Blog to support the book "Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs" by Kristen Fischer
Creatively Self-Employed Website
30-something Jersey gal working as a freelance writer. Starbucks addict, beach-lover, kitty mother.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Some fabulous creative blogs to check out!
Love Life Inspirational!
Marta Writes: Her designs are lovely
Bread and Honey: If you're a foodie!
SouleMama: She takes gorgeous pics
Heather Bailey: She's gotten some great press for her creative designs
Monday, November 24, 2008
I was in a little bit of a work funk today. Feeling like life is a little monotonous working at home. Then I had that, "What if I go get a regular job?" thought and cringed.
After a trip to the bead store, I was reminded how interesting solo work can be. I was greeted by the bead lady and her huge dog, George. The shop was quiet and I remembered that even "regular" jobs can be slow. At least I'm not "trapped" behind a schedule. When I'm in a funk, I can leave and go do something else. Beats the heck out of being stuck in a time-constricted job.
Still, she was content running this shop that wasn't overly busy and she was making a living doing what she loved. Just like me.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Breakin’ In the New GuyKristen Fischer
It’s inevitable that many freelancers will watch the people in the companies they work for come and go. You know, turnover. But as a freelancer, you may be the one sticking around while others leave, and the transition can be difficult.
That’s because many freelancers love an ongoing gig—so when you get a new contact at a company, the shift can be unsettling. What if they use another freelancer? Will they communicate as well as your old representative did? What can you do if they’re not performing well? Is it your job to intervene when you’re a contractor?
As you watch a client’s organization change as a freelancer, you’re not always privy to the who, what, when, where, and why of it all. Who knows why Chuck left the company—he may not even send you an email to let you know that he’s moved on. You may not hear from him for months and contact the company only to realize that he’s left. The worst is when he doesn’t pass along his freelance contacts to his successor. Then you could get lost in the shuffle and you could lose the client!
While you may be happy to be the veteran when a new contact comes on board, the change can also make you feel a little on the offense (or defense). It’s crucial to approach the new contact with caution and not let your emotions about the shift affect the new relationship you’ll need to forge.
Here are some things to consider when you meet the new replacement.
Whenever I hear that my contact at a client’s office is changing, I am always polite to the new person. Whether they email you an introduction, you send them a note, meet in person, or talk on the phone; it’s best to be respectful. I always stay away from telling them things I didn’t like about their predecessor. If asked I can offer feedback and am more than happy to tell them how things worked with that person in the past and how we can improve it, but I try to give them time to show me how they operate before I rush into anything. Most importantly, being courteous is a huge first step. Chances are that new person will appreciate you giving them time to assimilate.
The new guy will never do things exactly like your old contact did. You’ll either find the new person is swamped and overloaded and unable to handle the workload, or you’ll find that they’re 110 times better than your last contact and you’re happy about the change. In many cases, you may not get the best vibe at first, but you’ll eventually mesh well and the new person won’t be worse or better—just different. Regardless what kind of relationship you have with any new company representative, you should expect some change. Hopefully the switch is as smooth as can be.
Observe their form
It’s easy to say that you want Mary to come back, but Mary’s long gone and you’ve got to move forward. The best way how to gauge the new guy’s manner is to observe. Does the new contact email you when projects come in, or will you need to call? Is he or she better reachable by phone? Will she let you interact directly with their customers? Is he or she a micromanager? Do they fill you in on why the company does certain things that affect your job? What needs to be done to make working with him or her easier? Before you can figure it out, give the person a chance to show you how they operate.
Step up, nicely
So, in the case that the new guy isn’t working out to well, it’s time to step in or you could be phased out. For example, if your new contact tells you about things last minute when Mary used to give you two weeks notice, it’s okay to ask him or her for more notice. I wouldn’t mention how kind Mary was, but I would politely ask if it’s possible to give you more notice so you can be sure to accommodate the project. In one instance, I had a “newbie” come in and cut out half of my work. After a few weeks, I had to gently ask her what was going on. I simply let her know how many hours I previously had and asked if I could expect the same—they soon after resumed and it turns out she wasn’t sure how much she was allowed to give me. Point is, don’t rely on Mary to have relayed everything to your new contact. Once you see how they work, you’ll have to ask for the adjustments you need.
If your new contact person isn’t all that you’ve dreamed of, try not to fret. With a little thoughtfulness, time and professionalism, you can most likely pick up your regular working relationship where it left off—and hopefully make this one even better.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
As thanksgiving approaches, most of us tend to think of what we're grateful for. One of the things I constantly remind myself of is how lucky I am to have a creative career.
Not only do I love what I do, but I get to work at home. And although I tend to get cabin fever almost daily, it doesn't take me more than a second to remember that it sure beats the heck out of a daily commute and cubicle rot. When I think about all the time I used to waste during a shift, it amazes me. Now, even though I can work more than eight hours a day, I usually don't have to because I'm pretty efficient when I work. I'm focused on the jobs at hand, mostly because I'm doing what I enjoy for clients I appreciate.
What little reminders help you to stay grateful for living the creative life?
Friday, November 07, 2008
How to Not Lose Yourself in a Steady Gig
by Kristen Fischer (FSW)
Most of us rely on steady jobs to help us make it financially as freelancers. Whether your steady client is a “bread and butter” client, or is a bit more watered down in pay, these gigs can be valuable to tide you over between larger projects.
I’m a big believer in steady work, also known as part-time jobs. They provide a constant cash flow, and give you valuable exposure in your industry that you may not get while project-hopping.
Problem #2: You don’t have time to explore other work.Read more!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Five Cool Creatives to Follow on Twitter
If you're not on Twitter, you're missing out! This site lets you give short status messages and it's cool to chat with others and see tidbits into other people's lives.
With that, I'd like to post five people that I think you should add when you set up your account. Because you are gonna be a Tweet, right?
Cal is a California-based designer and marketing guru that always has something entertaining to say. He's got a vibrant personality and likes to "retweet," which in Twitterville means that he will repost important messages you post. He'll pimp you out when you need votes online for contests or more people to Digg your blog.
For an entertaining Tweet, Evan's the guy. He can somehow create witty posts in, of course, 140 characters or less.
Step into the world of a mixed-media artist and jack-of-all-trades creative gal. She'll talk about her kitties and new products, and give you other tidbits about living the creative life!
This writer offers insights into the writing industry, as well as useful links and resources for all creatives. She also talks about her family in entertaining 140-character messages!
A web and print designer with something interesting to say. She talks about work and her personal life, which offers a nice mix.