Category Archives: Freelancing Ideas

How to on Freelancing

The Cycle of Job-happiness to Wage slavery

The first day in  our first job was a great day for almost all of us. Apart from normal excitement and hiccups, we looked forward to the next day, thinking what new would happen.

Years went by as employee and then in the morning, we ask : Oh my God, another day at office or work ! The work became more of waiting for end of the month and also a kind of load to bear so that the other load (bills, EMI, expenses, family cost etc) become bearable. A philosopher, five thousand years back compared , rightly with this kind of life as that of an ass.

An ass carries heavy load for someone else and in return he gets food, shelter, water – all these could have been found elsewhere as well without bearing such heavy load.

An employee who has never felt this (either because of the job, or because of the temperament) would never become a freelancer

An employee who has felt this to the marrow of his bone would never retire as an employee.

He / She would break free from the wage slavery one day and through many zig-zagging in life’s course would create a trail which would add up to another path in the Great Game of Life

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The Right of @

This is my favourite story while I speak among corporate managers planning to start their own venture / business / freelancing activities / exotic work to boring work / working for own rather than for others….

1.  Meetul , an alumni of mine working in Cisco was ecstatic when he found out that many of his business contacts were encouraging him to start his business, listening to his ideas and giving him lots of time while he sounded out his business venture.

2. Six months down the line, Meetul really started his own venture and he found, to his greatest amazement that the response is dramatically different – at least responding to his emails and listenting to his ideas

Why ?

It was all about the right side of                    whoeveritis@cisco.com

Now, its meetul@whatisthiscompany.com

See the difference ?

“He is looking at you, kid !”

5 Opportunities of a Freelancer

Here they are (Disclaimer :  Reason has reasons to  have got clouded by self-love)

De-Elitification of Business : Many businesses had some kind of unspoken ‘elitism’ in conducting their business. This was fine – an ornamental engraving as long as going was good and status quo remained as status quo. But cost pressure and ‘somebody else is doing’ are forcing this elitism getting weaker. You can be designer, content writer, translator and localizer for a single project – a job that earlier needed some ten years ‘debt of honour’ payment as being a corporate cubicle slave.

Crowdsourcing : Previously, business heads or decision makers knew more or less about the full cycle aspect and information about a project. Now, they know about margin and how to protect their job, counted by some metric dependent on revenue, sales, profit etc – mundane things. Not on strategy, symbiotics, value unlock and such nice and blithe terms – easy to speak, easier to put in power point and easiest to speak while speaking virtually nonsense.

Now, many projects are coming in freelance marketplace where the job poster knows not much and pulling information from the crowd, sometime the ruse being  ‘potential’ job

Informality and speed : Business is becoming informal and speed decides many things including how fast integration can be done.

Configuration, not speciality : Checking an automobile manual – English > Japanese PDF document

There are millions who know Japanese and English. There are few thousands who know both the languages. There are hundreds who have high fluency in both the languages. Out of these hundreds, there may be 50 worldwide who can claim to have special knowledge in automobile field. Out of this 50, some are not confident with proofing a PDF document. Some are busy and some are unavailable. Some cannot match the cost structure. Hence from millions, we would finally have 15 people who would be there.

It is Herculean task to find this 15 people from millions everytime. Social network connects millions but does not provide these 15 people immediately.

Hence, the best way for a business is to be-friend this 15 or some 5 out of this on a permanent manner.

This is nothing but the good old coveted permanent job minus many contracts, commuting, idling, bosses and cubicles.

Diversified Revenue : If Microsoft makes music today and makes a profit of $1,00,000 – it is an non-event. It is nothing to be told even. It does not make anyone happy because that sum looks like a dot in the revenue and profit scale Microsoft deals with. This is not diversification for Microsoft but wastage of resources.

A Freelancer making $ 10,000 per year as diversified revenue – by providing training, by designing a website, ad revenue from the blog, by writing book, by doing something else as a seasonal work is an achievement – both as earning and both as experience.

As status quo breaks and models change, this opportunity arises and waits to be acted and utilized.

p.s : I have been working as a Proz.com Professional Trainer and find that the last point is valid, do-able and scaleable quite easily without endangering core business.

5 perspectives of Freelancer as a Business Owner

Freelancers, except few, always had an issue with self-image. A Freelancer had hard times considering himself as a CEO, although he has been all through a CEO – judge, jury and executioner of the business. Corporate Mania and its adjunct lies and deceptions reinforced this ‘hypnosis’ that a Freelancer is some kind of an extra – a faceless, nameless, ID-card less, corporate evening less ‘worker’.

Things are changing

Corporate executives worldwide suffering an angst and best ones are trying to figure things out.

