The future looks bright for us freelancers and solopreneurs. The day will come — and come soon — when we will be recognized more for our ability to help build strong businesses than our gypsy existence. Why? Because businesses will need us to be the eyes and ears of what is happening outside of their business. Businesses (and sectors) have, for too long, been insular in their approaches and models. The result of this insularity has been stagnation. Those businesses need people from the outside to bring in new perspectives. Think of us as the bees of the coming economy – cross-pollinating ideas and best practices among and amidst the big companies. Read More →
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No one is doing more to secure the financial well-being of freelancers than Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union and author of The Freelancer’s Bible. Her new book is filled with vital info for the experienced freelancer and the novice alike, and covers everything from landing (and keeping) clients to reputation management to setting fee structures, negotiating contracts, and surviving dry spells. She’s also the driving force behind Dispatches, a site devoted to highlighting the ideas and builders behind the new economy. She was kind enough to answer our questions about the new book and the emerging freelance economy.
How did freelancers’ rights become your passion? Given your father and grandfather’s ties to labor rights (a union lawyer and a union vice president, respectively), did you find that it was just in your blood?
I was lucky in that I grew up in a family where I always knew it was an option to grow up and help workers. So when I was misclassified as a freelancer after law school, I saw that there was a new kind of worker that needed to be organized. Back then (the mid-1990s), people didn’t really know what a “freelancer” was. Now, our 200,000 members are proud to be freelance. The institution we’re building with them is really the next wave of unionism. Read More →
Time’s 100 Most Influential People, that venerable annual accounting of who’s who the world over, is in its final stage of voting. We’d like to encourage you to vote for Sara Horowitz, founder of the Freelancers Union and all-around champion for freelancers’ economic rights. As our economy continues to shift to a freelance, distributed model, Sara is a vital voice for the economic and social well-being for countless professionals. Swing by Time and tell them why Sara deserves a place on the Top 100. All it takes is a click.
February’s BLS Jobs Report landed on Friday, and the numbers were surprisingly positive. A healthy 236,000 jobs were added to the private sector, a whopping 71,000 more jobs than expected. While you might think this would be cause for celebration, the reaction among major news outlets was decidedly mixed. The Gray Lady — followed by scores of other outlets – unleashed a frenzy of upbeat articles, each presenting a rosy outlook for the still-wobbly economy. NPR was more measured in its coverage, being bold enough to give some airtime to the falling participation rate (this number measures the amount of employable adults actively engaged in the labor market). It also balanced Friday’s good news with coverage of the continuing challenges faced by the long-term unemployed. Naturally, The Wall Street Journal did what the Wall Street Journal does best: rain on everyone’s parade.
In short, the numbers are more promising than many observers expected, but change is still to come. Here’s what the situation looks like from our spot in the jobs space. Read More →
Long before Marissa Mayer upset the Yahoo cart (and the well-articulated response to that overturned cart in The New York Times), I’ve had to weigh out the pros and cons of what it means to have a work life when you don’t have an office. In the solopreneur world, it isn’t one way or the other, but rather a blend of both. And that blend is something bigger companies can learn from. The best part is that we set the policy and we can change it! Read More →
Finding the right date for Valentine’s Day is tough. It takes a lot of dating to find that perfect someone to settle in with, someone worthy of a ‘Be Mine’ candied heart. Rush in and it can easily become the worst night of your life.
So why is it that your go-to Solopreneur is doling out dating advice? As it turns out, there are a lot of similarities between having the perfect date and getting a great client. Read More →
In the latest installment of our Community Profiles series, we spoke with long-time gun Kelly Caldwell. A former journalist, award-winning essayist, and current writing instructor and Associate Dean at Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Kelly was kind enough to speak with us about her work and her unconventional career trajectory. Registration for her Essay And Opinion class at Gotham is still open, but will likely sell out soon.
Let’s do broad strokes first. How did you get started as a professional writer?
