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Is freelancing for me?

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For those looking from the outside, becoming a freelancer often appears tempting. Being your own boss, choosing the work you do and avoiding the same daily routine has its perks.

Freelance opportunities are available in a huge number of industries, and the internet has made it easier than ever to get your name out there. However, no amount of previous work experience will prepare you for freelancing if you don’t have the right minerals.

10 traits of a great freelancer

1. Time Management
2. Sociability
3. Skin like a rhinoceros
4. Little need for sleep
5. A headful of ideas
6. Adaptability
7. Marketing savvy
8. Patience
9. Time alone
10. Multitasking

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1. Time Management

To go freelance, your organisational skills have to be fabulous. The buck will rest entirely on you, so there will be no one to delegate to when you realise a two-hour job is going to take five. On top of the work you’ve agreed to, you’ll have to make time to source new work, chase monies owed and keep the tax man informed. Oh, and you may want a life on top of this.

2. Sociability

Freelancers need to keep any natural shyness for nonworking hours and be prepared to meet and/or speak with total strangers on a whim. You’ll need to go further than producing great work, delivered on time – some clients will see you as an extension of their office staff, and forming professional friendships gains trust.

3. Skin like a rhinoceros

Be prepared for rejection slips or a total lack of response to work you’ve pitched. It won’t matter how genius your proposed work may be – the quicker you can get the next freelance proposal, the more successful you’ll be in the long run. Freelancers need to accept rejection as nothing more than part of the daily grind.

4. Little need for sleep

Sleep may need to go on the back-burner for awhile, especially when you’re getting started. Some jobs will overrun, or a great last-minute opportunity may present itself. With no job security, you’ll need to take on and complete jobs, regardless of the unsociable hours.

5. A headful of ideas

Brilliantly original ideas will need to erupt from you like water from a fountain. Regardless of your chosen field, you’ll be competing with some brilliant freelancers and your proposals will need to stand out from the crowd. Always have a plan B, should your first idea hit snags en route to completion. And preferably a plan C too.

6. Adaptability

Be prepared to shift your life-interests around work. Until well-known and with regular work coming in, freelancers cannot afford to turn work down. Whenever the call comes, you’ll need to be ready to meet it, even if this means missing your weekly yoga class.

7. Marketing savvy

A successful freelancer needs to market themselves. Unless you have a string of trusted contacts when you start out, you’ll be starting off as a complete unknown. You can’t afford to simply put your name out there and wait for others to come to you. Attend events, mingle with other freelancers and potential employers, and approach companies directly for work in areas you can demonstrate your expertise in.

8. Patience

One often-heard complaint from freelancers is that they have either too much or too little to do. Months of 60-hour working weeks may be followed by long periods without a single scrap of freelance work. You’ll need to keep positive, be patient, and keep working on the next breakthrough.

9. Time alone

Freelancing can be a lonely job. In many industries, the work will have to be completed by you, and you alone. If the thought of staying in the house for days on end and conversing only with the postman makes you quiver, freelancing simply may not be for you.

10. Multitasking

Even high-level non-freelance jobs do not compare to the level of multitasking required by a freelancer. You’ll be the boss of your enterprise, the marketing department, customer service rep and accountant, to name but four. Changing roles several times on a daily basis and having to be expert in each can leave some freelancers not knowing who they are anymore.

Getting started as a freelancer

So, you’re confident you have what it takes to go freelance. What to do next? In many ways, going freelance needs the same preparation you would put into starting any new business. Approach it in this way and you’ll put yourself in the best position to succeed.

Get your business off the ground with a Business Loan

Your freelance work

The appeal of working from home can quickly become stale when you don’t get to leave the house for days at a time. Sort out an official work space and purchase any essentials before you begin. Everything should be on permanent standby for that first job.

Create a weekly schedule from the off. Even if the first few weeks contain nothing but lists of people to contact and networking events, it all counts towards your freelance work.

Your brand

Given the competitive nature of most industries, you’ll need to find a niche so you stand out from the crowd. Research others in your field, decide how you’re going to pitch yourself and create a brand to get noticed. Work out your rates and be flexible. Clients may price jobs in different ways, from hourly rates to total work delivered.

Your money

Let the taxman know in advance of your plans. Work out how long you can survive without a job coming in – a small business loan may be useful to get your venture off the ground. Ensure everything freelance-related is accounted for, from stationery and travel costs, right down to the coffee you drink whilst working.

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Main Reasons People Avoid a Financial Plan

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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

What are the main reasons people avoid a financial plan? (And why you really do need one)

Many of us dream about living a better life, leaving the daily grind behind and planning for more leisure pursuits and free time to enjoy ourselves. What a lot of us forget is, that to do it, you need to have a decent financial plan. It’s estimated that only 25% of adults have one in place, and there are lots of reasons why people simply don’t bother…but that needs to change.

