Managing Your Time Freelancing

With freelancing it is easy to get distracted and do other things, especially if you are freelancing from home.  I find I do this, especially since I am a mom of 3 young children.  I find I want to pick up the messes, keep the house up and work on the laundry and dishes.  But I still have to make sure to carve out time to work.  Then you add things like Doctor appointment and anything else that is on  the schedule that I have to work around.

When I can get the children to nap, I can find time to really work on the many freelancing project I may have going on.  I also keep my To-Do list updated with due dates and check it often to make sure I am on track.  I also try to get work done before the kids get up in the morning and after they go to bed in the evening.  But I also have to work with the kids to know that there are times that mommy has to work and they need to play with each other and not bother mommy.

Also, when my husband is home, I will have him hang out with the children.  This makes for great daddy and kid moments while allowing me a chance to work.

I have to work at it to make sure that I get the time I need to complete the work I have on my plate.  I have a To-Do list that I keep in my email account.  This allows me to keep notes and due dates in front of me to review.  I also use it to help me break down the workload so I get it done in a timely manner and not all at the last-minute.

I also make sure the client and I know what the expected deadline is with each assignment.  If something comes up I make sure to stay in contact with them and let them know about unexpected things that come up.

It may take some work to get everything done, but freelancing fits our family.  It allows me to still be home with our children, take care of them when they are sick, and do what has to be done around the house and help my husband as needed.  I have also learned to ask my husband to help so that I can done what I need to, especially when it is coming down to deadlines.  He understands why I am doing this and is happy to help out when he can.

It is important to find the tricks and things that will help you get things done.  There are some who go ahead and put their children in child care, and that is fine if that is what you feel you need to do.  Make sure that whatever you have to do to keep up with Time Management it works for you.


Learning New Skills

When it comes to being a freelancer it is important to know what I can do well and realistic.  Then on top of that I am a stay at home wife and mom, so understanding deadlines on the projects I take on is even more important.  I am enjoying being a stay at home wife and mom and so my priority will be taking care of the children, while working project deadlines into what I also do during the day.

I also need to learn new skills along with keeping up with the skills I am really good at.  Adding a new skill is a  scary thing, but it can also be fun, if done right.  For instance, starting a blog is scary for me, but the new skill I am learning can help me in the long run with my freelancing.  I have had many potential jobs ask if I had ever worked with WordPress and I had to say no, and didn’t really have a desire at one point to want to learn.  Then one of my current clients asked if I had used WordPress and I said I am sure I could learn.  Then a client that was a one time job had me doing a bit of work in WordPress.  I began to think that I could learn how to use it.

So now I can tell the client who wants me to eventually work in WordPress I am willing to get started when she is ready.  I have emailed a few suggestions for her to consider when it comes to using the blog to help her business.  I am sure, I will still learn a bit about it as I work on not only my blog, but also on her blog.  But best of all, I can add it to the skills I am able to offer as a freelancer.

Sometimes it is a matter of  being willing to get past what is holding us back and try something new.  Since I am looking for ways to help provide for the family without working outside the home, freelancing was the answer.  That means I need to learn an occasional new skill.

But that doesn’t mean I ignore the skills that I am good at now either.  I need to make sure that I keep working on them and continue to develop them as well.  Finding the right way to keep my skills up for free or for a low-cost is what is important.

Money Saving Tips for Freelancing

When working as a freelancer and starting out saving money is important.  There are several things that are quite useful.

  • To start out when you don’t have to send documents print on the back of old documents.  This is great if a person is editing, etc.  You can also use the old paper as scratch paper or paper to take notes about projects, your to do list, etc.
  • Also, make sure to keep track of all your expenses, tax time will be a good time to show them to the prepare taxes and written off.  Also if you use the internet you can write off a part for work.  If you are renting or buying a home you can also do things like write off part of the mortgage or rent to being written off.
  • Use the loyalty cards as well.  The business stores may have a way to help give you a rebate, discounts and other incentives.  But it is important to make sure it is worth the time, effort and money.  There are other stores where you can buy the same things at a better price, even if you use the loyalty card at one of the other stores.
  • Use things like a free blog to help get your work across.  Use it as a way to keep your portfolio for others to consider your work.  It is a way to show your experience in blogging if that is what you are doing when it comes to working.
  • You may even want to consider swapping services with other freelancers.  This is great because if you need your marketing material put together and someone is good at that they can do it and you can edit or whatever other services you are able to give by doing it for them.
  • Make sure that your business banking account is working for you and not against your.  Make sure the fees are low or none and only use for business purposes.  Don’t forget to pay yourself from this account as well.
  • When using a calendar find one that will work for you, but isn’t expensive.  The calendar is quite useful in due dates.  Keep one calendar for all of your appointments, personal and work related.  If you use an email account to keep a calendar you can even try color coding the events.
  • Also use free email accounts.  This can help with the calendar issues.  It can also have a to do list to keep track of all the projects going on.  It can also be the email you use for project.  Make sure the email address is one that will be able to represent you well.

By saving money you will help your business grow until you get to the point it is self-sustaining.  You may even keep up with the saving tips so you end up with more of a budget.

Odesk and Freelancing

When it comes to working from home there are many who may not know where to start.  When it comes to freelancing there are many ways to go.  If you need a way to get started you could always visit a site that allows you to get experience by providing jobs to apply to.  Other times you may just be able to go to different companies or businesses in the area and offer the services you can offer.

