The 15 DOs and DON’Ts of Freelancing

Whether you are starting your career as a freelancer, or are a seasoned freelance expert, it pays to know how to ride the challenges you will encounter in today’s freelancing landscape due to a never-ending financial crisis, low-cost international competition and the misconceptions that still exist in the mind of employers and clients looking to outsource work. Take note and keep your notes handy, because this is not a speed race… it’s a marathon.

1. DO: Calculate your expenses and adjust your rates.

This is your job now, not a hobby, and, as a job, you need to make a living from it. Calculate all your expenses for the month (rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, phone/internet, travel/transport expenses –if your type of freelancing requires it-, food, etc.) and adjust your rates in a way that, though still competitive, are also enough for you to make a living without risking going broke within the periods of time when you are not going to get any work. Oh yes, you will go through those, no matter how good and hardworking you are.

2. DO: Sign into as many freelance jobs portals as possible

and set up automatic email alerts for new projects with different keywords, as not all clients know the jargon of particular areas or the specific name for certain skills. Apply often, it’s a numbers game.

3. DON’T: Do not lower your rates if they are already reasonable.

Refer to point 1: Again, this is your passion but no longer a hobby; it’s your means to a living. And, in this world, you get what you pay for. Sooner or later clients realise how far more costly is to go for the cheapest option than for the most professional one. Respect yourself and your craft.

4. DO: Network, network, network.

Use your social media accounts to share about your work from time to time and make sure you update your About/Info section with your website and professional pages links. Join online groups and communities of your interest and interact with their members. Go to seminars, conferences and festivals where you know there will be people interested in your services and have business cards with you at all times. In other words, put yourself out there, nobody is going to knock your door if they don’t know that you exist and do what you do so well.

5. DON’T but DO: Don’t do free work, unless…

Beware of clients and companies that request custom samples for specific projects before signing a contract and paying a deposit for the work. That’s how a lot of individuals and organisations get work done for free. Do consider, however, approaching and doing some –affordable- free work for professionals you admire and trust about subjects that interest you, and/or charities you believe in, either at the beginning, when you need to create a portfolio of works, or, if you are already established, when you wish to have more work to show from a determined type of clients or subjects that interest you. Remember those periods of time when, no matter what you do, you may still not get work? That’s when you can do free stuff, as well as undertake any courses that may enhance your skill set or expand it.

6. DON’T: Do not accept any work.

This is a difficult one, especially if you are going through the aforementioned rough patch and are starting to get anxious about running out of money to cover your living expenses. But, if the work you are being offered is for illegal or dubious purposes, or may compromise your dignity as a professional or your personal values, the only way is to steer away. Far, far away from it.

7. DO: Have templates ready.

Create several project-application email templates and freelancing contract templates as it will save you a lot of time as well as last minute mistakes.

8. DO: Always communicate via email,

even if you have already had a chat with the client over the phone or Skype. Having everything in writing is very important: it prevents misunderstandings, it offers legal security, and it definitely helps to keep organised and on top of all tasks.

9. DO: Be organised and meet all deadlines.

Keep a work diary, create email folders to organise communications, and be very specific when creating/naming computer folders so you can access documents and materials in a rapid and painless manner. Save your work frequently and back it up daily. Always add at least a couple of days to your estimated time of project completion so you can review it with fresh eyes, as well as rest days. This will allow you to not only keep your promises –and therefore, your reputation and clients- but also your health.

10. DO: Ask for an advanced deposit and further payments upon completed milestones.

Depending on the project, you may want to ask for 25% deposit in advance, if its completion entails no more than two weeks, or 50% if its completion will take longer than that. For particularly lengthy projects, it’ll be necessary for you to create milestones for completed tasks/levels of completion upon correspondent payment instalments.

11. DO: Establish a revision limit in your contracts,

both in terms of number of changes and type of changes as well as time-frames to process them.

