Social Media: Finding the Balance Between a Waste of Time and Necessary Networking

Ah yes, the all too constant struggle of networking with social media. It’s one of those necessary evils that everyone, from job seekers to freelancers to name brand companies, have to rethink constantly. This is why it is one of the most commonly discussed topics across multiple industries. We all know just how important social media is, and most of us continue to struggle between making it a successful marketing avenue and a waste of time.

As a freelancer who has struggled with wasting hours on social media and completely ignoring it for a month (or more) at a time, I have learned a few ways to help me narrow this gap between the two extremes. Now, have learned how to better focus my efforts with social media. It’s still not perfect, but I am on the road to tightening down my efforts and am already seeing results. And for those of you social media skeptics, even when I was only flailing along with social media, I gained enough clients through my exposure via Twitter and Google+ that I haven’t had to search for clients since I became active in several social platforms.

If you are a business owner, freelancer, or even an individual simply looking to build up a strong network in your search for a career, you may find the following tips to help you better take advantage of the benefits that social media has to offer. Hopefully, some of the resources below will help you greatly reduce the time-suck trap many fall into with social media. Use your own experience in combination with these tips, and like me you may find clients knocking down your proverbial door.

So, take a look at the following 10 tips and resources and get ready to re-adjust your social networking plan into one that will waste less time and build more positive results for you and your business ventures.

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Should I Charge for That? Don’t Forget About These 7 Crucial Project Tasks

The client snarled, “there’s no way I’m paying extra for that.” He was referring to the time I would need to research his rather complicated project.

Have you ever been challenged by a client for including certain tasks on your invoice?

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Pricing services is one of the most difficult tasks most freelance web designers face. Not only are there many different schools of thought on how to price web design services, clients sometimes fuss about work we bill them for.

Most freelancer web designers realize that they shouldn’t work for free or on spec. But many have questions about what activities they should bill to clients.

In this post, I list seven common project-related tasks that clients often question. For each task, I discuss whether a freelancer should bill the client.

If you liked this post, you may also like 12 Realities of Pricing Design Services or 5 Tips for Handling Pricing Objections.

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30+ Yummy Dessert and Candy Website Designs

There’s nothing like looking at pictures of candy or desserts to get the mouth watering. For designers, viewing creative designs can have a very similar affect! Sometimes just even the sight of a unique font or clever use of texture can cause a creative mind to start “watering” with ideas.

The following list of websites are all dessert, bakery, or candy websites – and all are designs that have more than a few inspiring aspects. A few are amazingly easy to navigate along with a clever design. Others have a beautiful home page, while some are creatively interactive. A few contain photography too brilliant to pass up. Some of the best below will get both your saliva and creative juices flowing, so you may want to have your favorite treat to munch on as well as a pen and paper handy for phenomenal design ideas that appear due to inspiration.

Be sure to share which are your favorites or even those you think are not worthy of inclusion in this collection. If you have a favorite dessert or candy website design that’s not included in this list, tell us about it!

Wonka: Feed Your Imagination

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13 New Social Tools for Your Web Design Business

Is bigger always better?

Nearly every web designer knows about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. And it’s not a bad idea to have a presence on those sites.
woman in office pointing at plasma panel with social media

When it comes to social networks, the newest players are smaller and more exclusive. Some are invitation only. Others are niched–available only to members of a specified group. Most of them are mobile-friendly. They may even leverage other social media platforms.

Today’s new social media sites may become the giants of tomorrow. Witness the rise of Pinterest. For that reason alone, it’s worth checking these new tools out. But I think that you’ll agree with me that your web design business will benefit right now from the use of some of these tools.

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8 Awkward Questions Freelance Web Designers and Other Freelancers Face

We freelancers sometimes get asked the oddest things. Some of the questions are odd, and some are awkward to answer. You have to wonder what people are thinking.

The sad truth is that a lot of people don’t think. So, they blurt out awkward questions and leave us to respond.
young blond woman surprised expression close up shoot

In fact, it seems like I get odd and awkward questions nearly every week. You probably do too.

