When I’m not drawing things or writing things, sometimes I’m pretending to be other people. From the moment I stepped into my first acting class I knew the lessons and techniques I learned would be beneficial to my everyday life. Actors are among the most driven people I’ve ever been around — but if there’s a profession where success and failure (and overcoming that failure) is in your face constantly, it’s in the world of acting.
Freelancing, solopreneurship, outsourcing, and stay-at-home employees are on a dramatic rise. In fact, according to Silicon Republic, “remote working will rival fixed office locations by 2025.” If you have recently joined, or are looking to join, those of us who go to work in our sweatpants, you’ll need to make sure your productivity doesn’t slack. (Especially on casual Fridays — that’s boxer brief day in my office.)
Here are seven ways to maximize your time in the new home headquarters.
If you’re relatively new to the freelance game, or even if you’re well-established with a lot to offer, you’ll likely get asked to offer up your services pro bono.
“We can’t pay anything, but it will be great exposure!”
This was my number one warning sign of a sucky client. No matter how much you like doing what you do, you work to make money, and if you don’t respect your own time no one else will either. That said, there are exceptions to every rule, for both rookie and veteran freelancers. So when is it ok to forget the invoice and work for free?
In the first post I outlined Warning Signs of Sucky Clients. “That’s all well and good,” you may be saying. “How do I not get those?” Well, reader whose mind I just pretended to read for dramatic effect… I’ll tell you! What follows are six ways to avoid troublesome clients in the first place. The first two points deal with standards you should implement anyway (preferably before you land your first client); the ones after will either weed out sucky clients or prevent clients from becoming sucky.
With some hard work and maybe a little investment, any freelancer can land a client once in a while. And once you get the hang of it, establish repeatable processes, and get a few referrals, you can land a lot! The problem for any freelancer (or really any business that operates off a clientele) is that, frankly, some clients suck. Some will try to screw you over, some don’t communicate, some will be extraordinarily difficult to work with… some, all of the above. So how do you weed out the all-stars from the undesirables? Here are some red flags to watch out for.Read More
In my post, 5 Things You Should Do Before Becoming A Freelancer, I mention that organization is the single most important aspect of doing freelancing well. From the moment someone reaches out about a potential job to the moment you cash the paycheck, you should have a systematic work flow in place.
This is not counting, of course, the emotional roller coster that is the creative process itself — that’s an elusive beast. However, the chaotic bitch that is creativity only makes the need for streamlined processes even greater. Before you can get busy doing what it is you actually do, several things need to be in place.
So you’re interested in becoming a freelancer? First, welcome to the club! While it’s far from exclusive (as it turns out, the barrier to entry is pretty low), it’s a fun society of risk-takers, free-thinkers, and non-settlers.
From what I can gather, there are two types of people who read articles on becoming a freelancer: The first are young people who are newly-graduated, under-employed, or in the infancy of their careers; the second are people looking to make a big life change. Either way, to go at it alone is daunting, so you’ll need to get your shit together.
In an old bio of mine you’ll find the following few lines:
I just like creating things… The result has been about 10 years of learning by doing, and developing a career that isn’t easy to summarize except to use the word “creative.” (At some point “creative” became a noun, which is good for me I guess.)
I was inspired to explore that last idea after I realized I had taken a point of view on this noun, and found myself trying to cleverly expand upon it. After all, this website is called Matt Williams Creative. While, in that context it’s used pretty ambiguously, what does it mean to be “a creative?”