2007 – Nine Things Learned This Year

GoodBye 2007 - Hello 20082008 is almost there! Usually at the end of every year I take some time to just make a list of things I did during that year, stuff I’m proud of, accomplishments and goals for the next year. Well in fact I do that on a monthly basis, I write things down and then take all this and compile it into one ‘master‘ list and then make another list with stuff I learned and things I want to learn/study and achieve in the next year.

#1 – I Learned To Say No

I’m a very happy guy, always smiling and willing to help people and I have a hard time saying ‘no‘, especially to friends and family. Well I learned to say no the hard way this year. A friend of mine (not a close friend) hired me to do a project for him, and guess what… lost a friend.

I learned to say no, and to make sure a I always have a contract or written agreement, even for friends and family.

#2 – Higher Rates Don’t Mean Less Clients

I gave myself a raise, which I should’ve done a long time ago. Not much, but $50 here and there can make a huge difference in a budget. I didn’t wanted to raise my prices afraid I would lose clients, but the thing is I made more money this year than I did in 2006, not working more hours, just different hours. Which brings me to #3.

#3 – Time Management – Scheduling

I write, blog, design and play guitar in a heavy act. I spend a lot of time in the recording studio to work on our album, needless to say I had to learn to manage my time. Working on this album is not making me much money right now (it’ll hopefully once its out), so gotta make a living, designing and writing.

Between 15 and 30 hours at the studio per week, an hour and a half in traffic everytime I go there, plus freelance work, managing blogs and writing. That’s easily 65-80 hours a week, and I still get 7 hours sleep every night. I love what I do, but I’m sure I would not enjoy it as much if I was struggling with time.

Thanks to Your 30 Hour Day (by Freelance Folder’s productivity guru Dave Navarro) and to iCal I’m still sane (I think) :)

#4 – 50% Upfront

Unless I do projects for regular clients of mine and I know they pay on time and are fun to work with, I now ask for %50 upfront. You just need to get f*&$’d once to learn…

#5 – Gotta Make Friends In The Biz

That is something I learned when I started blogging in January-February 07. You won’t go really far if you rely only on your skills, your knowledge and a small contact list. You have to go out, network and meet like-minded people, make friends. Blogging allows to do just that, make friends. I started blogging more as an experiment than anything else, and I’ve been enjoying it every step of the way. It helps develop your brand and get your name out there, and you get to develop your writing skills.

#6 – Back-up OFTEN!

About 8 months ago I was working on a project and had about 25-30GB of videos sitting on my desktop just waiting for me to edit, and when selecting an image I wanted to delete on my desktop, I accidentally selected the video folder, hit delete, then emptied the trash… bye bye video files.

It took me 3 days to realize I actually deleted that folder. I though it was ‘somewhere else‘ on my comp or on an external hard-drive… nope. And unfortunately that 30GB of video was the only copy we had.

The kind of situation where you want to bang your head on the wall, but you can’t cause you’re on the phone trying to explain what happened.

Always back things up!!

#7 – Take Time Off – Go For A Walk

That is just common sense, we all need to take some time off to recharge those batteries. When I feel stuck, uninspired and not creative there’s nothing like going for a walk, go hiking or just go out for a drink.

Spending time with your loved ones is very important too. Work will still be there tomorrow if you take the evening off to go see a movie with your spouse. Just do it, feels great. And do it often.

#8 – Not Too Many Projects At The Same Time

I’m not a superhero and I cannot handle 27 projects at the same time. I just can’t. If I accept too many projects I know the quality will suffer and I don’t want that.

#9 – Last But Not Least – Say ‘Thank You‘ More Often

We started this blog in July 07, and I’m so happy with the results we got so far, the connections and friends I made, it’s been awesome! :)

I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone that contributed to Freelance Folder since the begining:

Dave Navarro
Steven Snell
Armen Thomassian
Anthony Baggett
Ritu B Pant
Naomi Dunford
Amrit Hallan
Ryan Imel
Allen Taylor (aka Old Man)
Lewis Green
Jonathan Bostrom
Tiffany Sanders
Mari-Lyn Hudson
David Williams
Dave Origano
Chris Garrett
Carolyn Manning
Goldy (site offline)
Chad Tabary (site offline)

And also a huge thanks to all of you who read our posts and take the time to leave comments, you rock! :D

Take care