After months upon months of planning, the Be Free, Lance website is finally live AND registration is now open! Up until this point, we’ve kept most of the nitty gritty details a secret (unless you’ve been a part of our weekly newsletters), so it’s exciting to finally have everything out in the open for those of you who are interested. Be Free, Lance is an online workshop (run by myself and Jen Serafini) for creatives who want to tackle freelancing in some way, shape, or form. Because at the end of the day, becoming your own boss is entirely attainable. Our workshop is structured for all creatives, so it doesn’t matter if you’re already freelancing, just starting to think about it, or are somewhere in between. Below, you’ll see a small snippet from our website describing what’s all included in the course!
This four week workshop will be held online and include ten digestible lessons, worksheets, interviews, podcasts, insight from each of us, a Q&A session, and an exclusive members only Facebook group. The cost is $220 (or two payments of $115) and registration will only be open for two weeks. Do note – the actual course doesn’t begin until January 12th, right in time for the New Year and after the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season! If interested, feel free to head on over to our website to learn more and sign up. We’ve put a lot of time and love into this workshop and hope to see you there. :)
I got an email the other week from a reader, asking whether or not she truly needed a blog to promote her work and become a successful freelancer. Two years ago (heck, even one year ago), I would have said “Yeah, it’s probably a good idea.” But now? Well, things have changed. Visually driven social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram allow users to quickly and efficiently showcase all aspects of their creative lives, whether it’s promoting new work, curating a pinboard, or sharing behind the scenes action. At the drop of a hat, creatives can put their work (or style) directly in front of an audience without ever drafting a lengthy blog post. And that’s a big plus for some!
Truthfully, blogging is not essential for success within the world of freelancing. Nowadays, you can build the same kind of audience (if not bigger + faster) on Instagram, where everyone seems to be hanging out. Same with Pinterest! So where does that leave us with blogging? Well, that one is totally up to you. Blogging is a powerful medium that allows creatives to dig deeper and share more. But if you’re not feeling it, don’t worry! You don’t need a blog in order to have a big impact. By focusing on social media and utilizing these visual platforms to your advantage, you can still share your work to an interactive audience. It’s just a little bit different, that’s all! Consider where you’ll be more efficient and go for it. Because at the end of the day, it’s never a bad idea to put yourself out there and see what happens. :)
PS. Exciting news! The Be Free, Lance workshop is coming along and we’re SO close to launching! Tomorrow, we’ll be sending out a special newsletter that finally reveals when registration opens. So if you’d like to hear about it first, make sure you subscribe on our home page. See ya there!
Over the years, I’ve gotten good at taking short cuts. The kind that feel good when you finally figure them out without sacrificing quality. And coincidentally, I’ve found my work days to be shorter as a result! Win win. Throughout the course of this Be Free, Lance series, I’ve talked a lot about the importance of discovering your process, but not necessarily how to streamline it. And that last part? It’s a game changer. Once you’ve discovered a process that works best for you, think a little deeper. What actions could you take to provide an even more efficient working environment for yourself? Here are a few things I’ve personally found helpful.
01. TASTEFULLY AUTOMATE WHATEVER YOU CAN Email templates are life savers, as I’m sure most of you probably know by now. And if you don’t, check out the “canned responses” gmail short cut (other providers have similar options) for more details! Features like these help us quickly answer common emails and allow us to move on without much pause. While I utilize these myself for frequently asked questions and polite “I’m already booked” responses, I recently developed a canned response that is specifically used for on-boarding clients. What this means is that whenever a new client is signed, I am able to send their first “intro” email in just a few short seconds. This particular email tells them what I need to get started (typically a signed contract + downpayment), explains any homework (client questionnaires) they may have, and goes over any immediate due dates. Without my canned response, these on-boarding emails would take 15 minutes, at least, to draft. The important thing to remember here is keeping things tasteful. Make sure that your canned responses don’t sound overly automated. Personal touches (that only take a few extra seconds to write) are great additions to consider before hitting send on any canned response.
Chasing clients can be one of the trickiest + touchiest situations within the freelancing game. Just like with any typical contract, both parties are supposed to perform and communicate to the best of their abilities … but unfortunately, there are many instances where things get grey. For example, maybe your client goes silent for weeks on end without notice. Or maybe you’re having trouble collecting overdue payments. In situations like these ( and many more ), the common thread is simply a lack of communication. For whatever reason, one half of the party isn’t informing the other of what’s going on, which can be frustrating beyond belief. We’ve all been there! So what do you do?? Personally, I’ve found that the best plan of action is to be both patient + persistent. And above all, understanding + fair. Not only to yourself, but your client as well.
There’s two sides to every story here. You, the freelancer, are trying to run a successful business. You have schedules, deadlines, and things that need to happen in order to move forward. But both parties, however, also have a life. One that doesn’t stop for anything. And truthfully, there’s no telling what sort of road blocks, project related or not, will place themselves right within your timeline. That’s what makes things so difficult! Maybe your client had a sudden health scare in their family. Or maybe they had an unexpected expense come out of nowhere. You never know! As freelancers, our first reaction to silence is typically project related + negative. Things like “I haven’t heard from them for WEEKS! They must really hate what I’ve done and not want to move forward” cross our mind. But nine times out of ten, that’s just not the case. So instead of creating scenarios within your head, try getting to the bottom of it instead.
When I first started freelancing, I let any negative comment ( no matter how big or small ) effect my day … and sometimes even my entire week. Constructive criticism is KEY for any good client relationship, so there’s really no reason to let it become a barrier. It’s bad for both parties involved and just isn’t healthy. Feedback doesn’t need to be thought of as a scary or bad thing. Instead, allow it to define forward movement and create positive collaboration between you and your client. Although I’ve seen a serious shift in the way I handle feedback, there is always room for learning and growth. Here are just a few tips I’ve found helpful for successfully managing feedback :
DISCONNECT PERSONAL ATTACHMENT As creatives, it’s easy to get attached to the work we create and share with clients. But just because we like something doesn’t mean that the client is going to as well. Or that it is even right for their end product. Do all that you can to be subjective and approach feedback in an open + honest way. Learn to let go when it’s important and that will make all the difference.
BECOME A PROBLEM SOLVER One of the worst things you can do is mull over negative feedback and let it eat you away. I know it’s hard … but as soon as you receive feedback, don’t even give your wandering mind the time of day. Instead, become a problem solver immediately. Outline any problem areas shared by your client and start brainstorming ways to solve them. By doing this, you’ll be too busy to even wallow in negativity. Just move forward.