Monday, January 19, 2015

Want A Month's Worth of Paycheck by Year's End? Reduce Your Overhead Expenses (Part 1)

Would you like a cool, one month's worth of salary (around Php12,000-Php15,000) by the end of 2015? Take time to re-evaluate your overhead expenses, and see where you can cut costs.

Here are several suggestions:


To save on electricity:

  • Unless you're a film critic or you write guides to increase one's chances in winning video games, limit screen time (TV, internet, video games, etc.) to no more than two hours a day. 
  • Limit the time you spend on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) unless you use these sites as platforms to promote your freelance business.
  • Make it a habit to unplug appliances from their sockets when not in use. A MERALCO advisory claims that this will save you Php300 monthly.
  • Have your meals planned a week or even two weeks ahead, and then assign Saturday or Sunday afternoon as the time when you cook food in bulk. You can freeze them in the refrigerator, and then, come meal time, heat just enough portions for you and your family.
  • If you prefer to have your meat, chicken, and fish grilled, invest in an electric grill to save on charcoal (this would also mean less time cleaning up). Consider grilling huge portions of chicken and fatty fish so you can have enough for lunch and dinner.

To save on phone bills:

  • Consider getting a telephone-and-internet "bundle," and opt for the cheapest plan. You can make and receive phone calls at home, and setting up a free Skype account would mean additional ways to get in touch with you.
  • If you have to be on the road a few days a month, get a post-paid plan that allows you a free cellular phone. Settle for the most affordable plan that will bring you the most benefits.

To save on utility bills and home maintenance expenses:

  • Always have a couple of LED bulbs handy. LED bulbs come cheaper since they're lower in wattage, but they give off more than adequate lighting.
  • Plan your laundry and ironing. Since freelancing at home may mean a lighter load, you can limit the frequency of laundry to twice a week at most.

Friday, January 2, 2015

To All Freelancing Professionals Out There, Make It Happen This 2015

It's a brand new year, and it's crucial to assess how the previous year went for your freelancing career so you can determine your moves for 2015.

You may have figured out the kind of routine that has brought you the most benefits, not just in terms of boosting your productivity, but in eliminating, or at least, minimizing distractions.

But due to the nature of our jobs, freelancing professionals shouldn't grow lax over time. Take a few hours now and assess where you need to improve and what you'd like to do. If your goal is --

to have a regular cash flow as soon as possible:
  • Diversify by having at least three specialized skills. 
  • Team up with other freelancers, establish a network, and recommend each other when you're swamped with projects. While you may not earn actively, you can still collect a 12- to 15-percent commission.
  • Set up several payment options. PayPal is best if you have clients overseas, but Xoom is also just as effective.
  • You may need to vary the standard 50/50 payment plan. I operate on a 40/60 basis, which means I only require a 40-percent down payment and a flat fee and I can immediately proceed to work and have my client settle the balance after I turn in the finished draft. If the project is large in scope and will stretch for weeks and even months, I adapt it to 40/30/30, which means getting a 40-percent down payment and some time into the project, I'll receive another 30 percent of the rough estimate so I can have something to keep me going. And after I turn the work in, I'll collect the remaining 30 percent.
  • Offer your client an installment plan for more convenience. 

to discover new markets:
  • Take a good look at your hobbies, interests, and other pastimes. Even something as seemingly "quirky" as frequenting garage sales can be a goldmine of ideas for articles and blog posts.
  • Google blogs and websites about the topics that interest you, and spend a few days doing market study. Skim through the articles, notice how they're slanted, and see how they appeal to you as a reader.
  • Ignore the newsstands and grocery store racks that sell magazines. I was able to discover two new titles at a rack inside a hardware store. The pet shop may have a number of publications about pet care, and the Sunday edition of your favorite newspaper may have "inserts" where you can pitch article ideas.
  • To be able to keep within a budget when buying magazines and other periodicals, click here and here.

to improve your "soft skills":
  • Draft your emails and cover letters carefully, keeping them brief yet concise. Highlight two to three of your skills, or other qualifications that present you as the best person for the job.
  • Organize your portfolio and keep it up-to-date. If you're applying for a writing gig for a parenting blog, make sure that you can immediately retrieve two of your written samples and attach them in your email.
  • Click here if you don't have any clips, or published articles, yet.
  • To save time writing emails, click here.

Have a happy new year!