4 Steps to Creating a Freelance Schedule

Freelancing is all about flexibility. It’s one of the main reasons I hear that people are thinking about making the switch to freelancing. But what a lot of people with no freelance experience don’t really seem to notice is that most of us have set schedules. Without them, it’s pretty much impossible to get all of our work done in a timely fashion. Of course, those schedules may not have any similarity to the standard 9-to-5 — but there is some reason behind the times we do work.

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11 Lessons Web Designers Should Learn from Painting Portraits

Credit: freeparking on Flickr

Many designers stumble into the web industry from a fine arts background. Working commercially is a natural progression for artists – not only does it make for a reliable income, but you have the pleasure of making something useful for a wide audience. Furthermore, both art and design draw on many of the same concepts and we artist/designers are often able to incorporate our art skills into designs and illustrations.

Sometimes, however, the inspiration behind creating original artwork is missing from the design process, especially when cranking out content-managed websites or banner campaigns. A return to artistic roots often becomes an unavoidable want, and for me, such an instinct meant deciding to paint thirty portraits in three weeks during a trip back home. What surprised me was how much I discovered portrait painting could actually make me a better graphic designer.

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Evaluating the Benefits and Drawbacks of Coworking

Credit: Ken Hawkins on Flickr

One of the great problems of being a freelancer is the solitude. It’s difficult at times to sit in front of your keyboard and do what you’ve got to do without any human interaction. There’s no water cooler to talk around, no office gossip to catch up on and no one else to fill you in on what happened on last night’s episode of The Family Guy. The other issue is that renting a traditional office space is expensive, but without one, some clients may think that your business is unprofessional.

The solution to both problems is a coworking facility. The concept is pretty simple: Put together a group of people who all freelance, rent out a desk for a low price, put in shared facilities such as a conference room and receptionist, and you’re good to go. This keeps the costs down for renters, gives you a professional environment to meet clients and provides human interaction. It’s the best of all worlds, right?

For the most part, yes, there are many benefits to coworking. But just like Luke and the Force, there is also a dark side to coworking, which is something you should be aware of before entering into any agreement. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the good and the bad components of coworking.
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Choosing a Business Name that Acts as a Marketing Tool

Do you want an artistic freelance business name? Or an effective freelance business name?

Naming a business is an exciting proposition, full of promise and possibility. But before choosing The Stardust Corporation to christen your freelance business, the savvy freelancer should follow proven tips before heating up the branding iron.

Your freelance business identity may well be the most important marketing tool that you have. It is certainly the first (and possibly the only) point of contact for prospective clients. It is up to you to select a name that creates opportunities rather than eliminates them. Continue reading…

The Minimalist Guide to Freelancing

When I hear the term minimalist, I think of zen and balance, as well as simplicity.

As you develop your freelancing portfolio and career, one of the keys of long-term success is simply to keep a balanced lifestyle, which often boils down to a minimalist approach to life and work.

Within the context of freelancing, minimalism is removing distractions; clearing the desk (and mind) of anything that isn’t needed to get the job done.

After enough time in the industry, it’s easy to pick up activities and habits that simply take away time from meaningful activities. The following is a guide to minimalist freelancing and your start to a more balanced career. Continue reading…

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Continuous Deployment

At Envato Studio we have to ensure we’re always moving fast. It helps us support our community of service providers and continually optimise their opportunity to earn online. To do that we use the agile software development principles, ensuring we are able to react quickly and make the changes we need with a minimum of fuss.

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Proofreading – An Essential Skill for ALL Freelancers

Thanks to the internet, reaching prospective clients has never been easier.

Whether you are a freelance web designer, writer or international mountain guide, you are likely to have a website, twitter account, LinkedIn profile and blog – and so you should. Without these tools, most of us would be lost.

The trouble with the internet is that it makes publishing and communication dangerously easy. With the ‘publish’, ‘send’, ‘tweet’ or ‘share’ button ever present at the top of your screen, online business communications – and that is what they are – are often shared prematurely.

No matter what business you are in, for freelancers, first impressions are crucial. Continue reading…

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Service Provider Competition: Win a MacBook Pro & Care Pack!

To help celebrate our recent rebrand to Envato Studio, we wanted to do something for our service providers to say thanks for all of your hard work! We’re excited to announce that you have the opportunity to win a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display and an Envato carepack (full of great swag), We’ve also got some fantastic runner up prizes! Want in? Read on!

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6 Tips to Create a Service Listing That Converts

So you have the skills… You can design, code and freelance till the cows come home. But are you maximizing your sales potential? Envato Studio delivers hundreds of thousands of visitors to the site every month – but it’s up to you to take advantage of that traffic and convert visitors to your services into paying clients. Here are 6 steps to help you make your services and profile attractive to buyers. Continue reading…

20 Money (and Sanity) Saving Tips for Freelancers

Even in the best of economic times, freelancers often walk a tight financial edge—some months you may be flush with money, while other months will leave you searching under the couch cushions just to make sure you have food in the house.

Here’s are some frugal tips to help you save money—and your sanity—while you are building your freelance business.

  1. Have an emergency fund. Unfortunately, it isn’t if but when an emergency will come up. With a financial cushion you will be able to meet most emergencies without incurring exorbitant interest fees or loan costs.
  2. Don’t quit your day job…yet. Launching yourself full time into your freelance business sounds like a great idea but if you have bills to pay, don’t give up your day job just yet. Don’t quit your regular job until you have a consistent freelance income (or a very big emergency fund) that can easily cover your living expenses.
  3. Be debt free. There is nothing that will sink a new business faster than a massive amount of debt (credit card payments, loan payments, etc) that needs to be paid each month.

    Go all “gazelle intense” on paying off your debts before you launch into your freelance career (or, as stated above, keep your day job while starting your freelance career and don’t quit that steady income until you are debt free).

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25 Unusual Places to Get Design Inspiration

Credit: photo by by Phantasy Photo on Flickr

One of the most frustrating situations you can encounter as a freelance designer is when you’re all ready to go but the ideas just aren’t flowing! You struggle to retain focus but staunchly refuse to accept defeat, until your screensaver goes on.

One site that can help you is Creattica, a gallery of great design and inspirational imagery. It’s a great place to start with your search for ideas and has a wealth of outstanding design in almost every category imaginable! Today though we’ll go even further afield and look at 25 more sites that might just give you the inspiration you need to make that breakthrough!

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