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Have you received any business inquiries, offers, or questions from colleagues over an instant messenger recently? If you’re like most freelancers, you certainly did. Instant messaging (IM) is booming in work-related communications, and it’s not going away, quite the opposite. Nowadays, voice and video messages are trending. The rise of IM is raising some serious security concerns, though. These messages can be easily tracked and analyzed in-house by the platform provider, and often are, for various reasons. You may not be aware of it, but Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, Skype, even Viber and Telegram, all have security issues. There’s no perfect and 100% safe solution, but if you consult the Secure Messaging Apps Comparison website, some instant messengers are much safer than others (Signal, to name just the one we use in our team). The site hasn’t been updated for a while, so take it a mere introduction to the subject. A good practice would perhaps be to keep on using any general IM for non-confidential chats but switching to a safer channel with your clients and teams.
Good backup software should be secure, reliable, fast, affordable, automated, and continuous. For freelancers, CrashPlan For Small Business is arguably the best choice, offering unlimited cloud storage and encrypted HDD backups for $10 per month per computer. (We've been using CrashPlan in our team for years, and we love it.)
The BBC article Creating an online course 'changed my life' by Susie Bearne explains how independent professionals can benefit from creating online courses. It opens with the story of Lucy Gough, a London-based interior stylist, who pivoted her business during the coronavirus crisis to create a successful online interior styling course available worldwide through Thinkific. “Thanks to the pandemic, e-learning platforms are experiencing an unprecedented demand,” writes the author, also pointing out some risks from hard-to-cancel course trials to scam websites. However, it ends on a bright note mentioning another brilliant professional. Vienna-based Leila Gharani has been selling her top-rated Excel courses through Udemy since 2016 with 6-figure earnings and added 10,400 new bookings in April only. While creating an online course as an asset may be a nice side income for most freelancers, in some cases it can obviously be a game-changer turning their business into a global one.
The UK’s Freelancer Club is a shining example of a freelance platform that doesn’t take commissions from its members or their customers, but instead asks freelancers for a membership fee straight away. They offer membership plans from 0 to £20/month (£240/year if billed monthly) and are currently helping 40,000 creative professionals in growing their business as well as finding new jobs and clients. Jon Younger praised the club in his recent Forbes article Meet The Freelancers Club: A Pioneer Helping Freelancers Grow Successful Careers, quoting its CEO Matt Dowling: “The freelancer, not the site, ‘owns’ the client relationship. We’re not a marketplace in the traditional sense – we don’t hold money on the site, or take commission, and our involvement ends when we introduce the company to the freelancer.” Amen to that.
Creators of Basecamp are launching a new email service called HEY. In some aspects, it is revolutionary, highly innovative in others. They have reworked an email client from the ground up for the 2020s by adding a white-listing Screener for all new senders, redesigning inbox as Imbox (“im-” for important), streamlining replies to emails marked as “Reply Later,” reading newsletters as a continuous newsfeed, protecting privacy by blocking spy pixels, adding personal notes and clips, sending files of any size, and much, much more. The service comes with a free 14-day trial and a flat price of $99/year for a @HEY.com address (excluding premium ones), and there are also plans to add custom domains in the future. Check out the How it works page or even better, watch an amazing walk-through video by HEY’s founder Jason Fried.
Get to know our first star member: Daniel Gladis is a renowned stock investor, best-selling author of two books about value investing, as well as the founder and a director of the Vltava Fund, a global equity investment fund.
By all standards, Marketing Examples is an incredibly useful resource for any freelancer, not to mention marketing professionals. As a directory of both classic and innovative marketing campaigns, it presents each example in a compact and accessible form, including visuals. Examples are carefully selected and sorted into categories like Viral, Content, Cold Email, Copywriting, Pricing, SEO, Sales, PPC, etc. You can also subscribe to a free weekly newsletter by the site’s curator and founder, Harry Dry.
Fortune explains why the Upwork CEO believes the pandemic will lead to more work with freelancers. As in any major economic downturn, there’s a surge in demand for freelance services, as well as the rising need of many freelancers to strengthen their marketing efforts.
What’s missing in the article, though, is that despite getting so much media attention, less than 1 % of the total U.S. workers go to online platforms like Uber, TaskRabbit, or Upwork to get work (according to Gig Economy Data Hub).
Crisis Directory is a crowdsourced global directory of COVID-19 crisis resources to support freelancers, the self-employed, gig-economy workers, etc., built by the team behind the Coworking Library to support coworking spaces and their members.
Live interview with Freelancing.eu founder Robert Vlach hosted by Nina English for her community of freelance English teachers covered a broad range of topics relevant to any freelance business. It also touched on some sensitive issues like the lack of financial self-management of many freelancers, or requesting feedback and recommendations from clients. The interview is available as a video or podcast.