There are several things to remember.  If you use a company to help you get started, than you will want to find the right one that fits you.  For example, is there a fee and who pays it?  Also, have they been checked out with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  The one I now use is oDesk.  It is free to sign up to.  As you take test from the site you are able to get more jobs that you can apply to each week.

Also, as you get started, there will be invitations to jobs, meaning you aren’t just applying to jobs that look interesting to you, but employers are looking and saw what you can offer.  I have had this happen and have be able to get some good jobs this way, whether a one time deal or an ongoing deal.  Also, I have had people on oDesk refer me to others they know on oDesk, which helps me as well. So the word of mouth can work.  There will be jobs that are a one time deal, you work on one project and you finished, while others may want you to work on an as needed basis or regularly.

Sometimes places like oDesk will have jobs that need you to work during a certain time period while others will not care as long as it gets done by a certain time, the deadline you both agreed upon.  Depending on what works best for you, this is a great option.  For my family and I, I do not apply or take on jobs that need me to work during certain hours.  I need my schedule as flexible as possible, so there will be times I get work done during the day and other times once the kids are in bed.

If this interests you,  check out odesk feel free to check them out at oDesk.  For those of you reading this who may want to hire myself or someone else, you may visit oDesk at oDesk.

When working for yourself there are several ways to go about it.  If you use to work for other companies you can go and try to sell the services you are able to offer along with why they should use you instead of doing it in-house.  Also, look for companies or businesses that are hiring and let them know what you can do and offer and the benefits of letting a freelancer do the job.  The one time job could give you other work later on down the road, not only with them but from others.

Also working for yourself, you are able to ask for referrals.  This is great because the businesses you work for will be able to recommend you to other companies they network with or even talk about you with friends and family, which again, can’t hurt.

You may find that you will start with something like oDesk and then eventually go out on your own as well.  I haven’t done this because I am happy with what I have been to do with oDesk and is doing what I need it to do for me and my family.

Remember, that it will take some time to get the first contract or project.  Don’t get discouraged.  Keep trying.  Also, asking questions about what you could do differently can help know how to approach businesses differently. If you know other freelancers asking them for suggestions will be quite helpful.  Also, it is important to make sure you set up goals to work towards.  They will change as the business grows.

What you charge will be a big role in what ends up happening.  Knowing what you are doing is going for can help make sure you are not over or under selling yourself.  Regardless of whether you use something like oDesk or go out on your own, you may need to start a little low, but don’t under bid to bad.  If you keep working with them you will able to negotiate a higher price the longer you work with them and based on the project.  As you build credibility with that particular client they will more than likely be happy to work with you.  Then as you build your client list you don’t have to start low with each one, you can start at the rate you deserve.

A nice quiet day

Today has been a nice quiet day, which I don’t mind at all. I have been able to get a bit of cleaning done around the house.  We have also been eating leftover from the last few days and getting a little more room in the refrigerator.  Trying to make sure we have some room in the freezer as well.  My husband hunts deer, so we need a little room for when he gets one.

I also need to do some minor baking.  I have some bananas that are in need of being made into banana bread and then cleaning out the freezer by getting the last of the shredded zucchini out of the freezer.  I will make some zucchini bread with it.  Then all I have to decide for the Saturday Christmas tree event at church is whether to take some pita chips or the banana or zucchini bread.  If I don’t take the bread I can use them for the dinner theater we are holding in a couple of weeks.  I signed up to take some desserts.  The congregation was asked to bring the desserts for the two shows.

I am also doing  some work on one of my oDesk projects.  They emailed and said if I can get it done by this evening I can get a bonus.  With Christmas coming we can use all the extra little money to buy Christmas gifts for the children.  Not that they won’t have enough from all their grandparents.  Also, this project is one of my bigger paying jobs, so the sooner I get it done, the sooner I can start a new batch to turn in to get paid.  The bonus  is usually near the end of the month, as they are working to get their numbers in for the month and this is one way to encourage the writer to get their numbers in.

While I am doing all of this I am listening to K-Love on the computer.  It is a way to just have some music in the background while working around the house.  I also find it nice to work to.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  I hope that everyone enjoys this special day.  I am thankful that it will be a pretty quiet day around here.  We are going to have chicken.  We live near a chicken factory that has a store that sells chicken that is still good, but for one reason or another they can’t sell to their clients/customers.  It may have problems like the breading isn’t on right, weights too much or not enough, etc.  He bought 10 roasters chickens for a great price, so we are going to eat that for our Thanksgiving dinner instead of going and getting a turkey.  That means one less Turkey on a table this year.  I am also thankful for my husband and our 3 precious children.  I am thankful for the fact that I can work from home to help the family and do it from home.

I will more than likely get a bit of work down today.  As a freelancer, when you take time off, you do not get paid.  I just found out I will get a bonus on one of my projects if I get it done by the end of the day tomorrow.  So it is worth trying to do.  I am not going out to shop tomorrow, so why not try to make a little extra money for Christmas anyways.

Hello and welcome

Hello.  I am looking forward to this new way of communicating with many of you.  This is a way to share what I am up to as a stay at home mom and a freelancing mom.  I am a wife and a mom.

I am now a freelancer with the company oDesk.  This allows me to work around the family schedule while also helping with the family finances.  I am able to find the work that best matches my skills and I can also pick the jobs that are the best match for me and my family.

I also want to share any tips, suggestions and recipes that I may come up on that will help people and/or families who are on a tight budget.

I look forward to hearing from many of you as you read what I have to share.  Let me know if there are things that you do or don’t like and what you find helpful.