afraid to ask for help from other telecommuters or coworkers back at the office.
  24. Don’t isolate yourself. While the isolation of working at home can help you be more productive, you shouldn’t let yourself become a total hermit. Keep in touch with coworkers, meet at friend for lunch, or just get out of the house and socialize every once in awhile.
  25. Prevent emails from dominating your time. Email is a fast and convenient way to keep in touch, but it can also be disastrous for productivity. Set times to check or respond to your email so you won’t constantly be interrupted by it.
  26. Practice good stress management. Sometimes working at home can be just as stressful as working in the office. Make sure you don’t let the stress get to you. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break to do something you enjoy, and come back when you’ve calmed down or relaxed.
  27. Put on headphones. Sometimes you just need to shut out the world, and headphones can help you eliminate all other noises and concentrate on your work. Try listening to songs that relax you or give you motivation.
  28. Establish checkpoints. You can often feel more productive by establishing checkpoints to help you monitor your progress. As you complete each checkpoint, even the biggest and most overwhelming tasks will feel more manageable and you’ll gain a sense of accomplishment.
  29. Set time limits for tasks. To keep any one task from dominating your day, set time limits for completing tasks. If you don’t get things done, set them aside and come back to them later after you’ve made time for the other things you need to accomplish.
  30. Disconnect from the Internet occasionally. Sometimes it can be helpful to get things done if you just disconnect from the Internet for a few hours. While it is a valuable tool, it’s also full of distractions, and you might be better able to concentrate when you’re not tempted to check your email or the news.
  31. Attend meetings whenever possible. If there is a meeting in the office, try to attend whenever you can. It will make your presence in the business known, and also let you represent your own work instead of letting someone else do the talking for you.
  32. Pace yourself. You don’t need to work at warp speed all day just to prove you’re working. In fact, it’s a surefire way to burn out fast. Instead, work at a steady pace, allowing for breaks and opportunities to get out of your office chair.
  33. Find helpful resources. You can find resources for telecommuters provided by many nonprofit organizations that are designed to support telecommuting. Check out the TelCoa website for valuable tips and information.
  34. Schedule face-to-face meetings. While you could very well telecommute to meetings with clients, it’s preferable to meet with people face-to-face. You’ll get to know each other better and be more comfortable working with one another.
  35. Close your door. If you work in a room with a door, sometimes it helps to just close it and shut out any potential distractions.
  36. Let people know your hours. Make sure that both coworkers and family members know and respect your working hours, so they’ll know when they can get in touch with you and when you’ll be off limits.
  37. Don’t let friends or family intrude on your work time. It can be tempting for relatives, friends and neighbors to take advantage of the fact that you’re home during the day. While these intrusions sometimes are unavoidable, make sure that those close to you know that even though you’re home, you’re still doing legitimate work and shouldn’t be disturbed.
  38. Remember the benefits. Sometimes working at home can get stressful, but don’t let the occasional stress obscure the benefits. Working from home can save you money, miles on your car, and the stress of commuting, not to mention the fact that it probably allows you a flexible schedule to be at important events for your friends and family.
  39. Keep work tasks and home tasks separate. While your dirty laundry or dishes may be calling your name, keep your work for work and work for home separate whenever possible by creating specific times to get each done.
  40. Don’t work from your bed or the couch. It’s easy to get lazy when you’re lying down, so only work from your desk or other more formal workspace to maximize your productivity. If you need to, you can take a nap or relax over your lunch break.
  41. Use the best technology for the task. Don’t waste time using technology that isn’t right for the job. Save lengthy and complex conversations for the phone rather than email.
  42. Expect a period of adjustment. Don’t expect to be the perfect telecommuter right away. Allow yourself a period of adjustment while you figure out your schedule and learn from your mistakes.
  43. Be accessible. Quell office fears about telecommuting by being readily available to bosses and coworkers. If necessary, arrange an office instant messaging system so you’ll always be just a click away.
  44. Network. Don’t let your business connections suffer because you’re not in the office. Talk to clients, business associates, and other telecommuters whenever you get a chance.
  45. Make sure people know how to get in touch with you. Make sure all your coworkers have your phone number and email handy if they need you for anything. You should also keep a list of contact information for yourself as well, just in case you have a problem.
  46. Don’t overindulge in the comforts of home. It can be hard to resist the temptations of your television or refrigerator when you’re at home and they’re within easy reach. Allow yourself a few indulgences, but keep them to a minimum, or you could end up with little work and a big waistline.
  47. Allow yourself breaks. You wouldn’t think twice about taking a quick coffee break at work, so allow yourself similar breaks at home so you don’t get burnt out.
  48. Plan work in and out of the office. If you have work that can only be done at the office, don’t waste time worrying about it at home. Get done what you can at home, and take care of office work at the office.
  49. Make sure you have the right equipment. Make sure your home office is equipped with all the gear you need to do your job properly. Technology is important, but be sure you’ve got a comfortable desk chair and a setup that won’t give you any aches and pains.
  50. Download productivity software. Sometimes it helps to have a little software to keep you on track. There are many free programs out there that can help you get organized and keep track of all your to-dos.

CRM for Freelancers: 26 Tips a One-Man-shop Can Use to Make More Money

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 6:06pm by Site Administrator

As a freelancer, you’re probably used to managing several projects at once. You’ve gotten the hang of prioritizing, scheduling, and making deadlines. While the overall outcome of your work is vital to your business, maintaining strong relationships with your clients is just as important. To help you out, we’ve put together a crash course in arming yourself with the practical tools you’ll need to stay connected.

Tools

 

  1. Freshbooks: Manage your invoices quickly and efficiently with Freshbooks, an online program that helps you notify your clients of new payments and project updates.
  2. Highrise: With Highrise, you’ll avoid scrolling through massive e-mail lists to find records of all your communication history. Keep track of your client chats with this handy tool.
  3. Salesforce.com: Salesforce.com is a comprehensive toolkit for client relationship management, but it costs much less than traditional CRM packages.
  4. Backpack: Keep track of to-do lists, deadlines, and contact information with Backpack. Activate the alerts option to notify of important dates or appointments.
  5. Essential PIM: This inclusive program offers a free version, so don’t worry about shelling out extra cash just to stay organized
  6. Core FTP: This free download allows you and your clients to take advantage of file sharing, editing, and transfer capabilities.
  7. ProjectStat.us: Sign up for a free account, and start updating clients on each project’s progress.
  8. Box: Allow your clients to access files so you won’t have to keep from faxing and e-mailing all day long.
  9. Jewelboxing: Burn your assignments onto CDs and DVDs with the help of Jewelboxing and send them to your clients. Trust us, they’ll be impressed.
  10. 8apps: 8apps takes online social networking to the next level. Make your clients feel loved by checking in on them frequently, updating them with project information and collaborating on assignments with 8apps’ easy-to-use features.
  11. Goplan: Use Goplan to chat with clients and vendors, share your calendar and to-do list, and more.
  12. eFax: Continue to connect with your clients in a paper-free format. eFax allows you to "fax by e-mail."
  13. Relenta CRM: Forget about all those pricey CRM software tools. Relenta CRM simplifies client management software so that you can afford to connect with your clients.

Resources

 

  1. Free CRM: Gain access to software programs that assist you with managing databases, contact lists, and more.
  2. Up Close and Personal: This resource will guide you through the basics of client relationship management with its training, video tour, reference guide, and support section.
  3. BoldChat: BoldChat offers a fantastic way to keep in touch with customers. More advanced than a generic instant messaging system, Boldchat also offers a live support solution for your customers.
  4. SalesPro CRM: Signing on as a single user will grant you affordable access to SalesPro, one of the best CRM hosting services out there.
  5. The CRM Toolkit 3.1: Follow this link to a free download of The CRM Toolkit 3.1.
  6. Stay Connected SOC: Send out cards to your clients for all kinds of occasions.
  7. Zoho Meeting: Set up Web conferencing solutions with Zoho.
  8. Xing: Search for new customers with Xing, an innovative approach to making online connections.
  9. MindMeister: Let your customers feel like they’re contributing to the creative process with the help of MindMeister. Add as many users as you want and start brainstorming. The basic subscription is totally free.
  10. Biz-Plan: Your customers will appreciate your organization when you use Biz-Plan. Create a separate business plan for each project, or develop an ongoing strategy for your overall freelance career.
  11. Comodo: Give your clients peace of mind with Comodo. This secure e-mail service will assure them that all their creative and financial information is safe from hackers.
  12. Spongecell Calendar: Spongecell features an attractive way to share your calendar with clients and contacts. Invite your business associates to leave comments, RSVP, and more!
  13. Moo: Use Moo to custom-designed postcards, business cards, and other print items for your clients.

Client relationship management can be tough to maintain if you’re juggling several different projects by yourself. Use these tools and resources to help you create solid connections with each of your clients.

The Top 99 Freelancer Blogs

Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 4:00pm by Site Administrator

Freelancing is often a difficult profession: it can be lonely and nerve wracking at the same time. But you can make it easier on yourself by learning from and bonding with other freelancers out there who’ve blazed the trail ahead of you. Here are 99 blogs, in no particular order, that can help you find advice and guidance for your freelancing career.

Writing

Whether you’re just a small time blogger or a novelist hoping to write a new classic, these blogs can give you some helpful advice and information on how to improve your writing and manage your freelance career.

