Sunday, January 10, 2021

Making Up For Lost Freelancing Time

 For the past 11 months, freelancers have been thrown curves left and right.  In addition to the pandemic and how we live, some of us who live in California had to deal with statewide restrictions by companies that don't offer gig workers a benefits package.  Not to mention having to balance family and social life so that we don't get sick.

And while some of us have managed to sidestep the tragedy, every day is a new adventure we're forced to challenge.

Stay Ahead While Seeking a Better Life

And then there are bills.  Monthly expenses we may have been able to skip or reduce for the time being for some.  On the other hand, people are relying on local and federal resources to stay alive.  Even the best freelancers have made sacrifices since companies, large and small, have either downsized or closed their doors altogether.

So it's a new year and normally people promise to change for the better.  You may have realized that it's time to get that advanced degree or go into a new line of work.  Others may be ready to continue the search for good clients while looking for ways to increase marketability.

Back to School isn't Always Best

There are a number of resources that can help but it's best to remember that a solution is never one-size-fits-all.  One thing I've noticed is an increase in online university ads.  What makes these more noticeable than before is they're targeting minorities, single parents, career changers/older workers, or any group that appears to be in dire need.  

While you may be part of one or more of these demographics, it doesn't mean that going back to school (or that particular learning institution) is for you.  Diploma mills are just as prominent as before and like some small businesses that are barely hanging on, they're more desperate than ever for your money.  Chances are strong that a community college may serve the same purpose, or can at least save you some money down the road. 

And don't forget about financial aid, as some schools are giving additional funds to students in certain situations.

Look at You as a Person

We often find ourselves running into walls, personally and sometimes professionally, with little clue as to how to fix this.  Sometimes an online personality test can shed some light on weaknesses and other traits that hinder our desire to succeed.  Many of these are free and deliver results right away.

Then again, like anything else, if you find that various clients or co-workers have a similar complaint or concern, you've got your work cut out for you,  There are many online counselors or groups that can help.  If your issues involve another person, often it's less hassle (or at least cheaper) to deal with them directly.

Look at Your Freelance Business

While some use "freelancer "and "gig worker" interchangeably, there are some big differences.  One being the freedom of choice.  Although some of us have found us having to accept whatever assignment comes our way, this shouldn't be a way of life.

Like feral cats on the lookout for food, if you charge rates way below that of your competition, word will get around.  Although this strategy works for new freelancers or those entering a new line of work, it's up to you to set up (and stick to) boundaries. The objective here is to establish milestones or use this as an introductory rate that's good for a month or two.

Overall, if you find that you look good, feel better, and confident in your skillset but just need a little more cabbage, find new ways to get noticed.  This may be in the form of a portfolio presentation or other tool that's easy to access

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