Freelance Tip #1 - Side Projects

I've been freelancing full-time for a couple of years now (I freelanced part-time while at Uni so I've actually been doing it for quite a while!) and in that time there's been a fair few ups and downs. As a result I've decided to put together a couple of blog posts on freelancing, nothing major just a few tips that I've found useful while working freelance.

First of all, if you're just starting out or thinking of going freelance I'd take a look at Creative Boom's ultimate freelance guide - there's a lot in there about how to get yourself setup.

I'll start with my own favourite tip for freelancing:

Keep yourself busy.

I'm pretty sure every freelancer on Earth has experienced the roller coaster of work - one minute you may be inundated with project work, the next there's tumbleweed everywhere. It's in those tumbleweed times when you'll need to keep yourself busy doing your own thing.

Obviously you'll be most concerned with finding more work, contacting people, sending out emails, phoning people up, scouring project boards and that sort of thing. While this is good practice if you do this day-in day-out it can become quite tedious, so much so that at the end of each day it can feel as though you haven't really accomplished anything.

To combat the tedium then, I recommend keeping yourself busy with something else, something you'll enjoy working on between looking for new work. I've found that having a small side project can really help - take the time to learn something new, improve on a skill or even just produce something. Just having something you can work towards can really help keep yourself sane. Plus, there's also a chance you can use a side project to make some additional money along the way.

My side projects have been quite varied to date, my most recent motion graphics based side project was to produce: Skylights - a set of filters for After Effects. It started with a simple idea of applying instagram style filters to video & eventually lead me to make two preset packs for people to download or buy. A quick blog post on the filters brought in a fair few new visitors to my site and the sales on Videohive are ticking over quite nicely, it's not enough to retire on just yet but every little helps!

Other projects I've initiated myself include:
Scribe - a HTML5 notepad - I used this to learn more about JavaScript & HTML5 storage
GrammarTime - a word clock I created to learn more about JavaScript.

These are only small projects but having something to work on when things were quiet really helped break things up a bit, not only that but they've also helped bring in new work and increase visitors to my site. Win win!

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