Saturday

How to Take Your Money From Bad Client



When you are working as a freelancer you’ll spend a lot of time searching for clients. If you find the perfect client you should be the happier freelancer in the world, trust me. Sometimes you’ll have to deal with people that can drive your nut. They will send tons of mails or will call every 30 minutes just to check if you are ready. When you are done with some design and present it to the client, they will not like it or will have “just few changes” and you will need to do the whole design again.

Worst of all are the client who refuses to pay, tries to reduce the payment or delays it for as long as possible. Working with clients like these can cause significant problems for your business and life. Just imagine that you are full time freelancer and this month you’ve been working mostly on a big project that will bring you cash injection for the next month. Now imagine that this client refuse to pay. Not a nice picture, right?

Lets take a look at the most common situations.

Client delays payment. When you are making the quote and the invoice should add your terms of payment. Basically this will be the length of time after the work is done that payment must be made. If after this period you still don’t have the money you will have to start to bother your clients constantly.

Client tries to reduce payment. When this happen most of the clients state that you have not delivered all that was asked from you. This is where you can use your quote again. If you have it in paper and it is signed from both sides it can be only in your favour.

Client refuses to pay. If you are at this point it is time to seek your legal rights. Your first step is to consult with lawyer but you can go further with hiring a debt collector.

Every client is different as every person is. Not knowing of what a client you will go is one of disadvantages of freelancing. There are no straight rules that can keep you away from the bad clients, but there are some signs.

- Client want multiple samples before hire you
- Clients who are overly protective of themselves
- Client don’t know exactly what he wants
- Client want unlimited changes
- Client who bargain for the price
- Client with whom is hard to get in contact
- Client with unrealistic deadlines
- Client is rude, obnoxious or disrespectful
- Client who think that is better designer than you

If you meet some of this signs in your client it is up to you if you will take the project or not. If this person has all of the listed deficiencies, please go away. I beg you!

Monday

Tips on Creating an Effective Online Portfolio



This is one of the mandatory elements of the creation of your personal freelancer brand. You may not have Blog, Facebook or Twitter profiles, but you must have personal portfolio website. It turns visitors into customers. Creating it is easy. The hard part is to do it well. Let me give you few advices now to make it perfect.

1.Navigate. You are creative and want to show it, right? O.K. that is fine but be careful, because if your site is too creative and strange it may confuse your visitor. And what confuse consumers do? They leave your site and proceed to the next one. Make sure the emphasis is on the work on display, not the design of the site.

2.Contact. You will be amazed how many portfolio websites does not have contact page. Don’t do that mistake. Add one separate page called Contact Me and fill it with info about how your potential client can get in touch with you.

3.The Best. Your portfolio site should only showcase your best
content. You don’t need to show all of your works. Always put the best one is in the beginning. Client will skip your site if he doesn’t like the first few once.

4.The Story. Potential clients want to hear stories about your work. They are more interested in the story than the technical part. Talk about the results of your work. What have you done for a client? What benefit was it on? And don’t lie.

5.About Me. Don’t forget this page. If a potential client like your works he will want to become familiar with you before hire you. Here are the basic questions that you will need to answer:
- Who are you?
- What qualifications do you have?
- What experience do you have?
- Do you seem trustworthy and reliable?
- Are they looking for work?
Offers some information about you and express some of your personality, but not too much.

6.Good Words. Include testimonials or references from happy clients. This is a great way to make potential client to feel more comfortable with you. So consider creating a page just for references from clients you have worked with.

7.Tags. Categorize and tag your works in the portfolio page, especially if there’s a lot of it.This will make it easier for people to see your works on the specific types of projects they need help with.

No mater if you are part time or full time freelancer you need portfolio website so go ahead and make one for yourself.

Thursday

Change Cloths Color Photoshop Tutorial

1. Open the image which color you are going to change.


2. Select the clothes which color you want to change. You can use each one of the selection tools. I will use Select - Color Range.


3. Select the color you are going to change and using the Fuzziness slider control the range of the selection. Finish by pressing OK.


4. Take the Quick Selection Tool and precise the selection where it needs.



5. Go to Image - Image Adjustments - Hue Saturation.


6. You can choose the new color from the Hue slider.


7. When you are satisfied with the new color press OK and CTR+D to remove the selection.

8. You are ready.

Monday

Adult Banner Design

One of my very first banner designs was for an adult website. Take a look at them. Don't be shy.