12. DO but DON’T: Always be flexible, but also firm.

Clients often change their minds, whether because they were indecisive about a preliminary vision or because they have received information during the process that has altered said vision, that’s why point 11 came to exist. If the modifications involved mean you may have to put an extra few hours into the project it’s worth to abstain from charging them. But, if they mean putting an extra day or few days, let alone weeks, make sure your client signs an additional contract for the additional work, or an amended one if necessary, and ask for an extended deposit or new deposit before doing anything.

13. DON’T: Never ever hand over a completed project without having been paid in full first.

Especially when it’s for a client you have not worked for before. If it’s artistic work, apply a watermark.

14. DO: Ask for feedback/testimonials

from your clients to include in your website/professional profile.

15. DO: Eat healthy, sleep sufficiently, exercise, and spend time outside with family and friends.

Believe it or not, when you are trying to make a living via freelancing, or via your start-up, these are the very things that will allow you to keep your health –without which we are nothing- and your sanity, yet they are the ones that you will neglect the most. Try your best not to.

May the force be with you, brave one.

The Best 10 Free iPhone/iPad & Android Apps

So many apps, so many space and time wasters… Worry not, here’s the list of the very best 10 free apps for iPhone/iPad and the very best 10 free apps for Android, the ones that have made it to the cream of the cream, the ones you certainly must download and won’t regret it.

WhatsApp, Skyview, Citymapper, Retrica, TuneIn Radio, Yousician, Chunky Comic Reader, Find My iPhone, Dropbox, Evernote Scannable, WPS Office + PDF, Circle of 6, Periscope, Audible for Android, Pocket, Strava, Hopper, Duolingo and more.

Find out exactly how they can each help you in a variety of situations, enhance your life and/or boost your creativity.

iPhone & iPad

Many of these Apps have a version for Android, so don’t hesitate to check if the one you want is on the Google Play store.


Instead of using up your SMS allowance by sending text messages, WhatsApp lets you send messages and even call over any Wi-Fi connection for free. You can also send and receive photos with no size restrictions, voice messages and share videos. A must-have.

Download WhatsApp


SkyView brings stargazing to everyone, and it’s totally free. Simply point your iPhone, iPad, or iPod at the sky to identify stars, constellations, satellites, and more. Plus you can also do some time travelling, checking out the sky on different times and dates. Visually stunning and captivating, it will make you fall in love with astronomy at first sight.

Download SkyView Free


Currently available in New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and 18 other cities around the world.

Enter the city you’re in, and, voila, Citymapper, now also available on Apple Watch, offers you all the information you need from public transport (subways, express trains, buses, ferries) to help you get places. And, if you opt not to use public transport, it gives you estimates for taxis and Uber cars. Once you start using it, it will be hard for you to imagine how to go anywhere without it.

Download Citymapper


Retrica is a great camera app with live filters that allow you to preview how your photos will look, before you even take the photo. With over 100 filters, you’ll never run out of options, plus it comes with other tools to boost your creativity, including vignettes, borders, blurs, and the interval timer, which takes a number of consecutive photos and stitches them together in a user-defined layout. Get it, make your photos POP and be the talk of the town because you can share them straight away to your social networking profiles.

Download Retrica

TuneIn Radio

TuneIn Radio allows you to listen to your favourite radio stations, as well as discover new favourites from over 100,000 radio stations around the world, for FREE. From sports to news, music and talk radio, you name it, TuneIn has the largest selection.

Download TuneIn Radio


Yousician will teach you how to play a real guitar or piano in no time. The app listens to you play exercises and songs, and gives instant feedback. Step by step video tutorials will guide you through the world’s most extensive curriculum. The fun and addictive gameplay tracks your progress and keeps you motivated to practice and learn more. You’ll be amazed to see how fast your skills advance. Get ready to cross ‘learn to play an instrument’ off your bucket list.

Download Yousician

Chunky Comic Reader (iPad)

Amazingly good and yet free. Chunky Comic Reader seizes comics from a range of cloud services. Choose, drop into its self-organising library and go. Amongst its Settings you will find options to adjust panning, page turns and rendering, including smart upscaling, this which ensures stunning quality on the Retina display even if the source comics are low-res. If you splash out on the single £2.99 IAP you will also gain access to Mac/Windows shared folders and Chunky’s own web server.

