Category Archives: Tutorials

Top 10 tips for first time freelancers

freelancer

I’ve been working freelance for about a year now and so far, it has been a rollercoaster of good and bad experiences. Right now, I am juggling freelancing and a part time job as an English teacher. At times it would prove to be difficult, but mostly, it’s very fulfilling. If ever you are not cut to be working under corporations, but still wants (and needs) to earn a pretty good income, freelancing may just be for you. Here are ten things that I have learned so far with working freelance:

  1. It’s okay to start small. First time freelancers with almost zero experience would find it difficult to get a client. I’ve got to be honest about how I used to accept job orders that are lower than my typical rates just so I could gather clients and build a portfolio for myself. Mind you, lowering your rate could lead to several negative effects, but doing so with caution with help you start up on your career as a freelancer.
  2. Build your contacts. Once you already have a handful of clients that you’ve worked with, remember to build good relationships with them. I’m not saying that you should befriend clients and rub elbows with them, but make sure that you are creating a good professional relationships between you and your clients. I have some clients who keep coming back for my services because they already know my skill set and are pretty much pleased with it. You can also ask your present clients to refer you to other prospect projects from different clients, but make sure that it would not sound as if you are begging them to vouch good reviews on your services. A simple “If you have any other projects available, just let me know so I could see what I can do,” would help tons in gathering new contacts.
  3. Have some respect. Being a freelancer does not mean you own your time, it just means that you have your time frame and you have got to stick with it by working on your own pace. Make sure you meet deadlines and respect the client’s time and efforts. This will help improve your professional image and provide you with a good review afterwards.
  4. Get some respect. Just because they are the clients, doesn’t mean they have all the rights to exploit you. If you feel that you are at the losing end in a deal, feel free to voice out your opinion and demand a higher compensation or a better time frame, etc. This will avoid abusive clients from debasing you and downright ripping you off.
  5. Be honest. Making sure that your clients know your capabilities and limitations could help improve your relationship with them. This will also set them with the right expectations and would make your job more comfortable for you. If you will not be able to meet deadlines for whatever reason, make sure to notify them at least 48 hours prior to the deadline, so they could work around with their own schedule as well. Remember we are all professionals in this field, so you need to act like one.
  6. It’s okay to say no. Even if they promise a very competitive compensation, when you know that it will jeopardize your own personal accounts (i.e. schedule and other freelancing stints), it is okay to decline the project. If you think that you are not going to be paid enough, it’s okay to turn down a job offer. If you think that you are not capable of what they are asking for or if you will have a hard time producing an output because you are not familiar with what they need, it’s alright to say no. If you are going to decline job orders, make sure  you do it before the project starts or at the earlier stage of the project (depending if you have contracts signed) and NEVER on the final days before the deadline. This will give your clients enough time to find a replacement and also this would not make you come up as complete asshole. (see number 4, 5, and 7)
  7. Know your value. You have to make sure that you know what your capabilities are. If you excel in one field in freelancing, and you know that you are performing very well with it, it’s okay to demand a higher compensation. You can also research and ask around fellow freelancers on their rates so you could have an idea on how much you should charge your clients. You also need to make sure that the clients know your limitations, so they would not ask you to produce anything beyond it, because failing to deliver what is expected of you could garner a negative effect to your reputation. As what was mentioned in number 5, honesty helps.
  8. Give your best, but leave some for yourself. When you get job orders, it is very important that you exhaust every possible resource that you have in order to give them the best output possible, but keep in mind that you have your breaking points too. Do not overwork on a project because that will only get you underpaid. Deliver what is asked, no more, but definitely no less.
  9. Freelance isn’t free. If you are starting to build your own contacts and portfolio, it is okay to take pro bono projects ONLY IF you know that this will help improve your career as a freelancer. Nevertheless, make sure that the demands are not as high that you will end up at the losing end of the deal. Same goes for paid transactions, demand what you think you are worthy of. Remember that it is not bad to ask for updates on your paycheck or schedules of payment because IT IS YOUR RIGHT. I’ve had experiences when I was scammed by scumbags who do not have any respect for human beings working with integrity, but these instances can be avoided if you will take precautions.
  10. Enjoy yourself. You know you have worked hard for your money so it is your right to enjoy it in whatever way possible, but make sure that you are using it wisely. You know that you chose this career path because it is most comfortable for you, so make sure that it will remain as comfortable as it is without sacrificing on quality outputs.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

How I quit smoking: From cravings to actually declining a puff

Stop-Smoking

In this blog entry, I will not bore you with statistics on how many people have died because of smoking, nor will I tell you the negative effects of this unhealthy habit because I’m sure you already know them pretty well through the thousands of anti-smoking ad campaigns present everywhere.  I will however tell you my story on how I quit smoking and decided to live healthier.

I started smoking back in second year high school. At first it was just a few trial drags from thin cigarette sticks which I was told were “lady” cigarettes. I wouldn’t deny that peer pressure was one of the major reasons I started smoking, although I will never ever let anyone blame my friends for making me develop such an awful habit. I was new in school, so I had to try and do anything to make friends and that included hanging out after school and doing supposedly cool things with them. I remember being told by my adviser back then that I had the potential if only I’d focus more on my studies.

