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Ateliers pour musiciens: quelques vidéos (séance d’info et interview) [fr]

Ateliers pour musiciens: quelques vidéos (séance d’info et interview) [fr]

[en] Virginie very kindly filmed the info session of our workshops for musicians, and interviewed Elisabeth and I on the project. Here are the first excerpts for your (francophone) enjoyment.

Mardi, ce sera la coup d’envoi pour les ateliers de développement de carrière qu’on organise avec Elisabeth. Mini-bilan préalable: les ateliers sont super bien reçus, ils se remplissent (c’est la dernière seconde pour saisir une des quelques places restantes pour le premier atelier, si jamais), la préparation se passe bien, on commence à réfléchir à la suite, bref, on est contentes.

La séance d’info a été l’occasion d’un chouette premier contact avec les participants et d’autres personnes intéressées. Mention spéciale à Virginie qui a très aimablement accepté de filmer la séance d’info, et qui a même fait une petite interview d’Elisabeth et moi. Les premières séquences sont en ligne sur son blog. Du côté des publications autour de cet atelier, Michelle écrit un article où elle montre clairement à quel point la visibilité/disponibilité en ligne d’un artiste est cruciale: ça fera la différence entre assister ou non à un concert.

J’ai aussi découvert avec intérêt le blog Créatif Productif de Renaud Delay et Yvan Richardet, deux compères musiciens férus d’organisation et de productivité, et qui abordent ces thématiques au fil de leurs articles — à l’attention d’autres artistes. C’est très bien et je trouve que ça vient joliment complémentariser (“compléter” ça le faisait pas, là, sorry) les sujets plus “stratégie business et communication” que recouvrent nos ateliers.

Je vous laisse donc consulter les quatre vidéos déjà à disposition. En premier, l’introduction aux ateliers et la présentation de la première séance (“Les mythes du music business”), celle de mardi (aussi sur Facebook):

Ensuite, sans grande surprise, les ateliers 2 et 3 (“Les nouvelles pistes” et “Clarifier son objectif de carrière”):

Puis les ateliers 4 et 5:

Dans cet extrait de l’interview qu’on a donné à Virginie la semaine après la séance d’info, on raconte la genèse du projet et on rentre un peu plus dans les détails du concept de ces ateliers (vidéo sur Facebook):

Finalement, on s’essaye un peu à la concision, avec plus ou moins de bonheur, du moins pour l’une d’entre vous (je vous laisse deviner mais je crois qu’il n’y aura pas de grande surprise, vous connaissez ma tendance à m’étendre!)

Vous pouvez aussi trouver cette dernière vidéo sur Facebook (c’est plus commode pour partager à l’intérieur de Facebook).

Pour le moment, on n’a pas de site dédié pour ces ateliers, donc le meilleur endroit pour rester en contact et nous suivre c’est la page Facebook des ateliers qu’on a mise en place il y a peu.

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Being a Digital Freelancer in the Era of Context Collapse [en]

Being a Digital Freelancer in the Era of Context Collapse [en]

[fr] Réflexions sur ma carrière et les enjeux du marché d'aujourd'hui pour les "pionniers des médias sociaux", avec en toile de fond l'effondrement de nos contextes d'être et de communication dans le monde en ligne (Facebook, bonjour).

Contexte collapse. It’s crept up on me. It used to be semi-overlapping publics, or more precisely, they point to two different faces of the same thing.

Semi-overlapping publics remind us that we do not all see quite the same public. This was the “new” thing Twitter brought compared to our old IRC channels. Now it’s trivial, obvious even, to point it out.

Walking Alone

Context collapse points to the fact that the natural boundaries in our lives have broken down. I was aware of this going on, and it never really troubled me. On the contrary: I loved (still do) the idea of bringing people from different places together, of the melting-pot, of wrecking the big, artificial and sometimes even harmful boundaries we have erected between our private and professional lives. We are whole people.

But what I’m seeing now is that contexts have collapsed to the point where it is putting a break on our desire to express ourselves. I am feeling it myself.