  1. Fab Freelance Writing: Writer Angela Booth gives advice on improving your writing skills in her blog, as well as her informative series of free ebooks on a wide variety of specialty topics.
  2. Freelance Writing Jobs: This blog provides not only links to job opportunities for freelance writers, but also advice on how to get the job you want.
  3. Successful Blog: While directed more at professional bloggers, this site has a great variety of tips for every kind of writer.
  4. InkThinker: InkThinker is written by Virginia writer-editor Kristen King and brings her experience at finding her place as a freelancer to her blog.
  5. The Golden Pencil: The Golden Pencil is a blog that caters to freelance writers. Check out their 31 days of freelancing tips for small ways to improve your freelancing skills.
  6. Ask Allison: For those wanting to break into the writing profession, this blog is a great resource. Send Allison your questions or read her answers to other reader queries.
  7. Writer’s Resource Center: Find all kind of information on writing at the Writer’s Resource Center. Learn how to please editors, market your freelance work and find cheap publishing. There are also job boards for writers and freelancers.
  8. Editor’s Ink: Learn about the business of freelance writing with this blog dedicated to freelance writing and editing.
  9. The Independent Journalist: The freelance journalist will benefit from this respectable blog associated with the Society of Professional Journalists. The site has a freelancer directory, postings for jobs, and advice for freelancers all over the world.
  10. Bad Language: Marketing writer Matthew Stibbe gives advice on blogging, freelancing, PR and even how to ace an interview.
  11. Freelance Writing Business Blog: Freelance copywriter Janice King shares her thoughts on business and marketing as well as information on books and materials to help the freelance writer.
  12. Write This Moment: Write this Moment is dedicated to providing information on jobs and resources for writers. Get your questions about writing and freelancing answered by the writers of this blog.
  13. Inkwell Editorial: Not sure where to start on your freelance writing career? Check out this blog, especially their series on 40 Days to a Successful Freelance Writing Career and great ebook series.
  14. Writing for Reason: In this blog you’ll find writing and commentary on freelance writing and marketing.
  15. Freelance Writing Tips: Freelance writers Craig and Linda blog about journalism, making great pitches and more at this freelance writing blog.
  16. Writers Weekly: Writers Weekly is the highest circulating free e-zine for freelance writers and contains articles on publishing, setting rates, and even fan mail.

Copywriting and Marketing

Learn to sell your freelance services and hone your copywriting skills with a little guidance from these blogs.

  1. CopyBlogger: One of the best copywriting sites on the Web, Copyblogger gives great advice on how to create good marketing content, ultimately helping you sell more stuff.
  2. Copywriter Underground: Professional copywriter Tom Chandler gives advice and consultation on marketing and how to sell anything.
  3. MarCom Writer Blog: Learn all about marketing communications from professional Dianna Huff on this great marketing blog.
  4. The Copy Writing Maven: Find tons of great resources on copywriting from the Copywriting Maven including tips on writing great Web content and working with clients.
  5. Adventures in Copywriting: Freelance writer Mike gives his thoughts on what it’s like to be a freelancer as well as some humorous insights into the day to day workings of it as well.
  6. Michel Fortin: Michel Fortin is a copywriter and consultant and his blog is full of advice on how to become a better marketer and write more persuasively.
  7. Writing White Papers: There are tons of copywriters out there, so how can you learn to stand out in the crowd? Start by reading this blog.
  8. Ask a Copywriter: Have a question about copywriting you’ve been dying to ask but didn’t know who to consult? Send you question to this blog and finally get the answers you’re looking for.
  9. The Write Spot: Freelance copywriter and blogger Ann-Marie Nichols shares her experiences with working on the Web.
  10. Micro Persuasion: Marketing is a rapidly changing field due to constantly evolving technologies. Keep abreast of the technical side with this blog by Steve Rubel.
  11. Signalwriter: The author of this blog is an incredibly accomplished copywriter and marketing man, so you can learn quite a bit by reading his blog. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something inspirational.
  12. The Opinionated Marketers: Get unfiltered opinions on marketing and advertising from three pros in the business on this blog.

Design

Even the best freelance designers can use a little inspiration now and then. Check out these graphic design and illustration blogs to give you a little spark.

  1. Coroflot: Here you’ll find guides on how to get design work, what companies are looking for in their designers, and maybe even a place to showcase your portfolio.
  2. Design Jump: The design world can be competitive and confusing at times, but this blog aims to give some unique knowledge and insight on how to be successful.
  3. Darjan Panic: Learn about typography, photography and boosting your design blog at the personal site and portfolio of Darjan Panic.
  4. Top Tut: Not sure how to create the look your client wants? Check out this blog. It’s chock full of tutorials for designers and webmasters.
  5. David Airey: Designer David Airey gives advice on this blog about logo design, blogging, dealing with clients and even business cards.
  6. Graphic Design Blog: Here you’ll find loads of articles on design, illustration, and advertising specially geared towards freelancers.
  7. Graphic Design Forum: At the Graphic Design Forum you’ll not only find lots of tips from fellow graphic designers, but a forum and a library of design articles as well.
  8. All About Freelance: This blog is written just for the freelance graphic designer. You’ll find articles on time management, project organization and even a few design tricks you can try.
  9. Drawn!: More into illustration than design? Then this blog might be of greater interest to you. Here you’ll find information on the latest and greatest in the illustration and cartooning fields.
  10. Designers Who Blog: As the name suggests, this blog, or rather a collection of blogs, is entirely written by designers. You’ll find some quirky content but also some informative stuff as well. If you’re feeling up for it, add your own blog to the mix.
  11. Design View: This blog is a collection of articles written by Andy Rutledge. He answers questions about design, and writes about professionalism, deadlines and other issues relevant to freelance design.

Programming and Web Development

What better place to look for programming and Web advice than on the Web? Read up on how to make your freelance business a success.

  1. Warren Seen: Freelance software developer Warren blogs about all kinds of coding as well as his advice on programming.
  2. Entrepreneurial Geekiness: Being a geek is big business nowadays, and this blog is all about becoming an entrepreneur in the tech market.
  3. Programmer Helper: Need a little help with a big project? Check out this blog for programming tips and advice.
  4. Carlos on Web: Carlos Velasco is a freelance programmer in the Philippines. Read his articles on reasons why you should become a freelance programmer as well as things you should consider before making the leap.
  5. Ben Ramsey: Programmer, author and consultant Ben Ramsey gives his two cents about the latest news in the programming world.
  6. Best Practices: Web developers might find some useful advice in this blog, both on freelancing and on a wide variety of programming issues.
  7. A List Apart: A List Apart is a great resource for web designers. There are articles on layout, design, process and even on how to get along with other designers.
  8. Smashing Magazine: Smashing Magazine, and its blog, are all about providing innovative and useful information to web designers that makes their jobs easier.
  9. Design Float: Design float isn’t really a blog in and of itself. It’s an aggregator that brings together the best web design posts.
  10. Future of the Web: Having issues with accessibility and making sites user friendly? Take a look at this blog for some tips as well as loads of information on programming issues.
  11. Web Worker Daily: Chances are, if you work online, you’ve already heard of this site. But if not, give it a look. Its full of tips to boost your productivity while working on the Internet.

Finance and Business

Freelance financial professionals and other self-employed workers looking for business know-how will benefit from seeing what these blogs have to offer.

  1. June Walker: Get tax and financial advice for your freelance business from advisor June Walker. She gives tips to graphic designers, writers, photographers and more about how to manage business finances.
  2. Simplify This: Streamline your business with advice from the Simplify This blog, home of the Simplify software, designed to give freelancers a means to invoice and get paid what they deserve.
  3. Keeping Nickels: Learning to manage business finances can be complicated for the newbie. Let this blog from a professional accountant set you in the right direction for financial success.
  4. The Solo Accountant Reporter: Freelance accountant Jeff Moore gives his insight into issues in forensic accounting and management.
  5. Double Ledger: Find tons of information about accounting jobs, news, businesses and software on this accounting-focused blog.
  6. Instigator Blog: Whether you’re just starting out in business on your own or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, you’ll find value in this business blog.
  7. Robert Alamos: This blog by Robert Alamos can give you insight and advice on starting and running your own online business, including tips for being successful at freelancing.
  8. Biznik: Biznik is a business networking site, and the blog gives information about the program. If you don’t find anything of interest on the Biznik site, check out the member blogs as well.

Photography

Great photography skills aren’t all you need to be a successful photographer–you need business savvy, too. Get advice on both elements of success on these blogs.

  1. Pro Photo Business Blog: Stanley Rowin, former president of the American Society of Media Photographers, publishes this page of photo business advice to help you make the most of your freelance career.
  2. Dan Heller’s Photography Business Blog: Follow the latest in photography business news with this blog and learn a little bit about your business as well.
  3. Photocritic: Get back to the DIY basics of photography with this blog. See photo criticisms or just get tips and ideas on photography you can use to make your work even better.
  4. Photo Business News and Forum: This blog focuses intently on the business side of photography. Get a few pointers to help yours get going in the right direction as well as getting the latest information on issues in photography.
  5. StockPhoto Talk: Want to sell your photos to stock agencies or even start your own stock photo business? Then check out this blog, dedicated to providing information about news, jobs, and companies working in the stock photo business.
  6. PhotoAttorney: Get legal advice and information on protecting your creative works with this attorney’s blog.
  7. The Online Photographer: Professional photographer Mike Johnson gives technical and business advice for photographers as well as reviews on cameras and other photography products on this informative blog.
  8. Strobist: Strobist is a great resource for photographers who want to learn to work better with flashes and lighting. Improving your skills will help your business in the long run.
  9. Digital Photography School: The Digital Photography School blog is another great place to visit if you’re looking for a little inspiration or want to beef up your skill set. Learn about techniques, styles of photography, and even equipment.
  10. DIY Photography: For those running their own business, little expenses can add up quickly, especially with pricey photography equipment. Save your business money by embracing the DIY spirit. This blog will let you know how to get things done as cheaply as possible.
  11. The Big Picture: Photojournalist and professor Dennis Dunleavy’s blog is a great place for freelance photojournalists to find commentary on technology and visual culture.

Consulting

Learn from other consultants in all different lines of business with these informative blogs.

