Friday, May 24, 2013

What Can You Do to Get Credentials? (Part 2)

(4.) Be alert for possible internships.

Don't bypass the opportunity even if you land a non-paid internship. What's more important is acquiring the right mindset and cultivating work ethics that are extremely necessary for anyone to succeed.

(5.) Offer to teach or mentor others.

You can teach in a one-on-one setting, or team up with your fellow professional freelancers and facilitate your own seminars or workshops.

Teaching or mentoring brings you a host of advantages aside from making you  more credible as a professional. Because you'll most likely come across students who still have a lot to learn about your topic, you have to continually adjust yourself to their level of comprehension so they can easily grasp the lessons. This will hone your ability to exhibit patience, and develop your communication skills further.

Also, working with other professional freelancers will teach you the value of cooperation and thinking in terms of what's best for your group.

And should you decide to charge a fee for your services, you'll also learn to give your students the best deal for their money's worth.

All five suggestions create a win-win situation for freelance professionals. Stay tuned, because in my next topic, I'll talk about the importance of having funds to continually improve as a freelancer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Can You Do to Get Credentials?

When a job seeker applies for work, his competency is often highlighted in his resume. If he gave careful thought to this important document, he may have written down, in addition to the skills he has mastered, tenure from previous jobs and other specialized training he may have undertaken.

In short, he's trying to present his credentials effectively.

Likewise, if you're a professional freelancer, your chances of landing lucrative projects or assignments depend upon having credentials that will serve as proof of your ability to handle tasks.

And one of the advantages of being a professional freelancer is having the option of charging competitively once you've proven your capability.

But how do you bag those impressive credentials? Take a look at the following and see what might work for you:

(1.) Learn at your own time and at your own pace.

There are a number of websites out there like that allows online users the convenience of studying courses in greater detail. All you need to do is provide your email address, and lessons will be sent to you either daily or weekly.

(2.) Take advantage of classes and seminars being offered in your community.

It only takes several thousand pesos to sign up for a class or seminar and be awarded a certificate afterwards. Some communities even offer seminars for free or for a very minimal fee, since their goal is to teach livelihood skills to as many people as possible.

(3.) Consider volunteering.

If there are non-profit organizations or groups that promote their causes and you have a passion for the same cause, you can pitch in an idea for a campaign for public awareness, or help write solicitation letters in order to hone your skills in negotiation.

Stay tuned for my next article, as I will offer additional advice for collecting credentials.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Popular Sites for Freelancers -- What Should You Expect?

Throughout my ten-year career as a freelance writer, I have come across almost a dozen websites where professionals like myself can find jobs and get paid while working from home.

In this article, I will not attempt to cite an exhaustive list of these websites. Rather, I would like to brief you in on what you should expect from these possible goldmines for freelance workers.

Take a look at the following:

(1.) You must have a set of marketable skills

These sites require freelance professionals to have a skills set that will be an asset to a certain kind of clientele. Look at your skills and try to determine at least three and make them your specialty. 

To illustrate, if you're a writer, your specialty can range anywhere from blogging to creative writing, to translating and copywriting. If you're into website development, you can offer services in graphic design, HTML, or generating traffic.

(2.) You must provide information on how you prefer to be paid.

The most commonly used methods of payment are PayPal and Xoom. In the Philippines, sites like pay their writers through a bank or other modes of payment like Globe GCash.

(3.) You must be qualified to work.

If you've come across , you may have found out that, in addition to your skills set, you must take several online exams to strengthen your credentials and prove your competency. Working from home may afford you some levels of comfort, but remember, all reputable sites for freelancers require their workers to be capable of performing the tasks that the job requires you to do.

(4.) Know your ideal pay range before you start accepting jobs.

Freelancing sites pay their workers in U.S. dollars, and you will be asked to provide your desired hourly rate. Freelancers with barely two years of experience usually start at the lower end of the pay scale (e.g. USD25-USD30 per hour), while those who are seasoned can command as high as USD45-USD55 per hour.

When trying to determine your pay range, take time to honestly assess your skills, experience, and your working hours. Don't settle for an unreasonably high hourly rate if you feel like you cannot justify it, but don't sell yourself short either. When in doubt, start by charging somewhere in the median range. 

(5.) Being professional is key.

While freelancing from home has nearly eliminated the aspect of interacting face-to-face with clients, you're still expected to work within a level that meets, or even exceeds, your client's expectations. Build a good reputation by being prompt in turning in work of excellent quality.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five Creative Ways to Reduce Your Budget for Art Supplies (Part 2)

(4.) Take time to comparison shop.

It's a fact that the most expensive brands of art supplies aren't exactly the best. As an artist, you may have to go through a stage of experimenting with different brands until you find the one that suits your aesthetic style.

You are free to check out what the market has to offer when it comes to choosing paint (water color, oil, acrylic, etc.) and paintbrushes, drawing and color pencils. This is simply a matter of choosing the best brand that you can obtain at the most reasonable price.

(5.) Consider buying at large or well-known bookstores that periodically give discounts.

In the Philippines, stores like National Bookstore has devoted a separate section strictly for art supplies. With the school year starting in June, a sale usually happens at around April until May. Discounts range from 20 percent to as high as 70 percent. You might want to consider dropping by the store early and bulk buying.

I am now through with orienting you with the basics of freelancing as an artist. Within the next few weeks, I'll talk about the convenience and earning potential of bidding for jobs at well-known sites for freelancers. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Five Creative Ways to Reduce Your Budget for Art Supplies

As a freelance artist, you must spend a certain percentage of your income on buying (and replenishing) your stock of art supplies. Next to keeping up with your clients' demands, this is one area of which you would need to keep track if you want to sustain your freelance business.

There are several ways to get quality supplies while managing to keep your spending reasonable. I'll give you five of them:

(1.) Set aside a fixed rate from every freelance project.

This is ideal if you're just starting out and you're still working on your cash flow. If you get paid, say, Php2,500.00 on one project, Php1,800.00 on another project, and Php2,000.00 on a third project and you subtract 20 percent from each amount to cover your next set of art supplies, you're training yourself to be consistent regardless of how much you get paid.

(2.) Buy in bulk.

It's a good idea to buy in bulk once you've reached that point in your career when you already have a steady base of clients, and your clientele continues to grow because of referrals through word-of-mouth and possibly some marketing on your part.

Save yourself from all the stress of making sudden trips to the art supply store by having a list of supplies written down in the same way that you would jot down a grocery list. Determine whether making twice-a-month purchases, or even less, would be feasible.

(3.) Buy online and avail of their discounts.

An online store like Mister Art makes it easy for artists, illustrators, and the like to choose from a wide variety of branded supplies. The convenience offered by such a reputable site allows the freelancing professional more free time that can be devoted to his art. 

Stay tuned as I round up my post with the remaining two ways to slash your art supply budget in my next installment.