Tag Archives: freelancing

How to write a good business plan

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Develop an effective business requires thorough preparations prior starting your professional expertise. Apart from being an engaging professional you need to define your goals and develop a strategy that will help you to attain those goals. A good business plan is essentially a field guide for business success.

If you have a serious approach towards your work, getting organized is the primary step and outline all the necessary details so that you avoid incidental obstacles and unwanted expenditures on the way of acquiring clients and getting business benefits. Although there are different types of business plans, the rules for designing a good business plan are unified.

Doing a small work project does not necessarily warrant the efforts of outlining your details and goals. A short-term itself-employed job to earn some extra money is not worth this serious task. Though, if you are a thoughtful freelancer or have an expanding framework of activities and you strive towards making a living you should give a deeper thought to this endeavor. The money you are thinking of to invest, the time you dedicate and all the resources you have to access demand sketching your business into meaningful chapters.

Components of a business plan

 

1. Executive summary

This section is no more than two pages usually and should be a synopsis of everything included in your plan.

This is the place where you put the key elements highlighting your vision. The first thing potential readers see, is the summary, therefore you need to make sure it leaves a strong impression at first sight.

If you write a standard business plan, at the beginning of the first paragraph of the summary you should put your business name, location and your product or service with an emphasis on the purpose of your plan. To be clear the purpose of your plan should show a need that people is demanding to the market and how you business will satisfy it.  Conclude with a statement that expresses clearly the purpose of your plan clearly.

2. Company overview and operations.

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This part talks about how you are going to sell your services or goods and operate the business on a day-to day basis. In other words it tells what your business is about and develops the idea you expressend in the previous step when you said how your business was going to satisfy the market need.

Give a short overview of your experience, like what you have done in the past, what you are currently doing and where you are heading to in future. Possible paragraphs in this section will be, the history of your work, the purpose of the business with a short description, the legal outline such as partnership, freelance and so on. Mention your present status and what is your industry like-growing or stable, for example. Additionally, say what your highest achievements are and how you are better than your competitors (that is why you have written before about your experience and expertise). Do not omit to mention your future goals.

3. Human sources

It covers the people that you are going to manage, who they are, what their job descriptions are, and how much you are going to pay them. Start with a clear sentence since people reading your business plan will be most interested in this part. For example, will you be operating with contract agencies or freelancers? Outline your requirements regarding human resources-what skills you are exactly looking for in your employees? Staff recruitment and possible training should also be explained. Last but not least for this section, it is beneficial to point out what areas in your business need enhancement and taking priority steps.

4. Marketing

Talks about what goods and services you are providing and how you are going to promote them to the general public. Who your target market is, what venue you are going to take the message at. Be specific when defining your target customer and do not blend groups at different age scale. Generations do not possess similar taste so be cautious about it. For instance, if your target group are elder generations, social networking will not be the happiest choice but rather a venue frequently visited by this age group. However this will change soon when in the next generations, so I would never recommend omit social networks.

Besides, you will need to define how your products will end in your customer hands. Will you have a shop? A delivery service? This may be a very importatn part of the business plan depending on your business characteristics.

Lastly, in this section you will need to take a look to your competitors and see how the market is developing. Once you get it, it is time to think how you will be different from them. Build a brand and an Unique Selling Preposition.

5. Finance

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This is a section that explains how you are going to be profitable. It consists of three financial statements, the income statement, the cash flow and the balance sheet. You should carefully examine your expenses to be able to put together the financial data. Generally, expenses may be initial and operational expenditures. Initial expenses relate to the amount of money you need for registering and licensing or renting, equipment and various utilities you may need for running the business. Operational expenses involve salaries, promotions, telecommunications and everything you spend over a certain amount of time.

6. SWOT analysis

This is summarizes all the information present before and makes it easy to analyze. Read this post about how to do a SWOT analysis to have more information.

Other sources you may find helpful.

  • Sep-by-step business plan guide.

4 reasons to start a freelance career

Compared to regular jobs, freelancing is a bit different. Everything that happens, or might happen, depends on the freelancer himself. If he does not market himself for possible clients, he does not work. If he does not work, then he does not earn as well. This fact happens especially to people who are new to this industry. However, despite of these problems, and challenges, there are still many reasons why you will love to be a freelancer.