I just had a great catch-up call with my old friend Deb Schultz from over the Atlantic. We shared our observations on our professional lives, so similar. I’ve had other conversations with my peers lately, people who have “been around” this “online social stuff” for a long time. I went freelance 10 years ago, and as I already mentioned the “market” has changed dramatically. From medium-sized fish in a small pond, pretty much the only person in my geographical area you could call up to interview about “blogs” or ask to give a talk on the topic, I feel I am now in a really big pond full of fish of all shapes and sizes, thrashing about much more vigorously than I am.

Talking with Deb tonight, I realised how “not alone” I was in my current professional predicament. And here’s what it has to do with context collapse: I feel I have lost the spaces I used to have which were public enough to be useful, and private enough that I might feel comfortable saying “hey guys, time to send me work/clients if you have any leads”.

Facebook is full of everybody, including ex-clients, future clients, even current clients. Peers, family and friends. Context so collapsed it is flat as a pancake. I think I did well online in the early days because I am not as scared of context collapse as most people. I am comfortable talking (and being honest) about a lot of things with a lot of people. My online presence brought me visibility, which brought me a career. Contexts “just collapsed enough”.

But everybody has their limits, and, like many people, I find it hard to talk about the challenges I might face running my business with people who are paying me for said business. Because you want your clients to trust you, and believe in you, because you’re good, right, and if you’re good you cannot be anything but successful. If there is a crack in your success, it can only mean you’re not that good.

It could mean you’re not that good at self-marketing and sales, though. (That’s another — long — post.)

(And a shout-out to Robert Scoble, who was an early inspiration to me when it comes to “putting it out there”, and who has come back from Facebook to tell us where he’s at. Read his post.)

During tonight’s discussion, on the backdrop of other recent conversations with my peers, I realised there really is a whole generation of us early independent social media professionals who are facing similar issues. Our industry has matured, “social media” (or whatever you want to call this online stuff) is in every company and agency. Those who arrived later in this area of expertise are specialised: you have community managers, social media marketers, digital content specialists, etc, etc.

We early birds often have more generalist profiles. I know it’s my case. We’ve touched all this, seen it grow and take shape. And now we wonder where we fit in. Personally, I’ve been wondering for years (on and off) if there was still a market for what I do. Is there a decent business case for “Stephanie Booth freelancer”, or am I just fooling myself?

At this stage, I don’t really have the answer. One answer I do have is that there is definitely still a market for what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years when I reframe it as “digital transformation” or “digital literacy”. I’d known for a long time that describing what I did as “social media” was problematic, because it bundled me up with “marketing”, or had people thinking I was a “community manager” who would “update their Facebook page”. So, it’s been a big relief to find a way to talk about this aspect of my work that feels right.

What I don’t know yet is:

  • how do I talk about “the rest” of what I do/can do: analysing needs, challenging solutions to make sure they really solve problems, digging to identify real problems, offering solutions, coordinating, planning…?
  • do I have the “business skills” (sales, marketing) to “make it” as a freelancer when I’m not benefitting from media spotlight or being one of the only fishies in the small pond?
  • is it time to “reboot” and work as an employee for a few/many years, and if so: client-side, agency, consulting… — and am I “employable”, at 40+, having been freelance for almost my entire career?

The “safe spaces” to talk about these things are not completely gone. We have one-one conversations, if we take the trouble to plan them, like my friend and I did tonight. We have spaces like the Going Solo Slack, where a handful of us chat from time to time. And newsletters. I really believe the context collapse and fragmentation of the major social spaces like Facebook has something to do with what I sense as renewed enthusiasm for a certain type of newsletters.

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I Am the Bridge, the Tourist Guide, the Ferryman, the Hostess [en]

I Am the Bridge, the Tourist Guide, the Ferryman, the Hostess [en]

[fr] Réflexion sur mon véritable domaine d'expertise. Depuis des années, je me débats avec cette casquette "médias sociaux". Je fais à la fois plus et moins que ça. Et j'ai compris, je crois -- quatre semaines de vraies vacances ça prépare bien le terrain aux prises de conscience. Ces idées doivent encore mûrir, mais j'ai une piste: ce que je fais, c'est aider les gens à accéder aux cultures avec lesquelles ils ne sont pas familiers -- y compris la culture numérique, celle du monde en ligne. Si "médiation interculturelle" n'était pas déjà utilisé pour faire référence à autre chose, c'est ce terme que je choisirais. "Médiation technologique", pour la partie "technologique". Mais ça ne s'arrête pas là. A suivre...

