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FREELANCING PART II
Freelancing Part II
As an artist, if you can handle the demands of freelancing it can be a good solution to earning money, learning new skills, having flexible time to do your art, and also not getting locked into a job that grows stale or is too demanding.
Freelancing requires that you be reliable and professional. And that's it really. Over the years you will build a reputation based on that and it should bring you in more and more customers.
But what is reliable? It means that you deliver what you promised on time and on budget. It means that you keep in touch with your client and don't leave them guessing. It means not bothering the client with unnecessary details. It means negotiating if something comes up that was not in the original agreement.
Professional means that whatever skills you advertise, you are capable of doing and doing at a professional level. It means not taking on jobs that are over your head.
Some people think that freelancing is too risky and that a regular job makes more sense but I disagree. I have now heard numerous stories of people who worked for years for a company only to get laid off when the company downsized or when their job was eliminated in an effort to streamline the business and hold down expenses. Because they had been working at one kind of job for years, they often found it hard to find similar work at a new company -- not to mention the terrible depression that often follows such a situation.
As a freelancer, you are not beholden to one company. Over time you will have dozens of clients who will recommend you to other clients. In a sense you don't have one boss, you will have perhaps five or so bosses at a time. So if one of those bosses decided to down-size and stopped hiring you or decided to not finish a job, you would still have the other four jobs.
I think of the income streams for a freelancer as being similar to a stock market portfolio, if you are familiar with that concept. The idea with stocks is to do good research but then buy a number of stocks from reliable companies that are in different kinds of businesses. Generally speaking over time some stocks will go down, some will go up but altogether you will make money.
In freelancing, you should try to have not just a number of clients but a number of different ways that you bring in money. And one of those money streams might be a part-time predictable job.
For example, you might teach a regular course or two at the local community college. This would give you money you could count on and money that would be predictable. The only problem is that many of the community colleges won't guarantee you a job each semester and with budget cuts and so on you could find yourself laid off.
But in this example of an "income-producing portfolio" you could also, at the same time, join an online freelancing service. Like all freelancing it will take you a while to establish yourself, but once you do it can bring in significant income. I will go into more detail about this in my next article. But suffice it to say, you can be hired to do any kind of work that can be sent or posted on the Internet.
You should also think locally. If you design blogs, for example, let other people know that you offer a variety of blog services. You can put together a basic blog design from scratch, for example, or modify an existing blog, or add advertising, or make the blog more search engine friendly or write articles or design graphics or consult with a blog owner about how to improve their blog or how to sell products that are associated with the blog's theme. Well...you get the idea. You can offer a range of services.
And if you are a blog expert, in this example, you could also teach your own blogging course through the small business division of the local community college or even in association with the local chamber of commerce. This is different from a regular job at a college. In this case, you get a percentage of the fees paid by the students who attend your classes or workshops. And in this situation, they cannot drop you because the money that comes in is from the students.
And then, of course, you could have your own blog where you get money from advertising but is also a good forum for your expertise and shows people an original blog that you designed.
So this is now your income-producing portfolio in this example:
-- Teach a regular course at a community college with a specific guaranteed income per course
-- Teach a paid workshop with a college or community organization where you get a percentage of the student fees as your payment
-- Join an online freelance service and offer your skills
-- Let local people know what you offer
-- Have your own online presence that lets people know what you do and might even bring in income via advertising or sales of related products
-- Build your network of clients and let them know that you are available
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