  1. Freelancing gives you choice to choose your desired job. You will be the one to look for a job. Hence, you are the only who will dictate what job will you take. You choose want you want to do and reject which work does not suit or ring a bell for you.
  2. Freelancing gives you more personal time and space. This is only possible to people who manage their time well. Also, the freelancer chooses time when and where to work. He can work in a coffee shop. He can work after ten o’clock in the evening. This type of work gives more personal options to everyone involved here.
  3. Freelancing gives you less stress-free working environment. Since you handle your own job, you are the captain of the ship. After deciding what, when, and where to work, it is the time to deal with how will you work on something. Jobs may give less stress to freelancers if these people only know how to manage everything perfectly.
  4. Freelancing opens more opportunities. Being unattached to specific companies provides a freelancer a chance to explore more opportunity. Exclusivity is not a problem because in freelancing, every job offer is acceptable if desirable. There is no limit in accepting jobs.

However, freelancing is not the heaven. Sleepless nights, deadlines, clients’ demands—these are the top struggles encountered by every freelancer. While some people think that freelancing demands less time, freelancers dedicate more time in their home-based job. It is their sole responsibility to finish all the projects that they have collected. Then, upon submitting the projects, they need to look for another project to be done.

But then, every freelancer should remember that freelancing does not stop by these problems. A dedicated, disciplined, and committed person knows how to manage things effectively. These make things very desirable for everyone. Hence, these reasons will surely encourage any person to try the world full of challenge and that is freelancing.

Is it worth to take a small job when working at home?

Scrabble Position by Flazingo Photos

When you are starting a work at home career it is very likely that you have to try freelance platforms such as Upwork or Elance, which soon will become Upwork too. In these platforms it is common that you have a fixed amount of points per month, and you need to spend the points when you want to apply for a job.

If you apply too much, you can buy extra points with a premium account and the platform has a little extra revenue. These points make applying for small jobs more expensive because you are spending points that maybe you will need in the future to apply for other bigger job.

What a freelance should take into consideration when applying for a job

First, you should look at your client credibility. Will they pay? This is an important question and the answer is not always yes. In freelance platforms this is easy to know. Do they have a profile with good reviews? Then, they pay. Are they new and haven’t the payment method verified? You are in risk. But, all the clients were new one times, so, sometimes you need to just trust in them.

Second thing to think about is whether the effort/time to write your application is worth for the job. If you are applying for a 10 euros task, you can’t put more than 5 minutes in the applying because there are chances that they choose another freelancer. Actually, even if they hire you, you need to write the application, get information about the job and then do the tasks. All these things take time. And, this is not all, likely when you finish the job you will have to record your income and generate an invoice for your taxes (more time!). So in the end, how much time do you spend for this 10 euros? I guess too much if you want to survive. Remember that a day has 24 hours, and you spend about 8 sleeping. So it leaves 16 hours to work, eat and exchange some words with other human beings.

However, sometimes it can be worth to apply or this jobs

But, life is hard and work at home is not easy. So maybe you might try to take one of these small jobs. Let’s see why.

One of the most important things to be hired is your own credibility. If you do a small job, and you give a nice value for your price, it is likely that the client will ask you first the next time he will need something done. And, it can become a regular project!

So, sometimes you get a high value to do a first job that at a first glance seemed a waste of time.

I would suggest freelancers that work from home applying to small jobs when:

1. Client has credibility. It can be due to he has a good profile in a freelance platform or because you know them or at least their website seems that he is serious.

2. The job description is clear and comprehensive. So you know what you will have to do, and you can be sure that it won’t be the typical “I need someone to rule the world by 3 euros per hour and also needs to speak ancient Greek”.

3. You see that the client usually posts small jobs so there is a chance for they deciding to keep you as the one to do it each time they need something to be done.

When a Client Claims Without Reason

Nobody is perfect and I would be stupid pretending that I am the first one. However, I am sure about something, I do my best on my work and I am open to client suggestions.