Next summer I will have been fully self-employed (in a one-breadwinner-home) for ten years. I feel quite impressed saying it. I remember when I hit the 3- and 5-year milestones: most businesses don’t last that long.

In ten years, the industry my work falls in (social media) has evolved tremendously. I started out as a “blogging consultant” in a world which had no Twitter, no Facebook, no “social media”. We had blogs, forums, wikis, and “social software”. I was a pioneer, I found what we then called “the living web” fascinating, and was lucky to be at the right place and the right time in my little corner of the world to make a living introducing others to this incredible digital world I knew.

Vallée du Rhône

I helped people build websites, gave talks in schools and businesses about blogs, MySpace (yes!) and later Facebook and Twitter. I helped organisations make sense of these new tools and figure out what they could do with them. During the past five years, I have mainly facilitated relationships between bloggers and organisations, founded and directed French-speaking Switzerland’s first comprehensive course on social media and online communities, and been blog editor-in-chief more than once.

Quite a ride.

For a few years now, I’ve been feeling more and more estranged from the business of “social media”. I definitely still fit in there somewhere, but a lot of it is not really of much interest to me. It feels like it’s been eaten up by marketing: most of the time, trying to do the same old stuff in some new channel.

And in parallel, I’ve felt a growing frustration about the fact that my marketable skills are certainly wider than what I’ve been openly advertising, and that I’m staying stuck in this social media consultant career track because I haven’t managed to identify them clearly enough and figure out (even less communicate) a business proposition around them.

Transitions are great opportunities to stop and think. As my engagement as editor-in-chief for Open Ears ended, I decided to take a real holiday, a good long break to clear my head so I could look at my business with fresh eyes. Taking time away is vital for creativity, and I really hadn’t had much of that these last few years.

It seems to have worked, because it really feels like the pieces have been falling into place this last week, since my return. I’d like to share this thinking in progress with you.

Family in Sonarpur

From the beginning, what I’ve found interesting with the internet is people and relationships. The human side of technology. I have a background in humanities, in addition to being a bit of a geek, so the whole “psychology + sociology” side of social media is really what makes me tick. Not so much the “selling” or “branding” part.

A couple of months ago, I was describing my work as blog editor to a potential client. He pointed out that what I was doing was quite a balancing act, and seemed quite admirative. I had never looked at it like that, or thought much of it, but it’s quite true: whether managing a blog or a blogger relations programme, one important thing I do is balance sometimes conflicting interests from the different parties in play.

For example, the brand behind a blog might want more positive content about their products, or more promotional content, and on the other hand the blog’s editorial independence must be preserved or it will lose credibility as a space for authentic expression and relationships. The same goes for blogger relations: if an event invites bloggers, it hopes for positive coverage, but on the other hand the very reason bloggers are courted is because of their independence. So, how do we run a blog without it becoming a corporate mouthpiece, and how do we associate with bloggers without making them sell out?

This is actually a crucial part of my work, but that I hadn’t properly put my finger on until that conversation. More importantly, this means that it is value that I’ve been implicitly providing my clients, without ever selling it explicitly. (Is there a market for this? That indeed remains to be examined.)

I had previously identified this “talent” somewhat in my personal life. I would often find myself mediating between people who have trouble communicating. (Pro tip: don’t do this, it’s not good for your friendships.) I’ve done it too (with more success) in professional situations, by helping maintain communication between parties involved in a project. At one point I wondered if I should consider becoming a professional mediator, but that seemed to be taking things too far: I’m not interested in spending the whole of my professional life helping people resolve disputes.

That’s where things were when I left for India, and a discussion with a close friend and fellow freelancer upon my return revealed to me the common thread in my various professional interests — including some wild dreams and crazy brainstorms alongside stuff I have actually been doing and some I want to do more of. My unifier.

I introduce people to unfamiliar cultures. I am the bridge, the translator, the ferryman. I’m still looking for the best way to say this.

I’ve always said I considered the digital world as a culture, and that my work with social media made perfect sense with my background as a historian of religions, specialised in Indian culture.

This explains why I like working with clients who are “starting out” so much. I introduce them to the digital world. Help them understand how it works. How they can be present in it. What it can bring them.

When I was giving talks in schools, I would tell parents and teachers that I was their “tourist guide to the internet”.

