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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learning to Capitalize and Remain Resilient In a Strained Job Market

With unemployment on the rise and a struggling economy, now is the time more than ever to take the down side and turn into a positive. With much uncertainty in the air, one things for certain we still have to push through it all. Now is a great time to take a look at what's going on with different companies and different industries and see where there is room for opportunity. Just because a company has downsized doesn't mean that company doesn't still need the work done. It just simply means that they can longer afford to pay the amount of people or the multiple salaries they were paying before. This is where opportunity present it's self. Staying current with industry trade news and technologies is a great way to see where possible needs and opportunities lie as far as Freelance employment. It's really about looking at a glass as half full as oppose to half empty. Here are some other ways that a Freelancer can stay fresh and ahead of the game during trying times:

Put Your Social Networking Skills in Motion
There are several online and local social networking groups that you can target to get to know people in your industry. There are tons of message boards and online forums that one can join to find leads on employment and what not. Learn the latest and find vital information. Pertinent names to know and necessary people to meet.

Try a Variety of Freelance Gigs
Ultimately a fulltime, long-term freelance job would be ideal. However, with uneasy times amongst us you honestly have to change your perspective. One can try taking that part-time or short term project that one would not have normally taken before. Look at such opportunities as a learning experience and look at it as a way to get paid for networking. Working on new projects brings more knowledge. It's an excellent way to market your talents to an audience that may not have had access to your work before and get paid for it at the same time.

Polish & Update Your Professional Image
When ever there are changes in the job market it is always a great time to update or shall we say "renew" ones portfolio and the presentation of it. Is your image, resume or portfolio dated? Does it show that ones stuck in some sort of time capsule? Make sure ones image is always fresh, professional, current and true to your industry. The way you market yourself determines how long it is before you get a reply. It truly determines the type of offers you actually receive. Know ones strength see yourself as a brand and a force to be reckoned with.

Resilience & Realism
In the end it’s always good to set goals and be realistic. Understand that it’s a lot of work in selling oneself in a strong economy with a vibrant job market. So with that being said, one has to work that much harder with things being the way they currently are. Have tons of patience and perseverance and success is sure to come.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Useful Ninja Tools In the World of Freelance

Found a great site filled with some things that will be useful to Ninja Freelancers. This list has a 100 Web applications for everything needed to make it as a successful Freelancer.

http://www.cogniview.com/convert-pdf-to-excel/post/the-freelancers-toolset-100-web-apps-for-everything-you-will-possibly-need/

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When a Client Rejects a Ninja’s Style

Ninja Freelancer you are at the top of your Freelance game and low and behold the unthinkable happens…You get the dreaded complaint from one of your clients stating that they don’t like something or perhaps everything about the project you spent hours working on. Something like this can surely take you by surprise. It certainly will take a jab at your confidence; so much so that it can it can linger on with you on future projects.
When your client says things you did not anticipate or prefer not to hear, then you know its time to regroup and go back to the drawing board regarding that project. There can be numerous reasons why the client may not like your work. If you don't ask, you don't know.

To insure your project ends on a positive note. Here are a few things to consider when a client has an objection about your work.

-Always remain calm and keep a positive outlook when dealing with client.

-Try not to come off as defensive when giving your response to client. Choose your words carefully so you don’t sound as though you’re blaming client (even if it’s a situation where the client failed to mention a vital detail or step or give proper instructions).

-Be sure to get a full explanation or the specifics of what your client didn’t like about your work.

-Keep in mind that this happens to the best of us. Don't let one situation hinder you from moving forward. Don't allow one client's opinion affect your judgment.

-Learn from each situation so that you can reduce any future negative feedback.

-Be sure to end on a good note by trying to make the situation right. Professionalism is the key. You never know how your ability to handle this situation can effect future situations.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ninjas Narrowing Down Their Niche

Some Ninja Freelancers are excellent at one particular skill set. Some Ninja Freelancers have a multitude of skills. For instance, you make be excellent at designing, copywriting, and marketing when it comes to your projects. You pretty much have all the technical and creative aspects covered to successfully execute your project solo. Initially being able to do it all yourself may seem like a great thing but actually it could be hurting you as a Ninja Freelancer. Being all over the place can really limit how much you actually get done. When you try to do too much, you can actually hurt the quality of what you do best as a Ninja Freelancer. When your quality is affected then your ability to make a lasting impression diminishes. It goes back to that old adage “A jack of all trades is a master of none”. It’s truly all about making you mark and developing your niche as a Ninja Freelancer.

Developing A Niche Creates Opportunity

When you create a niche for yourself you create a buzz or put your unique mark in the area of your specialty. This in turn creates opportunity for your clients to get know you and all your skill sets. Be careful not to list all your skills on your business card initially. By doing so you’re careful not to overwhelm or appear all over the place. This will open the door for repeat business and your clients will get to know you and your quality of work. As your steadily cornering your market, this leaves room for you to veer off and work on other skills sets if you choose. This way you are neither extending nor limiting yourself as a Ninja Freelancer.

Establishing Your Niche is Your Passport to Expertise

Your already good at what you do. The repetitive nature of what you do, along with your ability to constantly learn and research daily puts you at an Expert level. You will know more than the average person in your field. With time your clients will be able to immediately see your expertise in the quality of work that you produce.

A Niche That Makes Sense

With all your talents finding your niche or narrowing it down is most vital. Look at what types of work that you enjoy. Does it allow you to interact with people of interest? How can your skill sets really help others? Is your skill sets really marketable and does it really make dollars and sense for you? The goal of doing all of this is really is about being focused. Focus brings success and that’s what creating your niche as a ninja Freelancer is really all about.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Freelance Does Not Equate Tax Free

The end of the year is quickly approaching. This means, before you know it Tax Season will be here again. When you're out there on your own doing the entrepreneur thing, there may be a little confusion as to what to classify yourself as on your tax documents. You may choose to call yourself a 1099 Worker, Sole Proprietor, Freelancer, Subcontractor, Free Agent, or an Independent Professional. No matter which title you prefer, you are still considered self-employed.

As a self-employed, you are subject to self-employment tax. When you are self-employed and don't have another business entity like a partnership or corporation then you are considered a sole proprietor. No need to register as one because you are considered one already. Bottom line regardless of what you refer to yourself as whether it is a Freelancer or 1099er, paying self-employment tax is mandatory. As you prepare for paying your self employment taxes there are a few proactive things you can do to ease the tax woes. First keep records of important documents that will support your books such as:

  • Bank deposit slips
  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • Forms 1099
  • Paid Bills
  • Canceled Checks

Being self employed often means you have to be a bit more detailed about your business financial record keeping skills. Your record keeping system should include a summary of your business transactions which consist of accounting journals and or ledgers. These records should reflect your gross income, as well as your deductions and credits. Keep in mind your purchases are the items you use to function as a Freelancer. Your supporting documents should show the amounts paid and how much the amount was for purchases. Your expenses are the costs you incur to work as a Freelancer. This is separate from your purchases.

You should hold onto all records of employment for at least four years. Hire an Accountant/Professional Tax Preparer who knows what they are doing if you don’t. This will save you from ever showing up on the Tax Audit List. Just by implementing these few steps this will ensure that you are prepared when tax season rolls around.

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