All posts by Ramona Burns

Why Widescreen Displays are Great for Work

Widescreen monitors are great because they make it easier for you to place things sidebyside. Not necessarily to multitask (which doesnt prove productive for many people), but to make comparisons and consulting a lot easier. The verticallygenerous visual realestate makes it easy to maneuver windows beside each other. So why does this make widescreen displays great?

I’m sure you know that it’s a lot easier comparing two things when their side-by-side rather than up-and-down. Whether you read from right to left or left to right. The need to compare things is important for many kinds of freelancers. Photographers need to see how their enhanced photos compare to the original. Writers need to consult a source as they write their articles. Web designers want to see how their code looks on a browser.

Being able to see everything at a glance doesnt necessarily overwhelm a user with too much information. Especially if only relevant data is displayed. A widescreen monitor provides more space for you to do this.

The widescreen monitor is also an affordable alternative to the dualscreen setup, where two displays work together to show a really wide image to the user. While a widescreen monitor doesnt provide that much space, its still a lot cheaper to buy one display than two.

And you don’t have to wait that long to get an affordable widescreen display; theyre slowly becoming the standard. Most new laptops feature one, and the latest LCD monitors are widescreen.

In short, if you work in front of a computer all day, cant afford a twomonitor setup, and dont have a widescreen monitor, I suggest you buy one as soon as possible. A widescreen monitor is a cheap way to show much more information sidebyside, making it easy to take in. This, more often than not, provides a freelancer or contract worker an easy way to keep all the data he needs within easy reachright in front of his eyesand makes work a bit easier.

The Difference Between Duty and Love

Man, I wish I found this quote back when we were having our theme day, which covered love. That’s because this quote:

Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.

Would’ve been perfect!

Ah well, you can’t have everything. But we can always learn. As another installment of Monday Madness opens yet another work week, ask yourself: Are you doing things because you’re required to do them, or because you really love doing them? The quote is true; the end product will always be much more beautiful when brought about by love. And you’ll find that a labor of love is definitely a lot easier to accomplish.

Of course, this isn’t a call to disregard duty. We all have the duty to make a living to support ourselves and our dependents. And we have a duty to hold up our end of the deal. Can you imagine someone who mixes duty and passion? He would be unstoppable. Duty will help him organize every aspect of his life and career, while the love will provide the inspiration, dedication, and happiness for the job.

But if duty is the only driving force for our freelancing careers, perhaps it’s time to get off and try a new path.

Have a great work week dear readers!

Freelance Myth Revealed

I this post I would like to share with you one idea.

I was once watched a totally Bmovie about a group of students in film school. Someone was picking them off one by one, the heroine got if off with a mysteriously rakish guy, yada yada yada.

And, when the killer was finally outed, who happened to be the student’steacher, the heroine furiously saidthose who cant do, teach!” before sending him to tell.

Too bad she was totally wrong.

Thats because freelancers who can teach can definitely do too. Some of the more successful freelancers Ive met are actually great teachers. They help their fellow contract workerscareers develop, and enjoy the profile associated with being an authority:

Helping Others Out

As a teacher, these freelancers freely (or not) share advice with others. They probably know the ins and outs of marketing, negotiation, and maximizing productivity. Aside from sharing unique ideas, perspectives, and insights, they also others avoid the mistakes by drawing on years of experience.

The fact that theyve worked at the job for a long time usually means theyre truly passionate about what they do, a very contagious emotion for willing recipients.

These freelancers also encourage the exchange of ideas crucial to the growth of any field, pushing it to improve. And anybody who can literally and figuratively afford to do that is successful in my book.

The Perks of Authority

An authoritative profile is very attractive to clients, publicists, other freelancers, and so many. Thats because people like to listen to what an authority has to say, approaching him rather than the other way around.

Its also human nature to want the best. Authority figures are usually experts in their fields, but this obsession with the best can also take a less practical form. A tremendously successful local photographer is a status symbol of sorts; society figures need to have pictures taken by him in order to be considered elite.

Those can can capture the ears of an audience means that he knows what hes talking about, or at least leaves the impression of his proficiency. Anyone who can pull this off is no doubt successful.

So if you find yourself fielding inquiries from people who want to learn from you, dont hesitate to take them. At the very least, youre helping someone else out, which is always a great thing. You also get to build a profile as an authority on the subject.

Do You Know About the Mini Keyboard and Why it is Crucial?

Yesterday I talked about how pen and paper can help you survive without access to a computer. But aside from that oldschool solution, which we should never stop using anyway, certain gadgets make it possible to do work onthego. Particularly if you have to write something.

As the editor, Ive written about many different smartphones and PDAs. And one kind of feature I really find useful is the thumb board. With the smaller version of the keyboard you usually see on computers, typing in lots of text becomes so much easier.

There are many gadgets out there with thumb boards. A few months ago a boss asked for my advice regarding which gadget would be perfect for his business lifestyle. And even if I dont agree with his final choice, his choice is still a great smartphone because of the mini keyboard that slides out from the button. Whenever he has to type out a document, and cant access a computer, he could probably do it on his phone.