  1. Gautam Ghosh: Gautam Ghosh is an India-based blogging consultant. His blog contains information on HR issues, leadership, training, organization development and social media. Check it out if you want to improve your own blog or help others to improve theirs.
  2. Consultant Journal: Thinking about a freelance career as a consultant? The Consultant Journal can help you learn the basics to get started and keep going.
  3. Management Consultants’ Blog: Keep up with the latest in consulting news with the Management Consultants’ Blog. Learn about networking online and off and make connections in the field.
  4. Law Consulting Blog: Experienced construction law attorney Cordell Parvin gives guidance for young lawyers entering the field and you can learn a little yourself to give consulting advice yourself.
  5. Steve Shu’s Blog: Steve Shu, management consultant, talks about his experience consulting as well as management in general and other related issues.
  6. The Nonprofit Consultant Blog : For the philanthropically minded, learn how to help the organizations you care about most by being a nonprofit consultant and freelance grant writer with this blog.
  7. About.com Consulting Blog: About.com gives you information on how to score consulting jobs and find your niche in the consulting market.

Freelancing and Parenting

Balancing work and family life can be hard working outside of the home and it can be even harder when the line is blurred by working at home. These blogs give some guidance on keeping both parts of your life in sync.

  1. Success from the Nest: Learn how to create a successful work at home business in this entertaining and illustrated blog.
  2. Freelance Dad: New York-based freelance parenting writer Gary Drevitch shares his expertise on parenting and his commentary on the latest news.
  3. Freelance Parent: Moms and freelancers Tamara and Lorna help other freelancing parents maintain a balance between the adult working world and the world of childcare. Find advice on this blog about finding your niche, managing your finances, and finding inspiration.
  4. At Home Mom Blog: Freelance writer and blogger Genesis gives advice on how to make your work at home business a success, get organized, and stay productive all while looking after demanding little ones.
  5. A Vocational Duality: Sometimes freelancing and motherhood overlap and require a lot of multitasking. Here, blogger Christa posts articles relevant to working from home, parenting and marriage.
  6. Dad Balance: Blogger Derek Semmler gives tips and advice for work-at-home Dads who want to find a balance between their career and their family.
  7. Work@Home Parents: Working at home, despite the fuzzy slipper appeal, can be a daunting prospect. Get some advice on working, parenting, or even how to manage the stress of the two.
  8. Career and Kids: Don’t neglect the best years of your kids’ lives for your work. This blog can help you work in things that mean the most to you, like coaching your child’s team or going on field trips, with your freelance career.
  9. Work It: Work It is a great blog for working mothers. Written by several business minded mothers, it can help you strike a balance between work hours and family time.
  10. Just Loving Life: Friends Wanda and Paula blog about their work at home marketing business and how they make it work with their busy lives.

General

Some of the best freelance blogs provide information for all fields, not just one. Find job offers, helpful advice, and business help on these blogs.

  1. Freelance Switch: Freelance Switch is full of resources for freelancers. Get some great advice on the blog, chat with other freelancers in the forum, use the job posting board to find work, or check out their list of free freelance tools.
  2. All Freelance: All Freelance has tons of great articles on every aspect of freelancing from how much to charge to how to keep on task when you’re working at home.
  3. Freelance Folder: Freelance Folder is chock full of information for freelancers in every field as well as small business owners. You’ll find tons of useful links, articles and advice on being successful at whatever you’re working towards.
  4. Self Employed Blog: Deciding to leave the world of cubicles can be the best decision you ever make, but it can also be a daunting one. Get tips and advice from Eartha on how to make the transition between the two and make your self-employment rewarding.
  5. Gizfolio: The main Gizfolio site is a place where businesses and freelancers can post jobs and get work, respectively, but the site also has a blog where you’ll find all kinds of articles with advice on freelancing as well as the occasional competition in which you can showcase your work.
  6. Freelancer’s Union: Many freelancers aren’t even aware that there is such a thing as a freelancer’s union, but there is, and it exists to help you. Check out their blog to band with your fellow freelancers and maybe even find some work.
  7. The Freelance Pro: The purpose of the Freelance Pro is to help readers learn to be successful and well-respected writers and designers and stop thinking like "employees" and start thinking like their own employers.
  8. The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: This blog is primarily directed at women, but men will find some helpful advice here as well. As the title suggests, the blog is dedicated to helping readers make the transition between the cubicle and the freelance lifestyle. If you like what’s the blog, check out the book of the same title as well.
  9. Ninja Freelance: This multi-author blog contains numerous articles on helping you become a "ninja" at freelancing. Learn how to get rid of bad clients and what mistakes to avoid.
  10. One Man Band: Freelance writer and photographer C.E.H. Wiedel blogs about the trials and tribulations of DIY business.
  11. The Freelancing Blog: Written by a fellow freelancer, the Freelancing Blog attempts to share the experiences and lessons learned during a freelancing career.
  12. Escape from Corporate America: Former long-term corporate employee Pamela Skillings blogs about her experience in quitting her job and going out on her own to pursue her passions. You’ll also get advice on how you can do the same.
  13. Freelance Tipster: Get little tips on how to boost your freelance career on this blog.

100 Niche Job Boards for Web Workers

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 6:26pm by Site Administrator

Looking for a job today is a frustrating, lonely process, even if you’ve got in-demand skills like Web design or networking capabilities. To make your job search a little less complicated, we’ve compiled this list of the top 100 niche job boards that will direct you to the best Web jobs out there. Online forums, staffing services, and government boards are just some of the resources that follow. Online Specific Boards

Your dream job could be just a click away! These websites are devoted to helping programmers, networkers, designers, system administrators, and other Web workers land the perfect job.

  1. 37signals: Employers such as The New York Times and American Express post Web jobs on this site.
  2. Google Directory: Google is now dipping into the job search industry. You can browse through job listings, job fairs, staffing services, or even brush up on your interview skills by reading tips from their team of experts.
  3. FreshWebJobs.com: Find full time, part time, or freelance work in Web design, development, or analysis.
  4. Read/Write Web Jobs: Search for Web jobs all over the world.
  5. Jobpile: Jobpile searches several other job boards for you, and then lists all the announcements that match your search.
  6. Authentic Jobs: Find full time or freelance job openings all over the country when you use this site.
  7. Krop.com: Krop’s simple layout makes finding a job easy, whether you’re looking in London, New York, or LA.
  8. MeFi Jobs: This online community allows members to share tips about new Web job openings, so you always get the inside scoop!
  9. Slashdot Jobs: New Web jobs are posted almost daily. Search by category or location to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  10. CSS Beauty: This job board is a partner of CSS Monster, which "was created to help bring Web Developers/Designers and employers together." This easy-to-navigate site features great jobs in North America and Europe.
  11. Coroflot: Coroflot posts tons of new jobs each day. Check back often or sign up to receive job alerts that will notify you when the type of job you’re looking for pops up.
  12. MinistryCamp Job Board: This job board is designed to help Web workers find job opportunities with churches and othe Christian organizations.
  13. Python Job Board: Detailed posts give information about each job description, the company, and contact directions.
  14. CrunchBoard: Excellent engineering, networking, and other Web job opportunities are posted daily on this site.
  15. GeekUp: Find jobs in "the UK’s Northwest" on this job board.
  16. Dice: Known as the "career hub for tech insiders," Dice lets you search for jobs based on location, skill, and keywords.
  17. ComputerJobs.com: Search hundreds of tech jobs all over the United States. This site also features an IT Resource page, where you can find links to special training programs, relocation info, and more.
  18. DevBistro: Search through directories that post tons of Web jobs daily.

Brick and Mortar Firms

These firms feature job boards posted on their Web sites but also have actual locations outside of cyberspace.

  1. EDI Specialists: This company is based in Massachusetts, but its online job board posts jobs all over the country.
  2. Web Analytics Association: This professional organization, headquarted in D.C., is a valuable source for job seekers.
  3. Winebego Inc.: Winebego, Inc. is located in New York City and has a large department dedicated to finding jobs and maintaining contacts in the technology industry.
  4. Reaction Search International: RSI has locations all over the world. Use their superior services to coordinate an efficient and effective job search.
  5. Bristol Associates, Inc. A large firm specializing in many different areas, Bristol Associates features many high profile jobs in the Web industry.
  6. Kelly Services: This global staffing agency has multiple offices on each continent.
  7. Design Group: Based in Canada, this firm’s website is a great resource for job seekers everywhere. Find engineering and design jobs in permanent or contract positions.
  8. Allyis: This company specializes in finding technology personnel and projects. Based in Washington State, they’re a great resource for anyone in the Northwest.
  9. AdJob.com Located in Ohio, this firm promises to find your specialty and match you with a great job.
  10. Systems Personnel Group, Inc. Multiple offices are located in Western New York, including Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Use this company to take advantage of their contacts with IT and other computer type businesses.
  11. GCS Recruitment: If you’re looking for an IT job in Europe, contact one of the GCS Recruitment offices to ensure a professional search.
  12. TekJobs.com Computer Recruiters: This California firm posts a wealth of Web jobs on its website, including employment opportunities for data and system administrators, software engineers, technical analysts, developers, and security specialists.
  13. Going Ware, Inc. If you’re looking for a job in Santa Cruz, CA, this is a great site to visit. Its computer industry index features employers and job opportunities in the following fields: programming, technical support, Web design, network administration, and more.
  14. SearchFirm.com: This website has its headquarters in New York City, but it connects searchers with jobs and firms all over the world.
  15. The Riley Guide: This Maryland-based search firm provides job seekers with a salary guide and a "how to" tutorial on job searching, as well as a comprehensive job board.

Job Boards Found on Blogs

Bloggers can earn extra cash by posting legitimate jobs on their site. Keep an eye on these blogs to get updates on new job announcements.

  1. Recruiting.com: This site posts articles and sponsors forums about all things related to the job search. Find Web-specific jobs on their job board.
  2. Australian Microsoft Recruitment Web Log: Even if you’re not looking to relocate to Australia, this blog gives readers insight into the recruitment process at Microsoft.
  3. Web Based Recruitment: Several online recruitment blogs are available to job seekers, or you can start your own to post your resume, reveal job openings, or connect with potential employers.
  4. Info World Blogs: This blog features IT and computer news and gossip, but it also has a section devoted to career information.
  5. Tech Crunch: This blog has forums and articles about the computer and technology worlds, but you should visit to check up on their job postings.
  6. Blog Job Board: Read about job boards and search employment opportunities in the Web industry.
  7. Job Board Link: This site hosts links to other job boards, making it an easy reference for job searching.
  8. Online Recruitment – The Bigger Picture: Otherwise known as "Tim’s Blog," this Web site discusses all aspects of online recruitment. Look for links to potential employers or recruitment agencies for personalized help with your search.
  9. Problogger: This blog features one of the most effective job boards on the Web. Browse through listings, which are updated nearly everyday.

