6 07 12

Freelancing can be a source of great opportunity for many people, but some of us just aren’t cut out for the job. Here are some characteristics we’ve seen in people who tried their hand at freelancing, but did not succeed; if you see any of these in yourself, you may want to reconsider your choice to become a freelancer.

1. You use work as an opportunity for networking and socialization. When freelancers tell people what their occupation entails, some respond by saying something to the effect of “I couldn’t work from home? I’d go crazy!” If you really want to make it in the freelance world, there are ways to avoid the loneliness that can come from the job, but if you get all your socialization from your place of employment, it may not be right for you.

2. You don’t have a handle on your finances. If your personal finances are in disarray, you probably won’t be able to make it as a freelancer. The job is much like running a small business, and while you don’t need to be an accounting major in order to succeed, keeping accurate financial records is a must.

3. You’re used to having a set schedule. While some freelancers do set regular operating hours, almost all disregard it from time to time. Whether it’s meeting a deadline, handling a sudden overload of work, or keeping your site up to date, freelancing carries its share of overtime. If you have doubts about handling the work yourself, you may not make a very good freelancer, and you’d better serve yourself by hiring an internet fulfilment services provider.

4. You became a freelancer because you disliked your previous job.  Disliking the daily grind isn’t enough of a reason to be a freelancer; it’s entirely possible that your dislike was because of unpleasant co-workers, or simply that you had the wrong job. If you quit your job to work as a freelancer because you thought it would help you avoid workplace problems, think again!

5. You’re a person who likes being told what to do and when to do it. Not everyone is self-motivated, and that’s okay. Some of us prefer having directions clearly laid out by a supervisor or manager, and if this describes you, you probably won’t be too comfortable as a freelancer. 

6. You think you’ll get rich quick. No matter what you’ve been told, freelancing is not the path to easy, fast riches. The majority of those “overnight” success stories you hear are actually a long time in the making, and every successful freelancer we know of had to work long and hard for their level of success. If you think that freelancing will make you wealthy in a flash, you’re likely to be very disappointed.

Your level of success as a freelancer comes down to one thing and one thing only: your interest in your chosen field. It’s not a decision to be made lightly; it requires a lot of thought, sacrifice and dedication, and if you doubt your potential, you should consider web fulfilment in order to meet your needs.

?Written by James Harper for Hallmark Consumer Services; experts in efulfilment. Find out more on their Facebook page.
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28 06 12

If you’ve never worked at home, you probably have a vision of how luxurious it must be – you can start the day by straightening up the house, then go out and get a coffee, or plug away on a project from your cushy and comfy bed. It sounds fantastic, right? But anyone who has ever worked at home will paint a dramatically different picture, a world in which the work is ever-present and there’s no way to escape the office for a relaxing evening because the office is your home. While working from home definitely has some notable advantages, it’s important for everyone to understand that working at home is still work, and that there are some very serious challenges that go along with working from home, the most important ones of which are listed below.

Working at Home Means You Never Leave the Office

One of the most wonderful things about working at home is the lack of commute, which saves countless hours each month and can lead to a tremendously high level of productivity. The downside, however, is that you’re always at the office. People who are serious about their work or who have a lot of pressure and responsibility will always feel like there is more work to be done, and that the office is always open. People who have trouble setting boundaries between their work and personal lives will have specific trouble with this concept, and, if they’re anything like me, will find themselves working until the wee hours of the morning, while neglecting other aspects of their lives.

You Still Need Childcare

It sounds amazing to work at home because you can save a bundle in childcare expenses while still earning a decent salary. And I was able to return to work when one of my children was only 2 weeks old because I didn’t have to take her to an office. I quickly realized, however, that there’s a reason childcare was invented – because it’s nearly impossible to focus on producing quality work with a baby that cries and needs to be fed. And by the time the child is a few months old, they also need more attention and TLC, things that are pretty hard to provide when you’re tied to your computer or telephone. Simply put, it’s virtually impossible to work productively with a baby that is older than a newborn.

Housework does not Equal Paid Work

Many people mistakenly assume that if you work at home your house will always be in tip-top shape and that there will always be a healthy meal on the table. After all, you can take care of those chores while you’re home during the day, right?! In reality, however, people who are devoted to their jobs or have made certain time commitments often find it impossible to balance their paid work with the housework that just seems to build up without end. And those who don’t enjoy housework would rather focus on their jobs than their chores, which means that many people who work at home find themselves sitting amongst dirty dishes instead of a sparkling office.

