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James Rutherford

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Tag: freelancer

Rob Lavender presented a spread of tools- some free, some commercial, that would be useful in a freelancer’s workflow.

Invoice Management

Bamboo Invoice – invoicing management tool built on CodeIgniter.

Commercial / hosted options:

CannyBill

FreshBooks

LessAccounting

iComptroller

Productivity

Rob introduced an organisational methodology called Getting Things Done (GTD) which aims to externalise the processes that some keep in the mind to make them more efficient. Tasks are pushed into a cycle: Collect / Process / Organize / Review / Do.

iGTD – Mac / free

Things – Mac / commercial

Tracks

Gtdify

Evernote – scrapbook / organiser

Remember the Milk – to do list

ActiveInbox – a Gmail plug-in to organise in a GTD way

43 folders – tips for life/career management

Project Management / Collaboration

Basecamp

Collabtive

Other 37 signals tools

Google Apps – business email / docs / sites / calendar / wave

Source Control

ProjectLocker – SVN / GIT hosting

Unfuddle – SVN / GIT hosting

Dreamhost - SVN is available inclusive with the hosting

Other Resources

Lifehacker – Productivity tips

1DayLater – Time Tracking software

opensourceCMS – sandboxed open source software for you to try out before you install.

Top 20 project management tools article.

Less Everything – assorted tools

Klok – time management tool (audience suggestion)

Resources

@robertlavender, Lavender Web Design

Rob’s slides:

Laura offered tips for putting together a solid CV for a recruiter from her experience running Altitude Recruitment (@altitudetweet).

Objectives

Be clear about what you want to achieve. Select your potential clients and target them with a personal application; talk about how your work and skills would enhance their service.

Only approach a few at a time, so that you can keep track of the responses.

Structure

Organise your CV chronologically. If you’re CV is skill based then it looks like you have something to hide.

Two pages is best, but this isn’t fixed. As long as it’s all relevant, it’ll be fine.

Include a Work/Experience section. This should list:

  • Your employer’s name, your position, some detail about the work they do.
  • Your responsibilities, e.g. planning, analysis, design, implementation, testing.
  • The architecture; systems and software.
  • Whether the projects were completed on time and to budget.
  • Any staff you managed (if relevant).
  • New techniques, procedures and practices you brought.
  • How you reduced time and money/increased revenue.
  • Any achievements that benefitted your employer.

You should include acronyms where appropriate. Some recruiters search CVs with keywords.

Your Portfolio section:

  • Sould include a link to a professional-looking portfolio site.
    • if you can’t build your own, take a look at: Behance Network, Coroflot, Carbonmade, WordPress).
    • or enlist the help of another freelancer to build it!
    • Keep your site professional- any personal stuff will be read and may give a bad impression.
    • Keep it up to date.
    • Give some cursory thought to SEO- work may come your way via your online portfoilio.
  • Ensure you have client approval for anything you present (don’t fall foul of an NDA).
  • Give information about how you work- timesheets, billing arrangement, etc. to give people a rounded view of your service.
  • Six Revisions has some good information.

Include a references and testimonials section. You should request content for this from your satisfied clients- it’s invaluable on your CV.

General Tips

No point including a personal statement on a CV for a recruiter. Possibly on a CV for a full-time job, if you have something ground-breaking to convey!

It isn’t worth including a personal photograph. These tend to be binned.

Don’t forget your name/address/email/telephone number… (Sounds obvious, but apparently isn’t!)

Working with a Recruiter

Be open about who you’ve approached already and ask who your details will be passed on to.

Feel welcome to ask advice on your presentation / cv / interview technique.

Expect to negotiate your fee.

Make sure you invoice and send your timesheets in good time. In return, the recruiter will look after payments and do chasing if required.

References

@lauramaddison

Laura’s slides:

We returned to Newcastle University’s Culture Lab for June’s event, which had a ‘freelancing’ theme.

The talks explored how to shape a CV, tools to help freelance workflow and possible methods for passive, secondary income.

Paul Easton, on Journalists

Before the scheduled speakers, Paul Easton gave a short talk to encourage freelancers to engage with offline media journalists.

Journalists are always on the lookout for good stories, particularly if you can provide a radical opinion, local or topical item. If you can offer exclusivity, then they’ll be even keener!

If you’re writing a press release, keep it punchy and don’t swamp it in adjectives- that’ll be easier for a journalist to use.

You should try to supply a good, relevant and high-quality photograph – these can carry a story and seriously increase your article size.

Most journalists are very approachable, so don’t feel intimidated.

When questioned, Paul suggested steering clear of advertorial- it’s often very obvious and a lack of authenticity won’t do you any favours.

General Admin

Paul mentioned that offices were available at Hoults Yard. He gave an example outlay of £300/month.

Those interested in a Ruby User Group should get in contact with Lee Irving (@magpieuk)

Other Talks

Detailed write-ups of the other talks will appear here over the next couple of days.

Further References

Phil Sherry has published a clear and concise report.