PATTERN OCCURRING 101 - Freelance

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The wonderful thing about freelance is you have freedom in many areas of your work life.  For one i don't miss having someone micro manage every working moment. I do however miss some guidelines and definition around my work life. I have had to be conscious about some parameters and definition to the way i can sustain my business. The tips below have helped my settle into a really comfortable rhythm. Feel free to let me know your tricks for balancing the freelance lifestyle.  

1. Contracts/Project Proposal - Have one for every client. Understand that projects can fluctuate and design is a process.  Nothing is for sure and projects can be dropped or lengthened, so be flexible with clients but do have a paper-chain to back up changes during the process. 

2. Getting Paid - Don't worry, nobody can do quite what you can. Set a standard rate that you feel happy with.  Most of my clients appreciate that my time is valuable and my hourly rate is workable.  I then invoice them on a weekly or per project basis. FYI most cooperate businesses work on 30net, so you may have a little wait to be paid. 

2. Hours - This can be a bit hairy as clients seem to be like bananas, they come in bunches.  I get rather over whelmed if i don't keep it in perspective and remind myself that i can take nice long holidays if i want. This gives me the motivation to knuckle-down if a project needs it. I may have to pull a 60hour week but the following week.  I may take an afternoon nap! 

3. Be Honest - Be realistic about what you can and can't do.  You may be asked to do something that is out of your comfort zone.  So trust your gut.  However don't be afraid to try new things.  Also saying "No" is always an option.  

4. Get Help - I find it hard to turn down projects and love a diverse schedule. I have got to the stage where i was working every hour possible, so I have just recently found a couple of contractors to spread the load.  It is awesome, my studio has never been so proactive and on the ball.  Let go! 

5. Give Back - When you can, squeeze in some fun projects for free or at a reduced rate.  I try to do 2 or 3 projects per year for non profits or friends.  This also goes for your business, you may have to do work that isn't billable or invest in additional training to improve your service.  

Please share with me your top tips for freelancing