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Friday, May 1, 2020

What Freelancers Can Do When They're Tired of their Pets

Yes, our four-legged roommates are cuddly, furry, and maybe fascinating to watch...but let's not get too distracted.  Unlike kids, they don't need as much attention as you think (unless your pet was bad-ass before the pandemic), so maybe you can use downtime to focus and possibly, fine-tune your freelance goals.

The cuteness never stops

If you thought the competition was tough prior to, the narrowing work pools are about to get more congested with aspiring freelancers as well as those who need to work remotely.  Sounds like the time to step up your game or find a way to diversify your offerings.  While this may not apply to those freelancers that have an ongoing client waiting list...getting comfy isn't advised when sharks may be trying to invade your territory.

Content Contributors/Writers - There was a time when transcription work was an ideal way to fill in slow periods but these days, getting an entry-level gig is harder than ever.  From applicant restrictions by their state residence to lengthy waiting lists (and this was before the pandemic), no one wants to wait to be paid $0.00765/word and the payout is $50USD.  If your analytical or math skills are decent, then marketing may be something to consider.  This gets more in-depth than a simple placement of social media content or copywriting.  You would have to prove to clients on paper how you can use these tools to improve their sales or increase engagement.  The good news is that freelancers don't necessarily need a degree and there are numerous digital marketing courses that range from free to less than $1000.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Small Food Biz Operations Should Consider These Services to Stay Ahead

These are challenging times for many but food businesses are either thriving or sinking.  Last month, the upscale-casual eatery Brio Coastal Bar & Kitchen closed one of its southern California locations shortly after the pandemic hit.  Other establishments have offered meals via food delivery apps or converted into a take-out only establishment.

Recently, I learned of an untapped market that may take some of the stress off what to do with excess inventory.  The El Segundo, CA-based Lemonade has begun offering grocery kits, which offer a variety of fresh proteins and sides that feed roughly 2-4 people, in addition to their usual offerings. 

While the price may seem steep to some, the options make grocery shopping a little easier.  For those who don't want to give in to the comfort food temptation, this means having access to natural produce and grains without driving around town.  Then there's the waiting in long lines from the time you enter the supermarket from the time you leave...or lack of sufficient offerings.

Some smaller operations are partnering with local governments to deliver meals and groceries to seniors citizens and the disabled.  While fresh fruits and veggies may be limited during this pandemic, this may also be the time to get creative with leftover perishables.

1. Create canned or dried goods

2. Create casseroles or starchy meals that can be frozen

3. Offer recipes based on your most popular items (also a great place to include a loss leader), unless you want to sell the original recipe

4. Learn how to bottle condiments and sauces

5. Create spice packs for sale via mail or online

There's also a market that's currently underserved.  Many people are looking for ways to enjoy their favorite meals without packing on the pounds.  Then there are those who can't get enough comfort meals.  This thing is likely to be around for a while so if rebranding is possible, then get on board!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Doing the DIY Thing between Gigs

If you're tired of overworked grocery store clerks telling you where you can and cannot go, or wondering if the person in line ahead of you in the grocery checkout is a hoarder or professional shopper, then going the homemade route only makes sense.

While I don't know the effectiveness of non-disposable tp (I once had an artist friend who had a sock for visitors to use...let's just say I'm happy that I wasn't regular back then), there are many things that can be made that may work even better than the man-made stuff.  Not only are some of the ingredients easier to find but the overall (because the U.S is down until April least) cost is less.

Then again, this may be the perfect time to learn how to grow your own produce.  The above video has some cool techniques or you can look into ways to grow food in small spaces.

Which reminds me, don't pay more for tp than necessary.  Dollar stores, liquor, and convenience retailers might be some alternate options.  One way to extend your current supply is to get the disposable wipes that can be flushed.

Even though these ran me about $7 at Wally World, it's better than what some of the scammers were trying to pull.  At the peak of the CV hysteria, I got suckered into buying five small rolls of tp for about $28 with shipping included.  While many retailers are taking advantage of supply and demand business practices, it is against the law in most states for anyone to gouge the price beyond sane levels.

You may know of some of the resources below or if you're considering downsizing to make your money last, it never hurts to check it out.  Even better, share this with anyone that may have kids or other ongoing major expenses.  Most of all, maintain your sanity.

Get help with bills (federal gov. site)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

10 Things Freelancers Can Do While Waiting...

in line at the grocery store (or while waiting for your favorite senior citizen during the AM rush) or instead of looking out for that promised check, there's still at-home or freelance work out there.  Or if not, there's now is pretty much a good time to assess, explore, and possibly promote.  Most of us with marketable skills will often find a way to sell our services, even if its just a proposal to be a standby for rush jobs.

So here's a list of small tasks that people do as a way to get more money or get their name out there to uncharted territories.

