For most people making their way in the freelancing world, the important part of their title is the word “free.” No longer will they have bosses breathing down their necks (except for the clients)! No longer will they be told what to do (except by the clients)!
No longer will they rely on someone else for their income (except for their reliance on clients)! Joking aside, there are plenty of areas where freelancers choose their own adventure without any input from the clients. Here are a few areas that become a question for many in the field.
Laptop or Desktop?
Laptops provide the freedom of mobility, providing access to important work files from anywhere they can log into the Internet. Thanks to mobile web cards and data plans, most locations now provide that access. It’s also easier to give presentations for any clients you meet with in-person. However, laptops are more expensive and less powerful.
Desktops, on the other hand, can cost about half as much and provide better specs. A consistent workstation can be valuable for freelancers who want to feel that their home office is really a home office. However, these bulky little behemoths can’t be lugged around, limiting your workspace and travel options.
What do you prefer? Laptops? Desktops? Or both?
Webmail or a Desktop Client?
Webmail is taking over the world of freelancing. With good email hosting, you can store all your files and messages in a server that you can access from practically anywhere on the globe. Collaboration, filters, integrated calendars, and more all make webmail a very attractive option.
But desktop clients often provide a more thorough organization alternative with fewer distractions. Additionally, it’s easier for most groups to setup a professional email address (@domainname.com) with a desktop client.
Do you go for the less professional but more accessible webmail? Do you use a highly organized desktop client? Or have you invested in professional email hosting that allows you to do both?
Virtual Contact or In-Person?
The modern era allows us to work extensively with clients and collaborators without ever having to meet or see them. Many freelancers never even see a picture of the people who write their checks. Other tools, like Skype, allow for video conferencing that still negates the need to be physically present. Certainly, this saves some time, money, and effort.
But meeting clients in person allows freelancers to make effective presentations, establish a more thorough relationship, and often results in an excuse to eat out for lunch. Some loyalists insist that, despite the savings of virtual contact, a personal touch is vital to real business success.
Are you clueless as to what your clients even look like? Can you actually tell us how firm a handshake they really have? Or do you do some combination?
These varied questions are the sort that freelancers have to answer for themselves. While each method will have its advantages, there really isn’t a “correct solution” that all freelancers should choose. Rather, we must all pick our own path and deal with the consequences (good and bad) that it brings.
Jessy is a former freelancer and business blogger.