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Having Trouble Staying Focused When Working from Home?
November 21, 2017

Weekly Newsletter for Freelancers


Having Trouble Staying Focused When Working from Home?
When the Harvard Business Review (HBR) writes an article about staying focused if working from home you can be sure that it is an important issue. This is particularly true for freelancers. You can read the HBR article here.

Critical to success is realizing that the Power of Habit is very powerful in being focused on work. It took me a long time to understand that I had to set boundaries and work times if I was to have sufficient focus to get things done at home. In the last issue of this newsletter, I looked at the Power of Habit which you can read here.

When you are a working freelancer with children at home there are some extra tips to being focused that are worth sharing. Brooke Lea Foster from the Parents Magazine has written How to Master Being a Work-at-Home Mom which you can read here. Jocelyn K Glei has taken this a step further with Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series). Jocelyn realizes that creativity is often based on Building a Rock-Solid Routine. This is because freelancers are quite often creative people and have to be. I have previewed Jocelyn’s article here.


Motivational Tip Of The Week

Motivate Yourself!

"We work all our lives so we can retire - so we can do what we want with our time - and the way we define or spend our time defines who we are and what we value." - Bruce Linton, Fatherhood: The Journey from Man to Dad

Should You Feel Motivated to Think about Retirement if you are in your thirties?

Critical to your future lifestyle is a fundamental change in society. Now, that is a big statement! However, not being motivated to think about it could easily cost you and your children your future happiness. Already, the impact of this change is evident in this current generation of retirees. The risk is that they will likely outlive their retirement savings and be in poverty in their old age. This is the reason that you should be motivated to think about this issue.

For those that are interested in a detailed look at the facts the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) are sounding the alarm for you, you can read their article here. This is why the future of work and upskilling is important.

If you are a smart freelancer you will realize that you should be interested in this issue because you have a very big self-interest. If you have not yet located a financial planner who specializes in the self-employed you should do so. They should incorporate into a financial plan what impact freelancing and managing your work life balance can have on the longevity of your funds. This seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it? A lot of people ignore this issue, but the AARP is working to change this. You can read about the work it is doing here. The AARP call it retiring part-time.

If you are a freelancer with children or grandchildren you need to realize that this issue is of great importance to them as well because you do not want to be a burden on them. The Futurism Blog is running a community prediction forecast as to when their readers think the life expectancy will be 150 years (it is true!). If you are interested in the forecast of the community you can check it out here.

You can also participate, by making your own forecast. One thing is crystal clear, being a freelancer has a lot of powerful advantages, but you have to be motivated to think about your future and that of your children. The Brookings Institute’s Johannes Koettl has written Boundless life expectancy: The future of aging populations and has put the seal of authentication on this issue and you can read the article here.


Productivity Tip Of The Week

Productivity and Budgeting are Critical Issues for Freelancers
Productivity and budgeting are closely linked for freelancers, far more so than those in a 9 to 5 job where a regular wage is received. This is because you not only have to budget for expenses, but also for your income. It can be very tricky, to say the least. If you are moonlighting as freelancers, it adds another layer of complexity to your finances. This is because in many countries some of your expenses related to producing your freelancing income may be allowable deductions.

It is for this reason that you should have a tax accountant and financial planner as advisers. In the listicles that are free with this newsletter, there is a list of some of the questions that you should ask these professionals. You can read about it here. One of the things that is essential is having an overall plan and keeping good records.

Abdullahi Muhammed has written How To Budget Wisely And Save Money As A Freelancer for the Forbes magazine and you can read his article here.

There are two approaches to reducing expenses relating to your overall budget, they are personal expenses and business expenses. Both are worthy of your attention. Rowen from SmashingTops.com has written Top 10 Ways To Reduce Living Expenses and the article can be read here. Rowen has focused on living expenses while Nicole Fallon from FoxBusiness.com has written 10 Simple Ways to Cut Business Expenses. Kelly Medeiros has written 101 Ways to Save Money Around the House which was published by Wisebread.com which you can read here. If you have a family, here is 101 Ways to save on family expenses from Themummyproject.com which you can read here.


Work-Life Balance Tip of the Week

Determining Your Billable Hours Helps Your Work-Life Balance
When you are pitching for a gig do you think about what will be your billable hours and what won’t be? It is an important issue because it determines what will be the return you get for your time. I know that when you are starting out freelancing you will be just happy to get a gig and earn your first income.

