Changes in future working practices may turn many of us into freelancers, which could see some working on a multitude of very small assignments or tasks concurrently.
But in a few realms, people have begun to unpack that bundle and reassemble it in new, surprising, and potentially very important ways. As it becomes easier for companies to plug in on the fly to the constantly shifting network of freelance labor, freelance workers have begun to think not in terms of having a job, but of having a collection of different jobs at any one time.
Becoming a contract, or paid-by-the-hour, worker may boost overall job satisfaction, as such workers tend to be more focused on their pay-cheque, and the money that is due them:
Researchers explored the relationship between income and happiness by focusing on the organizational arrangements that make the connection between time and money. They found that the way in which an employee is paid is tied to their feeling of happiness. The researchers theorize that hourly wage-earners focus more attention on their pay than those who earn a salary. That concrete, consistent focus on the worth of the employee’s time in each paycheck influences the level of happiness the employee feels.
Presumably permanent, or salaried, workers are left to contemplate endless days at the face of the grindstone.
While it may be overstating the obvious for some, freelancing is not just about completing a job (which somehow fell out of the sky), and then invoicing your client (who somehow fell out of the sky) for services rendered.
In fact after reading The Principles of Successful Freelancing written by Perth based web designer Miles Burke, a veteran freelancer and now managing director of Bam Creative, you’ll quickly realise working as a freelancer is more like running a small business, and being responsible for every aspect of it.
And no stone is left unturned in what is a very comprehensive guide to working, and living, as a freelance web professional.
The book firstly helps you assess your skills and suitability for freelancing, and then covers topics such as the planning and research you’ll need to do beforehand, setting up your office or workspace, managing cashflow, work and life balance, tracking and scheduling your time, optimising productivity, marketing and finding work, retaining clients, and finding help and hiring staff.
There are also strategies for winding up your freelance operation, should you one day wish to move onto something else, or retire.
The book also features short interviews with well known web designers including Derek Featherstone, Mark Boulton, Molly Holzschlag, and Stephen Collins, who share some of what they have learned while freelancing.
The exploits, or case studies, of two fictitious web professionals, Emily and Jacob, are also profiled as they embark upon respective freelancing ventures, and documents the challenges and pitfalls they encounter, together with progress reports, as their enterprises take hold and grow.
The Principles of Successful Freelancing is written in a positive and conversational style, and at times I literally felt as if Miles was in the same room recounting his freelance knowledge and experience.
In summary, this is an all encompassing and highly readable guide to all aspects of freelancing. Whether you are considering taking the plunge, have recently started out, or are even a seasoned pro, this book is a worthwhile read.
While all sorts of things could go wrong, with a determined and upbeat attitude, just about anyone can make a go working as a freelancer.
Between running Bam Creative, coordinating the Australian Web Industry Association, the recent Edge of the Web conference, and WA Web Awards, Miles Burke has also found time to write a book, The Principles of Successful Freelancing:
Targeted at people who want to make the leap towards freelancing in the Computer & Internet sector, this book is an inspirational and instructional guide to setting up business as a freelancer. Readers will gain the confidence, and the knowledge, that they will need to succeed.
Miles sent me a copy to review, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading, and links to my review will follow shortly.
One thing that especially struck me while reading the book though was just how thorough a grounding working as a freelancer gives you in terms of establishing your own company.
I realise being a freelancer is in effect running your own small business, but if you can work successfully as a freelancer then you’re well placed to scale up the size of the enterprise. Should you wish to that is…
… it would have to be the From Freelance to Agency: Start Small, Stay Small panel.
The web has always attracted mavericks and entrepreneurs, and a rocky economy makes the freelance life more desirable (or at least more inevitable) than ever. So what happens when your freelance business starts to grow? How big can you get without getting bad? How can freelancers and small teams compete with traditional agencies? Hip freelancers and cool agency heads will answer questions, compare experiences, and tell their stories.
One of these days I’ll surprise myself and go to SXSW.
Expand your resume by contracting, by Toby Somerville.
Freelancers looking for work shouldn’t just limit their search avenues to their client base. Contracting can also be a viable option when it comes to keeping the work rolling in.
Having a number of reliable external contractors who can be called upon as and when they are need is a huge advantage to firms, as it gives them extra capacity and the possibility of taking on work that normally, might be beyond their skill set.