Tag Archives: freelance

The Current State of the Job Market

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Exercising patience.

I’ve been looking for a job. I do that once in a while, when I have to. I had a very nice holiday season with the Etsy shop, but after January things kind of slow down a bit, until spring.

The natural thing for me to do in this situation is to pick up some more freelance work. So I looked, and almost right away, I got a 30+ hour a week work-from-home job! I couldn’t believe my incredible luck. I AM A POWERFUL CREATOOOOR!

I was immediately inundated with emails from this client, and I felt certain that any financial woes were no more. In the first 3 days, I had produced a new finished logo, and four 25′ signs for the sides of the building. At the end of day 3, I was threatened to be fired if I didn’t speed things up. I was surprised!  Then when I submitted my first invoice, I was asked to cut my price down by 50%, or be fired. After some negotiating I managed to get paid a little. Since then, it’s been two weeks, and the owner has promised me 5 times, with heavy apologies, that “tonight!” he will send me more work. He has not delivered. Uh oh.

I’ve returned to Craigslist, and continue to apply for other design jobs, but there’s only been about 1 or 2 posted, so it’s not looking all that promising.

So I decided to also check out some of the other parts of Craigslist. I am amazed to see that there aren’t a lot of traditional jobs available in my area, however there are a LOT of opportunities for MILFs and models, and MILFs who want to model. Sounds fun!  I don’t want to pose nude (go figure), so I found one that sounded harmless and applied. The ad said I would be a leg model. I have skinny legs!  Upon applying, I was immediately turned down. I was told that despite having nice legs, I didn’t seem passionate enough about leg modeling. Bummer!

The search went on. There was a position open for 15 production assistants for a TV show that was being filmed nearby. This was per-diem work, but it appeared to pay well. I applied, and very quickly received this reply:

“do [sic] to the overwhelming response we regret to say we have filled the position of Production Assistant. We are impressed how ever [sic] with your qualification and qualities over all. So will  make you aware [sic] that we do have another position open for a Promotional Representative.
You would be responsible for helping with autographs sound check helping to regulate who does and does not get into afterpartys etc. This is a full time job with a base pay of 45k annually all travel expenses and hotel will be paid to get you to any event/concert.  [sic]

1. Send us a contact number and the best time for you to be reached
2. Send us a pic (as you will be in the company of celebrities you need to be some kind of attractive)

OOOH! Celebrities!

I was contacted by Dan. He told me that his agency finds attractive, responsible people. When a celebrity visits a random city like mine, they want to appear to have an entourage with them. However, it doesn’t make financial sense for them to fly all their actual friends and staff members out to these cities, so they hire a group of locals to act like total party animals and support their cause.

My first CELEBRITY assignment would be the man who wrote the popular songs “Who Let The Dogs Out”, “Tootsee Roll”, and “Move Bitch, Get Out the Way”. I would receive an itinerary, go to the airport, meet the celebrity at baggage claim (alone), get into a car, and be taken to a hotel. For the next two nights I’d accompany the group to parties, clubs, events, whatever.

This is when Dan told me “you don’t have to be the girl flashing her tits in the limo, but you do have to be the girl encouraging the other girls to flash their tits”.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

This is where the job market is right now. I am a 34 year old privileged white women with 2 kids from a farm town, I have 12 years of professional experience and a bachelor’s degree under my belt. I am currently filing for food stamps, while pondering whether or not I want to be encouraging women to flash their tits in limos.

Perhaps a move to another city is in order. In the meantime, this is a good time to write, work, work, work on preparing for the next busy season. And sleep. And eat apple cider donuts.

Making Business Cards

Let’s Talk Business – Entrepreneurial Rules Were Meant To Be Broken

Making Business Cards

The last time I posted about business stuff, I was hellbent on FINISHING CRAP UP.  I’d finished my logo, and was starting to work on my website, and I had a PLAN to finish the website in about 6 weeks.

