Categories
Gig Economy

How to Become a Contractor or Freelancer

Have you ever thought about a freelance career? As the gig economy keeps evolving, it may be ideal to find out if this path is for you. Below are helpful starting tips to become a contractor.

 

There’s no question that the freelance market is growing in strength and size, a trend that mirrors the continued growth of the gig economy and draws attention to the fact that today’s workforce is hard at work trying to maintain several sources of income in order to secure a better future, and more people are seeking out second jobs.

 

Should You Become a Contractor?

It’s back-breaking work, but there’s a lot of lucrative potential behind investing in yourself to become a contractor. But where to begin?

 

As the market grows, the internet looks less and less like the ideal opportunity to market yourself, and more and more like an endless sea of talent, growing every day.

 

Standing out from the rest takes a little luck and a lot of legwork, but with the right approach, you can carve out a name for yourself and start building an impressive client list. With these steps, you’ll learn how to become a contractor (and determine if it would work for you).

 

1. Keep Your Day Job 

Being an independent contractor or freelancer can be a lot of stress and isn’t necessarily something you want to jump into without any prior prep or clients.

 

Unless you’ve got the support and backing of a friend or loved one, or some other form of financial help, it’s not a good idea to quit your day job before you’re beginning to see returns on your time investment in developing a freelance business.

 

Like starting a company of your own, there’s a considerable amount of risk in venturing to become a contractor. A reliable source of income will be important, so you can focus on developing your reputation and doing quality work, rather than struggling to survive on day one.

 

2. Build Up Your Skills

It’s important to find your niche.

 

      • What are you good at?
      • What services do you provide best?
      • Where is your expertise?
      • What experience do you have?
      • What is it that you like doing best, and where do your talents shine the most?

 

There are plenty of different jobs that freelancers can fulfill, such as:

 

      • Creating art assets to managing short-term teams
      • Doing web development
      • Working on software
      • Being a hardware specialist
      • Building custom tech
      • Planning and executing social marketing tactics
      • Curating and creating blogs, and much more

 

But identifying what you’re good at or like doing is just the first step. You have to take a look at your competition and figure out what niche you could take advantage of first.

 

Where are clients being underserved when it comes to blog content, online marketing, and more? Finding the right angle to begin looking for clients is an important step.

 

 

3. Always Strive to Improve

Another important step to become a contractor is continuously getting better. You might be a great writer, but there’s no reason you should stop at that. Continue learning about ways to monetize your skill.

 

Figure out what kind of writing gets the most reads and clicks. Maximize your value as a professional and absorb as much knowledge as you can about honing your craft specifically for commercial purposes.

 

Diversify and add new skills to your portfolio. Pick up photography, if you know anyone who can help you get started or lend you professional equipment. Do voice work, learn video editing, put your talents and/or experience as an art student to use in designing and making digital art assets, and more.

 

4. Learn From the Professionals

It’s always a good idea to keep a finger on the pulse of your particular niche or industry and see how other freelancers in similar areas of expertise are making their money. Many freelancers continue to profit off their own skills by teaching others how to get started on their own, often for free.

 

Soak in the information and incorporate what you can, whether it’s about investing more time in developing your own portfolio or checking out new resources to help find clients. Profit off the experience and work of others.

 

5. Hone a Professional Reputation Online

There are countless tools to help you develop and hone your own professional brand and reputation and meld it with your own unique personality and interests. Don’t be afraid to combine what you do with what you love.

 

Are you a talented artist and interested particularly in insects and entomology? Translate that love into studying and learning more about drawing a wild variety of insects and producing interesting and informative visual content to help readers learn more about creatures they might find icky by casting them in a cool or cute light.

 

There are countless ways to create your own brand and leverage your unique interests to produce content that might attract both readers as well as potential clients looking for a subset of skills, or just a talented and resourceful worker.

 

Even if creativity isn’t your strong suit, places like LinkedIn and Twitter can be a great way to:

 

      • Interact with others online
      • Identify and build professional relationships
      • Find more work

 

The best part, of course, is that an interesting and fleshed-out online presence can actually help you find clients without actively searching for them. They’ll look for you, instead.

 

6. Develop Your Personal Brand

Personal brand’ has become a buzzword in the age of social media, but it is an important concept.

 

While the sanctity of the steady, secure job within a larger corporate structure won’t disappear any time soon, it’s becoming more and more important for workers to advertise themselves in order to land better offers and find opportunities for work.

 

These are critical steps to become a contractor or freelancer, as your personal brand is exactly what you’re trying to sell. These tips are all about helping you begin to develop that brand, and the skillset needed to deliver quality work.

 

Conclusion

Choosing to begin freelance or contractor work is not for everyone.

However, with the gig economy transforming the way we work, it may be wise to begin some sort of contractor career. These steps can help you in this process.