Solitude is not Always Welcome

Every office has some distractions, whether it’s a chatty coworker or the lure of the water cooler. And while working at home helps avoid these interruptions, it can also be pretty lonely. Worse, you lose the ability to collaborate with others when you’re sitting alone in your home office or at the dining room table. The creative process often requires teamwork, and solitude surely doesn’t contribute to this need. Therefore, people who work at home often have to work doubly hard to be inventive and to contribute significantly to a given project.
Whether you’re considering taking a work at home job or just have preconceived notions about friends who have chosen this type of employment opportunity, it’s a good idea to take a moment to truly understand the actualities of working at home. After all, you never know when you may find yourself parked at your home office desk on a regular basis, and it’s always good to have realistic expectations.

Author Bio
Sari Holtz is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to PearlClasp.com, a website that offers quality bridal pearl jewelry, pearl restringing and fashion advice. She spent over 5 years working at home.

18 06 12

Starting and running your own home based business is an exciting and fulfilling achievement. Not many people get to become their own boss, and it can sometimes seem like the perfect situation.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time launching my own web publishing business from home and although it is one the best things I’ve ever done, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows!

There are some tough challenges that all home businesses face and it’s good to be aware of them in advance so that you can overcome there.

Here are five of the most important challenges I’ve faced when working from home:

  1. Illness. When you work for a company, one of the perks is that you get sick pay. If you’re ill, you are covered in most cases for a fairly lengthy period. When working from home, one or two days off could mean you miss out on potentially valuable business or miss tasks that are essential to the running of your company.

    Illness is inevitable at some point, but there are things you can do to overcome it. First, you need excellent health insurance to cover you and your business if you end up with a long term illness that seriously affects you ability to work. This gives you the peace of mind to focus on other tasks. Second, have a back up if you do get ill. There are some excellent virtual assistant companies out there that you can hire on a short term basis to step in and complete the tasks you are unable to. Check out Zirtual.com for one example of this type of company that is very successful and has excellent US based assistants.

  2. Boredom. Working from home can often lead to boredom because you have to do everything yourself. You may not like filing your taxes, dealing with health insurance providers or chasing unpaid invoices, but these are essential tasks. In a company, different departments would handle these tasks but for a home business it’s all on you.

    The best way to overcome this is to first prioritize your work and then split them into blocks of time. You can introduce the more interesting tasks in between the boring ones to keep your motivation levels high. Also, taking regular breaks to get some fresh air and time away from the computer will keep you fresh for the less than awesome tasks (I’m still working on this one myself!).

  3. Productivity. Being your own boss means setting your own schedule, but it can be very easy to procrastinate instead of working. Thinking about what you plan to do is not doing it and falling into that habit in your home business is a recipe for disaster.

    You should already have prioritized your tasks so this will create your to-do list. Next is to remove any distractions (Twitter, Facebook, email etc) to allow you to focus on your work. Another good strategy is to set a timer for 30 minutes and aim to work throughout that time. It seems simple, but the time-focus really allows you to concentrate and keep on task. Separate each block of work with fresh air and/or a little exercise and repeat. 🙂

  4. Social interaction. This is a biggie. You might feel isolated and alone when working from home, even if you previously worked in a quiet office. This can lead to boredom and lack of productivity and, even more dangerously, it can lead to unhappiness in your business too.

    Here’s how you overcome it: get out there and meet people. Whether you meet friends or family on their lunch hour, or you use MeetUp.com to find like minded people in your city, you need to replace that social interaction. I personally like to be alone, but when working from home for sustained periods, my work suffered because I had no one to share my successes with and nobody to help me through my failures – meeting people is the best way to avoid this.

  5. Switching off. The problem with a home based business is that it can be hard to make the distinction with home/family time and business time. You could potentially be dealing with business issues morning, day and night. Not only can this work you into the ground, it will also have a negative impact on your relationship with your family.

    Try to limit email checking to twice per day: 1pm and 5pm (Checking email first thing is the standard but it can damage productivity if you spend the first hour replying to email). Also, have your home office separate from the rest of the house so that when that office door is closed, you’re working, and when you’re with the family, you’re not. I like to dress professionally while in my office as well to condition myself that this is work time. When I finish, I can put more comfortable clothes on, relax on the sofa and spend time with the family. These are simple things but help to promote the right mindset to work from home successfully.