Thursday

Make a Rainbow Photoshop Tutorial

1. Open the picture that you want to add a rainbow on.


2. Make a new layer.


3. Take the Gradient Tool. Choose the style Linear Gradient – TransparentRainbow.


4. While pressing down the Shift key, make short vertical stroke in the middle of the picture. The direction should be from top to bottom.


5. Choose Filter - Distort - Polar Coordinates. Tick Rectangular to Polar and pres OK.



6. To move the figures use the Edit - Free Transform (Ctrl + T). This way you can reduce or increase its size and move it to the appropriate location according to your picture.


7. Choose Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur with Radius: 4.5px



8. Change Blending Mode to Screen and low the Opacity to 80%.


9. Take a large soft round Brush with Hardness 0 and delete where you think it is necessary.

10. Your rainbow is ready.

Tips to Blog Like a Pro



Your personal blog should be at the centre of your personal brand. You need to have it along with Facebook and Twitter profiles as a part of your online identity. Your blog have to be the place where you show your knowledge. Of course you should have your portfolio website, but this is the place where you will let people to get closer view to your professional work and to you as a person.

What do you need to start your own blog? You can find different blogging platforms in internet, but the two most used are BlogSpot.com and WordPress.com. They are absolutely free and you don’t need to have any knowledge to start your own blog.

Maybe some of you will ask what they should write about. Well if you are designer, flowers are not in your topic list. You should write about what you have interest for, you are familiar with and most important About something that is in your business niche. I am freelancer graphic designer and I write about it. If I was auto mechanic probably I would write about cars and how to fix them. But if I am graphic designer who write about cars that doesn’t make sense, right?

There are no strict rules how to run your blog, but there are some tips which will get you closer to your main goal which is to promote yourself and to turn your business and your name into successful brand.

1.Blog on a regular basis at least twice a week. If you can do it every day it is even better. Goggle and all search machine love the new and fresh content.

2.Create posting schedule. If you are posting twice a week you have to try to do it in same day and hour every week. This way your readers will know when can expect you. Don’t disappoint them.

3.Keep your blog posts between 350-600 characters long. People will come to read short but valuable information. They don’t have time and they can run away from your post if it is too long, even if it is full with valuable content. If your article is becoming really big you can split it in parts. Use list based articles. People love it.

4.Read and comment other blogs. Don’t expect people to come to your blog if
you aren’t reading and commenting on theirs. This way you will be always informed what is going on in your industry and if you are leaving smart comments that are showing your knowledge on the topic will bring new readers to your blog.

5.To generate blog readers give something for free. If you are web designer you can offer free templates, if you are doing SEO optimizations offer free consultation, write a book or something else that will make people come to your blog.

6.Don’t forget the SEO.

•Make links between your articles.
•Depending on the topic of your blog, let keyword phrase that corresponds to this topic attend in the title.
•When you are commenting on other people’s blogs (or somebody shares a link of your blog) you are creating backlinks which are important for finding you easy.
•Add the key phrase and its derivatives as tags to the blog article.

7.Register at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This will bring you a lot of new readers if you brand yourself in the social media sites.

Sunday

Creation of Character

Creating characters from description is really fun. To see them in your imagination. To see how they are escaping from their prison that is your mind. Here are five characters from one of my projects. They are kind of strange, but that is the whole idea of their existing. I bring them to live and they will serve for a unique approach to something old.

Chip Hollywood

56 years old
Old school gay guy
Wears mirrored sunglasses
Always doing blow
Has a 70's mustache
Slicks his hair back with pomade
Was a porn star in the 70'





Tyquan

21 years old
Black with deep voice like guy that sings Chocolate Rain
He's constantly saying what he would have done in any given situation
Doesn't want anyone to know his last name
Only fucks white chicks to keep his cover from all the black chicks that hit on him
Tells a girl her breast aren't big enough as an excuse not to sleep with them
Down low guy
He is really a total bottom
A member of every gay hookup site there is
Each has different non-identifiable pictures posted





Ira Batesman

32 years old
Sweaty white guy
Very pale
Lives in mom's basement
Waching only porn and video games
All friends are online
Calloused hands
Virgin
Quotes porn precedent as a lawyer would
Nasty masturbating man
Will masturbate to anything
Invents new ways to masturbate
A drawer full of gloves for masturbation





Brandon Young

14 years old
Teenage boy
Beats off constantly
Loves risky sex - bathrooms/cars
Is fucking most of his teachers
Picks up guys at the local park
Perpetual boner
Brown hair
Try sexual
he is sleeping with anyone important, male and female
His mom is super proud of him and thinks he is an innocent angel.