Download Chunky Comic Reader

Find My iPhone

If you misplace your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, Find My iPhone will let you use any iOS device to find it and protect your data. Simply install it, open it, and sign in with the Apple ID you use for iCloud. It will help you locate your missing device on a map, remotely lock it, play a sound, display a message, or erase all the data on it. It can even save your life, word. At least it did in the case of Melissa (Read the news article here)

Download Find My iPhone


With Dropbox you can easily send large files to anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. Plus it’s fully cross-platform, which means that you can get at your documents elsewhere. Its Share sheet extension allows you to quickly upload content from thousands of apps, and the app itself enables you to preview all kinds of files before sending them on. You get 2 GB of storage for free, and up to an additional 3 GB if you use it to save photos.

Download Dropbox

Evernote Scannable

Evernote Scannable lets you scan contracts, receipts, and pretty much any paper that comes your way. It may not be the most feature-rich iPhone scanner but it’s still a winner when it comes to efficiency. You can send the resulting JPEG to Evernote, share it to another service, or do further scans that will be compiled to PDF. You can send your documents to your contacts via email or text, and it even turns business cards into contacts. Highly recommended.

Download Evernote Scannable


Many of these Apps have a version for iPhone/iPad, too, so do not hesitate to search for your favourite/s at the iTunes store.

WPS Office + PDF

Fully compatible with Microsoft® Office (Word, PowerPoint and Excel), it allows you to open, create and edit almost any file format including DOC, DOCX, XLS, PPT, TXT and PDF documents. And it syncs with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Evernote and FTP/WebDAV. And if all of this was not enough, add the full support for wireless printing, also 100% FREE (No Ads or In App Purchase). It’s like witnessing a real miracle.

Download WPS Office + PDF

Audible for Android

You may not like or have time for reading, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss on great books and stories. You can listen to them! With Audible on your phone, you can listen to books on the go from a breathtaking range of 100,000+ titles of all different genres -from best sellers to classics, and everything in-between. Immerse yourself in an entire new world on your way to work or school, at the gym, while doing house chores or during a long trip.

Especially well made, this app comes with nifty features such as bookmarking, sleep mode, variable narration speed, multitasking for background downloading and listening, and more.

Download Audible for Android


Webby Award for Best Productivity App and Best User Experience 2014, Pocket is still one of best tools out there to help you save articles, videos and other web content for later in a beautiful and optimized easy-to-view experience (even offline), stripped of ads, with unlimited storage, and with sharing tools. Its latest addition is Recommendations, which deliver the best content being saved to Pocket by millions of users, personalized just for you, based on what you save, read, and watch in it.

Download Pocket


As smartphone fitness tools go Strava is one of the best, allowing you to track your performance, set goals and see daily progress updates, whether running or cycling. It tracks your runs and rides with GP, gets key stats like distance, pace, speed, elevation gained and calories burned and collects heart rate data from Bluetooth Low Energy sensors.

There are monthly challenges to give it a competitive edge, and it also lets you set personal records and see how you stack up against friends, locals and pros.

Download Strava

Dash Radio

Dash Radio, unlike other streaming radio apps for Android, includes over 60 + original & exclusive stations in every genre (with more added weekly), featuring the best DJ’s, personalities and curators in the world, with no adverts, 24/7 content and daily competitions. Plus, it’s not FM so you can listen with or without headphones and supports Bluetooth streaming to external speakers.

Download Dash Radio


Booking flights can be a nightmare, especially with offers by so many different airlines and prices changing constantly. This smart bunny is like having a super-fast, all-knowing travel agent in your pocket. Hopper will come to your rescue, telling you not only what the prices are at any given time, but also whether flights are likely to get more or less expensive if you wait to book, as well as giving you a snapshot of which days have the cheapest flights, so you can predict the best time to buy. Getting alerts for price drops and warnings before a price is likely to rise for a specific trip makes it the best money saver when it comes to air travel. Hop and get it.