It’s not all doom and gloom though! Overcoming these issues is often very simple and comes down to planning and a change to your mindset. Once you do this, working from home is a tremendously rewarding career path that gives you freedom and flexibility you simply can’t get from a desk job.

About the author: Ian Nuttall is a finance blogger and home business owner who still checks his email more than he should! To find out more you can visit his most recent article Debt Consolidation Loan Guide or follow him on Twitter.

4 06 12

Frustration and Change
The last few months have been busy, busy for people with websites and blogs, and people who work with those sites. Lots of frustration has been evident in blog posts and comments around the blogosphere. In short, Google has sure been keeping everybody on their toes!

As we spent most of May re-learning what we thought we knew—which is what Google really wants from all of us—they were planning these latest changes, that they claim only will affect one tenth of one percent of all English-language searches. Back up on those toes—stretch!

Moving On
Now that this refresh is officially live, after some live testing that caused blogs and websites to bounce around a little for the past couple of weeks, one thing is certain. Website and blog owners and webmasters must learn to roll with the punches as they come. We have heard many warnings about Google’s algorithm changes, but not many come right from the horse’s mouth, as this one. These changes are just the beginning, and Google is going to stay on top of those people who try to cheat their system. Doing things the right way—which everyone should have been doing all along—seems to be the ONLY way that will be acceptable going forward.

Give Up or Adapt
“Unnatural backlinks” are Google’s natural enemy, as evidenced by the notices sent to many webmasters who did things the “spammy” way for many years. No longer is keyword stuffing the way to make a boatload of money on the internet—webmasters will be working hard for every dollar earned from here forward. In fact, if you frequent any of the large forums, you will see posts by webmasters throwing in the tool. I predict we will probably see quite a bit more of that in the near future, because some people just cannot adapt that easily, and others will not want to start over and learn the right way to do things. Besides, the money will just not be the same until the sites build back into the authority levels they artificially enjoyed previously.

For some website owners, all of this is decidedly no big deal. Those owners and webmasters are the ones that write their content for people, and not for the search engines and Adsense marketing purposes. It is some vindication for those of us who faithfully ferret out good information and pass it on to our readers—and always wondered why those junk sites with one post on them ranked higher in the SERPs. I have seen sites dinged from PR4 to PR0 in the last month—with legitimate reason.

Writing about what you know makes it easier to write, and naturally draws people to your blog or web content. For instance, I know a lot about writing, but along with that has come extensive knowledge of SEO and social media, and I am finding that writing about those things brings even more readers to my writing blog. Focusing on content and natural linking, like guest posting and commenting on other related blogs, will serve us all well as Google continues to “crack down.”

Forget about building dozens of websites and having a little empire—instead focus on the content on one or two things that you really know well and enjoy. This tactic will help your sites rank higher, naturally—the way Google intended in the first place.

Author Bio:Denise Gabbard is a Professional Writer and Social Media Devotee. She writes about a range of topics—SEO, social media, writing, and finance topics, like finding a great deal on a mortgage using a comparison site like Tomorrow Finance.

2 06 12

How many social networks have you joined? Do you join the newest ones? Or do you wait a bit and see how the social network begins to develop?

Are you a social network junkie? Cannot seem to join enough or fearful that if you do not join the latest like your peers you might be missing out on something?

In the search for marketing targets, social networks is one target that may or may not net you results. There is a great deal of literature available from marketing experts and gurus that target social networks in general. No one seems to be willing that there is one or five best social networks to target.

When you begin considering joining a social network, there are a few questions you may wish to consider.

  • Does the theme of the social network align with my purpose or niche? My product or service?
  • What is the future of the social network? Does it have potential for growth?
  • How old is the social network? How long has it been in existence? 1 month or 10 years, there is a difference.
  • What is the member count? More than 10 or 10,000?
  • Do the members fit my target audience?

These questions are meant to stir your gray cells and begin a planning and developing stage in your marketing. Small business owners and home based entrepreneurs can learn a great deal by perusing corporate pages. Pictures catch the attention and carry a stronger message than words alone.

Copycats do as well if not better than those who try to reinvent the wheel. Just do not plagiarize or infringe on copyrights. It is the style you wish to learn and use for your own purpose.

Happy marketing and see you on the social networks. Click here to find me.