Why Being An Independent Contractor Now Appeals to People of All Ages

Thanks primarily to advancements in technology, freelancing has emerged as a particularly popular method of working, with more than one third of American workforce now classed as being self-employed. Freelancing is increasingly appealing to the growing social demographic of older workers.

Photo: @ facebook.com/nthyramanujam

Photo: @ facebook.com/nthyramanujam

While it is well known that young adults turn to freelancing as a way to develop tangible career success, older workers are now also embracing it in order to retain their independence while also dictating the hours that they work.

The Benefits of Freelancing for Older Workers

The rising age of freelancers represents a global trend, with approximately 30% of working pensioners self employed in the UK. This compares to only 13.5% across the rest of the British workforce, and reflects the fact that individuals are who are keen to work beyond retirement age have begun to recognize the benefits offered by freelancing. So why exactly should self employment appeal to older workers?

A Way of Combating the Pensions Crisis: A recent report by banking giant HSBC suggested that citizens in numerous developed economies were failing to save effectively for their retirement. This has been attributed to a number of different factors, but the fact remains that many individuals lack the tools to effectively retain a percentage of their income. Freelancing can help to negate this, however, as it allows those approaching retirement age to continue to earn while dictating the hours that they work and establishing a convenient working regime.

A Way to Maximize Earnings: After a long and successful career, you are blessed with a level of experience and industry knowledge that is extremely valuable. Freelancing allows you to market yourself and the unique qualifications that you possess, and also provides an opportunity to apply a relevant value on your time and expertise. As you approach the twilight of your career, flexible self employment enables you to maximize your earning potential and boost your financial savings prior to your eventual retirement.

Increase the Longevity of your Working Life: Financial motivation aside, you may well choose to work because of the independence and satisfaction that it affords you. Continuing to work full time can be difficult once you reach a certain age, however, as age and personal circumstances take priority over your desire to remain in employment. By registering as a self-employed individual and working independently, however, you can strive to work beyond retirement age by reducing your hours and operating from within the confines of your own home.

The world of work is changing, thanks to a number of social, technological and economic influences. The increasing accessibility of technology is also enhancing the appeal of freelancing across wider social demographics, with older workers now embracing it as a way of lengthening their career and boosting earnings. So long as you retain the desire to work and have a marketable skill, freelancing remains a viable way of easing your transition into retirement.

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Small Business Marketing Essentials

Small businesses need to make the most of whatever they have. While judicious spending and getting maximum returns form the gist of small business marketing, it is important to note that no two businesses are alike. As a result, there is no particular solution that fits all type of small business marketing issues. Here are a few guidelines that can help you make smart marketing choices for your small business.

running trackBe aware of your competition

One of the first things that you need to learn as a small business marketer is to respect your competitors. Brute force will never help you market your product unless you have the capacity to outspend your opponent. This is also the biggest mistake many small businesses make, and in their bid to build authority over the market they could easily get a bad name and also lose business. When it comes to marketing, your ability to out think your competition is the only thing that can help you grow. Start small and never directly target any major profits. Use smaller mediums such as a less popular radio station or a local website for marketing, and gradually you can move on to the more popular media.

Strictly comply with your budget

It is quite easy to get overwhelmed with your marketing efforts and go on a spending spree. This is something you should always avoid, especially when you are a small business owner. Fix a budget for marketing efforts. Make sure that it is neither too small nor too great. You can even consult a small business ad agency to help you out. Once you set aside a budget for marketing, it is very important that you stick to it strictly. Also it is good to have short-term marketing plans instead of long-term ones. This makes it easy to correct yourself if any mistakes surface without significant financial losses. A fixed budget can also make sure that your choices are always logical and sensible.

If you can’t measure it don’t do it

When it comes to small business marketing, the ability to measure your efforts is what makes the difference. While it’s all glamorous to sponsor your local football team, it is not necessary that this could increase your revenue. You may in fact end up spending more than what you would earn from this campaign. Online marketing is one of the most suitable methods of marketing as it can be tracked and measured.

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Entrepreneurship Principles that Can Make a Difference

Studies suggest that only about 5% of startups manage to hold forth after a year of commencing operations. The reasons for this failure can be many, but the most prominent among them is the mind set of the entrepreneur. Here are a few entrepreneurial principles that can help you keep your business floating.