During my last year with Phonak, I gave a series of digital literacy workshops — something I’ve been wanting to provide for years.

When I dream about different lives for myself, I see myself organising guided tours to “my India”, helping expats settle down in Switzerland. Outside of work, playing Ingress, I naturally settled down in the role of welcoming new players. I am the hostess.

Kolkata Streets 2015 26

In Kolkata, Aleika and I brainstormed business ideas to run in India, and all of them have to do with this same “bridging cultures” theme.

I take people by the hand and show them the way, or sit in the middle so that different worlds can collaborate.

Clearly, these skills go beyond social media, and also do not encompass all of social media. I’m understanding better why I’ve struggled so much with my “social media consultant” label these last years.

There could very well be areas in the business world where such skills are useful, but that I do not know of — or am not thinking of. The doors are open, but I’m not sure what room I’m in yet.

Does this make sense?

 

You can also find this post on LinkedIn, Medium, and Facebook.

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Value-Based Pricing: Breaking the Time Barrier [en]

Value-Based Pricing: Breaking the Time Barrier [en]

[fr] En tant qu'indépendant, il faut absolument s'éloigner d'un modèle où l'on facture pour son temps -- et facturer en fonction de la valuer qu'apporte notre travail au client. Cela implique une toute autre approche de la relation client et du travail de l'indépendant, très bien expliquée dans le ebook Breaking The Time Barrier. Une heure de lecture en Anglais, un peu plus si vous êtes moins à l'aise. Mais elle va vous faire gagner de l'argent.

Today I read Breaking the Time Barrier. It’s a quick read, an hour or so if you take your time. If you’re a freelancer, you should read it. If you have an hourly rate and are selling your time, you should read it even more. Thanks a lot to Claude for sharing this e-book on the Going Solo Discuss group.

I was first introduced to the concept of value-based pricing by Martin Roell on the occasion of his introductory workshop on consulting at Lift’07. It made perfect sense: if your expertise can solve a client’s problem in 3 minutes, should you really be paid only for three minutes of your time?

As I was explaining to a prospective client of mine Monday morning, when you spend half a day doing an exploratory workshop with me (to try and figure out what the f*** to do with social media, if anything), you’re not paying for four hours of my time. You’re paying to have answers. You’re paying to know what to do. Why would I charge you less if I can help you get there in just four hours than if I dragged you along for two whole weeks?

Since way back when, I’ve tried as much as possible to price my services based on their value to the client, and not based on how long it takes me. Time-based fees make my skin crawl: the client wants to keep the number of hours down, the consultant wants them to go up. It’s a really stupid system. It also implicitly encourages an “employee/employer” relationship, with the client possibly breathing down your neck to make sure you’re making good use of this time of yours he’s buying.

After reading Breaking the Time Barrier, I’ve understood one of my missing links: not putting a number on the value my client will get out of my work — which is a necessary element to pricing my service as an investment.

I’m also always a bit torn about my exploratory workshops: I charge for them separately, because too many times I ended up doing a workshop, writing up proposals, and end up with the client walking away. I realize now that on some of the occasions my proposals were not adequate because I had not understood the monetary value what my client was hoping to get out of the investment they would be making with me. One of my issues is also that a lot of the value I bring is advice, and that is sometimes all my clients need from me. Sometimes all they needed was that initial workshop. I still haven’t really decided how to deal with this, but I realize I need to think about it.

I also find it hard to stand firm sometimes with clients who insist on counting in hours. Business is so formatted to function like this that even when you tell people that you have no hourly rate, also because all your hours are not worth the same, and how many hours you spend on something is your problem and not theirs, and that what is important on their side is the result and value they are going to get, the conversation still ends up drifting back to “ok, sure, but how much will you charge for a day a month?”

I’m also having trouble applying this model to training. Training typically is something with a day rate. How do I provide value-based training? Focus on competencies and outcomes — but then, there is the unknown: how well the student learns. It does not take a fixed effort to teach something to somebody. Some people learn fast, and with others… you can start again from the beginning next month.

So there we are… my questions-in-the-guise-of-musings to Karen in the story.

Do you still have a day/hourly rate? Do you apply value-based pricing for your business, or part of it? Do you have any answers for the points I still struggle with after all these years?