I always thought I was going to have a career in newspapers. Back in 1995, I landed a really exciting internship at New York Newsday. As it turns out, this was right when they were shutting the paper down. Read More →
Back in the day, there was a cartoon character whose catch phrase was ‘now waaaaayyyy a minute’ when things didn’t sound quite right. That is instinctively what I thought as soon as I read a recent article in Forbes predicting a future in which stable careers are replaced by low wage temp work. While I do believe that permanency in employment is decreasing (and I wrote about it back in 2008), I think the Forbes author chose the cautionary tale route versus the “let’s get prepared for it” one. If you read me regularly, you’ll know I believe that when it comes to your career, have no fear. Read More →
It’s the classic Catch-22: You can’t get a job or change careers without the necessary experience … but how are you supposed to gain experience if no one will give you a chance?
The answer: find an internship or temp job! And this advice applies not just to recent graduates, but to ANYONE at any age, at any stage of their career. Read More →
We’re not all the way out of the woods yet with this up-and-down, on-again-off-again economic recovery. But the news is a little bit better each day. We’re feeling the tide turn here at The Hired Guns, which is a good sign, but it’s been a long slog for us, and I’m sure for many of you. So whether or not things are headed up and up from here, let’s collectively make a pact that “we won’t get fooled again.” What I mean is, let’s act now on the lessons we’ve learned, so that whatever the economy does in the future, we won’t be blindsided next time.
1. We are all Hired Guns now.
You are the master of your own career. It’s no secret that company loyalty is dead. Along with it died the notion that someone else was going to take care of us. For the last 50 years employees have outsourced career ownership to their bosses; the trade seemed fair when security was on offer. Without that available, there’s a trade imbalance between employees and companies, which is why everything is out of whack. Read More →
- GigaOm ponders the rise of the “stealth freelancers.”
- Tax Tips for the First-Time Freelancer [BI]
- 6 reasons freelancers should rent an office [CBS]
- How can you go on vacation if you’re the boss? Adelaide Lancaster of The Big Enough Company says it’s possible to get out of Dodge and still be sure that everything will still be there once you get back. [Forbes]
- Madison Avenue is learning to loves its new ranks of freelancing advertising talent. [AdAge]
Are you thinking about taking the freelance plunge yourself? Or are you already freelancing, and looking for strategies to grow the number of your clients — and your bank account? Our Hired Gun Coach, the digital strategist Beth Temple, will be teaching a class this Wednesday, May 16, for freelancers at all stages of their career: Freelance Success: Independence, Not Insecurity.
Previous freelancing tips from Beth:
Freelancers and freelancers-in-training: for more of Beth Temple’s hard-won, practical tips on getting paid what you deserve, check out her May 16th Hired Guns Academy class on Freelance Success: Independence, Not Insecurity.
It’s no surprise that the two most common questions I get in my class are about how to price yourself and how to get paid. Although we are in it for the love, love can’t buy food and shelter, or a ticket to a movie now and again. Read More →
The digital business consultant Beth Temple will be bringing her newest class, Freelance Success: Independence, Not Insecurity, to the Hired Guns Academy on Wednesday, May 16. This three-hour course is designed to help freelancers at all stages of their career become more successful at what they do best. They’ll learn how to bring in more business, develop a unique selling proposition, and be better at navigating corporate politics and managing their own finances.
It’s been a few months since Fast Company’s much talked- and tweeted-about cover story on Generation Flux. The title’s been bothering me ever since I read it. The magazine had it wrong by a vowel! We don’t need a generation in flux (which sounds negative and unstable), we need one that has flex (which is much more agile and proactive).
Flexibility is going to be the key to the next few decades for every business, big and small. It is also going to be the defining characteristic for those individuals who want to thrive in the next few decades. Read More →
Creative Week kicks off bright and early this Monday (May 7) with “The Freelance Shift,” a networking breakfast and panel that looks at the move away from working as a full-time employee — at least in the advertising and tech industries and related fields. Bklyn Haus hosts the breakfast, which starts at 8:30 am at Galapagos, in Dumbo.
An estimated 80% of freelancers have a painful story or two about not getting paid, but it’s rare that they can present a united front about their woes. But that’s changed now, with the debut of the World’s Longest Invoice, a project of the Freelancers Union.
To help draw attention to its efforts to pass the Freelancer Payment Protection Act in New York state, the Union has been asking anyone with unpaid bills to add a line item to its monster theoretical invoice. At the moment, the amount due is north of $3.8 million — and steadily rising. Do you have outstanding invoices of your own? Be sure to get them on there….
