A Wise Time-Management Idea for Freelancers


So many mornings I started off with a To-Do list full of good intentions … but then I would open my e-mail, FaceBook, or some other social media, and one client e-mail or interesting article, led to another, and another. Before I knew it, I would’ve wasted more time online than I had to spare.

It’s so easy to do, right?

My latest strategy to keep me from wasting too much precious time online involves the cute little blue owl pictured above. This owl is actually a 60-minute timer. I twist his little whooty-owl head around to the amount of time I want to spend on any task, and he dings when my time is up. I still create or review my To Do list for the day each morning. I then prioritize the top three things I want to make sure I want to accomplish that day, and then set the owl timer before opening my e-mail or check FaceBook. I can do this as much or as little as I want to during the day to stay on task. Continue reading


How I [Quickly] Launched My Freelance Career

I am still by no means a six-figure income freelancer, however, in 2009 when I needed to quickly launch my freelance career – after losing my job to a corporate lay-off – I did it in an unusual way, and it worked!

Below is a link to my recent interview with Ed Gandia  of the International Freelancer’s Academy about the unusual marketing piece that helped me get started. I hope it will inspire you to take that leap of faith and make your freelance dreams happen!

– Suzanne



Should a Freelancer Set Office Hours?

woman in bed yawning as she answers cell phone

Should a freelancer set office hours? The simple answer is YES!

Will you always follow your office hours? Frequently not. But that’s OK too.

Many starting freelancers see setting office hours as being too restrictive. They want to literally be ‘free’ to work whenever they want, wherever they want. And I get it, I really do. However, after a short time, I came to find that setting what I call ‘phone hours’ was very necessary. You do not want to be the pictured freelance lady above, answering client phone calls at any time of day or night. Yes you can work with clients located around the world in different time zones, but you also want clients, or potential clients, to speak with you when you are at your best. [And I know I am not at my best when I’ve been awoken from sleep, that’s for sure.]

Continue reading


Don’t Spend the Money Until It’s in the Bank

My husband holding the puppy while we decide at the store

My husband holding the puppy while we decide at the store

Earlier in my freelance career, I had an instance where income was lean, but I had just landed an unexpected new client offering to pay me a fairly large amount via a monthly retainer agreement. This was money above our tightened budget, so I felt confidently excited we could soon afford to make a major purchase that we had been putting off for the family — a new dog.

Our beloved family dog had died, and after several months of missing his presence we were emotionally ready to greet a new puppy. What we should have done was wait for the money to be in the bank before ever going and looking at the little cutie pies in the store to be tempted by their imploring little brown eyes. Continue reading

Cover of prayer booklet 2013

Client Profile: Example of a Repeat Client

In my first post, regarding the top five things I recommend a freelancer have before they go full-time, I mentioned the need to have at least one repeat client before you go solo. I did not have any repeat clients when I first started my freelance business five years ago. This resulted in my needing to dip into my savings/severance pay WAY too soon due to the ebb and flow of fulfilling one-off projects for non-repeat clients. This also resulted in credit card debt that I am still digging out from under. (Definitely learn from my early mistakes!)

Russian Ministries logoIn 2013, I was fortunate enough to catch the attention of a new client via a simple Google search that I now consider to be one of my own ideal clients. Because I love working with non-profits and other Christian ministries I feature them on my web site. This got the attention of a Christian organization based in Illinois called Russian Ministries. The group was looking to replace an existing graphic artist with another who was willing to follow their existing templates on envelopes, monthly appeal letters, reply cards, newsletters and an additional prayer calendar. Because this client was looking for someone reliable to work with on a regular basis I was able to quote them fixed prices, for the items they needed, to fit within their budget. Continue reading

Top 5

The Top 5 Things Every Beginning Freelancer Needs

On May 1, 2014 I will be celebrating my fifth year as a full-time freelancer. (Whoohoo!) The longer I freelance the more often I am approached by others for advice on how to get started. While many things will differ depending on your type of freelance business, there are at least five things that I would recommend to anyone. The first being to start off your business knowing that there will likely be a lot of ebb and flow in your income. You will need to build up a significant amount in your savings to handle the leaner moments during your first year of business.

Three Months Worth of Savings

If you already have a full-time job, consider taking on some extra freelance work, in addition to your current job, in order to build up your savings account before you quit. There is no magic amount that is the right amount to get started – a good rule of thumb is to create a budget for your average monthly costs and then save up enough for three times that. Continue reading