(Thursday – April 24, 2014)
The Life as a Freelance Remote Worker
Who could imagine what life would be like today as a consultant a.k.a. freelance contractor or free agent? The job description is all encompassing, primarily one is continuously looking for the next opportunity, and literally it is a 24 x 7 x 365 affair. Wired to all my devices (laptop, iPhone and iPad) I am on the look out for next call, text or email that could lead to the “Holy Grail”, that opportunity or gig which will make all the difference in the world.
For some, the ultimate prize is a full time nine to five position (you can put me in that group). With it comes some security, benefits (like health insurance) and daily personal/social interaction. Others, however, might list as a huge negative, the loss of freedom that comes with the job. There are many positives in being freelance, taking on lots of little projects, tasks and jobs. One needs to be very organized, disciplined and capable of following up on details. The big plus is being able to stay at home (if you are into that), where you can fit in the things that are important to you, according to your schedule. You know: stuff like going to the gym, having lunch with a friend, taking your mother-in-law to the doctor, picking up dinner and, oh yeah, an interview, meeting or doing the job you agreed to do.
To be able to market myself, I have created a special resume for my new “professional life” in which I label myself as Consultant – Advisor – Strategist – Entrepreneur – Freelancer. It covers a lot! Then I list a summary of my background, competencies (too many to list here) and the recent/current projects and activities I am involved with. This resume is different from my regular ones (I have numerous versions and cover letters so my replies can be very opportunity specific) that I use for real jobs in IT. I use the consultant resume for any freelance job where I need to provide some background information on who I am.
My day often starts with checking email for any messages related to specific opportunities. I have a GMAIL account and an anonymous account on YAHOO. My in-boxes are usually overflowing with alerts from the different job boards I am registered at (Monster.com, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor.com, ZipRecruiter.com, etc.) for professional IT jobs. Sometimes, there are messages from LinkedIn and other social media sites.
After all the email has been reviewed, filed or trashed, I do some searching for gigs (writing, usually) or part-time writing jobs on Craigslist, not only in my area but all over the United States. Typically the gigs are on the cheap, but generally require little effort to complete. For example, in an hour, I have a ten minute phone survey, for an $8 Starbucks card, concerning some new project management software. If I come across any gigs, I reply and often I hear back with further details provided.
After all my search, hunt and email work is done, I visit some of the blog sites I am subscribed to. I am always looking to expand my network. After which if I have 30 minutes or more available, I’ll start writing about whatever grabs me – so I can continue to build an inventory of writing samples for blogger gigs. Blogger gigs come in two flavors: guest (no pay; good for exposure and experience) and paid. Not a big fan of unpaid gigs – they are like unpaid internships – they just aren’t fair. Paid gigs come in different variations: $$ for a post, $$ for number of words (i.e. $1 per 100 words) and credits based upon post, views, likes, etc.
The ideal situation is to get paid a nice fee to do an article on something that interests me. These are rare. One per day would be awesome. If there is any more time left in my day, I tally up how I did for the day, go through my bills and pay what I can. Working on getting to the day where more is coming in than going out – maybe tomorrow?