Gig economy opportunities are everywhere these days. Many skills can be realistically translated to not only paying jobs but truly rewarding flexible sources of sustainable income. While not all gig economy jobs are home-based, many require little more than a laptop, an internet connection, and some hustle. For success, however, you’ll need to add some serious organization and time-management skills and make sure your home office setup is on point.
Traits of Successful Freelancers
Although there are many opportunities, freelance success can be elusive for some. This is because self-employment is not for everyone. Being your own boss means creating a structure for your day. Freelance flexibility is a benefit that can end up being a curse if you let disorganization take over.
Those who excel in the gig economy realize the importance of managing their day not only for organizing workflows but also to streamline administration and prospecting for new jobs. As a freelancer, you will have to be your own human resources and finance departments. No matter how much work you get, you need to treat your income appropriately. Employees can trust their employers to withhold taxes from their pay. As a freelancer, this requirement falls on your shoulders in the format of quarterly estimated taxes. Since your income will likely be sporadic, injecting financial conservatism into your life may be difficult.
Beyond paying your estimated taxes, there are other financial tips to help ensure freelance success. You should aim to set aside cash for slow months and health insurance or medical costs. With a solid budget, you can also fuel the future growth of your gig-based work, as you will teach yourself to avoid merely spending everything that you earn.
How Organization Can Power Sustained Work
When you are organized, you won't rush to complete your assignments and jobs. You can focus more of your time on pitching new work, which is crucial to future growth. Setting aside time for prospecting new clients, such as one hour a week, helps you stay focused on the future, even when your desk is full of work. The bottom line: don’t wait until work dries up to beat the streets for new clients. With organization and planning, you can ensure a steady funnel of work. Remember, as a freelancer, you only get paid when your “business” gets paid.
Setting Up for Gig Economy Success at Home
A home office is a crucial ingredient to a well-run freelance machine. Optimally, you will have a separate office space, such as a vacant spare room or study. This is key, as it is crucial to minimize distractions. Just popping open your laptop on the kitchen table may work sometimes, but this is an unsustainable and inefficient office setup. Think about all of the tools and supplies you need for your work and make sure that your office area is fully stocked.
A home office should be free of personal clutter. If you cannot keep an entirely physically separated room, consider designating a specific area as your office zone. This is important for several reasons. First, your personal life can spill over into your work area, which is distracting and counterproductive. Second, there may be small business tax benefits for keeping the area segregated from the rest of your life. If your kids are doing homework on your freelancing desk or your wife is using your laptop every night, then the IRS will likely disallow a home office deduction. Such a deduction is a substantial benefit that can make the difference between profitability and failure.
Beyond the organizational and tax benefits of a home office, your work quality can be improved through a calming serene office space. When decorating, think simple, but also make sure to fill your office space with pleasant views. If possible, locating a home office near a window can be an excellent way to connect yourself with the outdoors, even if you are stuck indoors working.
With organization and careful designation of home workspaces, freelance success is easy. Focus on setting schedules and managing your workflows and you’ll be able to reap the personal benefits of the gig economy.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Four Ways You Can Make Your Consultancy Startup a Success
There is a good deal to consider when it comes to starting your own business from home. You need to decide how you'll build your client base, as well as how to keep on top of productivity. If you're looking for a place to start, here are some tips to get you going on a successful consultancy.
Plan Ahead and Research
Having a plan is invaluable. It can allow you to be methodic in creating a business and offer structure for the long-term. Your plan does not need to be intricate. It can be as rudimentary as you prefer and contain simple, achievable goals. A home-based startup is fantastic for this, as you do not need to invest much money to begin and can rely on your skills and determination to move your business forward. However, it's important to research. Consultancy is diverse, and your interests may take you away from the experience that you have in a specific field. Explore all the options available to you and avoid limiting yourself. While having a niche will be advantageous, you may find that early on, it's best to be inclusive to find clients.
Getting Your First Customers
Consultancy is an area that demands good interpersonal skills. The relationships you build with clients may lead to new business and customer retention. When finding clients, focus on their needs before discussing rates. Talking about costs may be a deterrent, and prevent you both from connecting. Instead, first assert your skill sets and provide options for them. When you do talk about billing, focus the discussion on ultimate results rather than “services.” Remember, the trust that you gain from successful commissions can help build networks over time.
Do not be averse to being proactive in marketing yourself. Create accounts on freelancing sites and social media platforms as these may be pivotal to your business. Strive to create a balance between professional and personable. Make your business seem approachable and fresh, yet ensure the abiding impression is that you can fulfill their needs and provide solutions.
An important aspect of freelance consultancy is realism. You may not have the resources to make great promises, and could overextend yourself and alienate a client. When offering solutions, stick to a policy of over delivering results, but keep expectations restrained. Emphasizing a strategy that keeps things feasible can leave a strong impression with clients. In keeping with this modest, systemic approach, look to build up a catalog of successfully delivered work. While you may not find a big client early on, fleshing out your business experience can raise your profile and build up a strong reputation. It may help sustain your business, and allow you to reinvest in your startup to expand its capacity.
