Weekly Newsletter for Freelancers: Here is the latest newsletter of this week starting on 28th of November 2017.
Starting out as a freelancer without a plan is not a good idea. There I have said it! It needed to be said so that there is no misunderstanding about deciding to become a freelancer. There are powerful trends that are at play here which are beyond individuals. They are corporate trends to maximize corporate profitability by cutting costs. That is not a surprise to most employees! Elaine Pofeldt has written The Powerful Trend That Will Soon Make the Freelance Life Easier for Forbes Magazine which can be read here.
The result of these trends can be seen where technological changes in industries are well underway and thousands of workers are going to be made redundant. Industries are not making a secret of this, as a recent announcement by the National Australia Bank Limited shows. You can read about this here.
However, what they are not telling you is that they are still going to need access to top talented workers with specialized skills. Many of these workers will be freelancers. In fact, there is now a freelancing platform called www.toptal.com which aims to provide access to the top 3% of freelancing talent. If you have the skills to make yourself one of the top talented freelancers, this is a wonderful opportunity for you from a work-life balance perspective. Most of us do not have the skills or talent to be in the top 3% and that is why it is more important to have a plan.
In Sara Horowitz and Toni Sciarra Poynter in The Freelancer’s Bible, Chapter 1 titled Seven Start-Up Steps begins with the words “Fire, ready, aim”. My strong advice is not to be one of those freelancers even if you are a top-talent freelancer, but to read Sara and Toni’s book from cover to cover then read it again, then make a plan! Check out the preview of the book below:
“Amazingly, one-third of the American workforce is freelance―that’s 42 million people who have to wrestle with not just doing the work, but finding the work, then getting paid for the work, plus health care, taxes, setting up an office, marketing, and so on. Now help is here, and consultants, independent contractors, the self-employed, “solopreneurs,” and everyone else living a freelancer’s life will never be alone again but instead can be part of a strong and vibrant community.
Written by the authority on freelance working, Sara Horowitz, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and founder of the national Freelancers Union and, most recently, the Freelancers Insurance Company, The Freelancer’s Bible will help those new to freelancing learn the ropes, and will help those who’ve been freelancing for a while grow and expand. It’s the one-stop, all-encompassing guide to every practical detail and challenge of being a nimble, flexible, and successful freelancer: the three essentials of getting clients and the three most important ways to keep them happy. Five fee-setting strategies. Thirteen tactics for making it through a prolonged dry spell. Setting up a home office vs. renting space. The one-hour contract. A dozen negotiating dos and don’ts. Building and maintaining your reputation. Dealing with deadbeats. Health Insurance 101. Record-keeping and taxes. Productivity, including a quiz: “What Is Your Ideal Day?” Building a community. Subcontracting and other strategies for taking your freelancing career to the next level. Retirement plans, plans for saving for education, and how to achieve financial freedom.”
You can obtain a copy of the book from Amazon by clicking on the icon or the link below it.
Amazon Disclosure: The links used are affiliate links. By buying through the links I may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price for you.
One of the greatest needs for freelancers is to confront their fear of not being worthy of charging a high rate. The root cause of this fear is not having done the research as to what is the value proposition for the services that they provide. This involves determining your unique selling proposition, setting your rate and communicating your value. It can be daunting, but only until you have done some research and reading as to what others have done and how to go about it. There is a good article entitled How to set your price and communicate your value which appeared in the FreelanceFriday.co blog. You can read about it here. This quote is right on target for value propositions:
“That’s the heart of this entire concept. Clients do not buy ‘things’. They buy the experiences that those ‘things’ are able to deliver. And, when so doing, they measure the benefits against the costs. Which leads us directly to consider: what is a value proposition?”Cindy Barnes, Creating and Delivering Your Value Proposition: Managing Customer Experience for Profit.
This raises the question as to What is a unique value proposition for a freelancer? That is the title of an article by Allan Branch which appears in Lessaccounting.com blog which you can read here.
