Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid

Freelance pricing guide
I try to keep this blog from being too self promotional...but I'm a businessman and ya gotta do what ya gotta do. So, I'm happy to announce that my first book for freelancers has just been published: The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid.

This freelance pricing guide covers a wide range of pricing and estimating strategies, including different formats in which to present your bid (and the #1 most persuasive strategy to get clients to buy without haggling on price); why you should never discount your price as a first step in negotiating, and what you should do instead; eight reasons to increase your prices—and four ways to do it without client pushback; and much more to negotiate better and to price your freelance services more profitably.

 You can find out more about this freelance pricing guide on my book publishing website, More Cowbell Books, or go straight to Amazon, where it's available in paperback and Kindle versions. Any blog links, tweets, Facebook or Google+ posts are much appreciated! And if you have specific questions pertaining to freelance pricing, head over to my Dr. Freelance freelancing advice blog any time and drop me a note.

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Hey Jake, It's Okie"

I can't believe I'm never again going to pick up my phone and hear the words, "Hey Jake, it's Okie."

Rowing has been a part of my life since my senior year of high school in the fall of '84, those long, skinny shells connecting me to the water in a way that I never had before. Then, during college and when the boats started to go faster and with more success, crew connected me to friends in a way that I never had before. Once again, in the 2000s when Tempe Town Lake sprung up in the middle of the Phoenix metro desert, coaching got me back in the sport, and enabled me to understand motivation and how people learn in a way that I never had before.

Joe "Okie" O'Connor was the person who has kept me in the game during that last stretch. For several years on his coaching staff and putting on regattas, I got an education in leading by example. No one I've ever known worked harder in order that other people could grow, challenge themselves, and have fun. Quite often, "Hey Jake, it's Okie" meant that I was going to be busting my butt for a few hours and coming home filthy and/or exhausted. And I wouldn't trade those memories—dropping and pulling buoys, moving docks, rescuing abandoned shells, interminable meetings—for the world.

During this sad, awful week, there are a million tales being told about Okie and what he meant to each of us. But indulge me to share just one more, because it has nothing to do with rowing or the lake, and everything to do with who Okie was.

At our family's annual holiday party a few years back, we had shoveled our two dogs Baloo (age 11) and Bagheera (a puppy) into the garage to keep them out of trouble. At some point, Baloo escaped into the party. And at some point, someone tapped me on the shoulder to let me know the old boy had fallen over on his side and was having a seizure on the kitchen floor.

It wasn't the first time this had happened in his later years, but I could tell the situation wasn't good. Someone brought out his bed. Okie was one of the people who lifted 90-pound Baloo gently onto it, then grabbed one of the four corners of the bed so we could carry him into the bedroom and away from the din of the crowd.

Crouched down on the bedroom floor as if he were comforting his own dog, Okie held one of Baloo's big paws in his hand, and turned to me. "His paws are really cold, Jake," he said. "Do you have a blanket? I think I'd want a blanket if I were him." The next morning, Okie called to check how he was doing. (Made it through the night, though not to New Year's Day.)

So, I have to believe Baloo was there alongside St. Pete to greet you, Okie. God's got his hands full with you, but I'm sure you'll straighten him out right quick. And I'm keeping your number in my phone, because I simply refuse to acknowledge that you're not going to "Hey Jake" me for just one more exhausting, exhilarating day down on the lake.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Testing, testing, 1-2-3

Having some serious frustration with search engine issues. So, here are a couple of testing examples to see if I can spark some action.

Basically, it seems like Google is crawling my site, but the most recent cache in search results is a few weeks ago. Because Blogger is a Google property, I thought maybe by posting something here, I could get some juice. For example, when I Google Plus my blog posts, they show up in those results. 


If there's some SEO genius out there who has some ideas, I'm all ears. Please comment or contact me through my Dr. Freelance contact page. Here goes nothin'.

Some of my recent posts at Dr. Freelance have included:

 Can't believe it's been nearly 2 years since I posted anything here. Time flies...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In praise of Verizon

I resisted getting our two teenagers cell phones for as long as possible, before finally relenting a few months back. I pretty quickly regretted my decision when I received a Verizon bill for several hundred dollars for going over the limit on texts. Yeah, call me Naive Dad, Poor Dad.

But there was a catch — in previous months, when they'd exceeded the allotted number, I'd received a warning from Verizon so I could tell the kids to cool it. This time, the bill came through without a peep.

I called customer service to plead my case. The first person I spoke to offered a 50% discount. Thanks, but no thanks. Moreover, she basically blamed me for not keeping track of the account usage, and said the warnings were at Verizon's option. I asked to speak to a supervisor, but she was at lunch, so she would call me back later. She didn't.

A few days later, I called and pleaded my case to a different rep. This guy repeated the same 50% offer, which I declined, but also took the extra step to inform me of a better plan for our usage pattern. I signed up immediately. Again, no supervisor was available, but someone would call me back.

And again, no callback came. So, this weekend I made one final call and finally hit paydirt:
  • The rep, Pam, heard me out without interruption or a guilt trip.
  • She agreed that the situation was not right.
  • She apologized that I had received poor customer service from previous reps.
  • She immediately put me on the line with a supervisor.
The conversation with Vonda the supervisor lasted about 2 minutes. I gave her the Reader's Digest version, she was profusely apologetic, and credited my account as I'd been requesting since Call #1. I thanked her and let her know that she had renewed my faith as a longtime and loyal Verizon customer.

Was I disappointed that it took so long to resolve my issue? Sure. But I'm a cheap SOB and nothing if not persistent when it comes to a couple hundred bucks! The customer service lesson in here is a familiar one: Ask the person what he or she wants, and solve the problem on the first call if you can.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Embrace your inner honey badger

The following video is 100% utterly not safe for work (NSFW), so don't say I didn't warn ya. But amongst the rough language and ewww-disgusting imagery...well, there are a few lessons for freelancers, just as there were in the analogy of "I am MacGyver." I say, embrace your inner honey badger!

Freelancing isn't risk free — it's some pretty rough terrain on which to stake your livelihood. So what's the takeaway from the wacky antics of this lovable little creature?
  • Sometimes, you've got to be a bad***, whether it's chasing away jackals or digging into a bee's nest.
  • Once in a while, you're going to do all the digging, and some other creature will benefit unfairly from the fruits of your labors. "Thanks for the web content, Stupid!"
  • You need to have broad shoulders, and thick skin helps, too.
  • Don't give a s*** about being bitten by the occasional cobra. Take a nap and get back to work.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where can I find high paying writing freelance jobs?

I usually refrain from promoting my Dr. Freelance entries here, but I'm making an exception for a guest poster, All Freelance Writing's Jennifer Mattern: "Where can I find high paying freelance writing jobs?"

Her sage advice applies not only to freelancers who focus on writing and editing, but any creative field, as well as entrepreneurs of any stripe. If you hope to find gigs that pay well, you need to go beyond the publicly available listings of what's available out there — and Jenn's provided some excellent, practical thoughts on exactly how to do that.