In college, smoking started to become a habit. It started when I had to sneak out from my friends because I didn’t want them to know I smoke. The idea of them seeing me smoke terrified me. I smoked because I was stressed out with academics and extra curricular. I was very involved into theater and it occupied most of my time in my first two years in college. I was more comfortable smoking with my orgmates because smoking is more acceptable to them than with my friends. Then it started to become worse. I couldn’t last a day without finishing a stick or two and sometimes, when we go out drinking, I would finish a pack.  I would hangout at a nearby sari sari store to kill time by smoking with friends. At times, I would go to school a few hours early just to smoke a few sticks before class. I used to joke with my friends that I couldn’t breathe without smoking, which was somehow true because smoking was my way to remind myself to breathe easy. It has become a way for me to be able to take breaks all to myself. I found it more of a necessity than a luxury, a sure fire sign that I have developed a dependence to smoking.

To be honest, Blade was the one who encouraged me to stop smoking. He was very lenient at first knowing that it is not a habit I could immediately quit. I gradually tried to let go of it by having a stick a day, to three sticks a week, to none at all.

Initially I found it difficult to quit. Blade became strict when it comes to helping me quit. We even had an argument at one point when I tried to sneak puffing a stick while he was still asleep. I felt that it was a right Blade had taken away from me. I didn’t want to be within the vicinity of anyone smoking because I know I would be tempted to ask for a puff. There were even tears involved when I tried to beg Blade to allow me to smoke because I was too stressed out with the death of one of our cats. Smoking remained as something that will always be at the back of my head. At times, I would think of ways on how I could sneak in a puff or two, but then I would realize that doing so would only take me back to square one. The idea going back to my bad habit lingered in my mind for a while. It was when we tried hiking that made me realize how awfully weak my lungs were.

We set out to climb Mt. Pico de Loro in Batangas with Blade’s parkour team. At first I thought it would be just like a walk in the park because initially, the trail available only required walking. After a while it slowly progressed to steep rocks where we had to push ourselves up in order to overcome them. I was literally the last person from the group to reach the peak. They had to wait up for me and Blade had to stay behind taking short stops for me to catch my breathe. We reached the peak with me looking so pale and out of breathe, they even thought I would pass out any time soon. It was embarrassing, add to that the fact that I was also panicking due to my deathly fear of heights. That was when I promised myself that I would stop torturing my body with awful things and completely forget about smoking.

I can’t deny that I had grown bigger because of quitting. You see, smoking is a form of oral fixation, so instead of lighting a stick of cigarette, I would stuff myself with sweets or any food I could lay my hands on. Looking back, I saw how my heroin addict body built slowly became plump and rounded. Some of my friends were surprised by my weight gain because they have never pictured me chubby despite the fact that I eat like a construction worker. Naturally, my parents were happy about me quitting.

Now, I am trying to get back in shape. I’m not trying to achieve the unhealthy thin built I had before. Instead, I’m trying to attain a much stronger body and a promising endurance. I’m not against anyone smoking, but I would rather not be beside people when they smoke. The fumes from the cigarette had started to annoy me little by little and I could proudly say that I can confidently decline any offer of smoking. It’s never too late for improvement.

Some tips to help you quit:

  • Don’t force yourself to stop, but have the discipline to actually stick to your decision of quitting.
  • Start gradually, like what I did. Limit yourself to a stick per day to 5 sticks a week, and so on. I personally used to treat smoking as a reward, something to look forward to at one point of the day, but NEVER deviate from your goal.
  • It is important to get some support from other people. In my case, Blade helped me with self discipline by monitoring my cravings.
  • Trying out some exercises could help. Mind you, it would be extremely tough at first to the point that you would want to quit, but exercising actually helps you release some of the toxins in your body that has been accumulated from smoking. Start with light workout routines you could do at home until you are confident enough to be able to push yourself to your limit. This will also make you realize how much your lungs are weak and would eventually encourage you to smoke less and less
  • Stay away from people who smoke. I don’t have anything against smokers. I still have friends who have no intentions of quitting and I respect that, but as much as possible I try to stay away from them when they smoke. Initially, it would be because it would serve as temptation for you to go back to your unhealthy habit, but as time goes by, it would be because you wouldn’t want to inhale second hand smoke (which would be worse than smoking).
  • Stay motivated. Set short term goals like limiting the number of sticks you consume in a day, a week, or a month. Apps like LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach and Quit Smoking could help you manage your nicotine intake, but don’t rely too much on them because self discipline is the most important thing that you need to develop in order to stop smoking

If you are a quitter reading this story, congratulations to us! May we live a long and healthy life. If you’re a smoker who plans on quitting, don’t be so hard on yourself. It would be very hard at first but once you get the hang of it, you will be so happy and proud about this life achievement. Good luck!