Welcome to the The A to Z of Aussie Freelance Resources!
If you freelance and you are in Australia, here are a few things that’ll probably make your life easier. If you have any to suggest, by all means send them through!
Couple of notes:
- I have tried to be accurate with URL and description, however if I have got something wrong somewhere, do let me know this too! Any mistakes are not intentional.
- This list has been done voluntarily. I’ve tried to keep it relevant and helpful to Australia but not include places that are going to disappoint you by making you bid for jobs, work for peanuts or sell your soul. It may not be as big as Mashable’s Freelance List (which you should check out!) but it is useful.
- I am based in Sydney, so it is a bit Sydney centric- sorry. But please let me know what is awesome and helpful for you locally and I will be happy to include it!
- If you happen to have a fantastic or shit time using any of these services, please make sure you give that love or constructive criticism to the site in question. I am just the list provider, not your mum, and as such I accept no responsibility for sending a thank you card or bending their ear on your behalf.
The funny little number that helps you get paid when doing business.
Place to go to keep in the know about arts and also pick up the occasional freelance job. You need a paid membership though to access all content, including the jobs.
Nifty little tool to help you get organised, especially if you are working with people remotely. And it’s free until you get 30 people working with you. Yay!
Micro-grants of happiness for your special little side projects or innovative freelancer ideas. Sydney and Melbourne both have chapters so you can apply (super easily) for each month’s $1000 grant. Boo-yeah!
Australian Freelance Market Survey
Research conducted by Unashamedly Creative after finding that most reports were paid for, out of date or completely non-existent when it came to freelance life. This lead to me setting up a section for freelance life and starting the Freelance Jungle.
That sweet, sweet amber liquor that helps you get through a terrible day.
It’s like Groupon for office supplies and other crud we need.
A cheap, fun way to schedule your social media.
Creative Commons is an international non-profit organisation that provides free licences and tools that copyright owners can use to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally.
Creative Foyer is a place to go for short term and contract jobs in the creative industry. You do need to register to be able to see them (which is a pain in the neck) but they are legit and not going to ask you to work for the smell of an oily rag.
Here is a very simple, point and shoot online resume creator. Helps knock the socks off potential Australian employers and is also very cool if you are looking at doing some work in the USA, Canada or Europe.
Say goodbye to external back-up drives and say hello to uploading your stuff to cyber space. You can also share assets with people collaborating on projects and avoid jamming up people’s inboxes with huge files.
If you care about the environment, this is the place to go for green office supplies.
Make it super easy for a potential client to contact you- make sure you include info like your website, email and a contact phone number in your email signature as a minimum. There is nothing more frustrating for a super busy person to keep having to open email after email trying to find a way to contact you. You could also include stuff like your social media links, quote and anything else people might need.
Great site to go if you need to sell your soul back to day to day jobs but don’t want to work for any old pirate and plunderer. They also have the occasional contract and freelance job but it is mainly part time and full time.
Evernote is useful for capturing all the itty bitty important stuff in live real time from script ideas to client comments and everything in between.
Its true Facebook are being complete arse-hats to business sites now, including freelancers. They basically want us to cough up some cash and well, I’m yet to be convinced it will work for me so why would I advocate it for you? I do know this though- if you do anything related to community, marketing to mothers, want to reach anyone in marketing or want to paddle in the start-up pool, having a Facebook profile is a good idea.
From co-working to cool events, networking and general opportunities, The Fetch is pretty damn good. Only new and run by a chapter model, it’s nice and localised as well. Available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
They call it a micro business forum. It’s basically for people who fly solo in business. They have a fairly active Facebook and whilst lean a little more towards solo business ideas, there is some good info on their main site and potential to get some jobs from smaller operators.
Freelance Jungle is a tiny wee social club that has just started in Sydney once (approx) a month. Come and join us for a drink. You can also join us for a chat online via the Freelance Jungle Online Community in Facebook groups.
Google+ is fast becoming what Facebook was in the old days- the place to actually create the kind of community you want to have. Check out the range of communities you can join and start talking.