- Meet the supertemps: highly trained and highly paid, these are “top managers and professionals” whose “project-based careers” aren’t tied to any single major firm. [HBR]
- If there’s been a big uptick in freelancing, and lots of experts think there has been, how come numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics don’t seem to bear that out? It might be because a hefty percentage of freelancers are moonlighting at the moment, with full-time jobs already. [GigaOM]
- FoundersCard is a $495-a-year loyalty card that doles out discounts, upgrades, networking opportunities, and bragging rights to entrepreneurs, such as the heads of startups. So far there are 5,000 members. [CNN]
- Is Stanford University too chummy with Silicon Valley? [The New Yorker]
We ended up getting some great comments about it, and also got a whole lotta Twitter love. It seemed as if just about all of you had a story about getting stiffed as a freelancer — unfortunately, it almost goes with the territory. On the plus side, you’ve also given us some great ideas about how to avoid ever getting stiffed again, from basics about knowing your client to more advanced methods involving loan documents and copyright law (more on those later).
We’re not done yet, though — we also want ideas from The Hired Guns community-at-large. After all, it’s a pretty sure bet that all of us are going to spend some time in the free agent seat if we haven’t already. So let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter:
What tactics do you use to make sure you get paid for the work you do as a freelancer?
Please take a minute to post your best-kept secret for how to get paid by a client who’s holding back the Benjamins and keeping you from putting food on the table. We’ll review the results and post a story that features the very best ideas!
If you’re a freelancer and you don’t get paid, just about your only recourse (after the phone calls and emails and maybe even in-person visits) is small claims court — a time-consuming, frustrating place.
Our pals at the Freelancers Union hope to change that with the Freelancer Payment Protection Act, which would extend to independent contractors in New York State the protections and rights that those on salary already get from the Department of Labor.
If you are like me, a solopreneuer, you get to the end of the year and wonder where where it all went. Hopefully you’ve been busy doing great work and enjoying making and keeping in touch with new connections, but you probably haven’t been thinking about how to wrap up the year. You’re not alone!
Here are four things you can do now to end the year on a high note:
Taxes: This is the time of the year you really need to start planning for your 2011 taxes. It’s best if you do it year-round, but we’re busy and often don’t keep up. Be sure you have all your receipts in order and you’ve got all your billings tallied. If you work with an accountant, be sure to schedule a December checkup to do some taxes preplanning. For instance, it may make sense to pay your state taxes for 2011 before January 15 in order to relieve some tax burden come April. Read More →
The New Year is approaching, and it’s a perfect time to make a change. If the change you have in mind is from “corporate life” to “freelance life,” then you’ve stumbled on the right post to get you started.
Let’s start with the mechanics. Know who you are and what you are selling. Design. Marketing. Sales. It doesn’t matter what skill you are taking to market (and that is what you are doing) — you have to be sure you are exact in the telling. It has to be short and easy to transfer from human to human – this kind of selling is called referral sourcing. For example: “I specialize in SEO” is easy for people you meet to remember and to tell others about. “I specialize in SEO for big companies who are selling imported goods” is a lot harder. Take any leads you can get in your area of expertise — it’s better to be the filter than the drain. Read More →
Are you a perfectionist like me? If you aren’t, I can almost guarantee your company or boss would like you to be one. This is a shame, because perfectionism is probably the biggest roadblock to innovation that you will ever encounter. In fact, letting go of perfectionism, or as I like to call it, preciousness, is the key to unlocking your creative potential.
Over the years we’ve been taught that it’s unacceptable to try out new things that could potentially fail because they will:
A. Waste Time
B. Waste Money
C. Get You Fired
D. All of The Above
So we’ve gotten into the habit of working safely within our comfort zones in order to avoid creating anything that’s less than perfect. This is fine for just getting by, but terrible for moving forward. Read More →
- Are you a freelancer? Mashable talks about how to deal with bad clients. On staff? The Vault has some tips on bad bosses.
- Core 77 taps $7 tool for carrying heavy loads as the year’s best product design. [FastCo Design]
- “Hooray! I’ve been exposed to this message enough to move from awareness to consideration” and other Things Real People Don’t Say About Advertising.
