Update on Freelancing

I’m in my sixth week of freelancing now and I feel like I’m off to a good start. (If you missed my career shift, see Why I Freelance Now for more details.) Here is a brief update.

What I’m doing: I am a freelance Web Producer and Technical Writer. As such, I advise on web strategy, collaborate on content, and manage development projects. I’m also creating technical documentation, including functional requirements specifications and user guides, for IT infrastructure and web projects.

Where I found clients: Networking. Most of the work I’m doing is with people I already knew and, in many cases, worked with in previous full-time jobs. It’s true what they say: Don’t burn your bridges- you never know when you may meet up again.

What I like most: The projects (I pick them!) and flexibility. Sure, there are deadlines. I can’t slack by any means. However, if I’m having trouble wrapping my thoughts around the task at hand, I can walk away, then return with a fresh perspective. I’m able to shift my schedule as needed (within reason). On the days I work from home, I sometimes work shorter hours during the day and pick up later in the evening.

What I like least: Travel time. I have clients in multiple states that I must visit face-to-face regularly. This is balanced out by my ability to work from home on other days. Tied for least: HR stuff. I’m still looking for a good accountant and health insurance. COBRA isn’t cheap.

Biggest reward: Realizing I can do this. It was scary to go from a full-time job to freelance. After all, I’m in charge now, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

My advice to others: If you want to make the switch to freelancing, plan ahead. Research the legalities. Talk to lots of people. You may find great advice, recommendations, and possibly even work where you least expect it.

Am I happy: Yes! I love what I’m doing and I’m meeting great people.

How Far We’ve Come

My friend sent me a link today to an interview she did on the news in her state. She eloquently, not to mention stylishly, spoke about her company’s offerings and their latest web efforts and e-newsletters, for which she has played a major role. It made me think, my, how far we’ve come.

There are times when I feel a little lackluster about things, but lately I’ve realized I’m doing alright. I’m currently successfully living my dream of freelancing; I’ve booked the vacation I’ve wanted to take since I was little; and I’m living in a quiet neighborhood conveniently located between Philadelphia and New York City. Not too shabby.

I encourage you to take a moment to really look at all you’ve accomplished. Realize that you, too, are probably doing better than you thought.

Life After Web on Twitter

If you’re visiting my blog right now, as opposed to reading through an RSS feeder (and thank you to all readers, regardless of venue!), you’ll notice a new addition to my sidebar: Life After Web on Twitter.

As with all of my web toys, I joined Twitter merely to learn more about it- how it works, how a user interacts with it, how updates are broadcast, how other people and businesses are using it. I didn’t “tweet” very much initially, but I’m still trying it here and there.

While writing my last post, How many places do I need on the web, I thought why not add my Twitter feed to my blog? If you’re interested, check it out. You can also visit Life After Web on Twitter and subscribe to follow it at twitter.com/lifeafterweb.

Also, I’m always interested in hearing how others are using Twitter. If you have any ideas or unique usages, please leave a comment.

How many places do I need on the web?

I have this blog, a website, a lightly used Twitter account, and a LinkedIn profile. I have accounts on Technorati, BlogHer, Delicious, Boxes and Arrows, and who even remembers where else. Most of the time, I forget about the ones I’ve just listed.

I tried Second Life to see what the buzz was about, but found dressing my avatar and changing hairstyles far more appealing than conversing with any scantily clad habitants or, um, Darth Vadar. I’ve been invited to join MySpace and politely declined (ok, ignored) the offers. I’ve received two invitations to Facebook in the last month.

I even went so far as to search names to see how many other people I might know on Facebook. (A few. Truth be told, I’m more into computers and the internet than most of my friends.) I’ll probably start an account, if for no other reason, to learn about it firsthand. After all, as a web producer, I ought to be familiar with these things. Why haven’t I done it yet? There are just so many accounts to keep track of and update. While my family will groan I spend too much time on the computer, I have activities out there in the real world that need attention, too.

With so many social networking sites and everyone else adding login-required features, how many accounts is enough? Is it even socially acceptable to be offline? When I’m away from my computer, I can’t help but think about the blog posts that need to be written, the emails that are accumulating with more work, the Twitter account which sits awaiting an update for no other reason than to make myself feel like I’m keeping up.

I love the web and I love all the tools out there. I will always be looking for the usefulness of the latest trends. I will always tinker around to see how things work or how I (or my clients) can make use of them.

As for Facebook, I know it’s popularity has probably already peaked, but don’t rule out a fashionably late appearance from me. Anything can happen. (Except for MySpace. I’m still avoiding that one like the plague.)