Defining success

Every entrepreneur is first a salesperson

The first thing you will need to remember as an entrepreneur is that you will have to perform multiple roles, such as a product designer, conceptualizer, and also a salesperson. Your role as a salesperson is the most important one as no business can ever survive without sales. You will have to talk to a great number of people in order to get some sales for the survival of your business. You will definitely face more than your share of rejection. You must not let this to dishearten you. Instead take it up as a motivation and keep working harder for better results.

Poor economy is never a good reason

The true challenge of entrepreneurship is to succeed regardless of the economic conditions. If you find yourself transferring the blame of your failure upon a dwindling economy, stop. Entrepreneurship is how you are able to manage with the resources available at your disposal and how you steer your business towards profit.

Leverage technology

Today, businesses rely heavily on technology, especially the internet. This means all your consumers and even your competitors are leveraging the latest technology available to market themselves. You might be familiar with the technology too. If however you are not, then it’s time you embraced it, even if you have people who manage your technology for you.

Plan and a vision

A plan and a vision are two essential aspects of entrepreneurship. Having a vision is very important as it can act as a sole source of motivation when the entire world is pitted against you. If you do not have one, it only means you are not quite serious about a venture, and it’s not worth wasting your time on a business you’re not serious about. Your plan on the other hand can be flexible. A plan is just a simple guide that can help you to remain focused.

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Increasing Productivity When Working From Home

Telecommuting is one of the most prominent trends that have surfaced of late. It is a very popular trend among small businesses and also many entrepreneurs today are starting companies out of their bedrooms. It provides several advantages over the conventional mode. However, among the many issues regarding this mode of work a major area of concern is productivity. As appealing as it may sound to work from home, there is more to it than meets the eye. Here are a few things that can help you remain more organized and more productive.


Never allow any pile build up

This can be slightly difficult to do when working from home, since any form of work generally involves some kind of paper build up on your desk. Your aim is to keep these piles of paper organized. You could devote a separate cabinet where you can file them neatly. Make it a point to get rid of all the unnecessary papers at least once every day. Keep only pending work on your desk so you can complete it later. If you allow a pile to build up, there is a good chance that you would forget what you were doing.

Set aside space for your office

Working from home does not necessarily mean that you should work out of your bed. In fact, such a practice can decrease your productivity significantly. It is always a good idea to set aside some space only for your office. It is not advisable to keep a bed anywhere near it. Treat it as you would treat your desk in the office. Anything not related to your work should not be anywhere near your desk. Personalize this space; make sure you are comfortable here. To feel comfortable, you must get appropriate furniture in order to avoid any health problems, such as back pain, that may arise later.

A separate computer for work

One of the greatest mistakes people generally do is to use one computer for both business as well as personal use. This is strictly prohibited. A personal computer may be used by anybody in your home and there is a good chance that you may end up losing some important data because of this. A separate computer will also help you to keep your work more organized and readily available to you whenever you need it.

Is online appointment scheduling right for your business? Read Five Reasons to Use an Online Appointment Scheduler.

Time Management Essentials for Your Small Business

Time is money, especially if you are a small business owner. Time is an asset whose value is worth more than anything else. However, it is the only thing that is limited to everybody and making the most of the time available is the key to success.


With essential time management skills, you can gain an equivalent of the 25th hour of a day. Most small business owners generally associate time management with getting more work done in less time. However, time management is not limited to getting work done. In fact, it is much more than that. Time management is about efficiently handling the tasks at hand and maintaining a balance between work and life. Here are a few tips that you can implement into your small business for effective time management.

Leverage technology

As in many aspects of business and life, it is very important to make the most out of the technology available. In the same way, making the most of technology is also important for time management. Cloud technology is one such thing that you can implement in your business processes to effectively manage your time. These services provide seamless connectivity to your employees and allows for easy collaboration. Applications such as Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs have made it easier to share documents in an office environment and save time.

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Analyze your workforce

This is one of the very important aspects of time management. Business processes involve many different functions to accomplish certain task. As a business owner, you must continuously analyze your tasks to identify areas where you can reduce wastage of time. This could mean modifying a process for greater efficiency. For example, if an employee needs frequent access to a particular document but has to walk two minutes every time the document is required, it makes more sense to place the document nearby. Also, individuals collaborating on a project can benefit if the seating arrangement is made such that they are at close proximity to each other. Many small things such as these can make a huge difference to the way work is done.

Take rest

Most people consider taking rest as wastage of time. However, it is found that taking rest is very important. This is required to avoid mental and physical fatigue. Also, productivity is found to be more when you and your employees are in a relaxed state of mind. So, taking a break once in a while can actually boost your productivity.

Thriving in the Modern Freelance Talent Pool: It’s All About Quality

The freelance talent pool in the U.S. has not only grown considerably in recent times, it’s improved in terms of quality. According to a recent survey by the Creative Group, nearly 74% of advertising and marketing executives say that the caliber of freelance creative professionals has soared during the last five years. Of this number, 31% stated that the quality of freelancers had risen considerably, with access to specialist skills ans knowledge cited as the biggest benefit of using freelancers.

Freelance Facebook

Illustration: Kimberly Vohsen

How to Stand Out from the Crowd: 3 Tips for Surviving in the Modern Freelance Market

 While these statistics suggest that self employment is an increasingly popular method of working, they also offer an insight into the challenges facing modern freelancers . Whether you are a web designer, content writer or graphic artist, you will need to work exceptionally hard and think strategically if you are to compete among the current generation of creative professionals. Keep the following points in mind:

Focus on Quality Rather than Quantity

As a burgeoning freelancer, there is a temptation to gain as much experience as possible and focus on completing a high volume of projects. While this may deliver short term financial returns, however, it does not enable you to focus on creating a high quality of work that offers genuine value for the clients investment. Your reputation as a freelancer is forged from the moment that you first accept a project, with your efficiency, knowledge and ability to work towards a deadline all key considerations for clients. By prioritizing quality over quantity, you can lay the foundations for long term success.

Create a Network of Contacts and Clients

With a committed and determined approach to work, you should soon be able to build a large network of contacts and clients. This can be your greatest weapon in a competitive market, as it guarantees you a supply of work from individuals who appreciate and respect the quality of your output. Being part of a burgeoning network is also an excellent way of marketing yourself, as satisfied clients are likely to recommend your services to others within the industry. When competing against high caliber creative professionals, having a wide range of contacts can help to boost both your productivity and earning potential.

Be Proactive When Approaching Potential Clients

Regardless of your standing and level of experience, you should always adopt a proactive mindset and look to solicit new business.  Reaching out to additional contacts can give you a critical advantage in the market, so long as you are able to strike the delicate balance between persistence and restraint. By prospecting new clients and marketing yourself to as broad an audience as possible, you are able to retain a significant presence and achieve greater prominence as a service provider. This can be invaluable, especially as a growing number of individuals choose the well trodden path of freelancing.

To see more about he modern freelancing marketplace, check out this infographic.

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Getting Paid Faster — Tips for Collecting Payments from Customers

Chasing payments is sometimes a necessary evil of doing business. Yet it can be particularly daunting for freelancers. This is because the process is largely out of your control, as once you have sent an invoice the onus is on the client to make their payment. With this in mind, what practical steps can you take to ease the invoicing process and establish greater understanding with clients? Consider the following:

moneyAdopt a Positive Attitude toward Collecting Payment

Once you submit an invoice for completed work, your client should ideally make their payment swiftly and without prompting. This sometimes isn’t the case, however, as your customers have busy lives and can

become preoccupied with other tasks. Some freelancers feel embarrassed about “chasing” outstanding payments and sending reminders, as they become concerned with appearing too forceful and damaging their relationship with clients. This is not something you should concern yourself with, however, as it is money that you have earned and that you are entitled to claim. All that is required is that you are polite and reasonable when asking for payment, while being sure to give clients enough time to respond to your query.

Establish Fixed and Reasonable Payment Terms

In order for invoicing to go as smoothly as possible, it is important to have established fixed and transparent payment terms. The majority of freelancers request payment between 15 and 30 days from the completion of the work and will only send reminders in line with these agreed terms. Once they are in place and advertised to clients, then everyone understands the precise terms of the agreement and their individual duty as either a service provider or client. This also makes it far easier to follow up on outstanding invoices, as once the terms have been breached then you have every right to make an inquiry.

Ensure that you Make Contact with the Right Person or Department

Another issue facing freelancers is erroneous contact details, as they may be unintentionally sending their invoices to the wrong person or department. After all, as an independent contractor you are likely to deal with a limited number of individuals, the majority of whom are concerned with operational tasks. Given that invoicing is often handled by a different department in larger organizations, however, your repeated requests for payment may be falling on deaf ears. It is therefore crucial that in the beginning of a project you also identify the most suitable contact to discuss invoicing with, as this will guarantee quicker payments and more efficient lines of communication.