A week back, one of my previous colleagues, until recetly a VP level executive in one of the leading telecom provider of the world came to my Freelance Workplace and after some chit-chat announced that he had left his job and looking to do some Freelance Assignment.

Reason of leaving the job : I am being penalized for being a non-mediocre. I am being harrassed for not agreeing to be a mindless, thoughtless ass working overtime.

This blog has got its seed and the following from this discussion with him.

1. You are a business owner and CEO from the moment you are a Freelancer.

2. You are an Owner CEO and by implication, you are independent and unlike CEO s of large corporations ( a labour component brought from the market by owners, i.e. shareholders or their oligarchial committee), you are only answerable to yourself, your clients, your suppliers, common decency and the Supreme Lord

3. Since you are supposed to maintain only yourself, you are not ‘servant’ of employee, their union, banks and their owners, shareholders and their greed

4. You are Master of your time.

5. Your profit and loss is decided by you. Hence your success and failure – both are commanded by you – neither by a group of fools, nor by a gang of media workers and nor by your accountant

 Freelancers need to change their self-image. On this depends the whole revival of the world of business.

The Coming bursting of MBA-bubble

Never in human history, people have invested so much to learn how to manage  business. A look at the student loan for learning MBA and such courses would be a testimony of this ‘human irrationality’.

Few weeks back, me and my colleagie Gobinda Roy attended a student’s meet at IIFT-Calcutta. I asked very bright MBA students there at a high risk premium :

The greatest irony of MBA course is that we are taught  Cost-Benefit Analysis at the middle of the Course and not when we are holding a pen in hand to sign the fee which is a king’s ransom.

There was a very suggestive look and nood from the students. Many have work experience and many have a student loan.

Then I concluded :

If you are interested to learn how to do and manage business, do it. A piece of paper does not guarantee your learning or ability. It is simply a peer-review process. The danger is that sooner or later most will have the piece of paper called MBA degree and then you are a commodity. As soon as business is not as usual it was in the roaring nineties, the bubble may burst.

MBA – I wrote in my Business Autobiography, being an MBA myself – Men Becoming Ass.

How to win projects in Freelance Marketplace ?

I had a webinar on the same theme done at proz.com recently and while reviewing, I would summarize them briefly

1. Bidding is a troublesome and risky buisness for a outsourcer and a strenous affair for Freelancer

2. The best bid is to make the outsourcer addicted to your services so that he does not go to bidding place again ( because its troublesome and risky)

3. Repeat this for all the bids you make.

You have so much work at hand that you need not bid for a long time !

This fulfills, most-perfectly the very fundamental need to go to a bidding place : To get good business 🙂

The Social Networking Noise and Marketing your services as a Freelancer

While teaching Freelance Translators as how they can market their services, social networking was something which could not be ignored. Now, is it inherently valuable which could not be ignored ?

Imagine talking over a mobile phone in a crowded marketplace with huge noise in the background. The noise makes the message difficult to send over. This is a crude example of physcial noise.

Now imagine trying to send your message to the social networking space. It’s noisy – not physcial and I would call this sonetoise – noise in the social networking space. It’s not physcial, neither audible and subtler. Just like I can see your body but not mind/intelligence/ego but I am well aware that these things exist – You think, you discrimiate and you have an identity.

Marketers in gross medium knew the art of speaking louder than noise. They hired the best billboards, most airspace, more TV time and so on. It is their art that has made our cities look like as they are. In short : they knew how to beat noise because competitors are also using the same medium and same strategy. Hence, the high cost marketing tools were those that could make louder noise !

The  social media’s noise or sonetoise has its origin in the media itself – mind, intelligence and ego and then the legacy – of working in grossest physcial noise.

How many noise-fighters in gross-space become successful in fighting sonetoise ?  None.

Marketing  in sonetoise space is subtler and the skills of noise-space would not work here.

In marketing, we see a consistent pattern of disruption. This disruption is natural as the gross / subtle component vary in proportion.

Social Media is current version of a radical break in disproportionate trend towards the subtler level – dealing with mind, intelligence and ego. Using these elements only, it is very difficult to be heard (to market) in the sonetoise.

Then  what is the solution ?

Disruptive : Going beyond gross and subtle. Finding something that is beyond mind, intelligence and ego

Continuous : Refining the mind, intelligence and ego

Examples of this  disruptive marketing is the initial growth and market capture of all major revealed religions and scriptures. The message of true Masters were above the gross and subtle levels. They spoke on a level which goes beyond these  both noises – gross and subtle.

In case of non-disruptive marketing in social media, we find those blogs, those posts which appear to be of ‘value’ to us. These are heard. But there is a tension and hence the need to change perpetually. Hence Change Management

The whole tension of contemporary marketing is the changeover that we have brought to pass between noise and sonetoise.