What You Need
Your home will be your business hub. You may decide to work from wherever is comfortable, or dedicate an area of your home to your business. Whatever you choose, it's important to consider what you need to facilitate productivity and growth. Staying productive can be a challenge at home. Plan your week, or at least your days, in advance. This can help you stay focused and give you a mindset consistent with a conventional, office-based business. It can also keep you from being overwhelmed, especially when dealing with multiple clients.
Consultancy also thrives on communication and availability. With that in mind, it's essential to have a good Internet connection and dependable phone line. The average cost of wiring for connectivity is $89 - $202. Tools are another potential resource to aid your business. Do your research, and identify what tools could work for you. They may assist you in managing your finances or in dictating your thoughts.
Working for your own business is going to take boundaries and structure. With proper planning and research as well as the dedication required, you can give yourself a leg up. Be honest with yourself and work hard going forward to creating the business of your dreams.
Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com
Losing a job after years of dedication and hard work is always devastating, especially if you had a deep-seated emotional investment in your career. Recovering from such a setback can be very difficult and may take some time. Many people feel lost, with no idea of where to turn or what to do next. Depression may set in, accompanied by feelings of listlessness and a loss of purpose and direction. It’s not unusual for people to feel like a failure or to think they’ve let their family down. In the depths of such disappointment, you may not have the energy or drive to turn the situation into a positive. But a career setback can often open the way to an exciting new opportunity, giving you the motivation you need to try something you’ve always wanted to do, maybe even parlay a hobby or personal passion into a business venture. After all, a professional setback has given many famous and successful people the impetus and determination necessary to realize their dreams.
Failure is a great teacher. It forces us to reflect on where we’ve gone wrong and what we could’ve done differently. It also helps focus your thinking and energy. In that sense, a job loss can be a blessing, giving you the time you need to rethink your life goals and how best to attain them. If you’ve been fired, laid off, or downsized, don’t think of it as the end. Try seeing it as the beginning of a new phase, one in which you make the decisions about your life and chart your own course, maybe for the first time. If you still think it’s impossible, consider this: career disappointments motivated Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, and Steve Jobs and were just the opportunities they needed to find success in their own way, on their own terms.
Discretion and flexibility
The first change to embrace is that you have the flexibility to do whatever you want with your time. Some people find it depressing no longer having a set schedule to follow every day. Try seeing it as finally having the time to investigate new opportunities or work on a business plan, further your education, or look into a completely new career. Never feel guilty! Think of all the time you gave to your former employer, the one that let you go after years of conscientious devotion. It’s your turn now. Use the time wisely.
So what do you want to do?
Deciding what you want to do next is the exciting part. It’s your opportunity to do what you want, whatever that might be. Maybe people have always told you you should be a teacher or a computer programmer or that you’d be a great real estate agent. If it’s something that appeals to you, you owe it to yourself to look into it. Remember, this is your time to try and turn an interest into a livelihood. Most people would agree wholeheartedly that having a job that doesn’t feel like work is the best possible scenario.
Don’t take “no” for an answer
Whether you’re trying to find an investor or looking for a job in a new field, stick with it. Don’t take “no” for an answer, especially if you know without a doubt it’s what you want to do. You might need to get some training or return to school for a while. Don’t get discouraged if you have to make a left turn or two on the way to your career destination.
Learn as much as you can about your new field. For instance, if you love dogs, you could look into starting a dog-sitting or dog-walking service. Spend some time as a volunteer walking dogs for a pet shelter and talk to someone at a professional dog-walking company. Find out their challenges and try to get a feel for how it could work for you.
People are happier doing something they enjoy and find rewarding. Try to see a career setback as an opening, an opportunity for something bigger and better. If you’re happy in your work, it’ll show through in your family and personal life.
Courtesy of Pixabay
What's going on Dream Chasers!? All is well here. We are getting prepared to relaunch the website in a few weeks. We will be updating things, changing how we present to you and encouraging you more to chase your dreams. We have a whole new branding plan and we hope you decide to get involved with our movement. In the mean time, I have been working on a new book. Here is an excerpt (let me know what you think):
Before you do anything else, you have to decide. You have to stop putting off the life you really want (desire) and decide to start taking the actions that will get you to where you want to be.
Make the decision that your life is going to be the life you dream about. Make the choice to do something, at least one thing that will bring you closer to what you really want. By the way…What do you really want? Write it below. But first, think about it for a few minutes.
What do YOU really want?