But, sometimes problems just happen. Time ago I was hired to do an English to Spanish translation. The client wanted a text friendly for reader and not a direct translation. I agree with this vision because the goal of a translation is to engage the speakers of the target language, instead of keeping the most deep nuances of the text. Of course if someone asks me to keep the nuances above the engaging characteristic I will do so. But, this wasn’t the case.

When I sent my work to the client he told me that he found some mistakes. I apologized and asked him to point out such mistakes. I was surprised because it was a big project and I proofreaded the text more than one time, but of course, it would be possible that I have missed something.

When I get the “mistakes” he had marked things like:

I have translated Localization by Localización and he told that I should write Dónde estamos.

Well, I can’t say that Donde estamos is wrong, but it is much more informal than Localización. The truth is you can use both, but when you are giving your business data I thought it was better to be little more formal. I told that to the client and showed him several Spanish pages that have used Localización. For example, this one from University of Madrid or this one related with animal industry.

At least this “mistake” is understandable because though it is not a mistake, he could think that I wasn’t adapting my speech to his business needs. I still think that for business data, it is better to be little more formal, but life is done by different tastes.

The other big mistake was that I wrote “perfecto estado” instead of “estado perfecto”. This time I can’t accept that it is a mistake. When you are talking about products that arrive in a good shape, you need to write perfecto estado,  this is obvious for every native Spanish speaker. But, sadly my client wasn’t a native speaker.

I showed him that if you enter in Google, “estado perfecto” (with quotation marks”) you will get results about philosophy talking about how a State should be to be perfect. On the other hand, if you enter “perfecto estado” you got results about products in good shape. Not saying that my option had like 20 million of results and him less than 1 million.

But he wasn’t happy so we decide to end the contract. If he doesn’t trust in me, it wouldn’t make any sense to continue and we both agree with that.

How to manage this?

What I did was, return his money. Show him that all the mistakes weren’t real mistakes and finish the contract.

It is doubtful wether I should return the money, but as we were starting  the amount was small. This is a good reason to always do a little milestone before talking a big project when you get hired by a new client. If the first milestone doesn’t work as it should, you can finish the relationship and any of you lose much time and money.

Conclusion

I think the situation wasn’t fair with me. I am sure that if I were proofreaded by a native speaker, no matter from which country, I wouldn’t have any problems, but the point here is that I was proofreaded by a non native speaker, so everything that doesn’t sound as he would write it, was a mistake for him.

Now, I beg to be proofreaded by a native Spanish speaker. First because they suggestions are good and improve the text, second because they usually understand that a different way to say thins can be a correct way too. Spanish is very rich, and you can say things in a lot of ways.

Have you ever experienced a similar situation?

*I do not translate from Spanish to English, because as I am sure you have noticed my English is not perfect. I only do English to Spanish translations because in Spanish I can deliver high quality texts. Whe I have to do Spanish to English translations I always hire someone to proofread it.

Cooperate and win!

“Lemur giving hands” flickr photo shared by Tambako the Jaguar under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

I am freelance copywriter, but sadly I am not very good creating graphics. The truth is that you can browse the internet and get some images that are free and which rights only ask to put a link to the owner. This is easy and cheap.

However, some clients want a more comprehensive work and are open to pay for someone to create the images that will be published in their content. In these cases, you can just say ‘no, I am not able to provide original images’ or you can cooperate with graphic designer freelance and offer the full pack.

Well cooperation has one disadvantage, if one of the worker fails, the two of them will be affected. If you commit to collaborate with someone you commit to have a post and an image ready for the deadline. You can’t come to your client and say ‘man, it was the other freelancer who fails, I did my part of the job’ because someone that is paying, doesn’t want problems, but solutions.

However, if you find someone reliable and hard-worker, you are in disposition to offer a work that has its value increased.

My experience says that most clients just want a text, and the ones that ask for an image have the nonsense idea that it will cost the same as just a text. Well that is not possible. An image is very important for content, and you can’t just get the first one and hand it in.

Happily there are also a lot of people that like things well done, and understand the work that an image requires. In these cases, have some freelancers colleagues that are able to do it, is a great plus of value.