However, when you advance you can be more selective and need to have a strategy about billable hours because you will be trading your family time. Family time is important because that is what work-life balance is about and you need to make better estimates of billable and non-billable hours. Karen Martínez has written Billable vs Non-billable Hours: Learning To Make Better Estimates for the Paydirtapp.com blog which you can read here.

There is another consideration when you are sitting down to consider how to earn an extra $20,000 a year. It is the amount of time required to do that. This, of course, depends on what your earning rate per hour is and your billable hours. When you are doing your research it is good to look for articles from people who have actually done it and what their experience was.

Moonlighting as a Designer or Developer: Money, Flexibility — and Some Caution has been written by Mark Henricks for Teamtreehouse.com and can be read here. Mark’s article is exactly what you are looking for and it is an important research for you. If you have friends in this situation share this article with them. This issue will be further explored in future editions of the newsletter.


Financial Tip Of The Week

Did You Know That You Are In The Middle Of Revolution Re-Designing The Future Of Work?
Have you been a work at home parent taking a break from your freelancing work at home job watching your kids playing in the backyard?
Yes, most freelancers in a parenting role with preschool age children will have done this. It is hard to get a perspective on yourself as a revolutionary while you are doing this. You would probably laugh, but it is true. Freelancers are redesigning the concept of work. The next time you are having a break and the kids are playing outside, hopefully in the sun, take your laptop and a cup of coffee and read this article. The article is by Jeff Schwartz, Laurence Collins, Heather Stockton, Darryl Wagner and Brett Walsh. It appears on the Deloitte.com website under their segment Deloitte Insights under the heading The future of work: The augmented workforce. This is an important quote from the article:

Research by Deloitte in the United Kingdom finds that the future workforce will require a “balance of technical skills and more general purpose skills such as problem solving skills, creativity, social skills, and emotional intelligence.

The changes described in the article are not only going to have an important impact on yourself but more importantly, your children playing in the backyard. Did you notice in the article how Amazon is leading the way in the new digital economy? That is why we are providing a case study of developing a family Amazon Associates website. This is where we are up to on the case study:
Amazon Associates Website Case Study(Recap:)

As on 30/10/2017
Domain name chose: BestSellersHourly.com.au. The cost of the related business name, Prime Benefits, registered with Australian Securities and Investment Commission for one year was A$35.00. The cost of the domain names was A$12.00 each per year with Net Registry.

As on 07/11/2017
Project to build the website was listed on Freelancer.com. The project required ten pages of 200-word description on the most popular Amazon best sellers categories, the home page of 400 words, popular plugins (the list is available for those interested), graphics and photos for the website, Facebook page and Twitter. The articles were outsourced to Paul Words.com. The Wordpress Thesis Theme was purchased here. The Easy Azon Wordpress plugin was purchased here. The result of the above can be seen here as a work in process here: www.bestsellershourly.com.au

Summary of costs to date:
    1. Domain name A$12.00
    2. Business name A$35.00
    3. Website contract A$675.00
    4. Thesis Theme A$50.00 (estimate due to multisite purchase)
    5. Articles A$146.00 (estimate due to multisite purchase)
    6. Easy Azon A$40.00 (estimate due to multisite purchase)
    7. Net Registry Australia Hosting for one year A$164.00
Total to date A$1,122.00

As on 14/11/2017
The status of the current project is the Freelancer.com Recruiter Service has identified an appropriate freelancer to do the necessary website design work. This is currently underway and many of the articles are in the draft on the website (not made public for the search engines). The articles have been written by a writer from paulwords.com. I have read them for errors in text and ran them through the plagiarism checker to ensure that they are original articles. Nasir, my virtual assistant, has checked them for the facts being correct. The Facebook Page has been opened here. The Twitter Account is a Work In Process. The Easy Azon WordPress plugin is currently being installed and tested. If you want to read a review about it you can do so here. None of these links are affiliate links. The costs have not changed from what was advised last week.


Freelancers And Cyber Security

We have gained approval from Robert Siciliano to bring you extracts from his books related to cyber security for freelancers. Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert and consultant. He also gives self defense and personal safety seminars. Robert provides safety and identity theft fraud prevention tips and advice on multimedia channels in the United States. We have his approval to bring you weekly extracts from his books:

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