What is one thing you really want for your life. One thing that you are willing to work for. One thing you really believe you can achieve if you put your mind to it. Not one fantasy. Not one thing that will be given to you. Write down one thing you really want out of your life. Write down something that will give you happiness and joy. Write down something that will motivate you.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Start off by writing, I really want…
Today, I decided to start writing this book. I’m not sure if I will write tomorrow but I have been thinking about this book for a few days and I decided today to start. When I was thinking about this book, I was saying to myself that the first chapter would be on deciding because I feel like when a person makes a decision all types of things start happening that he or she isn’t aware of but life actually changes the moment they decide. You change your life by deciding to do what you want to do.
Think about it…I decided to write this book and as long as I continue to put the energy into writing this book, the book will continue to be written. At some point, I will complete this book. Will I publish the book? Will I sell a million copies? Will the book even be good? Who knows, but if I keep this up, I will have a completed book in the future. Can’t you see it? Me standing with my book? It would probably look like this.
What decision are you going to make TODAY?
You see, what happens is that we get so caught up on the next step after deciding (which is DOING), that we never decide. Even worse, we start thinking about what other people will think or do for us, so we never decide. We worry about support, or cost, or whether or not we can do it or not so, so we don’t decide.
I want you to do the complete opposite. Forget about everything else. Just decide. Forget about the outcome. Just decide. Close your eyes (after reading).
Close your eyes and think about your life. Think about the things you have put to the side. Think about the things you never completed. Think about all the things you wished you had done. Pick one and decide to do it.
The goal for today is for you to decide. That’s it.
Never Stop Dreaming
Well, we took off about 5 months on the blog but a couple weeks ago, Julie Morris contacted us and asked to write for our blog. We assumed that having her article published on different websites is her dream so, why not! Since we are bringing the blog back, look out for new post at least once a week about what we are doing from Ice Cream for a Dream, Workshops, Dream Chasing and everything else. See you soon! Never Stop Dreaming!
Fun New Skills for Seniors to Learn
Make your golden years the best ones of your life! You spent years toiling away at your job, doing everything everybody else’s way instead of your own. Now is the time of your life to break out of that habit to do and learn all the things you’ve always wanted.
It’s important to keep learning new things as we age. Learning makes life more interesting and just plain better. Picking up new skills and information helps keep our minds sharp and improves cognitive function. Trying out new stuff also helps us stay social, which can prevent isolationism and depression. Boosting your brainpower helps you feel younger and happier. If you want to take advantage of all the benefits of picking up something new to do in your life, consider the following fun skills that are perfect for seniors.
Take Dancing Lessons
Dance is the perfect exercise for seniors. It helps you get in the doctor recommended daily 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, which burns calories and promotes a stronger and healthier heart. It promotes balance and mobility while being low impact on your joints. If you want to be more social, taking dance classes gives you a fun opportunity to do something new with friends or loved ones or it can help introduce you to new people. If you prefer doing new things on your own, online dance tutorials can teach you from the comfort of your own home. You can pick up new dance moves from around the world be it from salsa, tango, jazz, martial arts style… whatever you fancy! There’s no wrong way to approach this fun and active hobby.
Learn to Play an Instrument
If you’ve always wanted to fill your home with music, learning to play an instrument is an incredibly rewarding skill that you can pick up in your free time. Taking up a new instrument is a great way to take care of your mental health as you age. It improves cognitive function and may create alternate connections in the brain that make up for the natural decline it goes through with time. Making music is also connected to lowering blood pressure and heart rate. People that play music feel less anxious and depressed and there is even evidence that it may help improve your immune system. If you want to learn to play a new instrument, take your time figuring out how to pick the best one for you. For instance, if you are looking into learning the saxophone, a beginner’s model alto or soprano may be a better fit if you have trouble lifting heavy objects. This saxophone buying guide may prove useful for picking the right instrument.
Start Cooking Up Something New
There are numerous benefits to cooking your own food. It’s a healthy habit that allows you to control the ingredients and portions to fit your needs. It helps save money on a fixed budget and encourages you to really think about what you are putting in your body. Best of all, you get a feeling of accomplishment when you sit down to savor every last bit of a meal your created. If you have beginner or even moderate cooking skills, you will find that taking lessons can really open up new culinary doors for you. While your community center or grocery store probably offers special classes that provide hands on teaching, you can also find free cooking classes and recipes online that you can experiment with in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Make the most of your retirement when you spend your free time learning something new. Picking up skills as we age helps improve mental health as well as overall life quality. Try something you’ve always wanted like dance lessons that keep you active and social. Learning a new instrument fills your home with music and keeps you feeling happier. If you’ve always wanted to be a wiz in the kitchen, cooking classes can help elevate your skills with the added bonus of a delicious dish at the end.
Written by The Dream Support Network Contributor: Julie Morris
Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways.
I've been busy doing Ice Cream for a Dream, doing workshops and chasing dreams. Gotta do a better job with the blog post starting next month. For now, back to the grind! If you want to stay up to date, visit our Facebook or YouTube pages. Otherwise, Never Stop Dreaming!