- Have you gone on vacation this summer or are you about to? Our pals at The Energy Project are running a campaign to encourage folks to use all their vacation days. By merely committing to take time off, you can win a coaching session with TEP’s founder, Tony Schwartz. Head to the The Energy Project’s Facebook page to enter.
- Utilizing the power of recycling in web design. [Smashing Mag.]
- “Can freelancers be friends?” “No. Warriors don’t befriend enemies on the battlefield, do they?” says Susannah Breslin.
- A headline we didn’t think we’d read today (or any day): “Stoned wallabies blamed for crop circles. More at the BBC. [Alltop]
At Google, some very bright engineers are working tirelessly to make sure everything you do all day somehow involves one of their products. It’s a little bit scary. Fortunately, lots of Google’s valuable tools are available for free, to help anybody learn from the vast volumes of data the company collects. So if you’re working on an online marketing campaign, building a blog, or just maintaining your personal website, you should put Google to work for you.
As someone who writes a blog about copywriting, I find Google beyond helpful in tracking how people use language. Here’s a list of my eight favorite Google bookmarks, going from serious and pragmatic on to fun and frivolous.
Thanks to its longevity, reliability, and unbeatable price (free), Google Analytics is the standard way that many of us measure website traffic. It takes some technical aptitude to set it up, but when you get it humming, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
This is Google’s way of showing you how its search engine analyzes and crawls your site. Again, it takes a little bit of technical work to set it up. But if you’re trying to attract search engine traffic, it’s worth your time to understand Google Webmaster Tools. Read More →
After getting through the Game of Thrones winter we just had, I didn’t really care that I was broke and with no prospects. As long as I had my bike and enough money for rent, cable, electricity, and dog food, I was good to go. I wanted out of my apartment. I wanted to burn my winter clothes on the beach, in a huge effigy to the evil god of winter.
Yet just as the days got longer and warm enough to hint that it actually may not snow again, I got a job offer. A full-time job offer from a very generous friend who owns a digital design agency. The fact is, I didn’t really have the money to pay the aforementioned bills, so this offer couldn’t have come at a better time, financially speaking. (But summer, my sweet summer!) I took the job. Alas, the dog has to eat. And I have to watch Game of Thrones. Read More →
This Wednesday, May 25, David Holloway will be teaching a Hired Guns Academy class on How to Develop a Portfolio Career. Below he explains how this method can remove the ups and downs that come with a typical freelance career.
“Freelancing” is one of those amorphous terms that mean different things to different people. So here’s what I mean when I use the word: Freelancing is where you’re primarily working alone, using one main skill to generate a service offering that you are deploying outside of full-time employment. For example, photographers, graphic designers, social media consultants, and independent marketing professionals are often freelancers.
The freelance career approach can definitely work, and if you’re in a good place with it, more power to you. But in the coaching work I do, I constantly hear about three main challenges with this type of career:
- Because freelancers often focus on one main skill area, they are vulnerable to changes in the marketplace–a steep revenue drop or the appearance of a new competitor, for example. When you’re only “eating what you kill” and you only eat one kind of food, some scary scenarios are possible. Consider the vulnerability of freelance writers, already struggling to make sufficient income, who are now being forced to compete with online writers who contribute work for a share of ad revenue–or who even write for free. This challenge seems to be growing by the day, and there’s no end in sight.
When I worked in an office, the commute absolutely killed me. (Let me clarify that my last full-time job was a whopping nine blocks from my apartment.) There was just something so robotic and depressing about riding the elevator with the same sad drones every day. Getting watery coffee from the same cranky deli guy. Seeing the same tired souls dragging their asses to those lonely gray cubicles. Heavy sigh.
Now that I’m a “homey,” I come and go as I please, and I love it. While the rest of you are counting the minutes to your next Starbucks run and fantasizing about what to order from Chipotle for lunch, I get to see who is roaming the city in the light of day. I am always discovering new and interesting people, and let me tell you this–the freaks come out at noon. Read More →
- Above: The jokesters at Improv Everywhere crashed last week’s GEL conference.