 

Categories
Gig Economy

5 Challenges of Working Remotely (and How to Counter Them)

Far more than just a new management fad, teleworking has become a necessity, but with this new style of work comes new obstacles. Here are the five most common challenges of working remotely, and how to counter them.

 

As office space is becoming increasingly expensive, commutes are growing ever longer, and the needs of companies are ever-expanding, departments and startups are looking at telecommuting workers to fulfill their auxiliary and even primary needs while coordinating from somewhere else.

 

Remote working is also a product of continued globalization, as companies throughout the world are scouting countries everywhere for talent that they can hire and leverage without having an office in the area.

 

Are There Challenges of Working Remotely?

Remote work does not come without its own fair share of challenges, and many remote workers struggle with them on a daily basis.

 

Many of the challenges of working remotely revolve around isolation, differing time zones, and the blurred lines between life and work. We’re going to go over some of these challenges and how to counter them.

 

1. You’re Always Available

The Challenge:

When working from home, or anywhere else that isn’t your company’s office, it can get hard to tell when it’s time to start working and stop working.

 

Many remote workers and freelancers coordinate and work with customers and coworkers all over the planet, which can lead to teleconferences at 2am, deadlines at 3am, and a quick chat with a client around 5am. It’s easy to get lost in it all and find yourself pulling 12 hours shifts, quickly burning out.

 

Not only is this unhealthy, but it’s incredibly unproductive. The brain needs rest from work to really get the creative juices flowing – both in terms of sleep, and actual time away from the computer.

 

The Counter:

Set clearer boundaries. Timing yourself isn’t enough. It’s easy to work past 9pm and just tell yourself that you’ll only be on for another hour. Commit yourself to daily tasks that force you to prioritize your work and get it done by a specific hour mark, so you can be up and about at 5 or 6pm each day.

 

It might be a daily workout routine, a daily walk to get your steps in, or just a quick swim. If you can’t commit to an activity outside of your home, get a friend or partner to step in and ‘discipline’ you – tell them to check in and call or text at a set time each day, to remind you to be off from work by then.

 

2. You Must Rely on Self-Motivation

The Challenge:

One of the challenges of working remotely is that it can sometimes be hard to get anything done. There are tons of distractions (especially if you don’t live alone), you might not have a great way to block out noise surrounding you. Others might not necessarily respect your work boundaries and barge in on your during an important task, or you find yourself quickly losing three to four hours a day on Wikipedia articles and Reddit binges.

 

On top of that, you likely have several pressing deadlines pressuring you, and all that anxiety can build up and lead to the most devastating curse any remote worker could suffer from: chronic procrastination.

 

The Counter:

Join a coworking space. Many of these problems come from an inability to sit down and just work alone. That doesn’t mean you need to forego the benefits of remote working. If you struggle to motivate yourself to get things done in a timely manner and prioritize your work, you might just really miss the office environment that used to get you going.

 

Coworking spaces are a great compromise that provide a place for freelancers, remote workers, and small companies to work together on separate projects and tasks, while networking and sharing a single work environment.

3. It Feels Impossible to ‘Unplug’

The Challenge:

You might be off your computer, and you might have finished working on all of your projects for the day, but that likely isn’t stopping you from checking the team Slack, checking progress on Trello, refreshing your emails, or Skyping with the new client. You might even be in bed, trying to sleep, but still focused on that project you’re working on. While passion is great, staying ‘plugged in’ for far too long can burn you out quickly.

 

The Counter:

Go offline on the weekends, and at specific hours. If one of your clients is at their busiest in a time zone when you should really be getting some shuteye, either work things out with them that you’ll communicate nearly exclusively through email and coordinate projects with a few hours delay, or choose between working with a remote client for some extra money and your own sleep hygiene.

 

Again, you must set your own boundaries here. Have a certain time on the clock each day where you don’t work and forbid yourself from checking your messages or refreshing that Gmail account. Put your phone away by 10pm and try to get some much-needed sleep.

 

4. Time Management

The Challenge:

One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is a bout of procrastination. Procrastination is usually a sign of deeper problems than you might first realize, and if you’re stuck in a serious rut, you should consider asking yourself whether you’re just feeling a little lost and need an adjustment period, or whether you’re deeply unmotivated because you’re unhappy, and potentially need help.

 

If it’s the former, then one way to adjust to remote work is to start learning to play with timers, deadlines, and self-set expectations.

 

The Counter:

Productivity hacks and timers. A full day’s work can be a little intimidating at times, so start by breaking each task down into individual chunks. Create quick and simple daily to-do lists, or even better, create a morning to-do list and an afternoon to-do list. Then pick out a reliable playlist or radio station, set a timer, and start working on your daily tasks.