Loraine Priests

42 years old
Straight woman
Two children, both girls, from underage boys
Pedophile
Hits on Brandon constantly
Picks up neighborhood boys to satisfy herself
Fucks her daughters boyfriends
Feathered blonde hair
Chain smoker
Spandex
Trailer trash
Doesn’t look a year over 30
Amazing body


Thursday

Tips to Tweet Like a Pro



Twitter is an social network that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with 200 million users as of 2011, generating over 200 million tweets and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day. If you want to promote yourself 200 million potential visitors is a good number, right?

Your personal blog gives you the chance to share your knowledge with other peoples that are interested at your niche. If you want to increase traffic to your blog or website Twitter is the right place to do it. If you have followers and you share your valuable post you have a pretty good chance to create strong brand name.

There are few tips that will help you “tweet” yourself in the web.

1.Keep your tweets open to the public. Allow everybody to see what you are shearing. Don’t hide yourself.

2.Find people that are relevant to you and follow them. As a designer who works as a freelancer, I am not going to follow auto mechanic, because he is not going to be interested in my posts.

3.Don’t follow everybody that follows you. Check their profiles, what they are doing and the content they share. Find users in your field and start interacting with them and their followers.

4.Share important content. This is very important, because you will be amazed how many people share what they have for meal five times every day. You can tweet it once in a while, just to show that you are a human and not a machine, but be careful with it.

5.Follow your competitors. This way you will be able to gain a lot of valuable information at your field.

6.Retweet post from other users that will be useful and interesting for your followers. By doing this you are telling that the content is interesting enough to be passed. Retweet and you will be retweeted.

7.Twitter users love quotes, so if you have one that is valuable tweet it.

8.Start conversation with users. This is simple and effective way to boost your personal branding. Be careful and don’t talk only about you. You don’t want to scare people with the annoying me, me, me things.

9.Be active in Twitter. That doesn’t mean you should tweet, retweet and share everything that you see. Don’t be annoying to your followers. Try to have at least five tweets every day and if you don’t know what to say, just take a break.

10.There are lots of applications that will help you monitor your Twitter profile. Try them and decide if some of them will be useful for you. Take a look some of them at http://freelanceswitch.com/product-reviews/efficient-tweeting/

Tuesday

Full Time Freelancing



In my last article I showed you Part Time Freelancing advantages and disadvantages. Now you can read about Full Time Freelancing and to decide is it for you or you can stay part time freelancer.

Advantages

1.Free Time. If freelancing is your full time job you will have your free time and not going to use it for freelancing. You will have all day at your disposal to achieve your day schedule. If you don’t distract yourself you will have time to search for clients, work and promote yourself.

2.Official Working Hours. You will be available during work hours and this way it will be easier to communicate with the clients. They will know that can find you at any time of the working day. This way your freelancing business looks more professional.

3.Energy. If you are more productive early at the mornings when the usual employers go to work you can use this and do a lot of work before they actually arrived. On the other hand if you feel better at the evenings you are not going to be tired from the long working day at the office. You will have energy to work and free time to rest.

Disadvantage

1.Lonely. You can feel very lonely in the beginning if you are used to work with people around you. When working from home you still can communicate with others through Skype, Facebook, Twitter or else but the feeling is not the same. The freelance websites are office now and you will have to go with that if you want to be full time freelancer.

2.Financial Risk. Starting business as full time freelancer can be financial stress for you if you don’t have stable cash reserves. Also as you know there is nothing secure in the freelancing so will have to be prepare for week and maybe a months without stable incomes. This can be very stressful so you will have to be very careful with it.

Thursday

Part Time Freelancing



Before you start freelancing you should know that there are two basic ways to do it. First one is to work as a part time freelancer while working on your regular job and the second one is full time freelancing where you are dedicated only to it. There are positive and negative things in both of them. Let me show you some of part time freelancing advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

1.Test Period. If you try working as a part time freelancer for a while you will be able to see if this is the right job for you. Do you feel comfortable doing it, how do you feel with the income from it, do you actually enjoy it or you are just taking it as a second job. When you have time to test things out it will be more easy for you if you decide to try as a full time freelancer.

2.Build Connections. This is a perfect way to build strong connections with clients and when you move to full time freelancing you can use them. When working for a company responsibility for finding a job is their, but if you work on your own it is all up to you. If you quit your job and try as a full time freelancer without having connections with clients it will be a way harder for you to achieve success.