3rd #back2blog challenge (9/10), with: Brigitte Djajasasmita (@bibiweb), Baudouin Van Humbeeck (@somebaudy), Mlle Cassis (@mlle_cassis), Luca Palli (@lpalli), Yann Kerveno (@justaboutvelo), Annemarie Fuschetto (@libellula_free), Ewan Spence (@ewan), Kantu (@kantutita), Jean-François Genoud (@jfgpro), Michelle Carrupt (@cmic), Sally O’Brien (@swissingaround), Adam Tinworth (@adders), Mathieu Laferrière (@mlaferriere), Graham Holliday (@noodlepie), Denis Dogvopoliy (@dennydov), Christine Cavalier (@purplecar), Emmanuel Clément (@emmanuelc), Xavier Bertschy (@xavier83). Follow #back2blog.

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Indépendants, lisez (et faites lire) le blog de l'eclau! [fr]

Indépendants, lisez (et faites lire) le blog de l'eclau! [fr]

[en] I'm writing about freelance life in French on the eclau blog.

Vous le savez, j’ai ouvert en novembre 2008 un espace coworking, l’eclau (premier de Suisse!), après avoir organisé en mai de la même année une conférence pour indépendants, Going Solo. (Oui je sais, le site est plein d’avertissements, faut que je règle ça. Oups.)

En tant qu’indépendante, la façon dont on mène sa vie d’indépendant est un sujet qui me fascine. Comment on s’organise, comment on gère sa vie et ses clients, comment on se construit en tant que professionnel…

J’écris sur ces thématiques assez régulièrement sur le blog de l’eclau. Il faut lire le blog de l’eclau, oui oui! Et dire à vos amis indépendants de le lire! Le compte Twitter de l’eclau est un peu moins actif, mais il tweete chaque article du blog à publication, ce qui vous donne une chance de les voir. Sinon, il y a toujours la possibilité de s’abonner par e-mail pour être sûr de ne pas rater d’article.

Pour vous mettre l’eau à la bouche, voici les articles un peu “vie indépendante” que j’y ai publié:

Sur le feu: une réflexion sur comment se positionner en tant que “patron” face à ses clients, et une autre idée pour donner un bol d’air frais à son cerveau (faire du troc de temps avec un collègue).

Bonne lecture!

 

 

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Is This Too Much? [en]

Is This Too Much? [en]

[fr] Je crois que je fais beaucoup de choses 🙂

I do a lot of things. I’m pretty good at juggling. (Yikes, I promised Ian a review of his book Juggle! ages ago, and it’s still in draft state somewhere somewhere in my blog admin…)

Anyway. There are times, like now, where I pause and ask myself if I’m not doing too much. I’m not really asking you — only I can answer that question — so consider this a chance to peek in while I wonder out loud.

I knew I would have two very busy months in May-June, and I’m OK with that (the price I’m willing to pay for a really exciting gig that came through at the last minute).

But I realized this week-end that it’s been a long time since I’ve had a few days to myself at home. I’ve been running for way more than these last two months, and I don’t like running. I know it’s good to be busy for a freelancer, but there are different kinds of busy, and I can tell you there there is some bad busy in my busy.

(The reason I had a few days to myself at home is that I fell ill just before heading off to a 4-day judo training camp. I couldn’t go. I spent two days being “reasonably ill”, and the last two days I’ve been feeling much better and enjoying my unexpected free time.)

So, is this too much? Look at me wonder out loud. Here are my big, ongoing areas of activity — professional and less professional.

  • a “social media and blogger relations” gig with Solar Impulse (trip to Paris end of the month)
  • co-directing a course on social media and online communities (exam time: nowish)
  • editor for the ebookers.ch travel blog in French (and also contributor)
  • I manage a coworking space, eclau
  • my freelance activity is not limited to the four things mentioned above (not included: talks, short-term consulting and training, coaching sessions on WordPress…)
  • I’ve been asked to write a book (and am going to)
  • I do judo and am preparing an exam for in two weeks (not my exam, I did it last November: partner for a friend of mine who is doing hers)
  • I sing with Café-Café, though I’ve missed more rehearsals than I’ve attended over the past year 🙁
  • I go sailing (though I’ve had to sacrifice this spring’s regattas to judo training, and last year’s to singing)
  • I have a bunch of “light” hobbies like photography, reading, tending my plants (got orchids now!), going to the chalet, rollerblading…
  • Oh, I have a blog… you’re reading it
  • I also have a social life (I actually do) which includes family and close friends in other countries (and even other continents)
  • …not to mention that I’ve decided I needed to take proper holidays, which I’m doing (but that’s time off away from home).

I think that pretty much sums it up. I’m not sure how I manage 🙂 — but I do!

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Prendre des vacances quand on est indépendant [fr]

Prendre des vacances quand on est indépendant [fr]

[en] I write a weekly column for Les Quotidiennes, which I republish here on CTTS for safekeeping.

Chroniques du monde connecté: cet article a été initialement publié dans Les Quotidiennes (voir l’original).

Comme beaucoup de gens gravitant autour de ce monde connecté dont je vous parle chaque semaine, je suis indépendante. Et quand on est indépendant, prendre des vacances pose un double problème — triple, presque:

  • il faut économiser de l’argent pour pouvoir payer ses vacances (comme tout le monde)
  • il faut économiser assez pour couvrir la manque à gagner puisqu’on ne gagne pas d’argent pendant qu’on est en vacances
  • il faut s’organiser pour pouvoir disposer du temps nécessaire à “être loin”.

L’argent, en somme, c’est un problème que tout le monde peut comprendre. L’indépendant doit simplement économiser plus que le salarié, vu que ses vacances sont des congés non payés.

Le temps, par contre, la plupart des employés n’y sont pas confrontés de façon aussi pressante. Certes, quand on revient au travail il y a une pile de dossiers sur la table, certes, le projet n’avance pas quand le chef de projet est en vadrouille (ou il doit s’organiser pour que ce soit le cas), mais l’entreprise ne ferme pas ses portes à chaque fois qu’un employé part en vacances.

Pour un indépendant, si. En vacances, tout s’arrête. Un indépendant ayant souvent bien plus d’un client ou projet en parallèle (c’est un peu ça qui le définit), cela fait pas mal à gérer pour pouvoir partir une semaine sur les pistes, ou sous les tropiques.

Aussi, suivant la nature du travail de l’indépendant, son calendrier d’activités dépend souvent de dates fixées par d’autres. Si on est libre, on finit vite par avoir un agenda ressemblant à un gruyère (ou à un emmental) ne permettant plus de s’éclipser les trois semaines nécessaires pour vraiment se ressourcer.

Moralité? L’indépendant doit bloquer ses dates de vacances très, très à l’avance. J’ai le nez dans les dates de 2012, là.

Et moi qui croyais que l’indépendance signifiait liberté et flexibilité!

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Idea: Working as a Freelance Researcher [en]

Idea: Working as a Freelance Researcher [en]

I had planned taking today off, but as I’m up to my neck in work I decided to spend it in the office instead. Result (don’t mess with yourself when you promise yourself time off): I’ve spent most of my morning down the blog-hole — reading a ton of interesting things online, particularly on Penelope Trunk’s blog. (Yeah, I know not everybody likes her, but I do. More on that another day, maybe.)

So, as I was reading blogs, sharing snippets on Tumblr and links on Twitter, I was thinking to myself: actually, one thing I’m pretty good at (and love doing) is finding and reading interesting stuff, thinking about it, and sharing all that with other people. (For those of you familiar with StrengthsFinder: my #1 is Input and my #2 is Communication — more about that another day, too.)

I pinged Suw on IM to see if she had any ideas how to “monetize” (still hate the word) this kind of activity. She suggested working as a researcher.

I like the idea. Need your homework done on something? I love learning about new stuff, I know how to search online, I have a great network, I’m smart (let’s say it), and I know how to write stuff up. Think of it, a lot of my popular blog posts are the result of me taking the plunge into a topic, learning about it, and reporting back. And for anything related to social media, I have the huge advantage of already knowing a lot.

This doesn’t mean I’d be giving up my current activities. But I’m getting increasingly frustrated that I don’t have time anymore to fool around online, research stuff, read more books, learn about this space we inhabit — online and offline.

Do you know anybody who works as an online researcher? Would you hire me as a researcher? (Not asking if you need my services as of now, but more “do you think I have the profile?”) If I decide to provide this kind of service, how might I go about to (a) decide what to charge (b) find gigs?

