Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Taking Time to Recharge and Why You May Need to Do This Too


It's been a while but I'm still here with plans to come back stronger in the coming weeks.  The main reason I've been gone is the process of discovering new resources for this blog.  Otherwise, I think it's time to let go for a minute.


Yep, the "experts" may tell you to never walk away from your business "baby" but there's a difference between abandonment and getting some fresh air.  Though where I live (L.A.) is the city famous for its smog, many of us natives like to check out new scenery.  Afterward, we return revitalized, refreshed, and with a new sense of purpose. It's seldom that the same formula will always work as technology and interests change often.

Just like any other relationship, taking time away isn't a bad thing.  If you have a spouse/mate, boss, or other breathing individual that speaks the same language as you and demands all of your time, it's time to re-assess things.  Even if your business is something you really enjoy doing, nothing should stop you from having a life.

Back to that money thing.  Stepping away helps you see your money differently.  Did you have a good year and are looking to invest or put something toward retirement?  Did you barely break even or can't put your finger on your mistake(s)?  Here are the top five winning reasons as to why freelancers take a break.

Learn new career skills.  You can visit your local library's website for free or low-cost online training options that offer flexibility that can enhance your business or provide an additional income stream.  In some cases, it may be beneficial for you to pay out of pocket and stay within a timeline determined by the instructor.  Whatever the course, stay within a pre-determined schedule so you can market yourself faster.

Manage your finances.  Right now, many are still in fight mode than flight because of the pandemic or they may have been struggling before 2020.  You may need to negotiate the terms of your credit accounts or find new ways to save.  One thing I learned recently is while we tend to be loyal to the host companies we started with for e-commerce, sometimes there are better deals out there.

Rest those sleepy eyes.  Demanding clients, too much (but very much appreciated) work, or just not having time to lounge can catch up to anyone.  Lack of sleep can also affect families and/or your social life when it becomes routine.  A good, old-fashioned siesta can be especially beneficial if you've found yourself waking up on the wrong side of the bed often or have difficulty completing normally simple tasks.

Get your body in shape.  If excess weight is affecting your confidence or energy levels, now's the time to get on a simple fitness routine.  And let's face it...there's nothing great about meal delivery services.  Only a few are reputable and in the same amount of time, you can have a healthier version of the same meal at a fraction of the cost. The Thug Kitchen series is interesting but I recommend borrowing from the library only.

Listen to your audience.  Compliments make us feel good and negative reviews make us want to take immediate action.  However, looking at your industry as a whole can place a new perspective on things.  Even if things are good at the moment, checking out the competition's social media pages or publicity campaign is a smart move if you note what's really happening.  Keeping a sharp eye not only prepares you for the unexpected but may inspire changes in your USP and marketing strategies.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Do You Work Two or More Gigs?


I think as freelancers, we all want something that will fill in the empty hours (or at least make the most of working hours with as little distraction as possible).  We may have learned the art of listening to new streaming music while coding a simple web page or writing out notes for that next article or blog post while doing a restaurant mystery shop.  For a lot of us, the freelance hustle is very real.

Although this is nice for some who don't need to work full time, you may want something a little more steady or at least pays better.  In a climate where many former full-timers are doing what they can to remain paid (including underbidding experienced workers, which really hurts them later if they don't have a real plan of action), it can't hurt to see what else is out there.  My advice is to do a thorough exploration of marketable skills and talents that can be transferred to $$ the quickest way possible.

Taking Career Assessment Tests

These are a little more advanced than the tests you may have taken in school.  Thankfully, many career assessment tests are free and don't require you to give up your personal information.  Although many assessments work directly with college counselors, many are accessible without having to enroll or claiming to be a student.

While you may have a strong idea of what you want to do, sometimes Holland codes or Myers-Briggs results can shine a light on an area that may be overlooked by many job seekers or freelancers.  My recommendation would be to take as many as you can tolerate and consider three results that come to a close match for your current situation.  In other words, if you decide you want t work with animals but are still struggling with the pandemic and money, looking into pet grooming classes or veterinary tech training at your public vocational institution may work in your favor for now.

Knowing Your Skillset

Sometimes we underestimate what we can do in order to make money.  One day in my local big box store, the cashier was telling a customer that she had three jobs.  Her current was the place where she could get medical and vacation benefits.  The other was helping out at a family catering business and she sold online items.  Her logic was not just money but being able to diversify her income as needed.

So if you have culinary skills that have yet to be discovered or a ground-breaking book idea that can place you in a much higher income bracket, now's the time to test things out.  The lady mentioned in the previous paragraph worked for a Caribbean food business, not something people that don't live in large cities run into every day.  You may have some ideas on how people can learn to cook at home since people are limiting how often they leave the house.

A Plan of Action