Tricks of the freelance trade

In continuing on the journey of reflection, both personally and professionally, I started to think about what moves me forward, what tools I utilize to help me in the day-to-day and what areas of productivity I can improve upon. While reflecting on these three points in particular, I realized how important it is to share our successes and setbacks with each other to encourage individual growth.

With that, I wanted to share a few tricks/tools of the freelance trade that I’ve been using to keep on keeping on. Even if you’re not a freelancer, hopefully you can find some productive use in a few of these:

  • Dragdis – I’ve sent so many emails to myself with info I don’t want to forget about that ultimately gets lost deeper into the email hole… until now! Dragdis allows you to drag & collect images, text, links or video to your private folders or post directly to your social media channels.
  • Evernote – Think of this as a digital notebook that makes it easy to remember anything and organize your notes effortlessly. The best part is that you can sync your Evernote account to your phone and computer which allows for easy note taking from anywhere. I can jot down notes on the subway, hit sync when I’m above ground and by the time I open my computer, my notes are already waiting for me.
  • Pocket – How many times (a day) do you have multiple tabs open with the intention to “read that later”? I’d have 15 tabs open before I eventually got overwhelmed and would just close them out. Enter Pocket – after you’ve downloaded, you can save anything directly from your browser and view it when you’re ready, no internet connection required!
  • Focus Booster – It’s been ingrained in my work ethic to multitask. But in a mostly digital age, (I’m still holding on to REAL books!) it can be challenging sometimes to stay focused on the task at hand before starting something else. Focus Booster is based on the pomodoro technique which is a time management system allowing you to work with time to stay fresh, remove distractions and create a better work-life balance. You work in 25-minute intervals with a 5-minute break in between sessions.
  • Pandora One – Some are partial to Spotify, but I’m a Pandora gal.. a Pandora One gal. To sit face-to-screen all day is challenging enough and flushing out my work space daily is another one. Like in everything I do, I must have continuous music playing but I don’t want to, or have the time to, DJ every song and commercials are such a buzz kill – Pandora One, voila!

And now for some intangible advice if you are indeed a freelancer:

  • As a timely, friendly reminder – make estimated tax payments. Thank goodness someone, or lots of someones, mentioned this to me early on. I made periodic payments over the last year in anticipation of yesterday’s looming tax day. While I’m still having to write a check for my 2103 taxes, it’s nowhere near the amount I could have been slapped with. I’m thankful that I heeded this advice and just upped my payment amount to better offset 2014’s potential payment.
  • I’m learning/reminded that sometimes in business, people can be jerks. First, it should have never been dubbed ‘freelance’ – we have the right to be paid for the time, effort and work we devote to anyone and everyone. Second, you have to speak up for yourself. If you’ve done the work, you have the justification to ask for what you deserve. Just because you’re not working under an agency or a firm doesn’t give anyone the right to treat you unprofessionally or insult your earnest and hard work.
  • Build your tribe wisely. Seems elementary, but surround yourself with good, honest, hard-working people who motivate you to do better, be better and strive for more. Here’s looking at you, Anna!

Hope these help – Godspeed!

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