Freelancing Fundamentals

Changing focus


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Freelancing Fundamentals

with Tom Geller

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Video: Changing focus

It's rare that a freelance career remains the same for long. That's one of its great joys, because you're always opening up new and unexpected opportunities. But it's also a burden because you have to be ready to adapt to changes in the market, your industry, and your own situation. Some of these changes are minor such as learning a new piece of technology, but others require a deeper examination of your core business. Let's look at some of the reasons you might change your focus. First, events in the market might make your current offerings less attractive.
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  1. 10m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 53s
    2. What is freelancing?
      2m 53s
    3. How freelancing and employment differ
      2m 33s
    4. Preparing your mindset
      3m 31s
  2. 9m 24s
    1. Defining career goals
      2m 48s
    2. Sharpening your market focus
      3m 18s
    3. Transitioning to freelancing
      3m 18s
  3. 16m 11s
    1. Preparing your portfolio
      3m 11s
    2. Estimating costs
      3m 10s
    3. Funding your startup
      2m 42s
    4. Establishing your workspace
      3m 35s
    5. Building your professional network
      3m 33s
  4. 8m 51s
    1. Getting licenses, permits, and insurance
      2m 15s
    2. Creating contracts
      4m 23s
    3. Finding professional service vendors
      2m 13s
  5. 12m 54s
    1. Setting prices
      3m 13s
    2. Establishing payment systems
      1m 36s
    3. Invoicing and getting paid
      3m 50s
    4. Keeping the books
      2m 32s
    5. Managing taxes
      1m 43s
  6. 14m 41s
    1. Announcing your availability
      3m 16s
    2. Finding work through agencies
      2m 2s
    3. Onboarding clients
      2m 59s
    4. Avoiding scams
      3m 25s
    5. Choosing assignments
      2m 59s
  7. 11m 27s
    1. Interacting with clients
      2m 11s
    2. Delivering quality work
      2m 28s
    3. Getting referrals and recommendations
      2m 34s
    4. Losing and firing clients
      4m 14s
  8. 10m 48s
    1. Deconstructing big jobs
      3m 34s
    2. Adopting time-management tools
      2m 35s
    3. Creating schedules
      2m 30s
    4. Turning off the clock for "me time"
      2m 9s
  9. 20m 6s
    1. Staying motivated
      3m 3s
    2. Increasing your rates
      2m 52s
    3. Marketing beyond your professional network
      2m 56s
    4. Growing through hires and partnerships
      3m 30s
    5. Building passive income
      3m 48s
    6. Changing focus
      3m 57s
  10. 4m 52s
    1. Case study: Publishing a book
      2m 47s
    2. Next steps
      2m 5s
  11. 12m 42s
    1. Freelancing Q&A
      12m 42s

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Watch the Online Video Course Freelancing Fundamentals
2h 12m Appropriate for all Jan 30, 2013 Updated Mar 20, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author and seasoned freelancer Tom Geller shows you how to prepare for a transition to freelancing. Begin by taking a look at your career goals, the systems that will support you, and proper ways to plan for success. Find out how to marshal your resources, refine your portfolio for presentation to clients, and estimate your costs to avoid any surprises on the financial front. Plus, discover how to create invoices, manage your books and taxes, expand your client base with marketing, and grow your business.

A bonus chapter covers common questions freelancers have when entering the field.

Topics include:
  • What is freelancing?
  • Defining your career goals
  • Funding your startup
  • Getting licenses, permits, and insurance
  • Setting prices
  • Finding work through agencies
  • Getting referrals
  • Working with time and project management tools
  • Increasing your rates
Subject:
Business
Author:
Tom Geller

Changing focus

It's rare that a freelance career remains the same for long. That's one of its great joys, because you're always opening up new and unexpected opportunities. But it's also a burden because you have to be ready to adapt to changes in the market, your industry, and your own situation. Some of these changes are minor such as learning a new piece of technology, but others require a deeper examination of your core business. Let's look at some of the reasons you might change your focus. First, events in the market might make your current offerings less attractive.

That could be because of something local like the appearance of a strong competitor or it could be because of something bigger like a depressed economy that makes it hard for prospective clients to afford you. Related to that are changes in your industry. A classic example comes from a century ago when ice was harvested from lakes and shipped to warmer climates. But with the advent of affordable electrical refrigeration around World War I, that business pretty much disappeared. Likewise, any layout artist who used only 1990s era software and refused to learn anything else probably went out of business years ago.

But reasons for a change in focus aren't always so negative. You might uncover an opportunity that's just too attractive to ignore even if that means abandoning your old line of work. Finally, you might have personal reasons for changing focus. Perhaps because doing so will be better for your health or let you work more closely with people you admire or maybe just because it would be more fun. Whatever the reasons for a change, a main key to making the transition is to figure out what you can use from your current practice.

Even if the new focus is completely unrelated to your current one, chances are they'll have systems, procedures, and even colleagues and clients in common. Let's examine that by pretending that we're switching between two completely different freelance careers say from magazine writing to horse riding instructor. First let's get the obvious differences out of the way. Writing is done inside, it isn't very physical, and it can be done anywhere. Horse instruction is the opposite. It takes place outside, it's physical, and it's not portable at all.

Besides differences in the type of work the business aspect also differ quite a bit. While you'll tend to have corporate clients as a writer who in turn will re-sell your work to readers, you'll be dealing directly with your service's consumers as a horse instructor and the expenses are very different. However, there are similarities. Both require that you take care of business which means keeping client records, making schedules, tracking finances, and taxes and so forth.

You'll also need to make yourself easy to hire. The actual methods will be different between the two, but the fact that you need a method of getting and starting clients stays the same. Of course, you need the same kind of work ethic. One that treats your freelance work as a business. Now these are all things you can use from your current line of work. Finally, no matter what the transition there's a good change you'll carry over clients and colleagues from your old world. People remember people. A local client who remembers you as an easy to work with writer might hear about your new line of work and think, "You know what? My kids would enjoy horse riding lessons." Now obviously that was an extreme example.

Chances are your transition won't be nearly as big. But having said that in some ways you should treat your new focus as a completely new freelance practice. Re-watch the videos that I list in the exercise file accompanying this video. Although it can be hard to change gears once you get started, remember that a change of focus can be a sign that your goals are flexible and that you're willing to meet new challenges. Although haphazard changes in direction can sap your strength, well-planned ones can lead to greater success.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Freelancing Fundamentals .


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Q: This course was updated on 3/20/2013. What changed?
A: We added a bonus chapter that covers common questions freelancers have when entering the field, such as "How do I use Craigslist or other job boards to grow my freelance business?" and "How do I find clients?"
 
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