Download Hopper

Duolingo: Learn Languages Free

Google Play’s Editor’s Choice and “Best of the Best” of 2013 and 2014, Duolingo: Learn Languages Free, continued to be that app that manages to be both educational and great fun in 2015.

You can learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish or English in an addictive game that lets you advance by completing bite-sized lessons, and track your progress with shiny achievements. It’s completely free, with no ads, no hidden fees and no gimmicks, for reals.

Download Duolingo: Learn Languages Free

77 Movies with Smart Lines/Dialogues

-Or 77 Lies that Tell Truths…In chronological order, from oldest to newest, they are:

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Dorothy: “How do you talk if you don’t have a brain?”
Scarecrow: “Well, some people without brains do an awful lot of talking don’t they?”

Wizard of Oz: “You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom.”

The Great Dictator (1940)

A Jewish Barber: “…Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate”

Black Narcissus (1947)

Sister Clodagh: “We all need discipline. You said yourself they’re like children. Without discipline we should all behave like children.”

Mr. Dean: “Oh. Don’t you like children, Sister?”

A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

Stanley Kowalski: “You know what luck is? Luck is believing you’re lucky, that’s all… To hold a front position in this rat-race, you’ve got to believe you are lucky.”

Spartacus (1960)

Spartacus: “And maybe there’s no peace in this world, for us or for anyone else, I don’t know. But I do know that, as long as we live, we must remain true to ourselves.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Atticus Finch: “If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Jackson Bentley: “You answered without saying anything. That’s politics.”

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Raymond Shaw: “My dear girl, have you ever noticed that the human race is divided into two distinct and irreconcilable groups: those that walk into rooms and automatically turn television sets on, and those that walk into rooms and automatically turn them off. The trouble is that they end up marrying each other.”

Mrs. Iselin: “It has been decided that you will be dressed as a priest, to help you get away in the pandemonium afterwards. Chunjin will give you a two-piece Soviet Army sniper’s rifle that fits nicely into a special bag. There’s a spotlight booth that won’t be in use. It’s up under the roof on the Eighth Avenue side of the Garden. You will have absolutely clear, protected shooting. You are to shoot the presidential nominee through the head. And Johnny will rise gallantly to his feet and lift Ben Arthur’s body in his arms, stand in front of the microphones and begin to speak.

The speech is short. But it’s the most rousing speech I’ve ever read. It’s been worked on, here and in Russia, on and off, for over eight years. I shall force someone to take the body away from him and Johnny will really hit those microphones and those cameras with blood all over him, fighting off anyone who tries to help him, defending America even if it means his own death, rallying a nation of television viewers to hysteria, to sweep us up into the White House with powers that will make martial law seem like anarchy! Now, this is very important. I want the nominee to be dead two minutes after he begins his acceptance speech – depending on his reading time under pressure. You are to hit him right at the point that he finishes the phrase, “Nor would I ask of any fellow American in defense of his freedom that which I would not gladly give myself – my life before my liberty.” Is that absolutely clear?”

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

President Merkin Muffley: “But this is absolute madness, Ambassador! Why should you *build* such a thing?”

Ambassador de Sadesky: “There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defence in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.”

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner quote

Dr. John Prentice [to his father]: “You’ve said what you had to say. You listen to me. You say you don’t want to tell me how to live my life? So what do you think you’ve been doing? You tell me what rights I’ve got or haven’t got, and what I owe to you for what you’ve done for me. Let me tell you something. I owe you nothing! If you carried that bag a million miles, you did what you were supposed to do because you brought me into this world, and from that day you owed me everything you could ever do for me, like I will owe my son if I ever have another. But you don’t own me! You can’t tell me when or where I’m out of line, or try to get me to live my life according to your rules.

You don’t even know what I am, Dad. You don’t know who I am. You don’t know how I feel, what I think. And if I tried to explain it the rest of your life, you will never understand. You are 30 years older than I am. You and your whole lousy generation believes the way it was for you is the way it’s got to be. And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the deadweight of you be off our backs! You understand? You’ve got to get off my back! Dad. Dad. You’re my father. I’m your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.”