- Is it 1999 again? Online bookkeeper Freshbooks stays in its primarily young employees’ good graces through “a relaxed work environment” with “few office rules.” [Financial Post]
- Everyone wants to be liked. Here are 10 strategies for getting Facebook “likes,”at least. [Mashable]
- Gigwalk is a free iPhone app that lets you apply to earn small amounts of cash (usually under $10) by doing the bidding of small businesses, e.g. checking out the competition.
- Former Event of the Week, the design competition Cut&Paste, announces its 2011 winners.
- Are your frequent flier miles increasing as fast as your gut? There may be a connection. Duh. [Time]
- The recruiter Carol Schultz shows you what makes a job ad ineffective so that you can avoid the mistakes of others. [via Mediabistro]
On Wednesday, May 25, David Holloway will be teaching a Hired Guns Academy class on How to Develop a Portfolio Career. Below he explains what you gain by using this approach in today’s highly disrupted and unpredictable workplace.
Just about all of us have felt threatened, insecure or challenged in our career in recent years. The sort of niggling feeling that you can’t just set and forget your job; the feeling that it might all go wrong if you don’t handle things with care.
Global financial crisis? Tsunami? Things that will pass in time?
Sorry, no. Read More →
• D.C. launches a pilot program to encourage employees to live near either their workplace or the public transportation that takes them there. [Good]
• If coffee shops are now the de facto place where freelancers and other floating workers get stuff done, does that mean that everyone should be quiet little mice while slurping their macchiatos? [Gizmodo]
• What’s the legacy of the current tech boom going to be? “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. . . . That sucks,” says an ex-Facebooker who’s now running his own startup.–”This Tech Bubble Is Different,” Businessweek
- Recommendations are at least as important to freelancers as they are to people trying to land a new full-time job. Head to Mashable for a guide to navigating the world of getting recs online.
- Back in 2007, “Brazen Careerist” Penelope Trunk’s wrote about how to be a freelancer without starving–still highly relevant!
- Coworking, in which freelancers of various stripes all rent portions of the same office space, seems to get a little more popular every day–we’re definitely fans of it at The Hired Guns. Freelance Switch looks at coworking’s pluses and minuses.
- Freelance Folder has some savvy tips on keeping your freelance mojo current and powerful in what’s likely to remain a rapidly changing marketplace.
- Beth Temple, whose upcoming Hired Guns Academy class on Being Your Own Boss is this Thursday (May 5), recently blogged for us on how to stay right with the tax man. She also gave answers to a few of the most common questions that would-be freelancers ask.
“So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
So true, Mr. Wonka, and I live by those words. Kind of. Strike that and reverse it into graphic-design land. It’s probably not wise to admit this, but I will do a design favor for just about anyone who asks. Yep, free design! I know, what a ho. But a design ho, so it’s harmless. Except to my bank account. It’s not a goodwill thing, believe me. Karma coins do not pay my bills. I do free design for purely selfish reasons.
Let’s face it, graphic design is not the most lucrative career choice. But I had delusions of grandeur. Sitting in my black turtleneck, smoking cigarettes, discussing the latest color trends, and laughing at people who use Comic Sans. Years later, reality has set in. I score a job, receive a 63-page PDF of stringent brand guidelines, put my head down, and get to work. Twenty rounds of changes later, my ego is in the toilet and my brain is void of any creative thought.
So when a friend calls and ask me to do an evite for an outdoor BBQ with an actual pig roast? I am so in! Your son’s gay wedding with a superhero theme? Done! Why, you ask?
You, my appreciative friend, feel guilty and let me have creative freedom. I do not have to make ten rounds of changes. I do not have to make a logo bigger. I do not have to adhere to the brand guideline encyclopedia from hell. I get to pick my own color palette. My own fonts! I get a heartfelt “thank you so much.” I get satisfaction. I remember why I love graphic design.
So the next time your neighbor’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s college roommate needs a poster for his short film about daisies, definitely give me a ring. I’ll design the crap out of it–and this one’s on me!*
* bottles of wine graciously accepted
A new session of Beth Temple‘s popular class on successful freelancing, Be Your Own Boss, will be held at The Hired Guns Academy next Thursday, May 5th. We thought we’d give you a taste by asking Beth to discuss the three most common questions that have popped up in previous sessions.