Staffing Services and Recruiting Firms

Enlisting a little extra help from the experts is a smart move. Check out this list to see if any of the following staffing services have what you’re looking for.

  1. Web Analytics Demystified: This firm offers staffing support for the brightest Web workers, whether you’re just breaking into the industry or are a veteran looking for a change.
  2. Aquent:This staffing firm has a huge directory of jobs, including those in the Web industry.
  3. CyberCoders: This firm provides great support for Web workers looking for employment.
  4. CyberScientific: CyberScientific is affiliated with CyberCoders. Check out their site for even more postings and resources.
  5. Computer Management, Inc. The recruiters at Computer Management, Inc. "specialize in recruiting for database administration, network administrator and Web development placement."
  6. Spherion: This company boasts years of experience, making them one of the top go-to agencies for job searchers.
  7. Link Staffing Services: Find a job, improve your resume, and more, all on this helpful website.
  8. Executives on the Web: This "award winning global executive job board" supports job seekers all over the world. Check out their special IT department, which posts tons of technology jobs.
  9. Net-Job: Find Web and Internet jobs in the U.K. when you search the posts on this site.
  10. Datascope: This is another recruiting agency based in the United Kingdom. They find jobs in game programming and management, as well as in the internet and new media industries.
  11. Jobabode.com: Jobabode.com directs you to all kinds of Internet and IT jobs.
  12. Sampoorna Computer People: Search the job board to find some of the best IT jobs in India.
  13. Tech-Centric: Computer and other tech jobs are posted nearly every day on this website. Save appealing jobs in your own folder, post your resume, and register for automatic job alerts.
  14. Resumegator.com: This online recruiting agency connects job seekers with IT and computer jobs, as well as lets you take personality tests to find out what IT niche is the best fit for you.
  15. AllEmploymentAgencies.com: Specify your location and browse through the directory to find a multitude of employment agencies in your area.

Government Resources

Whether you’re looking for a job with the government or just want a little help from an agency you trust, these resources provide valuable information for job seekers.

  1. U.S. Dept. of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics: Learn what you can expect by pursuing a job in the Web industry. This site discusses working conditions, salary information, and the overall job outlook based on the current economy.
  2. GovJobs.com: Search for jobs with the government while you take advantage of relocation information, disability programs, and more.
  3. Military Connection: Research what it would be like to be a Web programmer for the United States military. Browse job opportunities with the navy, army, air force, coast guard, or marines.
  4. Government Job Search: This website posts lots of jobs in the IT field. Search by category or by state.
  5. Government Job Listings: This site will connect you to government jobs all over the country.
  6. Jobs in Government: Read this article to learn what to expect when you work for the government.
  7. The Book of U.S. Government Jobs: Read this book to find job listings and descriptions of Web industry job opportunities with the government.
  8. FedWorld.gov: This site is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Find out where to search for jobs with the government, no matter where you are.
  9. "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government – 2007:" Read this article from U.S. News and World Report to discover where you might want to consider looking for a Web job.
  10. DisabilityInfo.gov: Learn about your rights as an employee with a disability.
  11. StudentJobs.gov: If you’re still in or just out of college, consider working as an intern for one of these high profile government agencies.
  12. Careers in Government: This site is an excellent resource for those who wish to puruse a career with the United States government.
  13. GovernmentJobs.com: Browse government jobs at the state and local level.
  14. GovernmentBids.com: Figure out how you, as a freelancer, can bid on government projects.

General Job Boards

These job boards post employment opportunities in many different industries, but their attention to Web-specific jobs is so extensive, we felt that we had to include them somewhere on our list!

  1. JobHuntersBible.com: Browse through a multitude of jobs, and get valuable tips on interviewing and resume writing.
  2. Creative Hotlist: This comprehensive job search site allows you to browse job postings by location and industry.
  3. Career.com: According to the homepage, Career.com is "the world’s first recruitment site." Apply for hundreds of Web-related jobs each day.
  4. Job Databases: This resource provides you with all the tools you need during your job search: job boards, links to employment agencies, and other tips to help you land your dream job.
  5. Job Central: Post your resume and wait for employers to contact you, or you can search jobs by U.S. state, metro area, or company name.
  6. Yahoo Hot Jobs: This popular site is bursting with technology job postings, resume tips, and other useful information.
  7. Monster.com: Organize your job search tools by setting up an account in which you can file away your favorite jobs and custom designed resumes.
  8. America’s Job Bank: This site is a great resource for finding websites, staffing agencies, and employers based on location.
  9. USA Jobs: Search IT and computer jobs on this website while reading articles about the different aspects of the hiring process.
  10. WSJ Career Journal: This "executive career site" is full of tools, tips, and job boards that will help you find the job you’ve been wanting. Take advantage of the salary search and career columnists pages.
  11. Craigslist: This famed site is great for finding jobs and housing all over the world.
  12. New York Times Job search: Search the extensive directory on the New York Times directory to find IT and other Web-related jobs.
  13. Jobs.Internet.com: Find tons of tech jobs that "you won’t find anywhere else."
  14. Business.com Job Directory: Click through the directory at Business.com to find internet jobs.
  15. Internet Job Store.com: This site is designed to help you easily and quickly search for jobs in the Web industry.
  16. TrueCareers.com: Post your resume, search for jobs by state, or catch up on industry news, all at TrueCareers.com.
  17. CareerSite.com: Find the jobs you want when you use this Web site for searching.
  18. Internet Career Connection: This site allows visitors to search for jobs and seek general career advice from experts.
  19. Top USA Jobs: "Where Top USA Talent Finds Top USA Jobs."
  20. WebReference.com: The job search directory is listed in alphabetical order, allowing you to search different job boards quickly.

Just for Freelancers

If you’d rather be your own boss, check out these job boards which cater exclusively to the freelance crowd.

  1. All Freelance: Find everything you need to know to be a successful freelancer. Browse jobs, read articles about tax law, and more.
  2. Go Freelance: Learn about freelancing marketing strategy and post your resume online.
  3. Elance: Elance is a great site for finding Web-related freelance jobs.
  4. Workaholics4Hire.com: Search jobs and read articles on evaluating your freelancing abilities.
  5. FreelanceSwitch: This networking community supports freelancers by posting writing, design, and programming jobs.
  6. "How to Win Contracts:" Read this article to improve your branding, marketing, and pitching skills.
  7. Guru.com: This Web site is great for freelancers looking to land top gigs.
  8. CSS Juice: This site provides links to other job boards, allowing you to compare and contrast easily.
  9. FreelanceJobSearch.com: Search by state to find loads of Web-related jobs.

This list will put you in contact with all the right resources during your job search. Link up with staffing services, check out recruitment blogs, or browse job postings on any one of these great sites.

33 Ways an Amateur Photographer Can Make Money Online

Friday, June 18, 2010 at 5:55pm by Site Administrator

Trying to make a living as a photographer is tough. You have to deal with odd schedules, low-paying gigs, and sometimes long breaks between work. The Internet can help make working as a photographer a little easier. You can post your portfolio online, network with potential clients, and even find new and possibly high-paying jobs. Following is a list of 33 innovative ways amateur photographers can make money online. Work with Online Companies

Existing online companies are constantly looking for photographers to supply them with photos that they can sell to their own customers. Check out these sites to get a piece of the profits.

  1. Buy a Photo: This website serves as an online photography store. Visitors can browse through their catalog of photos, and then purchase the ones they want.
  2. Shutterstock: Bloggers, designers, and anyone in the market for photos can download them from this site to use for their projects. If your photo is chosen, you’ll get a cut of the profits.
  3. Share A Pic: This company pays photographers through PayPal and Google AdSense. Upload as many photos as you’d like to increase your chances of being published.
  4. Digital Railroad: This site connects you to buyers from professional organizations who are looking to purchase and publish photographs.
  5. Fotolia: Register with this system to sell your photos. You’ll make making money each time your photo is sold to a new customer.
  6. Alamy: Get 65% of each sale when you work with Alamy, "the world’s largest online collection of stock photography." Alamy makes photographers do a little more work than other stock photo sites, but you’ll get a much larger share of the profits.
  7. CameraDollars.com: This company pays photographers to upload digital images onto their site.
  8. PhotoBiz.com: Join PhotoBiz.com to make money for submitting your photographs. You’ll also meet new customers who with any luck could become your personal clients.
  9. Instaproofs: With Instaproofs, you can upload whatever photos you want. Read the marketing tutorial to learn more about meeting and working with new clients.
  10. Backprint.com: Sell your photos through Backprint, and take advantage of their custom marketing campaigns and private label services.
  11. Photo Stock Plus: Maintain the rights to your photos and earn 85% of the profits when you affiliate your services with Photo Stock Plus.
  12. dotPhoto Pro: At dotPhoto Pro, their number one mission is to "empower the professional." As an artist and a business person, you have the control to sell whichever photos you want and set your own prices and print sizes.
  13. MorePhotos.com: This website lets you upload and organize your photos and set up a shopping cart for customers.

Selling your photos

Find the entrepreneur in you, and sell your photos to buyers online. These sites will help get you started.