3.Savings. You can make a cash reserve while you have income from two jobs. If you really want your business to succeed you will have to invest in it some of your incomes. When you receive money from two works it is easier to invest some of them.

4.Social Activities. This doesn’t mean to tweet and share all day long in internet social networks, but really to socialize with colleagues and friends at work. This is the way not feel like a hermit working all day at home. Sometimes while talking to colleagues you can think of an idea.

Disadvantage

1.Less Free Time. This is one of the worst disadvantages for being part time freelancer. You will have to work really a lot. Will work before your actual job, will work after it, and will work at the weekends and holidays. You will lose projects, because you won’t have time to do it.

2.Deadline Pressure. Every customer wants to know when their product will be ready. You will have to give them a deadline and you must comply it. Your full time job can cause some troubles at this because you are using your spare time to work as a freelancer and you can’t do it while you are at work. So you will have to work twice harder.


3.Official Working Hours. Not available outside official working hours is bad for your business. Most of the clients don’t want to communicate after their work day is finished. They don’t want to receive calls or to check mailbox when they are finally at home after a long day at work. You can’t blame them, right?

4.No Energy. When you came back tired from work and you know you will have to work on your freelancing projects, because you are behind with some projects, you have new deadline or just because you need to work on to finish it, can ruin your evening and also your business. Some people are more focused, motivated and productive early at the morning when they are going to their full time jobs.

Sunday

Top 10 Freelance Disadvantages



To be a freelancer and to run your own small (or not so small) business is one of the most excitement things that you can imagine. Before you get excited too much and embark in deep waters of freelancing let me introduce you top 10 worst disadvantages of this profession.

1.Loneliness. Working at home means to work alone. In some cases this is good for you because there is nobody to distract you. Sometimes this loneliness is becoming too heavy and you start to miss your annoying and irritating colleagues.

2.Lack of Benefits. As someone who has no contract of employment, you do not receive employer-provided benefits such as vacation pay, health insurance, and other common benefits.

3.Variable Income. If you work for a company each month you know when and how much money you will get for your efforts. Things here are different. One month you may have many projects which will bring you a steady income, but the next few months may be a dry period for your business.

4.Long Hours. As a business owner, you probably will work more hours than you worked in a traditional office setting. You are one man team so will have to handle everything in the process from finding and negotiating with the clients, realizing the project and all other pieces from business puzzle that will take from your time.

5.Client Searching. One of the most significant challenges of a freelancing is gaining clients. You must permanently promote yourself and your business to keep and develop new clients. Sometimes you will spend more time searching for the job than the actual time that you need to do it.

6.Distractions. Working from home can be very distracting. This may be caused by everything that surrounds you in your home. You can be tempted to watch your favourite show, to take a nap or to wonder all day long what's in the fridge. If you are not living alone your family, children and pets can also distract you from what you are doing.

7.Team Projects. In most cases the customer wants the overall product to be delivered from one service provider. Mostly this is a company or a team of freelancers. Unfortunately when you are working alone you can handle some of the aspects of the project, but not the entire job. Let’s say you are a great designer, but you are completely unschooled in coding.

8.Pressure. When you work alone all the pressure lay on your shoulders. Being your own boss means that if something goes wrong the blame is all yours and nobody else. You can’t fire yourself, can you?

9.Pay Risk. This is one of the problems working as a freelancer. You don’t have secure. There are a lot of customers that don’t want to pay the price that you have negotiated, that will pay you less or will disappear in the middle of the project leaving you with half ready product. Something you've invested time that you will not be paid. One of the ways to avoid situations like this is the milestone payments.

10.Discipline. There is no boss looking at your shoulder and this means there is no one to say when you should start and when you should stop your working day. It is all about your motivation and discipline when it comes to personal freelancing business.

If you think that the people which actually work this are crazy you should check Top 10 Freelance Advantages and maybe will change your mind.

Friday

Top 10 Freelance Advantages



Working as freelancer is difficult. There are so many disadvantages, which in many cases will make you to quit before you started.You can check Top 10 Freelance Disadvantages if you are interested. Being freelancers also has many positive aspects that are worth all the effort. Before you quit read what are the top 10 of the freelancing advantages.

1.No Boss. This sounds great, right? And it is! Being a freelancer means that you are running your own business. Being your own boss gives you confidence. The feeling that you work for yourself that everything is in your hands and depends on you is something that can motivate and reassure you.