Once you have ensured that a structured and transparent process is in place, then you finally look to spend more time on winning new business and completing work to a higher standard.

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The New Face of Freelancing in 2013

Turns out there are a few misconceptions about freelancers and individuals who choose to work as independent contractors, including ideas about freelancers being mostly stay at home moms or professionals who have lost their jobs in the recession. According to a recent survey of over 400 independent contractors in the U.S. conducted by CreditDonkey, this misconception has little basis in reality.

happy guy

Conducted at the end of 2012, the survey suggests that the typical modern freelancer is in fact male, single and aged between 25 and 34. Although more than 66% of respondents indicate that they currently operate their freelancing venture on a part time basis, the majority of respondents claim that they intend to work independently for the remainder of their careers. Some more interesting facts about who freelancers are:

66% of Freelancers Work Part Time, But Not to Care for Kids

While it has often been believed that freelancers work part time, this statistic may now come as a surprise when you consider the age and marital status of those who operate independently. Rather than working part time to care for a child, it appears that modern freelancers are looking to balance their independent contracting activities alongside an additional job. This reveals the challenges faced by freelancers in terms of funding their activities and the fact that many are choosing to retain a source of regular income as they establish themselves in the market.

56% of Freelancers Cite Financial Uncertainty as their Main Concern

This taps in to another interesting statistic, as it was revealed that 56% of freelancers wrestle with financial uncertainty as their main concern. Ahead of winning business and completing works, delays with payment can be difficult to manage and may ultimately undermine an aspiring freelancers chances of long term success. In order to tackle this issue, it is important to create a clear and transparent payment process when operating as a freelancer, while also offering clients as many forms of payment as possible.

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42% of Freelancers Offer Creative Services

Perhaps no surprise, freelancers are a very creative bunch, with 42% offering some a creative service like writing,  design and photography. Is it any surprise then that more than 92 percent of survey respondents stated they are happy with their choice of freelancing.

Adopting a Targeted Approach to Finding Clients

Whether you are an accidental entrepreneur or someone who has always strove to work independently, as a freelancer you will face a number of universal challenges. Finding suitable clients is one of the most problematic, especially if your goal is to win long term customers that provide regular and consistent work.

Target Goal Setting

More than one third of U.S. workers are now freelancers, and this makes the process of winning custom even more difficult. With this in mind, it is important to you adopt a targeted approach to identifying your potential clients, and market your service towards a well defined and suitable demographic.

Targeting Clients: How to Build the Ideal Customer Base

Taking this theory on board, what practical steps can you take to target clients and build a viable network of customers? Consider the following:

Simplify your Working Processes

As a freelancer, time management can be one of the most difficult and obstructive challenges. This means that it is not always practical to adopt a targeted approach to winning customers, as the demands of completing work and chasing invoices often takes precedence. Therefore, before you even attempt to target potential clients you should look to simplify your work processes and improve the efficiency of your service. With more

streamlined methods of working, you can commit a greater degree of time into identifying clients and approaching them directly.

Create an Accurate Client Profile

While it is important that your service is marketed towards those who demand and can afford it, strategically targeting clients requires a far broader base of information. Therefore, it is wise to create a detailed client profile, and one which helps you to understand the type of person who is likely to use your service. This information is necessary to ensure that you can identify potential clients quickly and efficiently, which can in turn help you to save significant amounts of revenue when marketing your service of independent venture.

Match Client Values with your Own

With a client profile in mind, the next step is to utilize this information and target customers. To achieve this, you should apply the same criteria included in your profile to potential clients, including key factors such as their age, disposable income and in some instances geographic location. It is also worth attempting to identify clients that share your values and ethical viewpoints, as this creates common ground on which a long term professional relationship can be built. These steps will help you to pinpoint individuals and businesses who may be valuable to you, and ensure that you avoid taking a scatter gun approach to finding business.

The Last Word

Regardless of your area of expertise, freelancing and entrepreneurship have become increasingly popular methods of working in recent times. This means that you or your business is likely to encounter a great deal of competition, which can prevent you from winning new clients or forging long term partnerships. By adopting a targeted approach to identifying potential customers, however, you can negate these issues and save yourself a great deal of time and money into the bargain.