  1. Show Me Proofs: Register for this free program which allows you to sell photos through your website. The best part? You get to keep 100% of the profits!
  2. Zooomr: Their website boasts that Zooomr is "universally the best way to share, search, store, sort and sell your photos online."
  3. Photoblogs.org Create an account to become a member of the Photoblogs community. Your blog will appear on their website, connecting you to an unlimited number of potential buyers and contracters.
  4. Image Display Works: This online software designed especially for photographers allows you to sell photos and other photo products from your website. Sign up for direct deposit, and you’ll be able to see your profits instantly.
  5. Smug Mug: Set up your own photo gallery using Smug Mug. Get valuable tips and read funny photo session stories on the site’s forum.
  6. ProBlogger.net: Learn how to design a sleek, profitable blog, on which you can post and sell your photos.
  7. Lulu: Publish your images on the Internet quickly and easily. Lulu allows you to set your own prices and remain in control of your copyright.
  8. Shutterpoint: Learn the ins and outs of selling photos online when you participate in Shutterpoint’s photo store. Earn 85% of the profits, and then start your own online shop once you’ve learned the ropes.
  9. Easy Store Creator: Download free shopping carts and other handy merchandising tools that will turn your website into an online store.
  10. PMA: Visit the Web site for The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations to learn marketing strategies and other money making opportunities for independent photographers.

Miscellaneous

From contests to consulting, you’ll find more money making opportunities here.

  1. Snapfish.com: In addition to developing beautiful prints, this site also allows you to create mugs, cards, and other promotional items that feature your photos. Have fun making these items, and then sell them on your website to make extra money.
  2. Jyve: Earn money by becoming a consultant over AIM or Skype for Jyve.com.
  3. Just Answer: Just Answer is another site that hires freelance consultants to participate in Internet dialogues. Share your photography expertise with people around the globe.
  4. Guru.com: Join Guru.com’s directory of freelance professionals and wait for employers to come to you.
  5. Spy Media: With Spy Media, you can either upload the photos that you have or go out on actual assignments requested by buyers and the company itself. Earn money for each photo.
  6. Citizen Image: Photo categories include: news, sports and entertainment, travel and daily life, and creative. Submit photos, and earn money whenever they are published.
  7. FotoSurf Monthly Contest: This website sponsors monthly photo contests. Upload your photos to be considered in the voting process.
  8. Proof Positive Photo Contests: Proof Positive sponsors several contests year round. Check out this page for deadlines, guidelines, and prize information.
  9. Elance: Use this job board for freelancers to offer your services as a Web designer. Custom design existing photos to fit a website’s theme or take new photos as assigned by your clients.
  10. PhotoServe.com: Become a member of this photo community to connect with buyers all over the world. PhotoServe conducts year round marketing promotions to make sure your portfolio is seen by the right people.

Photographers don’t need to just rely on the occasional wedding gig to make extra money. There are plenty of opportunities to make money online as well. Try out a few of these. You might end up being successful enough to quit your day job!

50 Ways to Make Money During Your Offtime

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 6:07pm by Site Administrator

With the dawn of Web 2.0, making money on the Internet has never been easier. Whether you’re in the market to make some extra cash on the side, or you’re trying to create a livable income from your online endeavors, there are numerous ways to make money through the Internet. Below is a list of 50 ways you can cash in during your free time.

Blogging

Blogging is one of the easiest, most straightforward ways to brand and market yourself on the Internet. By being your own boss, you can decide the subject matter of your posts and how often you want to write articles. Take advantage of these smart money making ideas to make the most of your blog.

  1. Start your own blog: If you haven’t already started your own blog, you should go ahead and create one now. Use WordPress to help you get an overview of what blogging is, as well as see all the different kinds of designs, tools, and other custom options you can feature on your blog. Blogs can be real moneymakers, as you’ll find out from the following tricks and ideas.
  2. Write paid reviews on your blog: Setting up your blog so that companies can post advertisements on your blog is one way to make money, but another, more profitable trick is to review the actual products for them, for a fee of course. Read more about paid reviews and Pay Per Post on Pureblogging.com
  3. Google AdSense: Setting up Google AdSense on your blog is an easy way to make money without spending any time. Once you’ve registered your domain for AdSense, Google will post relevant ads from participating advertisers onto your blog. When readers click on the ads, you receive a percentage of the ad revenue. Click on the Google AdSense page to learn more.
  4. Ask for donations: It seems tacky, but asking for donations to help support your blog is actually quite common. Convince your readers that they’re helping your cause: without a little financial support, you may not even be able to continue blogging. Don’t ask for a large sum, and be grateful for anything you do get.
  5. Link your professional website to your blog: Drive traffic to your homepage to transform readers into potential customers.
  6. Blogads.com: This site is another source that will put you in touch with advertisers. Here you can find out how you can play a more active role in selecting the kinds of advertisers you want to promote.
  7. Bidvertiser.com: Search through this website’s directory of approved advertisers to find the ones that best suit your blog or website. You get paid each time someone clicks on the ads.
  8. Write for Thisisby.us: Thisisby.us is a website that fosters a community of both writers and readers. Sign up to write for the site and earn 50% of the revenue. Or, you can just browse through the posts and comment on various articles, earning you 10% of the revenue.
  9. Freelance for Suite101.com: This site publishes articles on all sorts of topics, from sports to history to pop culture, and more. Sign up to write short articles and blogs, while earning money. You can participate as an entry level writer or a feature writer depending on how much time you have to devote to the project. This site is a great resource for those who are looking to further their freelancing opportunities, or for those with steady jobs but want to earn a little more cash.
  10. Search Engine Optimization: Read about how to increase your blog’s appearance in search engines at CourtneyTuttle.com.
  11. Weblogs, Inc.: Get paid for one of nearly 100 blogs featured on this site.
  12. BlogToProfit.com: Join this networking community to get in touch with the companies who want to advertise on your blog.
  13. DayTipper.com: Get paid $3 each time you submit a tip. You don’t have to spend lots of time developing a whole article, and the tips can be about nearly anything, like pets, technology, travel, or finance.
  14. CafePress.com: This idea was inspired by Mike Peed, as seen in The Washington Post. Designing and selling t-shirts, underwear, and other promotional items with your blog’s logo will give you instant profits, as well as boost your advertising off the Web.
  15. Crisp Ads: Crisp Ads boasts that it is the "premiere blog advertising network." The site strives to give bloggers and advertisers the exposure they crave by creating relevant matches and partnerships.

Online Investing

Register with one or several of these online brokerage firms to watch your money work for you. You’ll get updates on the stock market, and you can buy and sell at virtually anytime you want, quickly and easily.

  1. InvestingOnline.org: Check out this site before you start investing serious cash on the Internet. Take quizzes to gauge whether or not you’re ready to tackle the world of online investing, read about your rights as an investor, and more.
  2. ShareBuilder: This website is designed to walk investors through each step of learning and executing trades on the market.
  3. E*Trade Financial: E*Trade Financial is one of the most popular sites for online investing. Its website claims to manage 4.3 million accounts across the globe.
  4. TD Ameritrade: TD Ameritrade allows you to trade as much or as little as you’d like. If you’re looking to kill a little extra time at the office each week or at home, this website is worth checking into.
  5. Fidelity: Start putting away for your retirement early on with profits you make trading with Fidelity.
  6. Sify Walletwatch: This site is an all-in-one toolbox for getting updates on stocks, managing your trades, and learning new tricks for profitable investing.
  7. 2BuyShare.com: Buy and sell stocks while you read articles devoted to making you a better trader.
  8. Scottrade: Allow the brokers at Scottrade to make money for you, while you spend time at your day job.
  9. Bank of America Investment Services, Inc.: Read about what Bank of America can do for you and your wallet with its investment services.
  10. BondsOnline.com: Conduct research about and trade your bonds using this great online investment tool.
  11. HedgeStreet: Open an account with HedgeStreet and start trading in currency, oil, gold, and silver.

Miscellaneous

Learn about online surveys, becoming a virtual assistant, and more!

  1. Become a Virtual Assistant. Only be as involved as you want to when you’re a virtual assistant. Setting your own boundaries and list of clientele will allow you to either work as a VA for your full-time job, or just on the side. A virtual assistant is similar to a personal assistant, only all of your work and communication is completed over the Internet and/or phone. Read more about becoming a VA on the Virtual Assistant For You homepage.
  2. Flixya.com: By sharing photos, blogs, and videos on this site, you can earn 100% of your total generated ad revenue.
  3. YellowSurveys.com: This site boasts that participants can make $10-$150 an hour taking fun, exciting paid surveys. Follow the link to learn more and sign up.
  4. You Tube: Follow the link to You Tube’s Web site to learn how to quickly make money by posting your home videos on their site.
  5. Sell items on eBay. eBay is another simple resource for making money online without having to put in much time. Once you’ve registered for eBay and posted whatever product you’re trying to sell, you just wait for the bidding to end before shipping off your merchandise.
  6. Play-Asia.com Affiliate Program: Sign up to earn store credit at Play-Asia.com, an online retailer of video games and other entertainment products. Refer other Internet surfers to their Web site by posting their link wherever you want.
  7. SurveyClub.com: Set aside a few minutes every once in a while to take online surveys and earn some easy money.
  8. PicFury.com Affiliate Program: Join the affiliate program for PicFury.com, and your photos could be seen all over the Internet. You make money based on the amount of impressions each photo receives.
  9. eBooks: Read more about writing and selling your very own eBook on the Internet by following the link.
  10. Freelance as a Web Designer: Even if you don’t have the time or the resources to design an entire company’s website, you could still put your web savvy skills to use by coding and designing a blogger’s site. Visit FreelanceDesigners.com to see what other freelance designers are doing, and how to advertise your own services.
  11. CashCrate: Complete free offers, try out new products, and take surveys to earn quick cash.
  12. Shutterstock: Submit your photos to this Web site, and "get paid every time one of your photos is downloaded" from their directory.
  13. Become a Millionaire in "Second Life." Read this article about how to make real money by participating in a virtual economy.
  14. Set up an Online Store: Whether you’re trying to get rid of several used items around the house, or you’d like to start your own business selling handmade products, add an online shopping cart to your website and start contacting customers. Try using this software to get you started.
  15. $$$Secrets.com: This tutorial shares secrets for making big money on the Internet.
  16. Log on to JobThread.com: Post a JobThread widget onto your Web site or blog and earn major cash. You can request a certain job field that is relevant to your site; for instance, if your blog is about pets, JobThread will post job openings for veterinarians.
  17. InnerSell Inc.: This site advertises that you can, "Earn additional income when you use the InnerSell system to connect those customers who want what you don’t sell with trusted Vendors."
  18. Amazon.com Affiliate: Read this article by Scott Allen to better understand the system behind the Amazon.com Affiliate program. You can make easy, fast money with little effort.
  19. A1Tutor.com: Become a tutor by logging on to this learning network.
  20. ShoppingJobs.net: Getting paid to shop seems like a dream, but you really can make money by shopping and eating out.
  21. Be a Host or Moderator for a Web site. This article by Kelly Land gives tips for becoming a paid host online.
  22. Start your own Credit Card Business. This idea may seem like it would take up a lot of your time, but it really won’t. Read the article, and earn some extra spending money each month.
  23. Virtual Vocations: Check out this site for tons of easy jobs you can do from your own computer.

