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Portrait of a Freelancer: Frederic Harper

<p><strong>Portrait of a freelancer - </strong>Meet inspiring people who chose to make a living out of independent work. Through a very human perspective, discover their story, and the uniqueness of their lifestyle &amp; challenges.</p> <p><img alt="fredharper" width="313" height="313" class="aligncenter size-full" src="" /></p> <p><strong>Who are you?</strong><br> My name is Frederic Harper. I’m a 34-year-old freelance marketer for technology companies (also a former software developer). Living in Montréal, Canada, I’ve been in the domain for more than a decade, the biggest&nbsp;part of it as a&nbsp;technical evangelist for international companies like Microsoft and Mozilla.</p> <p><strong>How did you get into freelancing?</strong><br> A few months ago, I was working as a full-time employee at a local startup, helping them reach out their audience: web developers. Unfortunately, there was a major shift in the company vision and my role was abolished. To be honest, the backup plan&nbsp;was to look for a new corporate job, but after a long reflection about my career, I decided it was the perfect moment to start my own micro-business: No lion is born king.</p> <p><strong>What is the hardest part about freelancing?</strong><br> The hardest part for me is to strike the good balance between work and play. I heard numerous stories about freelancers who are working a lot more since they left&nbsp;the payroll.&nbsp;Part of the decision of being my own boss was to work less and concentrate on my personal life. The problem is like most jobs I previously had, I love what I’m doing and my&nbsp;clients,&nbsp;which means it’s easy for me to work more than I would like. Kind of a first-world problem, huh?</p> <p><strong>Tell us about your daily routine.</strong><br> If I don’t have any meetings or events, my daily routine is actually pretty standard. After the breakfast, shower and meditation (something new for me), I make a coffee or tea, depending on the mornings. I start the day by prioritizing my tasks, and how much time I have (in my case, how many pomodoros can I do – see the pomodoro technique). Right before jumping into the important tasks of the day, I check my social media accounts and emails. After that, I try to minimize my interactions and distractions during the day to focus on delivering quality results for my clients.</p> <p>Since I mostly work from home, after lunch I usually go take a walk in my neighbourhood. When it’s possible, I’m trying to put my meetings in the afternoon, when it’s harder for mostly everyone to concentrate: note that it doesn’t mean I’m having non-productive meetings, but it’s easier to have tasks involving interactions with people in those periods. Before the end of my work day, I check my social media accounts and emails again, which should be the second time of the day (if everything goes as planned – not always the case). I used to receive all notifications and reply&nbsp;on the spot, which isn’t that effective…</p> <p>Once I’m done, I walk out of the office, and I don’t go back until the next day.</p> <p><strong>Do you have any freelancing horror story?</strong><br> It’s my second time as a freelancer, the first one was a couple of years ago, as a software developer. My last experience wasn’t a good one.&nbsp;I was missing a lot of crucial assets to be able to do my job and I was only able to get them small pieces at the time. During that time, the client was not happy about me as I wasn’t delivering the results I should have been delivering. At some point, I decided to let this client go, reimburse him and not give him any of the work done. It was the best decision ever of my short freelance career, even if I lost some money in the process. I now have a clause that specify that I’m not responsible for delays if I don’t have everything I need to make the magic happen!</p> <p><strong>How many projects do you handle concurrently?</strong><br> It will depend on the type of work and period of the year. Right now, I work for two clients, but it’s not a fifty-fifty timeshare and it’s not usually like this. Since my work doesn’t involve fixed hours for a predetermined period of time, I deal with the ups and downs of projects, which is totally fine with me.</p> <p><strong>What is your favorite aspect of the freelancing life?</strong><br> The best aspect of being a freelancer is freedom.&nbsp;Being able to choose&nbsp;the projects and clients I want to work with is priceless. I decided not to do crazy hours, and even if I try to keep a daily routine, I work when I feel productive. If it’s not working on a Wednesday at 2PM, I’m done: I stop working instead of losing my time and creating subpar work. Obviously, this freedom comes with a cost, but the pros clearly outweighs the cons.</p> <p><strong>What are the online tools that you couldn’t live without?</strong><br> Will I get a free lifetime account if I say Momenteo? Jokes aside, I think I’m using too many tools for my own good, but I couldn’t live without these:&nbsp;Todoist, Google Apps, Evernote and Pocket.</p> <p><strong>How did you get your first client?</strong><br> My first client is&nbsp;the founder of a company that I&nbsp;discovered&nbsp;a few months ago. He&nbsp;wanted to hire me, but at that time, I didn’t know if I wanted to take a job or go back to the freelance world. As I decided to go on my own, they were&nbsp;the first to trust me, and bought a bank of hours. It’s another proof that you never know who can be a client, now, or in the future: they easily could have been annoyed by the fact that I declined the job offer.</p> <p><strong>Can you show us a bit of what you do?</strong><br> Since my job is to help companies becoming the king of their jungle (remember the name of my company, no lion is born king – I know, it’s cheesy), most of my work is intangible (tactics, strategies, plans).</p> <p>You can still get an idea of what I can do by looking at my public speaking page, my book on personal branding or my personal (read, not corporate) blog. Feel free to check <a href=""></a> for more information.</p> <p><strong>Last thing, what would you recommend to aspiring freelancers?</strong><br> If you want to do it, there is no better time than now. If it ends up working, you’ll love the new lifestyle, of&nbsp;not, there is nothing wrong with ending this journey and going back to the&nbsp;payroll. Go get ’em (checks!), Tiger!</p>

I like building cool products and marketing them.

Philip Barclay CMO@Momenteo