1.  Create a responsive website - even though most hosting packages have this option, you may want to look at mobile versions of competitors for new ideas.  If your host doesn't offer any upgrade options, then it may be time to seek a new host.
2.  Propose to do a guest post - this can get into weird territory but when thought out, it can be advantageous for your business.  If you are a freelancer that's new to an industry, reaching out to someone who's established or their presence has a lot of traffic is a good idea.  It could lead to an alliance or they may contact you to help out with too much business.
3. Take a new profile pic - did you get a makeover or drop a few pounds?  Show off your new look and let future clients know that you care.  Yep, even if your battle of the bulge is ongoing or you like your plain looks, there's nothing wrong with taking a better pic than the one that's currently in your public profile.
4. Start a blog or increase your post times - while some are content with 1-2 posts a week, adding more visuals or relevant posts can increase engagement.  If your social media account has blogging options, this may be better.
5.  Create more visuals - infographics, video, or anything that tells your story without words is something few can live without.  Even if the final product doesn't refer directly to your operation, you can create something based on little-known facts or figures that your audience may not be aware of.
6.  Start a contest or giveaway - there's some good advice on how to start a sweepstake or contest for marketing purposes.  And it can be fun.  In the past, influencer marketing agencies were happy to offer opportunities on behalf of sponsors.  You can also reach out to live clients or through your online network.  This may be better than going through an agency since it only takes two parties to work out terms, as opposed to simply accepting money and not building a relationship.
7.  Find a student to help out - if you're in an area where school is going to be out for a while, and you could use a hand, see if a young person can help out.  Things like data entry, filing, or doing simple social media posts can help you during busy times.  Just like a regular job, allow time for training.  Also, it helps to compensate them, if possible.
8.  Look for better ways to plan your days - sometimes we freelancers tend to move by the seat of our pants when there's opportunity and time feels like it's going to run out.  This means some tasks get pushed to the side or eliminated entirely.  Before you hire a virtual assistant or project manager, find out what you can do to streamline tasks so that everything is completed in a timely manner.
9.  See if you can learn a new skill - while live classes may be out of the question, places like CourseHorse have online offerings by a number of learning institutions.  Even better, your local library may have partnerships with sites like, which can look good on your LinkedIn profile.
10.  Look to rest whenever possible - in addition to better health, taking time to let the body and mind pause for a few hours can lead to better creativity and productivity.  You may even be able to find shortcuts to daily tasks.  Then again, there's multitasking while you wait in line at the grocer's.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Host Virtual Events as an Income Stream

If you use live workshops to promote or sell other services, then chances are you may have to come up with another strategy.  Even though some people may be off work or have limited hours, you can still come up with some creative ways to sell that book, workshop or other money-making entity.  If you haven't considered hosting a virtual event in the past, then this may be another way for you to keep up with the rising cost of toilet paper and bottled water.

The Basics of Virtual Event Planning

While you may have heard of event planning courses, these aren't necessary unless you plan to make this your business.  Only those who go on to work with corporations should invest in a certificate, otherwise starting off with an inexpensive online certificate program is enough to give you a better idea of what's involved.

On the other hand, if you just want to do this for yourself, virtual event planning basics can be broken down into just a few steps.  A lot of people who run their own online webinars often say it's a learning curve in the beginning but once you get the hang of apps like Zoom, it all falls into place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Freelance Gig Worth Considering: Career or Interview Coach

While some interview coaches are also life coaches, you don't have to have a life coach certification to work with interview candidates.  Although marketing or public relations expertise helps, a degree isn't necessary either.  However, a graduate degree may be required if you want to work with college students.

It helps to keep a pulse on what type of counseling job seekers need at the moment.  Keep in mind that not industries are the same and people can only be true to themselves when communicating.  Your goal is to open their eyes to hindrances and seek solutions that will give them more confidence about what they have to offer.  Presentation is everything when it comes to interviewing.  Some people with so-so resumes (in terms of work history) have been able to score a job based on how they were able to sell themselves.

This is a growing field due to many factors that are happening in the current work climate -

  • People who desire to change careers
  • People who are over 40 and haven't been on an interview since Clinton was in office
  • People who want to become freelancers but don't know where to start
  • ...and yes, people over 40, who want to change their line of work and be their own boss after spending nearly half of their life working for someone else.

And the list goes on...

Those who've served time or got fired from their last job, and a growing interviews. There's also a niche for disabled workers that want to supplement their disability income.

Even if a candidate has none of the above issues, they could still be selling themselves short of that dream job.  Nervousness, lack of knowledge, and even a modest attitude can kill an opportunity.  With careful thought and the ability to execute a reasonable strategy for your clients, you can build a nice client base.

Setting Up Shop
In the beginning, it may help to be a specialist instead of a generalist.  Those specialties should be 1-3 industries with which you're familiar.  If there's a small employment agency in your area that has an influx of clients, you may want to start off offering free services until you get your feet wet. There are a number of helpful career resources but depending on your long-term goals, you may want to seek some formal guidance from a veteran career coach or educational institution.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Creating the Right Freelancer Profile

Selling yourself is more than selling your services or skillset.  It's about creating the ultimate package that says confidence, enthusiasm, and the willingness to get the job done.  Unfortunately, freelancer profiles with a cat wearing sunglasses (mine are prescription LOL) don't always translate matter how cute it is.

Although it may not be necessary to hire a professional photographer, it may help to work on a number of personal properties that exude the quality traits you bring to every job.  In other words, don't spend a lot of resources or time trying to look like a supermodel.

Maybe instead of focusing on a photo, start with your bio.  If you have a WordPress account, there's plenty of room for you to share personal info, social media accounts, and other things that visitors (which can turn into paying clients) may find interesting.  If you write for a living, or do it as part of a marketing strategy, having at least one bio is important.

The nice thing about modern bios is that most aren't as stiff or formal for online publications. Many contributors or writers may include personal interests or something quirky.  Here are some funny bio ideas people use for their social media accounts.  Once you get on a roll, take a snippet to include with your next article submission.