 

There are plenty of apps and devices that help you keep track of how you’re spending your working time. Just make sure to take breaks when you’re feeling spent, either to grab a little water, go for a quick little stretch, or just reward yourself with a little downtime if you were exceptionally productive.

 

5. Loneliness

The Challenge:

We’re social creatures, and we’re not really built to spend the majority of our time with just ourselves. Even when we’re interacting with our family at home, it’s very easy to go completely stir-crazy, especially if you’re often too busy to spend more than one or two hours a week out and about, meeting up with friends or strangers.

 

Even then, the odd hour or two a week definitely isn’t enough to make up for dozens of hours spent completely on your own. Isolation and loneliness are often the biggest challenges of working remotely, and it can completely shut you down over time.

 

The Counter:

Hangout with other workers. Coworking spaces are perfect for this, because they provide plenty of opportunities to interact with other workers, and help you strike the balance between a productive environment, and a social environment. In fact, if anything, coworking often helps workers be more productive, and far more cooperative.

 

Coworking is a godsend for many remote workers who want the coffee shop experience melded together with the feel of an actual office. It’s still a little different from plugging in at a dedicated office space, because you can come when you like, leave when you like, interact with workers from different industries and specialties, and develop far more interesting and diverse networks.

 

Conclusion

There are challenges of working remotely, but like everything in life, you can roll with the punches and adapt. The remote working life might not be a great fit for everyone, but if you’re someone who likes being flexible and typically experiences bursts of extreme productivity rather than a continuous stream of 9-5, then you can make remote working work for you.

 

Research shows that workers are happiest when they can choose to “work from anywhere” – whether that’s home, a café, a coworking space, or their cubicle. We all need a change of pace sometimes, and by expanding your options besides simply working from home, you can boost your productivity and happiness, lower your stress levels, and keep a minimal carbon footprint.

Categories
Gig Economy

How the Gig Economy Is Changing Work as We Know It

The gig economy is changing the way that we work, whether we like it or not. Here’s what it means for your company and the offices of the future.

 

While the institution of the ‘job’ and the history of the 40-hour work week make it seem like what work is and can be is set in stone, the reality is that our understanding of work has never been consistent, and there’s always been a constant shift in how we classify, divide, and make use of labor, especially as technology and constant innovation brings about faster and faster change.

 

Yet while the changes in our understanding of work are constant, there’s one major shift that has had everyone talking for the entirety of the 2010s – the shift towards a gig-based economy.

 

Over the course of the last decade, that shift has not been fully realized. The truth is that the gig economy still only accounts for a fraction of the nation’s workers. Yet hidden beneath that data is another, far more important fact:

 

While few people rely on gigs to survive and fund their daily bread, an ever-increasing number of people are taking side-jobs, doing gigs on top of traditional work.

 

It’s impossible to argue that the gig economy has not changed work as we know it – but it’s important to figure out what that change means.

 

What is the Gig Economy? 

 

The gig economy is a phenomenon largely based on the ever-growing success of the freelancer lifestyle as made possible through leaps of progress in personal computing and the social integration of the internet into both daily life, and the marketplace.

 

The rise of tech startups  and countless other businesses has given way to a completely new form of work characterized by a lack of proper employee-status, but a much wider range of freedoms. These include:

 

  • TaskRabbit
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • DoorDash
  • Deliveroo
  • Airbnb

 

Rather than entering into long-term contracts with monthly salaries, gig workers enter into short-term contracts or simply earn money on a task-per-task basis, with the ability to opt in and out of work at nearly a moment’s notice.

 

Using the analogy of a bundle sticks which determine the factors that make up the relationship between an employee and an employer, a gig worker is someone who holds more sticks than their employer (having more freedoms in matters of choosing when and where to work, what to charge, and so on).

 

The gig economy does not exist solely on the basis of tech firms and phone apps, but also exists in the form of countless contractors and self-branded freelancers who work independently with various companies for short periods of time.

 

In some cases, the gig economy has even led to the full formation of fully-fledged professional teams composed of individual freelancing professionals: ephemeral pseudo-companies set up to complete a massive and complex project before disbanding, much like film crews.

 

A New Way Forward

This new way of working represents a much more fluid interpretation of what it means to work and calls for a completely new understanding of the relationship between a company and the people it employs, and the subsequent rules of engagement.

 

The benefits are clear:

 

  • With more freedom, workers have the ability to prosper and compete on an entirely new level
  • They can take advantage of the many opportunities afforded to them through social networks and various networking platforms to carefully curate and manage a personal brand, on a level never before possible. 

 

But it’s not gone off entirely without a hitch, either, as many are concerned about how the prevalence of gig-based work might affect the social safety net that several generations of Americans worked hard to create in most forms of traditional labor across the country. Because it’s a nascent economy, there’s very little set in stone, and much can still happen.