Here are some examples of value propositions and how to write them from Peep Laja’s Conversionxl.com blog which is entitled: Useful Value Proposition Examples (and How to Create a Good One) which you can read here.
Your internet speed can have a big impact on your productivity if you are working over the internet. This impacts on a lot of freelancers in many types of jobs.
When I read Abdullahi Muhammed’s article 79 Websites To Get Freelance Jobs Fast in Forbes Magazine, I was interested to find out just how many types of jobs there are that can be completed over the internet. I could not find an answer. As the number of jobs over the internet is increasing so fast, it is difficult to get a fix on it but the number would be thousands. You too can read Abdullahi’s article here. What is crystal clear is that managing your internet speed and getting work done are critical issues for a lot of freelance workers in many categories.
Australia is one country that is upgrading its national broadband network to fiber optic cable. It will not be the only country. The broadband network impacts on governments, corporate, small and medium enterprises and, on us, freelancers. Aaron O’Keefe has written an article for the Wideband blog about how it impacts business which you can read here.
However, for us, what matters is how to manage a slow internet connection. Whitson Gordon has written Top 10 Ways To Deal With A Slow Internet Connection for Lifehacker.com.au blog which you can read here.
As a freelancer have you considered the amount of time that you can save by using a virtual assistant at home? I hadn’t until I started to read about the developments that Amazon has been working on over the past few years.
It is almost as if Amazon had foreseen the rise of freelancers and the gig economy and the need to better manage work-life balance. Amazon has developed Alexa as its intelligent assistant. It is a form of artificial intelligence that will help make you more efficient by automating a lot of the home management tasks that you would do manually.
For a freelancer, this means saving you time and enabling you to be more creative and productive which means earning more money. At the same time, this translates into you being able to give your family more quality time and that is what work-life balance is about!
If you want to read more about the background of Alexa and Amazon’s goals you can check out Wikipedia’s entry here. This will show you the potential for Alexa as a virtual assistant. Mike Prospero has written 49 Best Amazon Alexa Skills for Tomsguide.com which you can read here. I think that this is a great quote on the role that artificial intelligence can have for all of us as freelancers.“Some people call this artificial intelligence, but the reality is this technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we'll augment our intelligence.” - Ginni Rometty.
This question is becoming increasingly important to low and moderate-income families. It will become increasingly so. Conceptually, there are two main streams of thought on this issue.
One stream is passive income e.g. interest, dividends or building something that will produce an income. The other stream of thought is actively doing something that will produce an income e.g. getting paid for your skills.
Freelancing is very much about getting paid for your skills. Philip Brewer has written 15 ways to make money outside your day job for Wisebread.com which you can read here. Wisebread.com also has an article that will be applicable only to the United States at this time but is clearly a sign for the future for other countries. The article is entitled How Smart Shoppers Will Save at Amazon's Whole Foods. The article is written by Christa Avampato and you can read it here.
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.
Project to build the website was listed on Freelancer.com. The project required ten pages of 200 words 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, but not used after Amazon Associates upgraded their OneLink service.
The result of the above can be seen here as a work in process here www.BestSellersHourly.com.au
Summary of costs to date:
The background work for building the website was advised. If you want to refer back to what was being done you can check the back issues here.
An important change was announced by Amazon to its Associates that will impact this project. The change was that Amazon has now enabled the linking of international traffic from United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Japan, and neighboring countries. It is incredible to think that Amazon can do this, but it is true!
It is reasonably foreseeable that Australia will join OneLink (which is what Amazon calls the system). For this project that means Easy Azon (which accomplished this by a Wordpress plugin) will not be used in this project.
This requires that the domain name of bestsellershourly.com.au (Australia only) needs to be switched to bestsellershourly.com which is global. Fortunately, I own this domain name. Technically I am not sure how to accomplish this or who will do it, but I am working on it. This is the visible internet result so far on a long-term project:
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: