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  • When is it Time to Raise Your Rates/Prices?

    This is a heads up to all clients and potential clients, not-so-cleverly disguised as an informative blog post. I am raising my rates at the beginning of April by about 10%. This is both a cost-of-living raise and reflects my improving skill-set and specializations. If you are a current client – don’t fret, I’m not going to raise the price halfway through a project. Rates for future projects may be slightly higher, or not, depending on several factors.

    If you are a new potential client and would like to lock in a project at the current rates, then contact me now – I’ll be quoting based on current rates till the end of the month.

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  • Top 3 Reasons Why It’s Better to Freelance Your Skills

    Guest Post by Lamer Cook

    Working as a freelancer is a fantastic decision in our current era, and the value of freelance work seems to be on the rise. There’s a few clear reasons why freelancing skills can be better than many career options for millions of people, and many employers could even learn a thing or two from all this.

    Reason One: Build an Immaculate Portfolio or Start a Business

    Most employers these days are looking for individuals that already have experience. This creates a kind of “dead zone” for entry-level workers with marketable skills. They want to gain experience with the job, but they can’t get the job to gain experience. It’s an unfortunate catch-22, and contrary to popular belief, a college degree does not replace the desire for hands-on experience in the workplace. Businesses do not want to pay to train people any more than they have to, and this attitude is creating a shortage of trained individuals.

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  • Pricing Artwork – Why You’re Eating Cold Noodles for Dinner Again (plus, a recipe!)

    For any new business, pricing work can be a total guessing game. On the one hand, you want to undercut the competition, beucase you know everyone wants a bargain and you want to get your product out there. On the other hand, you want to eat. How to solve this quandary?

    The pricing problem becomes further compounded with creative businesses, because the product you’re selling isn’t something people can easily place value on. Artwork doesn’t immediately solve a pressing problem, or offer some kind of stable market for which you can compare models and prices. The price a person pays for artwork is whatever they feel it is worth. If they don’t feel it’s worth the price asked, they won’t pay for it.

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  • Blogging, Gothic Weddings and Why Death Metal is Cool: Interview with Steff Metal on Career Offroading

    Hi everyone. I’ve been busy working on some incredible projects, but am just poking my head up out of the madness to point you in the direction of this fantastic and in-depth interview I did recently. My interviewer – Michelle Kaiser – is a pretty fascinating lady herself, and her site – Career Offroading – […]

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  • Freelancers: Dealing with the Lumpy Income Blues

    I read a wicked article on Freelance Switch the other day by Martha Retallick called Proven Solutions to Freelance Income Fluctuation. In the article, Martha outlines some killer strategies for beating what she terms the “Lumpy Income Blues”, which is a term I am officially stealing and using in my everyday freelance vocabulary. Mostly, Martha […]

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  • How to score your dream jobs – the heavy metal way

    In this week’s Epic Interrogation with the stunning Vail Joy of graphic design studio FutureNoir, Vail talked about generating interest in your sites by sending emails directly to contacts about your new projects or services. Since this is a technique I use to spread the word about Steff Metal and generate new business, I thought I’d discuss it further.

    Do you have “dream clients?” Maybe you think it would be awesome to design a t-shirt for TUK, or you’d love to collaborate with a certain musician. If you’re a writer like me, creating website copy for sites like Clockwork Couture and Actual Pain would be awesome fun.

    Those jobs aren’t just dreams – they do exist, but right now, the companies and individuals are using someone else, or not doing the job because they can’t afford it or haven’t found the right person yet.

    The right person is you.

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  • Epic Interrogation with Vail Joy of FutureNoir – designer behind steffmetal.com and grymmandepic.com

    If you’ve admired the bad-ass graphics and design of any of my websites, you’re should direct your compliments to Vail Joy of FutureNoir.net. Vail is the epitome of a grymm & epic businesswomen, running her creative design studio out of Slovenia, where she can indulge her bird-watching obsession and attend as many metal festivals as she wants, the lucky wench.

    Over 18 months ago I was thinking about updating my Steff Metal site and sent out a message to all my readers asking if anyone knew of a good designer. Vail answered the call and I’ve been bugging her with projects ever since. She’s friendly, super easy to work with, has the BEST ideas (have you SEEN my Cthulhu-themed copywriting packages? That’s all Vail’s work), and I recommend her to everyone I know planning a website – especially if you’re even a little bit alternative.


    Vail’s come over to Grymm & Epic today to talk about being a creative freelancer, money managing tips, and how to find the time to get to all the best heavy metal concerts.

    Firstly, we just want to know who you are, and what you do. Can you share your journey from mini-Vail to FutureNoir?

    Well, I am a transient cat herder and long-time lover of music, but make a living as an independent writer and designer. FutureNoir is a niche design studio focused primarily on web solutions for the creative industry – music, authors and artists.

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  • The Secret to Successful Freelancing in the Economic Apocalypse

    [dropcap]T[/dropcap]oday, I wrote 2000 words on my novel, finished some metal album reviews, helped a creative lady in Aussie brainstorm business names, wrote some website copy, produced a Braille novel, gave an agency a quote for a new batch of work, and finished up by writing this article.

    What a fun day that was! Most of my days are like this (barring the days when I’m sleeping off a metal concert or off climbing over castles with my husband). A mix of interesting work from clients and agencies alongside my blogs and fiction writing. Not only that, this unique and interesting range of work is my success “secret”.

    Bloggers love catchy titles like “3 Secrets of Freelance Success” and “21 Ways to Scam Some Poor Sucker out of $50″. For years, I’ve been writing blogs for clients with titles like this, and there is definitely a place for them.

    Numbers in titles and buzz words like “Secret” and “Sure-Fire Method” force people to pay attention. They ooze confidence like a confident sausage-making machine. Readers think “A person who didn’t know what they were doing wouldn’t come up with 21 steps”.

    I know – the numbers and buzz words hook me, too. Even though I’ve been freelancing for 5 years and probably know all the secrets by now, I still read posts titled “5 Freelance Writing Secrets”. I can’t stand not knowing a secret – I’m a nosy bugger like that.

    But none of this secret stuff is really a secret. Most of it is just common sense. Even the most “sure-fire” method doesn’t work for everybody. Often, it’s the people rocking the status-quo who make all the money and get all the girls.

    Here’s a “secret” of mine. Even if it was a secret, which it isn’t, I’ve totally ruined my chances of making it as a freelancer by letting you get your fithly paws on it.

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