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Freelance Your Way Around the World in 2016

Freelance Your Way Around the World in 2016

Freelancers used to get considerable flak about their career choices. If you have freelanced for any length of time, you might have received looks of disdain when you announced your job title in public.

That’s just not the case anymore. As 2016 draws nearer, the future looks brighter for freelancers than in any previous year. Looking forward to changes, trends, and tips for freelancing in 2016 will help you prepare for its arrival.

Freelancing: The New Norm

If you’re a freelancer, you’re in good company. You’re one of 53 million Americans who earn a living with freelance work, which represents nearly 40 percent of the labor force. Experts predict that the number will reach 50 percent by 2020.

As more professionals turn to freelancing for income, the industry becomes more accepting. The public sees freelancers as capable, qualified experts who run their own businesses.

In 2016, that trend will continue toward public acceptance. This means that an increasing number of businesses will turn to freelancers for their services. Expect to see more jobs enter the marketplace and to see pay rates increase accordingly.

Of course, this means that full-time employment options might shrink. As employers embrace freelancers as part of their creative teams, they will hire fewer employees. Now represents a perfect time to make the switch from regular employment to freelancing.

True Freedom: Location Independence

The idea of quitting your job to travel the world is an alluring one and making money by blogging even more so. A quick Google search will reveal countless travel bloggers who have successfully turned their blogs into profitable enterprises. There are plenty of posts about how to start a successful travel blog. The fact is that unless you are very determined and focused or have a very specific niche, building a successful and profitable travel blog is a difficult endeavor. But travel blogging isn’t necessarily the only route to travel freedom. There are other options.

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As Internet connectivity improves, people are embracing the idea of a location independent lifestyle where they can work while they travel. One of the best ways to achieve this independence is through freelance work. Micro-gigging allows you to find work from wherever you are. This means that if you’ve built a reputation and have consistent work coming in, what does it matter if you’re in Buffalo or Budapest? As long as you have access to the Internet, you can make money while traveling.

Attraction: More Freelancers Will Enter the Marketplace

As more jobs become available, an increasing number of professionals will leave their nine-to-five positions in favor of freelancing and consulting work. This means greater competition, but if you continue to hone your skills and market yourself effectively, you’ll never lack work.

In the past, freelancers often hung out their shingles because they had no other choice. Lay-offs, labor reductions, and terminations from full-time positions forced them to work odd jobs until they could find gainful employment again.

However, the tides have changed. According to Kristen Fischer of Contently, a recent Freelancers Union survey revealed that 60 percent of freelancers choose this career by choice (versus out of necessity).

Why do full-time workers switch to freelancing? The survey discovered that 65 percent of respondents named flexibility as the key draw. Freelancing allows professionals to set their own schedules, accept or decline projects at will, and structure their days however they wish.

Other benefits of freelancing include:

  • Location: Work anywhere in the world, whether it’s a coffee shop down the street or a beach on the other side of the planet.
  • Potential: Freelancing doesn’t limit you to a pay grade. If you want to earn more money, raise your rates or solicit more work.
  • Security: You can lose a client or an account as a freelancer, but you can’t lose your job.
  • Passion: Pursue your creativity and interests with freelancing instead of following someone else’s orders.
  • Freedom: Do you hate working for a particular client? You don’t have to renew the contract. Cut the cord whenever you want.

Every freelancer harbors his or her own reasons for pursuing this career. Maybe you nurse a chronic case of wanderlust, so you don’t want to tie yourself down to a job that requires you to report to a physical place every day. Perhaps you don’t respond well to authority, so you sought a job that would eliminate the dreaded boss.

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Work Ethic: Freelancers Work Harder Than Anyone

As a freelancer, you run your own business. Not only must you perform your job description for each project you take on, but you have to serve as the accounting, marketing, advertising, and human resources department of your business.

Even if you only spend five hours on an actual project every day, you might work double that on other issues that require your attention. Freelancers represent some of the hardest members of the global labor pool.

Every job requires an exchange—a compromise of sorts. You get all of the benefits described above, but you have to hustle if you hope to succeed as a freelancer in 2016. This is especially true with the influx of competition expected over the next few years.

Another reason that freelancers work harder than anyone is because they need to hustle to ensure to secure recurring customers and referrals. Companies that outsource creative projects now know this and will continue using freelancers because they know they will get a great return on their investment.

Emotion: Freelancers Must Inject a Human Element Into Every Project

Forbes reports that automation and algorithmic technology will threaten freelancer jobs in the coming months and years, particularly when it comes to content. However, while a machine can create a technically perfect article or other deliverable, it can’t replicate a human.

Freelancers who want to succeed in 2016 will need to demonstrate their ability to understand human emotion. If your work can inspire, move, or engage other people, you’ll prove yourself very valuable to companies looking to outsource creative work. This means that 2016 will require freelancers to tell compelling stories that inspire consumers to act.

Whether you’re designing a logo, writing a product description, coding a website, or providing the narration for a commercial, you must hit strong emotional notes. Prove you’re more valuable than a machine and you’ll succeed as a freelancer in 2016.

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Diversity: Freelancers Will See More Options in the Marketplace

From micro-gigs to year-long projects, freelancers will begin to see great diversity in their project options in 2016. Professionals who value consistency can seek out clients who need work on an ongoing basis. Meanwhile, freelancers who like flexibility can pursue smaller jobs that take less time to complete.

Additionally, some freelancers will set themselves apart by offering multiple services. In other words, the most valuable workers will present themselves as Jacks and Jills of all trades. Just like the neighborhood handyman, he or she will offer full-scale services.

This doesn’t mean clients should expect a drop in quality. To the contrary, clients will become more demanding of freelancers because they expect high-quality deliverables for the prices they pay.

Options: Numerous Marketplaces Offer Freelancers a Place to Find Work

Freelancing, at its core, is a highly dynamic profession. Experts in this industry must adapt based on what their clients and the market itself expects. Those who embrace these fluctuations will see the greatest amount of success in 2016 and beyond.

Other places to find freelance work include:

2016 will see even more options for freelancers who need jobs. These marketplaces will shift and change to meet the market demands.The best freelance market depends on your skills. For instance, a dedicated site like VoiceBunny might prove most expedient for voice over artists looking for work. Conversely, if you specialize in WordPress development, a site like WPHired might offer the best results. Freelancers of all types can seek a wide variety of jobs at sites like Guru, ElanceUpwork, and Bunny Inc.

Know Your Worth: Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Different

One common struggle that freelancers have to deal with is sticking to their guns when it comes to value. Many companies out there want to save money, and that is why they outsource creative work. Hiring a full-time in-house writer or designer can come with a hefty cost to the company. Sporadically outsourcing projects is a great way to cut back on overhead costs.

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Sometimes, though, companies might try and take advantage of freelancers. There is a bill being introduced in New York City to protect freelancers. The bill will require companies hiring freelancers to put all contracts in writing. Companies that take too long to pay or try not to pay at all will be fined and charged with criminal penalties, making it so freelancers are more protected.

The passing of this bill would be a huge step forward for freelancers, giving them the credit and rights they deserve. It will also make the relationship between freelancers and employers stronger, legitimizing a relationship that at times was not taken very seriously. If passed, the chances of legislation like this spreading beyond New York City will increase dramatically.

Succeeding as a Freelancer

Knowing what to expect from the freelance market in 2016 will help you succeed as a freelancer. Adapting to changes, over-delivering on projects, and positioning yourself as an indispensable resource to clients will lift you above the competition and allow you to generate more income.

And the best thing about working as a freelancer in 2016 and beyond?

You can do it from anywhere in the world.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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