Should You Hire A Professional Financial Planner In Your Twenties

Only 24% of millennials demonstrate basic knowledge of proper financial literacy and planning, according to a study by the National Endowment for Financial Education. Financial planning is a road map that is meant to help you achieve economic goals more efficiently and timely. A financial advisor uses your monetary data to create projections on when and how you can accomplish your goals. They base these estimations on your income, inflation patterns, expenditure, among other assumptions. So, should you, as a youth, seek the services of a professional financial planner?

Finding the right planner

Before you even begin, take time to write down what you want to accomplish both in the short and long term. When ready, ask for recommendations from friends and family members who have similar goals and seem to be progressing well. You may also seek professional direction from your local bank or brokerage firms. Associations such as the Financial Planning Association, FPA, and the National Association of Personal Finance Advisors, NAPFA could come in handy as well.

Remember, the idea is to hire a certified planner who understands you and your goals. Of course, getting such a professional comes with a price. Most fee-only planners will charge anything between $1000 and $2000 for a detailed plan. Investment advisors ask for a certain percentage; around 1% of your invested assets. Always ask your potential planner to provide a disclosure document (ADV) which has details on all fee patterns and potential conflicts.

Prepare for life milestones

Unless you start planning now, you will not wake up one day and afford to purchase a home, as noted by InvestedWallet. At the very least, you need to save up for a down payment, clear up your debt and build up your credit score. Similarly, you need to save funds for your children’s education lest you won’t have it when the time comes.

Though it may not make a lot of sense to plan in your 20s because of unclear goals, it is vital. Furthermore, your financial plan is changeable and can be reviewed at any time as your life unfolds. Some major life milestones include purchasing a home, starting a family, and retirement. If you make these goals realistic and commit to following your financial plan, you have an excellent chance to always be ready at each stage of life.

“Regardless of your age or net worth, financial planning is important,” says Jeanette Brox, a senior financial consultant in Toronto. Hiring a financial planner is one of the best decisions a millennial could make. A good planner will advise you on how much you need to save or invest, among many other benefits. Make sure to meet your planner at least once a year and when you reach significant life events so that you keep your plan current and reasonable.

Article by: Cassidy Franklin

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70 Mergers & Acquisitions Bigger than the GDP of Small Countries

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Revealed – Index of biggest mergers & acquisitions over the past five years

– Verizon’s merger with Vodafone was the most expensive at $130 billion and surpassed the GDP of 154 countries

– The Pharmaceutical Industry saw the highest profile deals with a $318 billion contribution

The potential for increasing market share, reducing competition and charging higher prices through monopolistic control are a commercial dream of all big mergers & acquisitions. However, not all mergers & acquisitions are created equal. While some achieve domination, others pale in comparison to their hefty price tags.

By indexing all seventy mergers & acquisitions and comparing their prices to the GDP of entire countries, online forex trading broker ForexTime (FXTM) have been able to gain a greater understand of the staggering financial involvement. Furthermore, by analyzing the stock prices prior and post completion we are able to postulate whether success is indicative of the price paid.

Out of all deals that had occurred over the past five years, the top ten alone equated to over $850 billion. The most expensive merger occurred in 2014 when Verizon bought out Verizon Wireless Stake from Vodafone. With a valuation of $130 billion, this surpasses the GDP of 154 different countries.

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods was equivalent to the entire GDP of Nicaragua and exceeded over 82 different countries. Jeff Bezos’ strategic thinking ultimately paid its dividends and stock prices closed $986.80 higher than a year after the deal was completed. Alternatively, Google’s acquisition of the HTC Smartphone Team was met by skepticism on the London Stock Exchange and stock’s fell by $74.63.

All mergers & acquisitions are underpinned by employees. Hence, as a further variable we assessed total number of employees affected. Strategy and organization is critical in ensuring a smooth employee transition. If not executed properly there can be serious ramifications on employee harmony and profitability. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods also saw them incorporate the largest workforce of 613,000.

More can be found out about the study and the accompanying index on FXTM’s dedicated webpage.

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How to Set the Right Pricing Strategy For Your Business [Infographic]

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In order to succeed in business, there’s a lot you have to get just right. Your idea, the market, and timing all come into play. There’s also a factor that many small business owners and entrepreneurs forget about until the very end: how to price their product or service. While deceptively easy, setting the right pricing strategy has the power to elevate your business into new markets, amplify your brand, and mitigate competition. Choosing the right pricing strategy may take some time, but requires three main elements.

First you must know your audience, the market, and your business. Understanding these three elements sets a solid foundation to select a pricing strategy that helps take your business to a new level. To get a full sense of your market, conduct thorough research. You should understand what your audience values most in products or services like yours, and what they will be comparing your product to. Being able to offer more value that is actually meaningful to your audience is essential to driving sales and a successful business. Finally, keeping an eye on your own costs and profit will help you maintain a healthy cash flow that will make the most of the funding you raise.

From this point, you can select a pricing strategy based on whether your market is oversaturated or sparse, or whether your audience expects cut-rate prices or prestigious branding. For more help on selecting the right pricing strategy for your business, check out this infographic below by Fundera.

How to Set the Right Pricing Strategy For Your Business

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