Well… things don’t always go as planned. As was going through writing the copy, I sort of started feeling this fog, like I just wasn’t sure about something, something that I couldn’t even put my finger on. It was just a feeling of a lack of clarity.  Then I got really busy with client work, so it became easy to put it on the back burner.

Thankfully, my obsession with meditation has taught me a valuable lesson, which is “when in doubt, wait it out”.  That’s right, the most impatient woman in the world can now peacefully wait for what she wants.  Meditation truly can lead to miracles.

So, I stepped away, and focuses on networking for now, trying to attend at least 1 event per week.  Meetup.com has a lot to offer anyone who’s looking to network, or just about anything else social.

Also, I ordered cool rubber stamps of my logo so that I can make my own business cards.  This is extra super fun.  I think I’m slightly addicted.

Ultimately, a feeling of clarity came to me out of the blue yesterday.  I’ve been knocking WordPress as a website (vs. blogging) website for the past year.  The reason is that yes, there are a lot of amazing plugins that can make life very easy, but they’re third party plugins that could contain bugs, and you really have to be on top of making sure they’re updated regularly to avoid security issues or whatever.  So, I kind of made it my personal policy that I just don’t do WordPress for websites (blogs, yes, in fact this is a WordPress blog).

Generally, I tend to be extremely wishy washy.  My husband says the only predictable thing about me, is that I will always change my mind and will always be extremely unpredictable.  Sure enough, out of the blue yesterday, it occurred to me that WordPress is the best solution for my website!  And, I need to sell my ability to build custom WordPress websites!!!!!!!  Whatever.  So, the fog has lifted, my mind feels clear, and here I go, building a WordPress website.  The entrepreneurial spirit is re-energized!

Never say never, I guess.

Let’s Talk Business – Hell Week

I feel like it’s such a cliche to say, but this week was so freaking busy!!!!  I’m reeling from it, and it’s not even over yet.  Working as a freelancer is wonderful, but one of the things a person needs to be prepared for is the inconsistency of it.

I have about 5 steady clients.  Normally things run smoothly, and they’re patient about when things get done.  But about 5 or 6 times a year, 3-4 of them need me to finish stuff up IMMEDIATELY!!!!

I put a lot of pressure on myself to please everyone (which is futile) and a lot of pressure on myself to go easy on myself (do-able!), so it’s a very tricky, stressful paradox.

When I first started out in this career, and really up until just this month, I’ve allowed this phenomenon to eat me up inside, make me hate my job, and make me question my own capabilities and beat myself up about why I ever thought I’d be any good and/or make any money.  In short, I have acted like a psychotic, self-destructive lunatic.

Now, my goal is to achieve inner peace, love my job, love my work, and maintain the trust of my clients.  It’s so freaking complex!

Basically, I have to take things slow, be honest with my clients about the time things take to get finished, and find time to work late.  The working late part is really the hardest.  It makes me really scared about the affects of over-doing, over-working, etc.  But something that helps is to think about how my hard work is going to benefit the kids (giving them a comfortable, safe home, hopefully a good education, etc), and as long as I take some time to myself in the midst of it, (I have to have at least a half-hour of time to meditate or stare at a tree or something peaceful like that, little breaks in between each project, and decent food, and good music) I survive, the work gets done, the client is pleased, and money comes home.

So, that’s where I’m at this week, and probably next week as well.  I’d better get to grocery shopping so I’ll have my decent food.

Let’s Talk Business – Freelancing

For this I will remain anonymous. I wouldn’t want to scare away potential clients with my foul language.

For anyone who might be interested in starting a freelance career, I’d say go for it! It’s a great way to make some cash and work from home, but beware, it’s not for the faint of heart.  You’re pretty much the chief cook and bottle washer, you’ll learn a lot of lessons in a short time, and you probably won’t make what you really want to make until you put in a crap load of elbow grease.