This is a very fresh idea for me, and I’d gladly welcome any thoughts you may have on the subject. As for me, I’m off to do some research on… freelance researchers :-).

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Les trois équilibres de l'indépendant [fr]

Les trois équilibres de l'indépendant [fr]

Je pense que l’indépendant (créatif) a besoin de trouver un équilibre sur trois plans différents, histoire de ne pas se dessécher ni péter les plombs:

  • une “hygiène de vie” laissant suffisamment de place pour respirer semaine après semaine (avoir et respecter des plages de non-travail, prendre du temps pour soi, faire du sport, manger correctement, dormir, voir des amis, passer du temps avec sa famille…)
  • des coupures pour décrocher, week-ends prolongés mais aussi vraies vacances (on m’a dit que pour vraiment se ressourcer, il fallait compter minimum trois semaines!)
  • durant le temps de travail, assez de temps pour explorer, s’amuser, rechercher, bricoler — et ne pas passer tout son temps le nez plongé dans des mandats.

Pour ma part, le côté “hygiène de vie” fonctionne assez bien, pour les coupures, je suis en train de prendre des mesures, et concernant le temps de jeu/bricolage/recherche professionnel… ces temps, ce n’est pas du tout ça.

Saint-Prex 09

Hygiène de vie

  • Je défends jalousement mes soirées et mes week-ends, même quand le boulot s’empile, sauf quelques rares situations d’exception.
  • Je fais du sport, je vois des gens, je prends des moments pour moi, je ne mange pas trop mal. J’ai en fait pas mal d’activités “non-professionnelles” dans ma vie.
  • J’ai un lieu de travail séparé de mon lieu de vie.
  • Ça n’a pas été simple d’en arriver là, j’ai déjà écrit pas mal d’articles sur mon parcours, mais je n’ai pas le courage de les déterrer juste là.

Coupures

  • En 2008, j’ai commencé à prendre des week-ends prolongés à la montagne pour me ressourcer, et c’était une bonne chose. 2010, ça a passé à la trappe pour diverses raisons, mais il est temps de reprendre les choses en main.
  • Suite à des discussions que j’ai eues avec mes amis Laurent et Nicole, et sur leurs sages conseils, j’ai décidé de m’imposer au minimum un week-end prolongé (3 jours) par mois et une grosse bonne coupure (disons un mois, hop) par an.
  • Résultat des courses, j’ai établi un calendrier annuel de mes coupures. Ça ressemble à ça: je fais un break d’un mois en janvier (déjà un voyage prévu en Inde en 2011), en été, je pars une semaine en France comme ces deux dernières années, et en automne, je prévois une dizaine de jours en Angleterre pour voir amis et famille. En plus de ça, un mois sur deux je prends un simple week-end prolongé (lundi ou vendredi congé), et un mois sur deux en alternance, un plus long week-end prolongé (4-5 jours) avec option de partir quelque part.
  • J’ai posé toutes ces dates dans mon calendrier, jusqu’à début 2012.

Travail ludique

  • Je bloque un peu sur cette question: je dois prendre moins de mandats (clairement) mais du coup je crains pour le côté financier de l’affaire.
  • En fait, en regardant réalistement mes revenus (j’ai une grille sur la dernière année qui me les montre semaine par semaine) je me rends compte que je n’ai pas besoin d’avoir si peur que ça.
  • Une solution: moins de mandats qui paient relativement peu par rapport au temps/stress investi, plus de mandats mieux payés (je dis des choses logiques mais c’est pas si simple à mettre en pratique). Surtout, moins de mandats “open-ended” en parallèle, qui s’étalent sur la durée avec une charge de travail variable. (J’ai un billet en gestation là-dessus.)
  • Aussi, avoir confiance dans la dynamique qui me permet de vivre de ma passion: donner plus de priorité à sa passion attire les mandats.
  • Bref, avec mes petits calculs, je me suis rendu compte qu’en plus de mes mandats “réguliers” (annuels/mensuels), si j’avais une journée de “travail payé” (consulting, formation, coaching, conférence) par semaine je m’en tirais largement. Ça me laisse donc 3-4 jours, suivant la longueur de ma semaine, pour mes mandats courants, la gestion des clients, et ces fameuses “autres activités professionnelles pas payées” (dont ce blog fait partie).