Hopefully there are at least a few ideas here that strike your fancy and will help you start making money on the Internet in no time, whether on your breaks at work, at home, or even on vacation. There are so many options out there that there’s bound to be something that works for you.

Double Duty: 77 Ways to Make Money on the Side While at Work

Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 6:24pm by Site Administrator

Ever have times when you’re sitting at your desk with nothing to do and wish you could be doing something much more productive instead? If you put your mind to it, you could be, and maybe even earn a little money at the same time. So long as you’re still getting your primary work done, there’s really no harm in taking your productivity to the next level, right? Here are a few ways that you can start using your spare minutes at work or at home to make a few extra bucks a week with a part-time business.

Around the House

Looking at your own to do list should be enough to show you that there are plenty of tasks you can do around the house that many people would be willing to pay you to take care of for them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Handyman: Are you good with a hammer or a screwdriver? Why not turn that skill into a little extra money on the side by offering handyman services to those who are too old or too inexperienced to do minor home repairs on their own. You can even spend your downtime at work posting ads for your services on local bulletin boards.
  2. Cleaning houses: Everyone wants a clean house, but not everyone wants to do the work that goes along with it. Offer cleaning services to local homeowners and you could make good money for just doing a few extra chores around the house.
  3. Home inspection: Before buying a home, most buyers have it checked out by a home inspector to make sure it’s sound before they complete the sale. If you’ve got some knowledge of construction and building codes you could be that inspector and be making money anytime you get spare time to check out a house.
  4. Window tinting: With a little basic training and equipment, you can get set up to tint the windows of just about anything. Whether it’s tinting car windows or office buildings, you can be making some green by offering this service during your downtime.
  5. Houseplant maintenance: If you’ve ever gone out of town and come home to withered and brown plants, you all about the need for plant care. Offer your watering and care services to homeowners as well as businesses who don’t have a green thumb or the time to care for their leafy decorations.
  6. Organizing: Have a gift for bringing order to chaos? Make it your job. Help packrats clean out their closets and get rid of the excess clutter and you could make a tidy profit.
  7. Yard care: The outside of the home is the only part that most people ever get to see, so it makes sense that it should look good. Capitalize on this by offering yard care services like lawn mowing, weeding, fertilizing, and pruning. Money could just end up growing on trees after all.
  8. Wallpaper hanging: If you’ve ever hung wallpaper you know how difficult it can be to get just right. Some lucky people, however, have a particular skill at it. If you’re one of them, you can earn some extra weekend dollars by hanging wallpaper for those who are clueless in the ways of papering walls.
  9. House sitting: Put a vacationing client’s mind at ease by being a house sitter. You’ll be there to make sure the plants get watered, the mail gets brought in, and those daily newspapers don’t just pile up in the yard.
  10. Window cleaning: No matter what, over time, windows will get dusty and dirty. With a ladder and a squeegee, you could turn a profit cleaning these hard to reach windows for people in your area.
  11. Pool service: While cleaning and maintaining pools might not be the most glamorous work, it can bring in some much needed income, especially if you live in a hot area where many people have pools.
  12. Power washing: You can rent, borrow or buy a simple power washer and turn it into a small side business. Driveways, houses and even businesses could stand a little bit of a wash now and then.
  13. Paint curbs: Who doesn’t want their address displayed clearly? It can make a big difference in the event of an emergency. It can also be a great way to make a little extra cash for not a lot of extra work.
  14. Babysitting: This can be a great way to make some extra cash, as finding good, reliable and readily available babysitters can be a chore. If you don’t mind giving up your nights and weekends every once in awhile you can build a solid customer base for your childcare services.
  15. Shovel snow: Few people want to go out in the snow to clear driveways and sidewalks, and would be more than willing to pay you to do it instead. Invest in a snow blower and you could turn all that white stuff into green.

Arts and Crafts

If you’ve got a creative talent, don’t let it go to waste. Here are some ideas on how you can use it t make some extra profits.

  1. Microstock: If photography is your hobby, why not post some of your favorite shots on microstock sites? You’ll earn money each time one of your snapshots is used.
  2. Antiquing: Spending your weekends scouting garage sales, thrift stores, estate auctions, and flea markets can be a great way to score old treasures for cheap. Research to find out the real value of what you’ve found and spend your next lunch hour auctioning it off on eBay.
  3. Making jewelry: Go to any crafts fair, and you’ll quickly find out that making and selling jewelry is big business, even when the materials aren’t highly valuable. Work with gold, silver, beads, or even recycled materials to create original designs you can sell online or at local craft fairs.
  4. Picture framing: Framing pictures takes a little bit of know how and a few specialty tools, but if you are good at it it can be a wonderful way to bring in some extra money on the side. Make friends with local artists, galleries and photographers if you want to boost your business and your income.
  5. T-Shirt design: If you’re good with design and know how to screenprint or applique designs you could turn a good profit making t-shirts for local teams, groups and businesses.
  6. Write: Writing doesn’t have to just be a hobby, it can also be a great way to bring in some extra money freelancing. Write online for blogs, for a local newspaper, or sell short stories to literary magazines to get your name out there and help pay your bills.
  7. Upholster furniture: Sometimes the fabric on a chair will go out of style long before the shape. Update old furniture by selling your skills as an upholsterer. You’ll make money and help rid the world of ugly furniture.
  8. Interior design: Some people are just hopeless when it comes to decorating a room and picking out furniture. If you’ve got a knack for it, market your skills for paint, fabric and layout as an interior designer. If your own home looks great, use that to help market yourself.
  9. Sew: If you know how to hem a skirt or take in much to large dress you could be using those skills to bring in a little extra income. Many people aren’t especially skilled with a needle and thread and will be more than happy to pay you to take care of it instead.
  10. Musician: If you’ve got some musical talent, you can spend your next lunch hour booking gigs to bring you and your band mates some extra cash for doing something you love. Play at a local club or check out the wedding circuit.
  11. DJ: If you’ve got a record or CD collection that just can’t be rivaled, you can start making it work for you by becoming a DJ. Get gigs at weddings, school functions and parties and put together play lists over your lunch break.

Professional Skills

Make your professional work skills count even when you’re not at your primary job. Here are a few ways to make money on the side using your degree or professional skills.

  1. Medical transcription: Help out a hospital, doctor, dentist or even a veterinarian by transcribing medical records. These kinds of services are in big demand and best of all you can work from home or from where ever you are. You’ll be most successful if you have a good knowledge of medical terminology and great typing skills.
  2. Consulting: If you’ve got loads of knowledge on business or IT, you could be using it to help out other businesses by doing a little consulting work on the side. Just make sure it isn’t a conflict of interest with your current occupation.
  3. Prepare taxes: As inevitable as they are, people hate doing their own taxes. If you’re number savvy and have the know-how, you could be spending tax season getting more than just your own refund.
  4. Tutoring: Got a college education that isn’t being put to much use at your job? Use your downtime to tutor kids after school or over the Internet. You’ll be helping out students and making a little extra for yourself as well.
  5. Language lessons: With the world getting smaller and smaller with new technology, knowing more than one language is a must. If you’re bilingual use your language skills to create a business opportunity. Teach children and adults in your area or give classes at local businesses.
  6. Fund raiser: If you have excellent people skills and marketing talent you could become a part-time fund raiser. Many fund raisers are paid a percentage of what they raise, so that’s all the more incentive to get yourself busy bringing in the money for a local charity or non profit organization.
  7. Accounting: If you’ve got attention to detail and the math skills, you could make some extra money managing the books of a business on the side. Check your local newspaper for ads from businesses looking for part time bookkeepers.
  8. Virtual assistant: You don’t need to be in the office to be an assistant these days. You can find work with many places where you’ll perform tasks over the Internet instead. It can be an easy and commute free way to get some extra money.
  9. Editorial services: If you’ve got speedy typing fingers and an eagle eye for grammar mistakes, try offering your services as a typist and proofreader. If you’ve got a computer, printer and email you’re set and ready to go starting this side business.
  10. Debt counseling: For those from a financial background, offering services to help others get a handle on their finances can be a great way to bring in some cash. You’ll be getting both you and your clients on the road to a better financial future.
  11. Green business consultant: Many businesses are looking for ways to be more environmentally conscious these days. If you’re an earth loving type with some know how, you can launch this into a successful side business.

Health and Fitness

There are few things more important than health or fitness. Improve your financial fitness with these side business ideas.