“How (and how much) should I charge?” Hands down, this is the top question. Of course, if I had an exact answer to the “much” question I would start a side business and add it to my own revenue line! The “how much” question usually refers to an hourly rate, which affects the “how should I charge?” end result. So let’s break it down.
The classic ways to charge are by the hour, by the project, and by a retainer fee. All methods require some knowledge of what an hour costs you in relation to how much a client is willing to pay for that same hour. Start by estimating an hourly rate based on what you were making at your full-time job using this equation: salary / 2000 (hours) + hourly costs of benefits = hourly rate. Then estimate the hours it would take to complete the project, and charge a project fee based on the total hours multiplied by your per-hour rate. (There are a lot of other variables that can come into play, of course, and I go over them in the class.)
Once you start the project, be sure to track your actual hours. At the end compare the number of hours you thought you’d work with what you did work. You will likely come up short that first time–but over time you’ll easily make that up. Read More →
The great thing about freelancing is the free time it affords you. The bad thing about freelancing is the free time forced on you. But freelancers know the deal. Always look for your next job. The problem for me is that when I’m on deadline with little time to even shower, the job search tends to take a back seat to a delivery-menu search for the perfect burger. The one I’ll devour in front of my laptop.
When the job wraps up, and I’m a week into free time, I always regret not having been more diligent in lining up work. By that point, I have caught up on laundry, errands, TV, and sleep. I’ve updated all my software, checked the job boards, and probably snuck in a liquid lunch with friends. I peek at my phone every two minutes like a desperate girl after a first date.
Crickets. Tumbleweed. Panic sets in as I wonder how long I can survive on the check from my last job. Of course, I reach out to everyone I’ve ever met with the undesperate-as-possible email about how “my schedule just opened up and I am available for work if you need anything! : ).” I go to every network-y event I can force myself to attend. Timing is everything, though, and sometimes all this yields is an empty inbox and a cheap wine hangover.
I try to enjoy the downtime and smell the roses. I do. However, the last few years have left me with no padding for lean times, and I’m certainly in no position to take that dream vacation to Spain until things pick up. Instead, my inner fatalist plans what items I will tote around in my new shopping cart/home and which block in Manhattan will be the most hospitable for both me and the dog. Wait, what’s that? The ding of my inbox! You need “what” designed? For how much? I’ll take it. I’m back, bitches!
When you work from home, it’s up to you to stay abreast of what is going on in the outside world. There is no coworker to say “did you hear…” as you walk into the office every morning. I established a morning routine long ago that went something like this: NYtimes.com and CNN.com, then all the way down to gawker.com, Popcandy, and a dash of Facebook. But something has happened last year, and I’ve gone wayyyy off track. Read More →
Without a doubt my least-favorite part of owning my own business is managing the “accounting department.” Thanks to QuickBooks, it has become a lot easier. Now I not only know exactly how much money I wasted on lattes and taxis last month, but I am also keenly aware of how late your payment is. QuickBooks has appropriately put such invoices into the Aging category, which I have found to be directly proportionate to the number of gray hairs I get while waiting for your check.
That little box above the price breakdown on my invoice says NET30. That means you have 30 days to pay me. I can’t name many businesses that give you that long to pay a bill–with no interest. I successfully crafted your corporate logo or sales presentation within the two-day deadline you gave me. You loved it and told me what a genius I am, but here I sit waiting almost a full financial quarter for you to pay me for said genius. Good luck telling your favorite restaurant you’ll be back in 90 days to pay for your meal without expecting a little bodily bonus from the chef in your dessert. That’s not really my style, though, so what’s a girl to do? Read More →
Some people describe me as “a freelancer who works from home,” but I like to think I’m a “stay-at-home mom to my dog.” Everyone thinks their dog is the cutest creature on earth. On Facebook, we all click “like” politely, knowing our dog is just a little cuter than our friends’ dog. Well, I’m not saying that Alfie is the cutest (even though he is), but he is definitely “special.”