Suggested starting points include:
Clever Copywriting (formerly Australian Copywriters Forum)
Google Docs is a suite of products that lets you create different kinds of online documents, work on them in real time with other people, and store your documents and your other files — all online, and all for free. Other people swear by it, me personally I don’t like Google docs. But I didn’t like Gmail either so maybe I’m just a freak.
Very awesome blog that has all kinds of blogs, tips and fun for us freelance people. Is out of the USA so can be a bit Yank-centric but there is some really good content here so check it out.
Good old Gumtree is often a place to post your services or to find smallish jobs.
Helping you to schedule your social media is Hootsuite. You can run your Twitter, Facebook and a whole lot more from here. Ideal for scheduling, finding out who is mentioning you and also using add on features like Instagram and InboxQ (a keyword search thingie that lets you know people are talking about things that you might be able to help with). Certainly made my Twitter life easier!
Saving freelance sanity are hot desks at co-working spaces. There are a few hot desk places listed on the Fetch Coworking List. Good for getting out of your home office and having lunch with someone other than your pets.
As boring as it sounds, it is a good idea to get income insurance in case you have an accident and are left without the ability to work or if something happens. Remember, you don’t get sick pay.
Seriously, if you are a freelancer and a creative person, carrying a journal around with you wherever you go will help because ideas smack you in the head at the weirdest times. My choice is the A5 art diary as its bag friendly and great for sketching and writing.
Kllective is a collaborative hub for creative people to work on projects together and find work from other people that will be launching this year.
If you are looking to promote your business as one that offers barter through a supportive network, LETS is great. With chapters in the Hunter, Central Coast, Illawarra and Sydney, it’s a great place to barter for things when money is a little tight and to also get a bit of a name around town in local circles.
The Loop is a creative network with freelance jobs and a fun little freelancer blog.
Free awesome email sending thingie. Comes complete with readymade templates, is super easy to use and you can even capture emails directly from your WordPress with a plug in. Makes you look pretty schmick pretty fast.
Seems like a no brainer right? Wrong! Marketing yourself is important. You do need to do something towards having a presence online because people (including you!) find what they need through Google and other search engines more than anything else. So do yourself a favour- set yourself up with some kind of online presence, get your work together in a portfolio and make some business cards or fliers or something.
I know, I know, most of us would rather poke ourselves in the eye which rusty garden shears but the occasional bit of well chosen networking can be good for the soul. And for the client base.
All the stress relief you’ll ever need.
Another great place to go for freelance and project based jobs. Particularly good for finding any pro bono work via intern and volunteer placements.
A very visual form of social media, Pinterest really should be in your social media mix if you do video, photography, design of any kind, furniture building, fashion etc. If it’s pretty, you should be pinning it basically. Also, having a handle on Pinterest really really helps – especially if you have anything remotely to do with women.
PlanBig is an online community for putting up your big dreams and drawing on resources and other people to make them happen. It’s free- you post what your idea is, ask for help and off you go. I used it to successfully secure barter clients as a freelancer as well as for my survey call outs for the Sydney Music Survey.
Say goodbye to boring PowerPoint presentations and hello to snazzy Prezi! You can use all kinds of media to create a Prezi including video, music, pdf and more.
Doing the occasional bit of volunteer work is great, especially when you are first starting out as a freelancer. This way you can get the experience and case studies you need usually whilst helping not for profits, charities, community groups and/or arts organisations. Some great places to find volunteer and pro bono work situations are www.fbiradio.com/ and www.mycommunityconnect.com.au/
Always make sure you ask them at a client meeting and then send a summary email stating “as discussed” and state you won’t start work until you get a reply. Those questions will cover your arse, trust me.
Dandy little place to get freelance jobs and contract work in writing, journalism and PR.
You know, those funny little things you need to work out to charge a client? There used to be a nifty calculator, but it has since retired. One way to work out your rates though is to calculate your hourly costs and times it by 2.5.