2.Working Hours. Freelancing allows you to work when you want to. You can sleep till 5pm if you like and work after that. You can work for 2 hours and quit for the rest of the day. Of course you can work 18 hours if you like. When doing a freelance work you also do not have to hesitate when you want to go on a holiday or just to take a day off.

3.No Daily Traffic Jams. Roll out of bed and that’s it. You are in your office ready to work. While other people are stuck in the traffic going to work you can make yourself a coffee and do some work before they arrived at their workplaces. Or you just can take a look at the news in your area while outside is -20 or +40 C.

4.Control Your Price. When you work for a company you can’t control it. They give you the project and you are taking it even if you disagree with the price. If you working for yourself, you can have a full control over your price rates.

5.The Work You Love. I haven’t heard about freelance designer who started this work forcefully. We do what we love and this is the most comfortable feeling. Recently came across a thought on the Internet for work breaks. “The work we do now was the thing we did for fun in our free time. Why take time off from something you love? I don’t see why I need a vacation from something I would do on vacation if I had a day job.”

6.Freedom To Choose Clients. As a freelancer, you can choose the clients you wish to work with. You can choose the project. You can choose the rate. You have total freedom to choose, because this is your own business and you are the boss, the employer, the PR, the CEO. You are everything and you don’t have to compliance with anyone.

7.You Become A Brand. To see your name as a brand, as a mark for successful business can be very strong boost for your personal life and work confidence. If you don’t trust me you can ask Giorgio Armani, Enzo Ferrari, Hugo Boss and many more.

8.Learning. As a freelancer, you will learn new skills out of necessity that you might not gain as a traditional legal employee. These skills may be from your expertise range or they can be something that is totally different from it. In both ways improvement of personal skills is beneficial.

9.Worldwide Relationships. Connections you create with people literally from around the world are something great about your job as freelancer. The fact that your own small business goes out of your city and country and became a global product is indicative of the benefits of world level connections.

10.Mental Health. The pressure and stress in freelance work is less than in normal work. With no bosses and colleagues and targets at work, freelance job is much easier to handle than office work. Also if feel that you get tired too much you can take a break without worrying about whether the time is right.

Monday

Project Phases

I wrote a lot about various design tasks and works, but let me tell you how one of my projects goes through all its phases. It will show you more clearly what my method of working is.

1.Finding Тhe Project. As usual looking for interesting posts in the freelancer.com and came across this project. The project was for a design that will go as a postcard and t-shirt. The idea was to be created a peanut character with an old style helmet, goggle and/or scarf or NASCAR style fire suit. There had to be driving motive involved.

2.The Bid. Headed my offer and it was approved. I was chosen as the winner of the project together with another freelancer. Later it turned out that he never contact after accepting the project. If you do not have time nor can’t finish a project don’t ever make the mistake of taking the job. Thus you lose your and the employer time and what is more important to you will receive a negative feedback for your work, which will affect your profile. Note that if you do not do the job the employer will not bother to give you negative feedback.

3.First Design. Immediately after accepting of the project began to think about how I imagine the design. Whenever I read project for which I intend to make an offer in my head is formed an idea that will achieve if picked. I made two versions which were small differences in general to see how the client will react to them.



4.Bonuses. Every time when you can it is a good idea to make bonuses to your client. In this case I knew that the design will be used for a postcard and t-shirt, so I place the little peanut buddy with his car on a blank t-shirt and send it. The client may not need this at all, but it will show you as a person who wants everything to be perfect for the customer.


5.Client Reaction. Sometimes you and the client will have a different view for the design. That’s why sometimes you will have to make an updates, changes or whole new concept according to your client needs. In my case he liked the character, but send me few samples that he likes and want to make it close as a style to those.


6.Second Design. I made a few changes in the face, because I wasn’t 100% happy with it. After fixing that up only thing that I needed to adjust was the font. I create three samples with different fonts and the client approved one of them. Here is the official design.


7.The Feedback. If most of your projects come from sites like freelancer.com feedback is very important to you. If positive it will make more and more new customers to trust you and use your skills. Sometimes your customers are so busy that they have no time to publish a review of your work. You should always have to push them to leave you a feedback.

Wednesday

Tea Website Design

When a client with nearly 40 completed projects behind his back said to me ”That is really impressive. You are obviously very creative and talented. Thanks for your hard work, this is the best first concept I have seen.” the feeling of a well done job was great. Sometimes good word from your client is lot more motivating than the money that you will earn from the project.