Et vous, voyez-vous d’autres équilibres à maintenir? Avez-vous des solutions à partager pour ceux que j’ai identifiés?

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World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day (WoWiPAD) and Website Pro Day (WPD) [en]

World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day (WoWiPAD) and Website Pro Day (WPD) [en]

[fr] En plus du Website Pro Day, je propose de tenir début janvier le World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day, consacré à régler ces histoires de paperasses (j'ai des tas de quittances à trier et à envoyer à ma comptable, par exemple) une fois pour toutes. On fait ça chacun chez soi, bien entendu, mais on est solidaires et on fait ça en même temps. Ça motive!

Faites signe si vous êtes partants.

A couple of months ago, I came upon [Chris Messina](http://factoryjoe.com/blog/)’s [Finish your %#&*@ drafts](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/295393/) day. I thought: “what a great idea!”

Well, not the drafts thing (I have drafts in my WordPress installation right now for the first time in my life), but the “get people together to do something”. It’s not a new idea, of course. I’ve actually already used it to fight procrastination, with friends:

– oh, we’re both chatting when we should do washing up and other things. Let’s go and do it and then meet up on chat again to congratulate ourselves on doing it.
– hey, can I come and do my homework at your place?
– let’s meet up do our tax declaration together.

So, when my friend [Olivier](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/) mentioned in passing that his professional website needed some work done, I said “oh, me too! let’s do it together” and organised the [First Website Pro Day](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/31/une-journee-pour-bosser-sur-nos-sites-pro-website-pro-day/) (it’s bastardised gallicised English, don’t worry).

There were four of us (a fifth had to cancel at the last minute because of a sick child) and it was a great success for all those who participated. Not only did we make progress on the “professional online presence” front (I actually moved this blog over to my server back from DreamHost, a move which had been stalling all my efforts to do anything to [SB.com](http://stephanie-booth.com/)), but we also started talking about [building a local coworking community](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=2140) again.

Website Pro Day 1, Lausanne

We also decided that one day was not enough, and that we needed to organise (at least) another similar day: [Website Pro Day 2](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/website-pro-day-deuxieme/) is set for December 28th.

Now, obviously, this kind of gathering is local. But wouldn’t it be great of other freelancers or small business owners, in other cities, also got together to work on their professional online presence on the same day? All you need is two people to begin with. Announce it, put it [on Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=6369349379) or [upcoming](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/), whatever catches your fancy. I’ll mention it here, too.

Being a freelancer is cool, but it can sometimes be a bit lonely. That’s why ideas like [coworking](http://blog.coworking.info/) and [barcamp](http://barcamp.org/) are very important to us: it’s a chance to get together with “colleagues”. Well, it can also be done in a slightly less formal way, too. Just grab a few “colleagues”, and meet to get something done.

So, another of these “get-together” initiatives I’m launching is the **World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day**, which we’ll call WoWiPAD from now on. Unless you’re super-organised or are already a [GTD black belt](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done), you probably have piles of receipts to sort, papers to file, expenses to invoice, forms to fill in, and various administrative things that just pile up and don’t get done, because, let’s face it, it’s way more fun to be earning $$ doing exciting stuff with clients than spending the day drowning in stuffy papers alone at one’s desk.

Obviously, we can’t really gather in one physical space for the WoWiPAD. No, you are not welcome to come to my place with your drawers, piles of papers, stapler — in short, your whole office. But what we can do, though, is decide on a date to do things together. Yes, just knowing that we’re not in this “alone” can be very supportive.

Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or just a somebody with stacks of paperwork to deal with on your desk, leave a comment here or [sign up on Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=7437407283) if you’d like to participate in the WoWiPAD.

I’m going to suggest two dates, which I know are quite nearby — because I’m going to have to do this paperwork stuff soon anyway, or it’ll sprout legs and start running all over the place. The cat is enough trouble by itself, I have no need for paper pets.

As far as I’m concerned, Wednesday January 2nd would be good, as would Thursday 3rd (and even Friday 4th).

What about you?

**Update, Dec. 26th:** Date is officially Jan. 2nd, and the event has been rechristened WoWiPAD (much more pronounceable) — thanks to Greg for the suggestion.

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