So if it costs you $25 every hour to sit at your desk when you consider bills, resources, advertising, communication between jobs, equipment, tax, coffee and medication for your weekly nervous breakdown, you need to charge a minimum of $62.50 per hour.
Apparently. Maths and I haven’t been on speaking terms since year 8.
SEO is search engine optimisation. Basically, it’s about making sure that when people are looking for your kind of service in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines, you show up by choosing keywords and phrases. Good SEO is achieved through a combination of choosing the right words and making good use of them on your site or blog, tagging your site appropriately with Meta Tags and naming conventions, posting on a regular basis and the frequency in which people interact with your content.
Skype is a VoIP service (voice over internet protocol) that allows you to chat to other people and make voice calls for free nationally. Skype also has video features so is great for conducting meetings, workshops and consultations. You can call individual people or groups of people.
Slideshare is a library of presentations people and businesses have put together to share with others. This as a great place to put up free resources that you have created for the purpose of promoting yourself to new clients and a great place to go for some education.
Sourcebottle is super helpful if you are in journalism and PR or are a blogger. You can basically put up calls for sources for your articles on any topic you can think of and then people apply to be your source and get written up. They also have the occasional call out wanting to talk to freelancers, designers and so on. They post their jobs on Twitter so it’s great to follow them there.
Keeping you all tuned up is Stereo Mood- a free internet radio station that creates playlists based on mood. Saves you from having to pick the songs and is a great tool for discovering new artists you won’t hear on Spotify or commercial radio.
This has to be one of my favourite ways to “waste time” whilst actually achieving something. You can select certain topics or search via keywords and then hit Stumble and be randomly given content. If you ‘like’ it through Stumble Upon too it will refine the search for you and give you even better searches. Stumble Upon is great for research, inspiration, getting ideas and finding articles to put in your Twitter feed.
For anyone that has multiple WordPress/websites, Sucuri is great because it not only scans you site for Malware, viruses and dodgy people linking to you, it’s also fairly reasonable to get your sites cleaned and looked after.
Twitter is important for freelancers. Seriously- it is a way to connect up with other freelancers to find jobs, you can search for the word “freelance” and see jobs as people put them out and it also gives you the opportunity to talk to potential clients in cyberspace about what you are good at in a positive way. Think of it as free promotion, a really nice and easy version of networking and a way to get exposure to jobs as they happen all rolled into one.
Because it is damn fine working in them.
Vibewire is an innovative non-profit youth organisation providing media, arts and entrepreneurial opportunities and events for young people. They have residency desks, they put on breakfasts and workshops and generally help youth to get creative and businessy.
WeTeachMe is an online social community of everyday people who teach their passions and are interested in learning new things. So you can teach what you know to people (like copywriting, WordPress, composition, photography, Photoshop etc) and/or you can find courses that you need. The beauty of WeTeachMe is its people teaching people as opposed to formalised courses and schools, so the prices are lower, the class times are more flexible and you can find a few whacky things.
WordPress is a freelancers dream. Here you can build a really robust fully manageable customisation friendly blog to promote yourself with the aid of the WordPress software and your chosen template. There are 100’s of thousands of different templates to choose from too. WordPress is great because it gives you a proper presence without having to engage a web developer that you can update yourself. If you don’t have a WordPress or some kind of blog running, you seriously have no excuse. Stop being behind the eight ball and get one. They are awesome!
Wridea is a lovely little online portal for brainstorming and capturing your crazy ideas for client and personal work.
Wufoo’s HTML form builder helps you create online web forms. Use our web form creator to power your contact forms, online surveys, and event registrations. You can test out your crazy ideas to see if people register for them with email and check all kinds of data.
Because being awesome is what we do.
Don’t tear out your hair, do your tax and invoicing right the first time with Xero.
Because its YOU who puts in the effort and its YOU who reaps the rewards. Yeah little freelancer, give yourself some love because you’re pretty damn brave!
Zzzzz is for the sleep you can forget about having in the first 12 months as you work out how to get jobs, how to get clients to take you seriously and how to pay the bills.