  1. Personal trainer: Pump up your profits while you help others pump iron. Fitness gurus willing to get certified can make quite a bit of money offering training services to those who want to lose those pesky love handles.
  2. Yoga instructor: If you’ve been practicing yoga for many years, chances are you could learn to teach it to others as well. Offer classes to local businesses, health clubs, or through your local parks and recreation to bring in some extra cash while maintaining your zen.
  3. Personal chef: With so much going on, it can be hard for some people to find the time to cook a real meal. That’s where you can come in. Plan and cook a menu for clients that will be healthy and satisfying.
  4. Swimming lessons: Don’t let all those early morning swim practices go to waste. Use your swimming skills to teach kids in your area. You’ll help them become more confident in the water and help keep your finances afloat.
  5. Espresso cart: Selling coffee can have quite a large profit margin if you know how to move it. Buy or rent an espresso cart and head out to local sporting events and markets in your area to capitalize on those caffeine addicts.
  6. Make jellies: Never thought that jelly making your grandma taught you all about would be that useful? It could be if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Sell your custom creations over the Internet or at a local market.
  7. Grow vegetables: If you rarely use your backyard why not turn it into a garden? You can sell the best products of your harvest and if there’s anything left over you’ll have fresh fruits and veggies ready to eat for dinner.
  8. Walk dogs: Dogs need to be walked one way or another and some pet owners simply can’t get home during the day to take their best friend out for a walk around the block. Creating your own dog walking service can be a great way to get exercise and get yourself some extra money.
  9. Hiking guide: A love of the great outdoors will make you an ideal candidate for considering this as an alternative way of making some cash. You’ll get to do something you love while making sure others stay safe enjoying their hike.
  10. Massage therapy: If you take the time to get certified as a massage therapist you could be making quite a bit of money offering your services. Massage appointments are sometimes short enough that you could even sneak one in over your lunch hour.
  11. Life coaching: Encourage others to be successful and make the most of their potential as a life coach. You can fit in appointments on weekends, during lunch and after work, making it easy to do double duty.
  12. Makeup artist: If you’re constantly getting complimented on your stellar makeup skills, then perhaps it’s time you tapped into them as a business endeavor. Paint the faces of women for weddings, parties, and even stage performances in your spare time.
  13. Organic catering: Organic food has become increasingly popular as people become more aware of the harmful effects of chemicals. Capitalize on this and your cooking skills by offering 100% organic catering services.

Technology

Technology is in everything these days, and if you know enough about it you can make good money selling your skills. Here are a few tech related business ideas to try out.

  1. Computer set up: Despite the constant presence of technology in most peoples everyday lives, there are some that just can’t seem to get the hang of it. This is where you can come in and get paid to help those with new computers get them set up, install new programs, and make sure everything is plugged in correctly.
  2. Home entertainment service: Home entertainment systems are getting fancier and fancier, and as a result many people have little idea of how to hook them up. This is where you can come in. With a little bit of knowledge about home electronics and wiring, you can set up tvs and stereo systems for a little extra cash in your pocket.
  3. Computer tutor: You might be a computer whiz, but many others, especially older people, aren’t and could use a little help learning how to navigate their desktop. Offering at-home instruction on how to use word processors, surf the web, or set up a computer can be a big help to the less tech savvy who still want to stay connected.
  4. Records search: Explore your investigative side by searching for information for clients. Use the Internet to browse public records to find lost loves, check out questionable employees, track down debtors, and much more. Best of all, you can do it right from your desk.
  5. Blogging: Got something to say but no place to say it? Try starting a blog. If it gains popularity you could bring in a good chunk of cash through on page advertising each month.
  6. Buy and sell domain names: While many of the best .coms are already taken, you can still make money in the domain name business with the newer .tv and .info names out there. With a little business savvy you can turn your afternoon domain auction browsing into a cash cow.
  7. Design webpages: Well-designed webpage work is always in demand and is something that you can easily do on the side with the right technical know-how to make some extra money.
  8. Be a virtual mogul: With the growing popularity of online programs like Second Life and WoW, there is plenty of money to be made in creating in-game clothing, real estate, objects and anything else and exchanging it for real life dollars.
  9. Web hosting: You don’t need to buy a lot of fancy and expensive server hardware to provide a Web hosting service. Many big hosting companies allow "reseller" accounts where you sell hosting plans to customers and the hosting company will host them all for you under your account umbrella, and you can charge your own rates for the service.
  10. Sell on eBay: You can make a profit not only selling your own things on eBay but charging others to sell their things as well. Doesn’t sound like something people would pay for? Many business are already making substantial profits doing it, so why not jump on the bandwagon?
  11. Computer cleanup: Viruses, malware and spyware are everywhere these days and can bog down a computer in no time. Offer your services to help clean and speed up computers that may have been infected.
  12. Transfer formats: Know someone that would be happy having their album collection moved to CD or MP3 format? With a small amount of equipment you can do this while you’re working on other things around the house.

Retail

Shopaholics and penny pinchers alike will appreciate these ideas on how to make money in the world of retail.

  1. Personal shopping: You’d be surprised at how many people would pay to not have to deal with the hassles of shopping, especially around the holidays. Make their laziness your benefit charging by the hour for your services.
  2. Market research studies: Spend your free time at work browsing the classifieds for opportunities to participate in paid studies. Depending on the study, it could be some of the easiest money you’ll ever make.
  3. Product reviews: Companies are often more than willing to pay reviewers to use and review their products. You’ll not only get paid, but you’ll get free products to boot.
  4. Mystery shopping: Many big retail chains are willing to pay you to shop on their behalf to see how the staff treats customers. Buy products, eat meals, or stay in a hotel, all on someone else’s tab.
  5. Gift wrapping: Many people make good extra cash around the holidays wrapping gifts for others. If you’re skilled with tape and ribbon, it could be a great way to help afford those extra holiday expenses.

Miscellaneous

Still looking for that perfect fit for a side business? Try these on for size to see if they can help you bring in extra revenue.

  1. Genealogy: Many people want to know more about their family history but just don’t have the time to look up all the records they need. You can offer your services as a family researcher and help clients get in touch with their roots. Best of all, you can do a lot of this research right from your desk at work.
  2. Trip planner: Everyone needs a vacation now and then, but not everyone wants to make all those reservations and bookings. Take the work out of vacation planning for someone else and earn yourself some money to put towards your own vacation.
  3. Run errands: Whether your clients just don’t have the time or lack the mobility, they’ll be happy to use your service to save them the time of running their own errands. You’ll make some extra money and you might even have time to take care of your own to do list at the same time.
  4. Obedience school: No one likes a naughty and destructive pet, and if you’re good at reigning in dogs you could have a profitable side career as an obedience trainer. Offer both individual classes and group sessions to maximize your profits.
  5. Feng shui consulting: Interest in feng shui has risen in recent years and you can capitalize on it by helping individuals and businesses get in harmony in their interior and exterior spaces. If you get certified you can make quite a bit, especially on larger projects.
  6. Cake decorating: Cakes often form the centerpiece of formal occasions like weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. If you’ve got the artistic flair, why not use it to create impressive culinary creations? Do a beautiful job and you’re sure to get loads of business.
  7. Tour guide: If you live in a touristy area, consider becoming a tour guide in your off time. You can show groups around all the major highlights of your city and get to enjoy the fresh air.
  8. Scrapbooking: If you’ve got a flair for making your memories look even more memorable in a scrapbook, you can try teaching scrapbooking classes in your area. Additionally, you can make a pretty penny selling supplies for scrapbooking as well.
  9. Boat cleaning: In the right market, the opportunities to make a profit cleaning boats are extensive. After all, there are a lot of boats, and likely more than a few need to be cleaned. Advertise your services at a local dock or marina to bring in clients and some money.
  10. Fill out surveys: You’re unlikely to make a bundle working on filling out surveys, but you can do it from your desk, and it might even look like you’re actually working.

Some Videos About Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 9:30pm by Site Administrator

Sometimes the best way to learn about entrepreneurship is to watch others talk about it. Here are ten videos about exactly that. You’ll see that entrepreneurs come from all walks of life, from all over the world, and different age groups, and that they become entrepreneurs for many different reasons. Not all are bootstrappers, but many are. My favorite tip, from video #9, is that "life is long… and you don’t have to succeed right away." In fact, many famous entrepreneurs failed a couple of times before succeeding. Lessons learned through error can be valuable. Note: Each video in the player below should advance on its own, though SplashCast servers hvae been overloaded, so you may need to manually forward when a video ends. Sound levels are different in each video, but unfortunately I have no control over this. Total playing time is nearly an hour.

Get Paid: 20 Online Invoicing Tools

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 12:58am by Site Administrator

If you’re running your own small business or selling services and products over the Internet, you know that getting your clients and customers to pay up can often be a challenge. This list of tools will help you stay on top of your finances so that you can accurately track pay dates, invoice numbers, client contact information and transactions online. Wherever you can find a computer, you can access all of your company’s billing information easily and securely. 1. BillMyClients.com: Freelancers, small companies and large corporations can take advantage of this online invoicing solution that features three separate systems designed to help all kinds of business owners keep track of their finances and "quickly and easily create and print invoices and bills." 2. Blinksale: This "elegantly-designed web-application" can help anyone create and send invoices to clients and vendors. Users can upload contact lists for easy record management and use a tagging system to organize archived and pending invoices. 3. 2ndSite: Manage your invoices and billing records online with 2ndSite, a company that helps you get "paid faster," according to one reviewer. 4. FreshBooks: Its website claims that FreshBooks is "the fastest way to track time and invoice your clients," and their easy-to-use system is especially popular with small businesses and freelancers. 5. BambooInvoice: If you run your own company or freelancing business, try out this open-source invoicing solution to bill your clients and manage your data. According to the website, you’ll "never need to trust your invoicing data to anyone else, and you can get it out of the system easily." 6. Invoice Journal: The DownloadSquad gives this Web-based system a positive review for it’s simple structure and no-frills website. 7. Simplifythis: Simplifythis promotes "business made easy." This attractive, professional-looking solution lets companies organize financial data in a clear, concise manner. 8. BillingOrchard: BillingOrchard in an online system that does more than just basic invoices. Freelancers and business owners can set up recurring billing and time billing options to manage the different needs of all their employees. 9. Invotrak: Instead of buying expensive software, use Invotrak to set up, send out and manage your invoices and bills for free. 10. Bank of America Online Banking: Bank of America’s online banking center helps small businesses supports a "premium online invoicing service" for companies "to create and send invoices online using customizable templates." 11. ToadTime: Metal Toad Media supports ToadTime, an online invoicing system used along with QuickBooks to help you manage your time, project collaborations and more. 12. EZ Invoice, Inc. (EZI): This software system runs on your website’s server so that you can manage all of your client information and business applications on one spot online. 13. SuperInvoice: Windows users should try out SuperInvoice for secure, professional invoicing services hosted online. The system also lets users keep an address book, host password-protected invoice sharing and more. 14. Time59: Time59 is marketed towards independent professionals and contractors, and its sleek look makes it must-use tool for those who work with higher-profile clients and associates. 15. 21st Capital Corp: This company offers several online financial tools, including an easy-to-use invoicing system and QuickBooks integration capabilities. 16. Invoice4u: This online invoicing solution has features like high security standards, a customer messaging system, invoice customization options and more. 17. Simplybill: Simplybill is "ridiculously easy to use" and can help non-techies manage and send out professional-looking invoices for all their clients. 18. Invoicera: Consider using Invoicera to take advantage of their user-friendly online invoice billing system. 19. ST Web Invoice: This online invoicing program pulls from the AJAX software tradition of creating a smart, workable system combined with maximum usability. Use ST Web Invoice to create and design invoices and then e-mail them to your clients and vendors instantly. Payments can also be accepted online. 20. PayPal: If you’ve only been using PayPal for your eBay purchases, it’s time to upgrade. Try out their invoicing services for fast, trustworthy transactions.

