A Question Of Trust: Putting Our Faith In Remote Workers

When we’re trying to conserve our business’ productivity, its integrity, not to mention its finances, the modern approach that so many companies look to is the remote working setup. Naturally, it’s a big draw, not just because it’s a way to cut those financial corners, but it’s a way we can hire so many people, and actually, make the most of the limited finances we have. But, with remote working comes a lot of questions, not just in terms of the technicalities, but also, when you’re hiring remote workers or freelancers, this question of trust can arise. Are remote workers to be trusted? And how can we get around this issue?

The Handling Of Sensitive Data

The one basic way we can get around this is to have contracts. Even a freelancer contract carries a legal cache, and it’s the best way for us to cover our bases. Unfortunately, the difficulty of ensuring remote workers and freelancers handle data effectively is all about consistent communication. While there are some technological ways for you to keep on top of this, hiring a virtual server hosting company to do the monitoring, or hiring a dedicated team to monitor the computer components will ensure that you are keeping some sort of watchful eye on your remote employees.

Improving Your Communication With Them

As we can struggle with the idea of control when we have remote workers or freelancers, it’s important to differentiate between the two terms. Remote workers can be hired on a permanent contract, but freelancers are not. So, if you are concerned that the two aren’t mutually exclusive, you have to think about what you want from your employees. In addition to this, if you want freelancers to feel part of the team, you have to make them feel just that. The big anxiety that we can have when it comes to trusting remote workers is that they can leave us in the lurch when there is a deadline looming, and while we don’t want to be let down, if we don’t give them any sort of incentive to keep working for us, such as by minimal communication, then part of us shouldn’t be surprised when they do inevitably jump ship. Improving your communication isn’t about messaging them every 20 minutes or so, it’s giving them that room to breathe but showing them that you have faith in their abilities to complete the task. This is a hard thing for us to come to terms with, especially when we’re trying to keep numerous plates spinning, as well as get to know the new members of the team.

Don’t forget, it’s important that remote workers feel part of the team, even though they are working from home. Remote workers, from a stereotypical perspective, can take liberties, and not do what is asked of them, but if we are to trust remote workers, then we have to have some semblance of honesty in how we communicate. We can trust remote workers, and we should, but maybe it’s more about the fact that we have to come to terms with changing our own managerial styles.

How to Successfully Market Yourself as a Freelancer

With social media evolving so fast and with the internet changing in the rate it does, it is practically a business suicide not to have some kind of marketing strategy prepared for your business. However, without a steady paycheck and with the constant pursuit for new clients, dealing with the issue of marketing may seem difficult. Marketing yourself as a freelancer may be a bit tricky, but if you focus, plan and organize ahead, you will soon realize just how far a good marketing strategy can take you.

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Create a Strong Online Presence

You cannot simply wait for people to find and hire you. You need to get out there and expand your reach. There is an abundance of industry-specific forums, blogs, and other communities which are great for developing your marketing skills and growing your freelancing network. Engage in social media and try to leave comments on different blogs, or answer questions on forums. Be helpful and and do not spam the users. When you engage with the community in such a way, you help build credibility for yourself and consequently expand your reach.

Do not Neglect the Social Media

Use social media platforms to build a public profile for yourself. Potential clients and employers will have much better chances of hiring you if you are present and active on social media. Having a detailed LinkedIn profile can significantly boost your client rates; using Facebook or Twitter for self-promotion can help you distinguish yourself from others and build a serious freelancing business. Make sure you are out there if you really want to expand your business and market yourself properly.

Build a Team of Freelancers

Try connecting with other freelancers as often as you can. This may not seem important from the marketing aspect of your work, but as far as networking goes, it really is. When you are engaged with numerous freelancers, the number of potential opportunities skyrockets. With strong connections with freelancers in different areas of expertise, you can take numerous projects and expand your client base significantly.

Focus on Referrals and Outsourcing

Referring clients to other freelancers is an amazing practice, and it both helps create a connection between freelancers and helps them expand their businesses. You can even get freelancers to outsource a project for your client through you and vice versa, so you can understand how a strong freelancing team can be very important when it comes to promoting yourself and your skills.

Incorporate Modern Web Design

If you do not have a website in the today’s market, it is as if you don not exist. This is especially the case for freelancers. But simply having a website does not necessarily mean that you are on track to become extremely successful. You must understand your focus group and you must address their needs. In order to do this in the best possible way you need to incorporate great web design.

Mix Marketing With Web Design

When it comes to web design, it can make or break your business. Good web design can really help you step up your marketing game. Whether you’re a genius web designer or someone who doesn’t know anything about it, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow. Keep your website simple, use responsive web design, test everything meticulously and ask for feedback from everyone. These tips have proven to be extremely efficient when it comes to marketing aspects of your website.

Think About Growth Opportunities

Think about the services you provide as a freelancer and think about the clients you have already worked with. Think about what they would like to see, and consider how that fits in your idea of a website. Do some research and check out what other freelancers from your branch of work are doing. With platforms like WordPress and with the power of Google you can soon understand how the world of web design works, or you can always consult a professional and still achieve what you’ve wanted all along – a better way to market yourself.

Put the Thoughts Into Action

Expanding the business is hard, and finding the best marketing strategies may seem like a nightmare, but all you really need is a bit of time and patience. Focus on building your online presence, and try to engage with others as often as you can. Think of the ways how you want to build your career, whether as a successful individual freelancer or as a member of a freelancing team of experts. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and your skills, but do it professionally.

Cleanse Your Work Palate: What to Do In-Between Jobs

Being laid off or getting fired are, unfortunately, common events that many people will have to deal with at least a few times over the course of their professional career. While you may feel remorse for friends and family members when this type of event happens to them, you can feel a sense of panic or extreme stress when it happens to you.