How To Deal With The Pressure of Being a Business Founder and Entrepreneur

Being the founder of a business is one of the most pressure-filled endeavors one could ever take on. As Sean Percival, an LA-based entrepreneur and co-founder, points out in a recent blog post, “Having a start-up today is not about crushing it. It’s about not getting crushed.”

In recognition that being a founder isn’t without serious difficulties, SimplifyThis asked our friends at Noomii, the professional coach directory to provide some advice for dealing with the pressures that founding a business can bring.

PicMonkey Collage

Photo: Sebastian Fissore, www.sebafissore.com.ar

Five Tips for Turning the Dial Down on the Pressure Cooker

Check Your Reality

” How someone views pressure can be worked with,” according to Paul Strobl a Houston based executive, life and entrepreneurship coach. “New perspectives can help ease pressures.  Pressure is a perception, not a fact,” he says.

If you’re looking to cut down on the feeling of pressure at work, Strobl suggests asking yourself a few questions, including:

  • What can you do to delegate, systematize, or outsource?
  • How do you know when you’ve done enough for the day?
  • How do you know when you’ve had enough success?

Additionally he encourages people to consider what the worst case scenario looks like. “When you know you can deal with anything that comes, you have no fear.  No fear equals no pressure.  You keep doing what you’re doing and the outcome doesn’t mean anything about you. “A project can be a failure.  A person cannot unless he/she decides to stop trying,” he adds.

Don’t Be a Lone Wolf

According to Dan Weigold, a Colorado based leadership coach, for many entrepreneurs there is a sense of having to do it alone and many founders lack someone whom they can talk to objectively to help them deal with all the issues of running a business.  “The founder faces the full weight and responsibility of getting the business to be successful, that means marketing, sales, product development, and producing results and it can be overwhelming,” Weigold says. For him the solution includes working with a coach or finding a mentor through SCORE or the Small Business Development Community (www.sba.gov) to develop plans to help reduce the stress of managing a business. “The idea is not to go it alone,” Weigold says.  “It means finding someone to provide some positive support and encouragement and a dose of validation to the founder so they don’t feel overwhelmed.”

Take Renewal Breaks

According to Sean D. Stewart, an entrepreneurship, life and career coach based in Hawaii, disengaging from your day to day consistently throughout the day, week, month, quarter and year is a way to manage the pressures of being a founder. For Stewart, it’s about “not falling into some God complex that it’s all about you and your business, and trusting in the process that is bigger than you.”

Some other tips on Stewart’s list:

  • Patience
  • A supportive and loving peer group
  • Not taking failures or losses as losses but being grateful for them for what they teach you
  • Meditation and spirituality
  • Family time
  • A sound business strategy that doesn’t allow for over-commitment
  • Under promising and over delivering
  • Balance

Practice Gratitude

Patricia Reynolds-Meade, a California based life and christian coach says having a gratitude practice is one of the biggest tools she utilizes for creating ease, grace and manifestation in her life. “When things get chaotic in my life or business, I use my gratitude practice to consciously shift my focus away from what is not working to what I am grateful for (what is working),” she says. “Moving my thoughts from a place of lack, loss, anger, frustration or despair to counting all the amazing blessings in my life, gives me the power to receive more goodness that is meant to come my way.”

According to Reynolds-Meade, in order to connect to your gratitude count your blessings at night. ” It takes your attention away from work thoughts and prepares your mind for a peaceful and happy sleep,” she says. She also suggests writing in a daily gratitude journal to help you remember all the positive things that happened throughout the day. “It’s easy to look at your to-do list and see all that did not get done; however, when you take the time to write down what you are grateful for, you begin to see your life as more enriched and fulfilling,” she says.

Get Out of the Pressure Cooker

Ed Britton a leadership, career and executive coach in Xiamin, suggests that there aren’t any best techniques for dealing with life perpetually in the pressure cooker. “This kind of life style and business practice is fundamentally wrong. Living your life that way simply won’t work. It is not to be admired. Don’t tolerate it in yourself or others,” Britton suggests.

“A person has to get out of the pressure according to their needs. Others have to be trusted to step in and assume the burden for a period of time. If that can’t happen, then, at some level, the system is sick and people will end up getting hurt,” he says. “Systems that require this kind of behavior, and people who engage in it, simply cannot be tolerated regardless of short term yet unsustainable benefits.”


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Post by Rebekah Meola

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