Translator scam jobs

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As freelance copywriter in Spanish, I always have to be looking for new clients and in the meantime I am used to finding suspicious job offers.

I won’t write here the specific URL and name of the company because I think it is more important that people understand what seems not legit than the specific websites that do the scams.

An example of a scam job for translators

The last very suspicious job that I have found said things like:

  • You will work for big companies as Coca Cola, Disney…

Well, I really don’t know these two particular cases, but big companies usually hire an agencies and do not lose time hiring freelancers that are not able to reach their expectations related with volume of work.

  • You do not need experience

Maybe you do not need experience, but I don’t know any company that says this openly if it is not desperate to get more workers. Even if they do not need experienced workers, an experienced worker usually gives more confidence to the client, so why would they write this in the job description? If they do not need experience they won’t say it explicitly, in order to both experienced and not experienced apply.

Until this moment this job seems too easy, but it could be ok. Problem is that now come the bad news. You need to pay a registration fee in order to go into the platform and access these great and generous clients.

They promise they will give your money back if you do not find accurate jobs.

A quick internet investigation about the website gave me some forum discussions with freelancers saying they never had their money back.

Summarizing

  1. Too easy jobs doesn’t exist.
  2. Too easy jobs well paid doesn’t exist.
  3. Never give money to get a job. You need to earn money, not to spend it.

If you are going to pay for a platform, then be sure that the platform will only charge to you a proportion of your earnings. This is a win-win relationship because you are sure that they want you to get jobs. More you earn, more they earn. You do not earn, you don’t pay. You become rich, they become rich. Easy!

 

Do not buy it right now, wait for a day

Money Down The Drain 2 by stockmonkeys

Freelancing is a great thing that allows you work at home in a nice room with a nice window and the most important thing close to your family.

However, it is hard to make your way in the market and get a regular income usually needs some time. One important thing to get clients is to be competitive in price, which doesn’t mean that you have to be the cheaper one, but one with the best value for clients’ money possible.

In order to do that, you need to keep your costs limited. This means that you can’t buy every software, tool or product that is in the market to do your work easily.

Before you decide to buy a new thing for your work, specially things that lead to suppose a regular cost, you should take your time to think whether or not you really need that item.

Sometimes, we fall in a kind of purchase enthusiasm and few days after the purchase we understand that the item is not as necessary as we thought. Even if it works well and achieve its purpose, sometimes we just don’t need it to work, and we can save that money for other more important things.

Next time you are about to increase your regular costs, give yourself time to think about it coldly. Most of the purchases can wait for a day or a week in order to take a better decision.

Freelancing, just do what you have to do

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It is common that when you are doing a copywriter task, you find that something can be done in a better way than the one that your client have asked. In this case the dilemma appears, what should I do? It can be hard choosing between the best option or just the one that the client have asked for.

First thing you need to do is communicate with your clients. Give them a clear description about the problem, you reasons to recommend another way to do things and wait for their feedback.

Most clients will be happy with this situation and will write back telling you if need to keep following their rules or not.

In case they accept your explanation, and ask you to do the job as you think is the best way there is no problem

But sometimes they don’t look life as you do, and they think you should follow the original instructions. In this case you should do what they are asking you. Is it moral doing something that can be done in a better manner? Maybe you think it is not. But the truth is that you aren’t the truth owner and they could have their reasons. And even if it is not the case, your job is do a work that makes your client happy. The only thing you need to be secure is that you have advice them about the way you think it is the best. After that, they have the right to decide.

Never do things against your client indications, even if you think it is better for their interest, because the final result will have effects in your client development, and you are not the responsible for that. You are responsible about your own work, and you are doing it as you was asked.

Remember that specially when working from home, trust is the most important thing between you and your clients. They need to be secure that you will the work as they wish, because they can’t see you doing it, and this makes them feel unsecure.

 

How to Reduce Distractions When You’re Freelancing

The great part about freelancing is that you’re your own boss. You can create your own schedule that conforms to your preferred hours. You don’t have to fight tooth and nail to get a day off. Applying for jobs is typically much faster than through ordinary applications. Finally, you always have a variety of tasks to do, meaning that you don’t have to end up doing the same job every single day. Sounds perfect, right? Well, there is one disadvantage.