Of course, some people who are currently out of a job may have quit on their own accord, and this may have been because of poor management or another similar type of issue. In any case, this professional gap can be stressful, but you can more easily navigate through this tumultuous time without scars by following a few tips.

1. Keep Calm and Focus

After losing or quitting a job, you may understandably feel confused or even hurt. It is normal to feel these emotions, so embrace them for a short period of time. During that period, consider everything from meditating to working out, blogging and more to get your mind off of the pain. You can and should spend time reflecting on what may have gone wrong in your previous position so that you can learn from it.

However, you should not dwell on negative emotions tied to those life lessons, but let them go so that you can move on with your life. Embrace this break from a work routine by spending more time with friends and family, relaxing, having fun, and enjoying the resulting reduced stress levels. After all, this break is only temporary, and you may soon find another job. By adjusting your line of thinking so that you focus on the transient nature of this break, you may be able to relax and enjoy a sense of calmness.

2. Enjoy Your Free Time

When you are not working regularly, you may have many hours in your day to enjoy at your leisure. Think of this time as a vacation of sorts that you can use to regroup and focus on your physical and mental health. Use it to reconnect with loved ones and to focus on nurturing these relationships.

You can explore new hobbies or interests that you have been meaning to try, such as taking dance lessons, cycling and more. If you have the funds to do so, you may even travel without concern about getting back to a job. Your trip will be much more relaxing than it would be if you had the stress of job responsibilities looming over you.

3. Make a New Financial Plan

A lot of individuals out of work for even a few weeks may begin to feel financial stress related to a lack of incoming funds. While you may want to enjoy your time off of work, practice moderation so that you can avoid overspending. Consider reducing your personal expenses so that you can conserve your savings. For example, you may cut back on cable TV, your entertainment expense, restaurant meals and more. You may also find a side job that can offset your lack of full-time income.

This could help you to stretch your savings for a longer period of time and reduce the financial strain that you may be feeling. If you are offered COBRA health insurance, consider the benefits associated with taking advantage of extended coverage for as long as it is available to you.

4. Get Back on Track

It is easy to get lazy when you have ample time to yourself each day. You may find yourself sleeping in regularly, spending hours watching TV and more. However, this can create boredom and may even lead to depression.

To prevent it, make a to-do list of items that need your attention around the house. Focus on improving your skills by working toward a new certification. Attend professional networking events and job fairs. You could even volunteer for an organization that supports a cause that you feel strongly about so that you feel productive each day. Another smart idea is to revise your resume and update your LinkedIn profile accordingly.

5. Start Looking for a New Gig

Many people will take a few days or even longer than week to enjoy their time off of work and regroup after quitting or losing a job. That is perfectly fine; however, you do not want to spend too much time taking it easy. The sooner you start looking for a new job, the sooner you may be able to start working and get your career and finances back on track.

While looking for job postings online, you should also network with personal and professional contacts to learn about jobs and to potentially get your foot in the door. If you are out of a job for an extended period of time, ensure that you follow forums, blogs, trade journals and more so that you can keep up with industry changes that may be relevant when you interview for a new position.

Tomorrow is Another Day

Regardless of why you are currently out of a job, your lack of gainful employment can seem like a stressful setback. You may even take your lack of income and your employment issues personally, and this could lead to depression. When you follow these important tips, however, you can navigate through this rough patch more comfortably, and you may more easily find a great new gig that takes your career to the next level.

Author Bio:

michelle_lauryMichelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.

Making the Move from Freelance to Small Business

As your freelance business gets more successful, you will start to think about making a move to becoming a small business. It’s not just a desirable prospect – it’s almost a necessity. The simple truth is that when you are in demand, you just won’t have the time to keep all your customers happy while seeking new clients. In short, you will need help.

There are, of course, many challenges involved in turning a freelance career into a successful small business. And in today’s guide, I’m going to go through a few of the things you will need to consider. Let’s take a closer look.

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Legalities

As a small business owner, you will have a lot more legal responsibility than you do as a freelancer. It’s advisable to hire a lawyer, who can talk you through employment law – and you might need an HR professional on board, too. Anyone you hire will have statutory rights, and there are tax and national insurance responsibilities, too. You will need to cover yourself with the right insurance, in case there is an accident or something goes wrong. While starting a small business can be exciting, there is a lot of legal groundwork to cover before you even get started.

Cash flow

The biggest difference between being freelance and running a business lies with your cash flow. When you freelance, it is possible to stretch yourself until your money comes in from your clients. However, from the second you start hiring people, they need to be paid – regularly. It is vital that you start getting a much tighter grip on your finances to allow you to do this. There are other things to consider, too. You might decide to move into an office, for example, which means regular payments for rent, rates, and utilities.

Contracts

Contracts will start to take over your life – far more so than they ever did as a freelancer. You will have contracts for employees, suppliers, customers, delivery drivers – the list is endless. It is imperative that you are organized enough to ensure you have the right processes in place. Contract management software can help, and it might be an idea to hire someone that can deal with your general admin, too. When you are a small business, you will need to learn how to delegate, fast. It is a vastly different experience to the DIY approach used by freelancers.

Training

If you want to take your freelance customers with you, it is imperative that you provide them with the same levels of service. But it can be tricky to do when you start hiring other employees and allowing them to work on your client accounts. Some customers will be extremely unhappy if they are suddenly lumped with an employee who just doesn’t perform as well as you. Excellent training is critical, to ensure those service levels remain constant. Your staff are a key asset, now – don’t training will help them avoid being a liability.

Making a move from freelancer to small business can be exciting, but there is a lot of work ahead. However, follow these simple guidelines, and you should enjoy some success. Good luck!