Rookie Mistakes: 15 Blunders New Freelancers Make and How to Avoid Them

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 1:58am by Site Administrator

Like any novice in the business world, the beginning freelancer is bound to make a few flubs along the way to professional success. After all, nobody is perfect. Most mistakes are harmless learning experiences that help you in your path to becoming a better businessperson, but there are some mistakes that can really make your life difficult, and that you might be better off having never made. Here are a few of the most common, and sometimes most painful mistakes that freelancers make, and some tips on how you can try to avoid them, or just make them less harmful on your path to freelancing success.

  1. Quitting your 9 to 5 without any preparation. While your cubicle may feel more like a prison than a workspace, you shouldn’t just run out on it without any prior preparation. However bad your current job, ending up without a steady income and wholly unprepared for managing your own business is much worse. Before you take the leap into freelancing, make sure you have enough money saved to keep you afloat, at least a rough business plan, some solid contacts and a good understanding of where you’ll fit into your particular market. This will make it much easier on both you and your finances to make the transition from the corporate world to working for yourself.
  2. Working for less than you deserve. One of the biggest mistakes that new freelancers make is not charging clients what their time is actually worth. While you don’t want to charge so much that clients balk at your rates, you also don’t want to be forced to work ridiculous hours just to make ends meet because you aren’t charging enough. You can find a happy medium by researching what the going rate is for freelancers in your field and using that figure to gauge what you should charge. If you’ve got load of experience and a killer portfolio, you might warrant more than the average, while if you’re just starting out in your field you’ll likely have to work your way up to the higher echelons of work.
  3. Choosing the wrong clients. Something freelancers will quickly learn is that not every client is a good fit for your abilities and some may even test the limits of your patience and sanity. Sometimes the money made on a project simply isn’t worth the headaches that come along with it, and can result in you working more hours for less money than you should be, and ultimately being unhappy. Before working with clients, consider their working style, how difficult they will be to work with, whether or not they’ll pay on time, their particular market and how well these things fit with your needs. When choosing clients you have just as much of a right to interview them as they do you. Ask lots of questions and see if you can do a few projects on a trial basis before committing long-term.
  4. Spending too much on equipment you don’t need yet. It can be really tempting to give yourself a sweet office setup, especially since you’re going to be spending so much time in it, but investing in brand new computers, copiers, scanners and other equipment before you’ve got the workload to absorb the cost can cast a shadow over the success of your business before it has even gotten off of the ground. You can avoid overstepping your budget by only investing in the equipment that is required to do your day to day business. Once you build up your clientele, and your need for more office equipment, you can then make an investment.
  5. Working all alone. Just because you work at home and aren’t surrounded with coworkers doesn’t mean you have to completely isolate yourself. New freelancers are prone to take the term "going it alone" a little too literally when in actuality, you don’t have to do it all by yourself at all. Avoid feeling isolated by seeking out communities and resources for freelancers in every field to learn how to get started, network, and make positive and lasting connections with clients. They can also be a great place to get feedback on your ideas and vent when clients are making your life difficult.
  6. Not researching your market. When you’re first starting out and looking for new clients, it can be a daunting task and you can often make pitches for projects that are less than stellar because you haven’t done the appropriate research on your client. Approaching someone asking for work without really knowing their needs, desires, or how the work you will do will really benefit your client isn’t going to win you much business. Avoid this common pitfall by researching your clients thoroughly before ever even attempting to work with them. Check out their website, see what their company is about, and what their long term goals are. Then you can more accurately assess what you have that will be of value to them, and increase your chances of getting hired.
  7. Failing to be realistic about business expenses. Many freelancers make the mistake of underestimating their business expenses and how much they’ll really need to stay afloat during the preliminary stages of their business venture. You’ll need equipment, computer programs, advertising, websites, domain names, business cards, and loads of other small expenses that can add up quickly. Don’t let this scare you away from freelancing, just be honest with yourself about the potential costs you’ll face when you decide to pursue it. After all, you don’t want to end up not being able to afford to put a roof over your head. Before you make the transition to freelancing, carefully lay out your current expenses, as well as any additional expenses you think you’ll encounter when going into business. It’s better to overestimate slightly rather than underestimate, as unexpected expenses always seem to come up when you’re short on cash. Once you have this estimate, you can figure out how much you’ll need in the bank before you start your business.
  8. Not educating yourself on the basics. Even if you’ve been in your particular line of business for a while, there may be things that are different when freelancing that you might not expect. New freelancers can be taken advantage of if they don’t take the time to learn about how to work with clients on a one on one basis. For instance, when you’re drafting or signing a contract with a client, will you know what makes a good contract and what makes one you should avoid? You can avoid getting tangled up in messy legal battles or stuck with the client from hell by taking the time to learn about contracts before you ever have the need to sign one. The same holds true for managing your business finances, taxes and marketing. If you’re at a loss, try asking others in the business or take a class online from the Small Business Administration.
  9. Not keeping set business hours. Now that you make your own hours, you can work whenever you want, right? While that might be the case, if you want to maintain your personal life you might want to lay down some ground rules with yourself and your clients. Without set hours you could end up working all hours of the night not only to get things done, but dealing with client calls and last minute changes, which is probably not what you had in mind when you decided to become a freelancer. By setting hours, you will create a time when you’ll force yourself to sit down and work, with few interruptions from friends and family, and later have time to spend with friends and family with few interruptions from work.
  10. Taking on too many projects at once. When you finally start finding work, it can be tempting to take every client and assignment that comes your way in an attempt to build a more solid portfolio and get your name out there in the freelancing world. While the money may be good, chances are pretty good that you won’t get much repeat business this way. You’ll be so busy juggling projects you won’t have time to give each one the attention it deserves and your clients may start to feel like they aren’t important to you. Avoid stretching yourself too thin by only taking on what you can actually handle, no matter how tempting those additional projects might be. You don’t want to get overwhelmed and burnt out in your first few months of freelancing.
  11. Getting too personal. Every once in awhile as a freelancer you will have a client that you simply love. They’re easy to work with, you get along great, and have a great rapport. But it’s very easy to fall into the habit of becoming a little too personal with your client and that can ultimately make working with them much more complicated. Feelings can become hurt at decisions that are simply business related, or you can start to appear unprofessional. You can avoid this by keeping your correspondence friendly, but professional, and making sure that while you’re working together, your relationship is strictly business.
  12. Having only one income stream. For new freelancers, figuring out how to make ends meet with assignments from clients can be difficult. If you find a client that’s willing to give you continued work, that’s great, but don’t stop looking for other work just because you’ve found a reliable client. After all, if your client goes out of business or suddenly no longer has a need for your services, you could be left out in the cold, quite literally. It’s better to rely on a few different clients for your income, so that even if you lose one, you have something to fall back on. When you’re starting out that might be difficult, so consider taking on a part time job to supplement your freelance work, just in case.
  13. Allowing yourself to slack off. Everyone has days when they wake up and simply don’t feel like doing a thing, and as a freelancer you are perfectly capable of taking advantage of that feeling and curling up on the couch all day to watch reruns of Full House and eat junk food until your stomach hurts. And every once in awhile, that’s totally fine. But a little slacking can turn into a lot, and soon you’re not making money and not getting work done on time. It’s fine to allow yourself the flexibility to work with your natural productivity highs and lows, but at the end of the day, you have to get your work done. Push yourself to make deadlines, please clients, and further your business. Once your hard work has paid off, reward yourself with a few days of guilt-free slacking.
  14. Not communicating effectively. This isn’t a problem just for freelancers, but for people from all areas of business, and it can have a big impact on your success at running your own business. In order to deliver a good product, you’ll need to know what questions to ask, how to conduct yourself in conversations, and how to not lose your temper or get overly emotional when your work is criticized. And in order to make sure that you’re happy, you’ll need to know how to ask for the pay you want and terms you can live with. While you won’t become a savvy, confident businessperson overnight you can give yourself a leg up on communication skills by tying to be honest, clear and professional in all of your communications with clients. Don’t leave room for interpretation and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure.
  15. Failing to create a business plan. It’s very easy to go into freelancing without any idea of where your business will end up in six months or a year. You may be the fly by the seat of your pants type, but you’re really doing yourself a disservice not to mention taking a risk when you fail to plan for the future of your business. Figure out who you are and where you want your business to go before jumping in or you could find yourself way off track when you reflect on it after a few months in the field. Having a basic outline of what expenses you expect to incur, what your target market will be, how you will find clients, how much you’ll charge, and a plethora of other issues should be addressed before you ever take the leap to avoid unhappy consequences later on.

Even armed with the knowledge of what to avoid, you’re bound to make a few mistakes in your freelancing career. Don’t let it get you down-everyone has been there at one time or another. So long as you learn from what you’ve done, and improve for the future, there are few mistakes that you can’t recover and come back even more successful from.

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