In this post, I’ll share some of those awkward questions with you. At the end of the post, feel free to share the odd things you’ve been asked, along with your response.

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Technical Details to Consider Before Starting a Membership Website

Membership websites are often considered one of the best approaches for making money online. The recurring revenue generated by a successful membership website is an obvious reason that these sites are so desirable, but the truth is that running a membership website is not easy. Many customers are hesitant to sign up for on-going payments, so you’ll need to offer something that makes the recurring fee a worthwhile expense for your members. And in order to keep members you’ll need to work to add new, and valuable, content on a regular basis.

While getting and keeping members is certainly a challenges, it’s the technical aspects of setting up a membership site that present the biggest problems for most entrepreneurs who are looking to go this route.

A membership website needs to be able to do a few key things:

  • Allow new members to sign up
  • Process payments at the time of sign up and any recurring payments
  • Integrate the member accounts with the appropriate payments
  • Restrict access to protected content for anyone other than active logged in members
  • Provide active logged in members with the appropriate access to protected content

There are obviously other functions as well, but these are the basics. So if you want to start a membership website, how do you go about getting this set up? Of course, you could use a custom solution, but that would be very costly and/or time consuming. For the vast majority of people setting up membership websites the best option is to use an existing script or plugin that provides all of the needed functionality.

Finding the right option to power your membership website can be a challenge, but the good news is that there are more quality options than there were just a few years ago. Here are some of the leading options:

aMember Pro – aMember is a powerful, feature-rich solution that can integrate with a wide variety of content management systems. It’s probably the most popular option, in large part because it can be used with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, phpBB, vBulletin, and much more. The down side of aMember is that it can be a little complicated to set up and it can be much more than is needed for some projects. The current cost for aMember is $179.95 for lifetime access with 6 months of free updates.

aMember

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Limited-Time Holiday Offer: Save $30 on a Vandelay Premier Subscription

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Do you want to make more money from your business and save time while doing so? You can do this by purchasing pre-made, professional resources that can be customized to fit the needs of your business. Vandelay Premier offers a wide variety of such resources that can save you time and increase your efficiency including pre-made graphics, html templates, and even legal forms and business documents. While all Premier files are available as one-time purchases, more often than not, a Vandelay Premier subscription–which gives members unlimited access to our entire library of high-quality resources–ends up being a better bargain for most. And this holiday season, you can get an even better deal on Vandelay Premier. Right now, save $30 on an annual subscription to Vandelay Premier. So you can enjoy the entire Vandelay library for a full year for as little as $49.

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How to Handle Your Unhappy Client in 5 Easy Steps

Most freelance web designers dread the unhappy client. Yet, eventually most of us will have to face one. Maybe that’s why there are so many posts out there about bad clients.

After all of your hard work and attempts to meet your client’s demands, the last thing you want to hear is that the client isn’t happy with the fruit of your hard work. You may even fear that the client won’t pay you.

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Is there anything you can do about an unhappy client?

Yes, as a matter of fact, there are some steps you should take when your client is unhappy. In this post, I share five steps that you can go through to find out whether you can “fix” your relationship with an unhappy client.

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Basic Accounting Tips for Freelance Web Designers

How do you feel about accounting? How much do you even know about what kind of accounting records you need to keep?

If you’re like most web designers, Bookkeeping isn’t your favorite part of freelancing. But keeping accurate records is an important part of running a business.

It’s so important, in fact, that keeping good accounting records sometimes means the difference between freelancing success and freelancing failure.

A large amount of bills spread all over the place

Taxes are another reason why you need to keep good accounting records. If your records are sloppy, tax time will be a nightmare. (And you could wind up owing a lot of money.)

In this post, I share basic tips that freelance web designers and other freelancers should know about accounting. I also list five accounting packages to help web designers organize their bookkeeping tasks.

(Note: This post should not be considered specific accounting advice. The post is based on common United States accounting practices. If you have a specific accounting question about your own freelancing business, be sure to contact an accounting professional.)

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