Freelancing is tough, and a recent question from a friend on Facebook prompted today's post, which offers ideas of where to get help when you need it.
-Ask your friends
If you have friends who are doing similiar work, they can be a great resource for practical advice and information. However, do remember that their advice is subjective, and may be flawed, so always check it out.
- The internet
There is a wealth of information on the internet. However, do ensure you use reliable sources. Wikis are great, and so is Youtube, but remember that anyone can create a website. Whenever you're searching for information online consider:
- Who wrote it - are they an expert in their field? Do they have the appropriate qualifications and experience? Research the writer if you need to, and see whether they are someone you can trust.
- Organisations and government websites are often the best source of current information, especially legal and tax information. They may be a bit cumbersome to navigate, but they should be your first port of call.
- When was the information written - check the date on the article. Information changes, and is updated - ensure you are looking at information that is current.
- Check the information against other sources - if several websites give you the same information, it is more likely that it is accurate.
- Are there any references / a bibliography? These indicate that the writer has done some research, and checked their facts. They are also a useful trail for you to follow for further information.
- Beware of your search engine. Google tends to provide results that are influenced by your previous searches, and the searches of others. This can mean that your results are skewed. Alternatives are Duckduckgo which does not track you or use your data for advertising. You can also try dogpile.
- Hire someone
It is tough when you're starting out to have the money to pay for help. But, money wisely invested at this stage can save a lot of heartache later on. One way of getting help is to use a site like PeoplePerHour, where you can post your job for other freelancers, and hire someone whose pitch you like. Of course, you can also post your own services, and use it to find work too.
- Libraries and advice centres
In the UK, Citizens Advice Bureaus exist to give people assistance, and can advise on a range of topics. Librarians are information experts, and were finding information long before Google. Talk to your local librarian - they can always help you find the information you need.
There is a wealth of help available. Sometimes it is simply a matter of knowing who to ask.