In short, if youre looking to get a smartphone or PDA, I suggest you get one that features a thumbboard that makes inputting text easy. Youll find that this trait lets you get work done while away from a computer. And the best part is, instead of having type everything in once you return to a computer, you can just copy the data stored on the gadget and use it right away.

The Fruits of True Commitment

Did you know that, in the advertising industry, it’s standard for a copywriter to practice the 50 boxes method? In other words, they push themselves to do 50 ideas for each assignment. Is it any wonder that copywriting can be such a time-consuming art?

Of course, coming up with 50 different ideas with deadlines looming is close to impossible. Unless you’re on a creative roll, it’s hard to get past 20, even 10. Let’s not forget that you also need time to execute the project itself. The point is, great ideas only come from such commitment, the willingness to rack your brain, the willingness to stay up late, the willingness to do everything to improve your skills. Beautiful things always take time to create. Are you really willing to devote enough time to each of your projects?

Are you truly committed to your projects, giving them your absolute best effort? If you’re focused on finishing the project as quickly as possible, just for the money, then you’re probably not passionate enough about what you do.

Things You Need to Know About Freelance Work

For the sixth theme day, well be talking about new beginnings, graduations, and anything this years recent graduates would find relevant. Check out Darlenes theme post to see what my colleagues have to say!

But before you do that, let me share my experiences over the previous year. Its just over a year since Ientered the world,” graduating last March, and began my career. As a fresh graduate, I decided to immediately freelance exclusively. Meaning I didnt even look for a job, since Id be working for myself. Unfortunately, turns out that wasnt the best move I made.

Thing started out well enough. I started making some computer models for a realestate company, was able to land a regular writing gigs covering gadgets (a personal favorite), executed some smallscale design projects, and discovered the wonderful world of blogging. Along the way, however, I realized that only more structure and guidance would allow me to grow as a person and a contract worker. I felt that my skills were stagnating, because

There was so much I needed to learn, and even if doing things would eventually teach, the faster route is always having someone or something show the ropes. Which is why I applied for a job.

I knew that if I relied only on myself for improvement, I’d end up nowhere. Though a corporate lifestyle is ultimately the antithesis of a freelancer, it still carries many advantages that will help beginning freelancers get off the ground. Youre sure of a regular salary, so you dont have to worry about how youll feed yourself while you concentrate on improving your skills. And your employer may enjoy certain perks that you can use to further your freelance career. My first job at a gadget distribution company meant I was constantly at local product launches, able to track the trends that let me be a better technology blogger. Working for the man and freelancing arent mutually exclusive.

I decided to enjoy the best of both worlds, realizing that it was too early for me to make a living exclusively from freelancing. As a fresh graduate, there so many things I didnt know. The great thing about the corporate world is that you can learn so much, literally at your companys expense.

In short, whether or not youve graduated recently, you should consider living off only freelancing once youve gained years of experience. And the corporate path is a good way to do this. Work at the right 9 to 5, and youll learn so many things, while getting a regular salary that will help you build a financial base to support you when you decide to strike it out on your own.

Want to Attract More Clients? Think Like Them

Angela has some words of wisdom to share:

If youre a solo operator, at least 40 per cent of your working time each week needs to be spent on marketing. You need to have processes in place so that you can simply get it done without thinking too much about it. If marketing is difficult for you, its because you dont have the processes in place which make it easy.

Someone told me that businesses fail because it’s a problem of marketing. Either theres no marketing, too little marketing, or the wrong kind of marketing. In case it isnt obvious yet, as a freelancer, attracting clients and winning contracts is a matter of constant marketing. How will people discover your skills and commitment if they dont even know you exist? Thats why you have to get the word about yourself out there as much as possible.

I once made the mistake of waiting for clients to approach me via my personal blog. Along the way however, I realized that I should be more active in reaching out to them. This is what I do for my freelance writing and design career. Aside from subscribing to job sitesRSS feeds, which makes it easy to stay uptodate on new listings, I also look for the clients themselves. Either by blog hopping or just following the links wherever they lead me.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to market yourself offline too. Every new acquaintance is a chance to network, a chance to get a new contract, a chance to raise my profile as a freelancer. This makes sense when you realize that the lifeblood of a freelancer is literally his ability to make himself known. Like I said, clients dont hire people who dont exist.

How actively do you market yourself? It should be another area where youre consistent in.

It’s a proven fact: if you want to get anyones attention, youll have to think like them.

Specifically, you must be aware of what theyre looking for. Then work to meet them halfway. Here are three areas that, from my experience, are very important to potential clients:

Money. Even clients with money gardens in their backyard wont spend too much. They know that the best way to maximize their hardearned and/or limited funds is to spend as little as possible. Are your services competitively priced? Take note that you still have the right to earn money from a project!

Time. Clients are usually on a busy schedule. So they want the project to be finished as soon as reasonably possible. Do you practice reasonable yet prompt turnaround times?

Proficiency. Potential outsourcers need to know that you can do what they want. Are you capable of fulfilling the clients objectives? Is it obvious that you can? Maybe you need to build a better portfolio.

In short, attracting clients is a matter of providing a compelling value proposition for them. Work to make them see that the time and money theyll spend on you will be worth it. Theyll have no choice but to listen and eventually say yes.

Surely there are more ways to think like a client to make yourself more attractive. What could they be?