 

Coworking in the Gig Economy

 

Greater freedom in the relationship between companies and workers contributes to new ways of working, particularly fueling the growth coworking spaces. These ‘shared offices’ have been growing throughout the world since the turn of the century, and they have been taking off more so now than ever.

 

There are several reasons coworking meshes so well with the growing gig economy, and why one feeds directly into the other. While the gig economy is fueled by an increased need for flexibility and self-determination in a post-recession market, built by a generation that has experienced a volatile economy and strives for greater independence from companies and employers, coworking represents the continued human need for a community.

 

There’s no denying that telecommunications have paved the way for a completely new way to work together. Teams are forming across oceans, and projects are coordinating between continents. Yet there are still benefits of physically working side-by-side with professionals you trust and admire. This is beneficial even if they aren’t working in the same field, or in the same company.

 

Coworking has paved the way for a completely new arrangement in the workplace where employees from different companies and freelancers working by themselves can come together to work independently, collaborate by choice, or simply share in an atmosphere driven by the will to be productive and work towards an interesting and exciting future.

 

The Offices of the Future

 

While coworking is scheduled to continue growing massively throughout the world, particularly as a way for freelancers and independent contractors to continue to benefit from having a place to focus on their work and be away from home, and as a way for companies both big and small to massively reduce overhead, the traditional private office is still here to stay.

 

But it won’t be completely unscathed. Coworking has a lot it can teach other office spaces, particularly about productivity and learning to accommodate workers in different ways to help them individually maximize how best they work. Some people work better collaboratively, while others prefer competition.

 

Some need total silence and a space to call their own, while others like the white noise and work well alongside others. As we move away from standard offices, unhealthy cubicles, and setups that are increasingly leading to worker illness, burnout, lifestyle issues and early deaths, the offices of the future must focus on improving the efficiency of the individual by better catering to their needs.

 

Common Questions About This New Trend

What is the Gig Economy?

The gig economy is a phenomenon largely based on the ever-growing success of the freelancer lifestyle. Rather than entering into long-term contracts with monthly salaries, gig workers enter into short-term contracts or simply earn money on a task-per-task basis,

What are the Benefits of a Gig Economy?

Workers have the ability to prosper and compete on an entirely new level, and they can take advantage of the many opportunities afforded to them through social networks and various networking platforms to carefully curate and manage a personal brand.

How Does the Gig Economy Affect Office Space?

Greater freedom in the relationship between companies and workers contributes to new ways of working, particularly fueling the growth coworking spaces

 

Categories
Gig Economy

WORK FROM HOME VS. SHARED WORK SPACE

A persons own home is easily the best place where you would rather be at nearly all given times. Home helps you to relax, take things easy and just be yourself. You frame the rule of the game and you only, get to keep or break them. Life seems all set. No other place can provide the comfort and convenience that a home does. This is true, till you add another person to the equation or work requirements grow far more than your home can accommodate. In case of the latter, focusing on work becomes pivotal for the growth of the business, for it will set the tone for the future.

Working from home, is, in that respect, a little too comfortable. The environment and comfort of home can be counter-productive for all those who do not possess utmost self-control and concentration abilities, especially when there are other family members around (that can be very distracting). It is very casual, and not the place you’d have in mind to schedule a meeting with a potential client or a company employee.

WORK FROM SHARED OFFICE SPACE OR COWORKING SPACE

For reasons mentioned, home may not be an ideal place for businesses and professionals who strive for fast growth. They need alternative options that are not too expensive, yet offer flexibility that a business requires. That is where shared office space or Coworking space come in. Some features of such offerings are listed below:

  1. An office at minimal cost:you need to have an office if you’re looking to build something big, for reasons including working, expansion, inviting clients et cetera. Investing in your own office, whether a purchase or a lease, can be a big ask, especially taking into consideration the first requirement – being economical. A shared office space or co-working space gives you the benefit of all office features, for a comparatively miniscule cost.
  2. Flexibility & easy hours: booking your office space can extremely easy, courtesy of online booking and mobile application. You can also control beforehand how long you’d like to stay in the office, and pay for it accordingly. You can book MONTHLY, DAILY OR HOURLY as per requirement. That way you can balance your time between the professional and personal realms of life.
  3. No distractions: here’s one huge selling point of shared or co-working space. They may be flexible and convenient, but that isn’t at the expense of professionalism. You can get some serious work done, in an environment meant to stimulate and boost productivity, and also retain vital privacy and discreetness.
  4. Expanding network:you are guaranteed to come across several people in the same boat as you are, and those people are the ones with whom you can discuss and debate new ideas, propose or enter into a collaboration, or, at the very least, expand your network with those who understand your needs, your ideas and your vision, having been there themselves.

If you are looking for a shared office space in Los Angeles, come join us here at The Collection! It ticks all the boxes and working there can have a positive impact on your business. Happy Coworking.