I’ve always gravitated towards dogs with strange personalities. I was told my last dog was like Woody Allen trapped in a small terrier body. This one is more like Matthew McConaughey in a shaggy-blonde mutt. He always seems about three bong hits into his day, and he’s perpetually happy and wagging his tail. Except when it comes to the bathtub drain. It infuriates him. I have been on a work binge lately, so he’s been left to entertain himself as I sit glued to my laptop.
I was wondering why an hour had gone by without a squeaky toy being tossed my way, so I went to go find out what could possibly be occupying him for this long. There he was, standing in the tub, growling at the drain.
“Ya see something down there, buddy?”
I left him to defend the fort as I went back to attack my pile of work. Two hours later, I went to check on him. He was fast asleep in the tub with his paw dutifully covering the drain. The drain monster had successfully been kept at bay. I love my dumb dog.
A print designer who now finds herself in a digital world, Homegirl blogs about the perils and joys of freelancing. They both involve wearing pajamas all day.
If you’re going to work from home, you must be disciplined. Like me. OK, unlike me. It’s hard to be your own boss and an exemplary employee at the same time. A few nights ago I went to bed swearing I would get up early, go to a yoga class, and get all my work done at a reasonable hour. Next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and it was 10:00 a.m. What is wrong with me? Oh, yeah. I don’t like alarm clocks.
I grabbed the dog and rushed him out the door to get a power walk in before buckling down to work. Believe me, I gave myself a stern talking to on that walk. I need to become more motivated, I thought to myself. Stop procrastinating. Keep normal hours and get in sync with the outside world.
I walked by my favorite bakery and bought myself a cappuccino and the most delicious cookie on the planet. Oh, how can I stay mad at me when I do such nice things for myself? Caffeine combined with a sugar buzz? I’ll finish my work in no time. Which means I could knock off early and treat myself to a movie. You know, as a reward for being such a good boss.
A print designer who now finds herself in a digital world, Homegirl blogs about the perils and joys of freelancing. They both involve wearing pajamas all day.
A few years ago, if you’d asked me to work on-site, I would have kindly responded with, “Yeah, I really don’t do the office thing, but I’ll pop in for some face time if you need me to.” Makes you want to slap me in the face, right? Well, don’t worry, the economy did it for you.
I’m a print designer in an almost paperless world. But my rent is still due at the first of every month. So with my tail between my legs, for a fee the old me would have laughed at, I will happily show up at your office at the ungodly hour of 10 am. I will even shower for you and wear a carefully orchestrated ensemble that shows that I’m cool and creative and kick ass at design.
You will not notice, however, because you will be texting as you distractedly escort me to the “freelancer work station.” You know the one. It’s next to the heating pipe that hisses all day, on that part of the floor that slopes just enough to keep my chair rolling away from the desk. I will spend most of the day sifting through files and trying to decipher what the last freelancer was trying to accomplish. The other designers will all have headphones on and will ignore the newbie, except when I mime that I desperately need to know where the ladies room is. All in all, I’ll get about one third of the work done had I done this job at home in my sweats. But this was fun! Same time tomorrow?
Freelancers Union–the good folks who bring you health insurance when nobody else will–are looking for freelancer candidates to run for the member representative slot on their board of directors. The rep will participate in three board meetings each year and will help the Union promote and aid independent workers. But act quickly: applications must be received by March 28.
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You’re going to love Homegirl. A self-imposed victim of the demise of print (I’m being dramatic), she now finds herself in a whole new world. Sorta. She’s a print designer in a digital world, working from home. She makes gorgeous things while wearing pajamas. At the height of her magazine career, she was the Creative Director of Marketing at an infamous lad’s mag. She doesn’t use Twitter and she claims to be “utterly clueless.” Maybe her foray into blogging for The Hired Guns will bring her into the digital era. Maybe not. We love her anyhow.
As any self-respecting elitist snob graphic designer will tell you, PowerPoint is awful, and we hate it. It’s clumsy, heavy-handed, and full of glitches. To make it worse, it seems no two people have the same version. So good luck doing fancy animation and getting it to run on anyone else’s computer. And don’t get me started on the fonts. I hope you like Calibri or Verdana, because if you don’t use generic fonts like those, good luck getting it to run on everyone’s computer. Really, Microsoft, you couldn’t do better? Read More →