The disadvantage is that you’re your own boss. In an ordinary workforce, your boss would chew you out if you were slacking on the job. Being late to work may land you in hot water. If you take a day off without going through an arduous process, your boss would give you a reprimand or even fire you. This sounds terrible, but it has a big advantage, in that it’s forcing you to work or suffer dire consequences. With freelancing, you’re home alone and online. You may end up checking Facebook too often instead of writing, or watch a funny video someone sent you. After all, your jobs aren’t due for a while. But being distracted can make the difference between a successful freelancer and one who fails at their job and has to succumb to working at the nine-to-five grind. This is because there is another advantage to freelancing that most jobs don’t have. You are paid more the more you work instead of by the hour for a majority of jobs. If you devote a good few hours to your day freelancing without the World Wide Web tempting you, you can make some decent money. So how do you avoid a terrible freelancing career?

First, create a schedule and stick with it. Make sure the schedule is not lenient. You need to work at your chosen hour at the dot and not stop until you reach a certain time. How long you work will vary from freelancer to freelancer, so choose a schedule that works at your own pace. Make sure to pepper in a few times for a break and don’t overstay your break. Also, devote a time for job applications so you can get more jobs.

Another method would be to disconnect from the Internet or unplug your router altogether until work is done. Unless staying on the Internet is mandatory for your job, just gather the information you need from your project, turn off the Internet, and work offline.

Finally, make sure you set up your own office that is free from clutter and anything that may distract you. For instance, working in your video game room may not be the best idea. While some can work anywhere, be sure to do your freelancing in a place where you’re most comfortable.

Freelancing is a great occupation, but there are a few pitfalls to look out for. Just remember to keep your eyes on your jobs and you can cross those pitfalls with no problem.

SWOT analysis to work at home: Opportunities

It is usual and a casual talk about work at home as freelance writer that provides large ocean of opportunities. But it is also true that each and every person can easily make the opportunities fit to them. They actually serve multiple purposes:

  1. Know about the subject you generally write
  2. Improvise your mind towards vocabulary and recent updates
  3. Making good opportunity for better income

This does not stop here. You do create a world of sensational things where you get a chance to work with people of different countries, ages and etc. The skills you acquire by making use of these opportunities are really huge and wide. You mould yourself professionally in a working and a friendly environment.

Gain experience and gain expertise

You will first start feel like consuming more time for writing along with the instructions provided. But as you grow stronger in experience, you feel like the work is much comfortable for you. Similar to “As you sow you shall reap”, you make use of great opportunities provided to enhance your multiple skills like vocabulary, writing, mannerism and many other good qualities that will really orient you in a fine path. This will help you in rightly guiding your career path in a different developing arena. You might have started doing the work as hobby, but by the time you might have become a very good and sensational writer with the abilities of expressing any technical, non-technical, general and even any other philosophical matter in a more clear and substantial manner.

Take the opportunities and become an entrepreneur

After a quite while you have acquired the writing skills, you are ready to use the opportunities as your career highlights. There are several forms of writing like article writing, content writing, blogging, re-writing, press release, marketing content blogging etc. Apart from these forms, there are more writing styles you will excel with like APA styles, MLM styles, Oxford style etc. Getting used to these styles, can make you always engaged directly with the college graduates and even some professor who are undertaking doctorates and other fellow ship program.

Technical writing and e-book writing are some fields that are very demanding in the market of writing. Does not stop here, but also extends in many other academic areas like content development of subjects like Math, Physics, Chemistry and many more.

After reaching at a point you will start rewinding and look at the path you have actually travelled. You started as a low level writer and progressed through to various other levels after learning and acquiring multiple skills. Now you are eligible to start your own writing agency to provide your own services by acquiring your own clients. Given that you have started acquiring clients and provide services to them as per their needs, you become a small scale entrepreneur. As you have turned a entrepreneur, you have to keep track of time and punctuality in collecting the needs from your clients and providing the feedbacks to the workers to get the works done. Post the works are complete; it is your important responsibility to do proper check on their work. In case you have more works, you can appoint a proofreader to reduce writing verification work.