I’m going to blog about a different facet of the world of freelancing regularly, so hopefully making public some of the craptastic decisions I’ve made, will make them avoidable for someone else.  At the very least, it’ll be good for a laugh or two.

I’ll start off with my background, since lately I’ve recently been asked a lot about how I got my start in my career, which is graphic/web design, marketing and copy writing.  It’s been a work in progress for 10 years.  I started out with no direction in my very early twenties.  I figured I’d just work in administrative jobs and waitressing here and there for as long as I needed to, and eventually I’d have some babies and not need to work anymore.  When I think about that now I laugh… hard. Because like many families, we both need to work hard at a job, kids or not.  I actually worked the day I brought my first baby home from the hospital.  Do you still think you want to be self employed?

But I digress, thankfully, at that time I had an inkling in my mind that I might want to do something cool.  I was working at a cafe as a waitress/barista.  I had a lot of time between breakfast and lunch where I was mainly sitting around, waiting for customers.  My mind started wandering, and I started thinking maybe I could learn to do graphic design and have some freelance customers.  The more I thought about it, the better it sounded.  I brought it up to the owner of the cafe, and being the enterprising young lady that she was, she really encouraged me to go for it, and even paid me a tiny bit of money to design her new menus.  I had Adobe Pagemaker on my computer, a how-to book, and a tiny bit of experience using it from a past job (mainly I just edited existing type).

It didn’t take long until I realized Adobe Pagemaker sucked, and no one used it anymore, so I needed to grow my skills and get some better tools.  Luckily, I knew someone who was going to school for graphic design, and he hooked me up with the software I needed, spent some time giving me a tour, and even helped me build a more powerful computer.  I’m really grateful to that person, who I still keep in touch with.  Out of the kindness of his heart, he helped me get a start on what would eventually become my very fulfilling career.  Thanks for that Dave.

Once I had the software and the computer I needed, I was able to gain tons of knowledge, just by reading Illustrator for Dummies during my slow times at work.  When I got home, I practiced everything I’d read that day.  I started creating fake logos for my fake portfolio.  I also brainstormed business names and created my own logo and business card.

Once I had my business cards, I felt like the world was my oyster.  At my cafe job, there were tons of regulars who ate there every day.  Most of them owned the small businesses that lined the streets around the cafe.  I told them my plans, and they began using me for their own graphic design needs, and referred friends to me.  It was all coming together very nicely.

One day at work, the receptionist from the web design firm upstairs came down for a cup of coffee, and told me she was quitting, and that I could interview for her position!  This was huge, they were design vets, and also had a much better understanding of web development than I could teach myself.  Just like that, I got the job, and went on to learn even more valuable skills that still help me to this day.

A few years later, I went to college online (while I freelanced full time) and got my bachelors in marketing.  I’d already learned so much about design on the job, that I felt it would be repetitive to go to school for design.  I’m so glad I did it that way, because having design and marketing skills have made me that much more valuable to my clients.

Throughout my career I’ve flip flopped a bit.  Sometimes I’ll work for a company in the more traditional sense, in order to learn some things and have more stability (regular paychecks and paid time off are nice).  Once I get a load of how crappy it can be to work in a cubicle, on someone else’s schedule, and sometimes, working for a huge sh**head, I get the itch to freelance again, and move on out.  It’s served me pretty well, although it felt chaotic flip flopping all the time.

Now that I’m in my thirties, I can’t really get away with all that experimentation and I need some more stability.  I’ve whittled my client base down to those who are pleasant to work with, pay on time, are appreciative, etc. The process of finding quality clients has been a difficult one, but I think I’ve finally learned what it takes to pre-qualify people, and maintain good relationships with them once the going gets tough.

Right now I’m feeling more fulfilled by my career, and life in general than I ever had.  It’s been an adventure, and I’ve struggled financially more than I care to think about, but we’ve managed, and lately things seem to be on the upswing.  Be sure to tune in next time, when I’ll tell you a really crazy story about a horrible job I once had.  I’ve collected a lot of those over the years.