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Why the Micro-Gig Economy is Great for Creative Freelancers

Why the Micro-Gig Economy is Great for Creative Freelancers

For those fresh out of college, finding a job may seem like an uphill battle. With so much work being shipped overseas and minimum wage at a shockingly low rate, many folks become discouraged in their quest to find work.

At the same time, having a proper 9-5 job isn’t for everyone. Some people were not designed to work set hours on someone else’s watch. Today, you don’t have to go out and apply for jobs or work shifts that you hate just to get by. Instead, technology has made it possible for you to do exactly what you enjoy doing, during the hours you set. The best part? This can be done from the freedom of your own home or wherever else an Internet connection can connect you to the world.

If you are wondering if freelancing is for you, check out this list of ways that freelancing can set you free.

Take Advantage of the Micro-Gig Economy

The micro-gig economy allows freelancers to fulfill small projects outsourced by companies big and small. Individually, these jobs aren’t going to make you rich, but they do allow you to try out new skills and pick and choose the tasks you want to do. Think of this economy as a piece rate economy with the freedom to choose the pieces you want to complete. Some of these tasks are so simple that they are perfect for the days when your head just isn’t in the game, but you know you need to earn some cash. If you want to give freelancing a try, get involved with the micro-gig economy to test the waters. It doesn’t involve a serious commitment, and it allows you to make a bit of extra cash while you make the transition from working outside the home to the freelance lifestyle. This economy is also something that isn’t going away, so you can turn to it whenever you need a few extra bucks because you have too much month left at the end of your paycheck.

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Utilize Multiple Platform Options

Maybe you don’t want to be locked into just one platform. Not only is that okay, but it’s also actually for the best. Just like any other business, those who hire freelancers have the potential to have times when work is slow. By combining platforms so that you always have options to choose from, you also have a means by which to maintain your weekly financial goals because you can always turn to another site when your main one isn’t as busy as usual. And, maybe it’s time to face the fact that creative freelancers tend to be the kind of people who are easily bored, which is one reason they have little or no interest in a typical job outside the home. By using multiple platforms, it’s easy to change things up when the work starts to feel a little too routine for your creative spirit.

Avoid the Office by Working Remotely

Every freelancer has their own favorite perk about freelancing. For those who feel less than comfortable in a cubicle or surrounded by other people – and the drama that tends to come with them – the ability to work at home is the ultimate perk. You’ll enjoy the wardrobe change as well. Not only do you never have to try and find the perfect power-tie/subtle-tone combination again, but you also may not even have to change out of your pajamas for the day, ever.

Being able to put on a nice top for a Skype meeting while wearing nothing else but your underwear is a truly liberating feeling. You’ll wonder how you ever got by dressing up to go to the office.

Choose Your Location

Maybe you don’t want to work at home. Maybe you don’t even want to be at home. That’s fine too because no one gets to tell you where you have to work. If you have a laptop, there is no limit to where you can work. In fact, you can even do freelance work that is specific to travel, so your office location changes every week or month. Conversely, you can choose to enjoy the same corner in your favorite restaurant every day if you like. Just make sure they have free Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to pay an added fee to get online to do your work.

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Make Your Own Schedule

How bad do you hate Mondays? Does a sunny day make you angry as you walk into the office knowing it will be dark when you leave in the evening? No problem, because you don’t have to work on Mondays if you don’t want to. Call Mondays the extra day to recuperate from the weekend and start your work week on Tuesday if you want. Set your alarm for noon if you love to sleep late, because as long as you meet your deadlines, your clients won’t care if you are working long into the wee hours of the morning, or starting when the sun comes up.

Leaving the 9-5 routine and working to fulfill objectives is a breath of fresh air and will leave you feeling free as a bird. The 9-5 can be filled with small pauses and indecisive moments where you don’t know what you should be doing. Running your own business as a freelancer keeps you on your toes because you are in charge of time management because everything comes down to meeting deadlines.

Increase Your Salary

This element of freelance work is probably the one that freelancers struggle with the most. It follows a predetermined path that creative people seem to follow. The path is pretty simple to understand, and once you get over some of the humps in the beginning it will get easier to navigate.

Creative freelancers decide on the specific skill they want to use. Then, they lovingly craft that idea or skill and send it off to a potential client. Then, the doubt sets in. “Is it good enough? No, it’s garbage. Why did I send that?” Then the payment and praise arrive and the freelancer eventually starts to wonder why they didn’t set a higher rate. The good news is that you can set whatever rates you want as long as they are realistic. You might hesitate to raise your rates because you fear the risk of losing the client, but the worst thing they can do is refuse to comply and offer to maintain the existing rate. Chances are, if you have been reliable and offer quality work, they are simply going to accept the new rate and move forward.

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Enjoy Time with Family

If your children are young enough to be in daycare, you know what a significant portion of your salary you might have to shell out just to be able to get to work. If they are in school, you’ve probably gotten “the look” from the boss on more than one occasion when you had to run to the school or stay home to tend to a sick child. None of these factors have to be dealt with when you freelance. You can choose to have your children there with you while you work, and in some cases, their antics might even help you come up with creative ideas.

In any case, you will never have to smile through yet another riveting story about how your boss’s perfect child did yet another amazing thing or every single step of their potty training experience. Instead, you can enjoy spending time with your own children and parenting them the way you always wanted to.

Choose Your Social Situations

When you work at a specific location, there aren’t just requirements concerning how you perform, dress, and act at work. Usually, there are also social requirements. Maybe your boss thinks you can’t be an accountant without joining the corporate bowling team. Maybe you just hate the fact that once a year you have to act like you really want to celebrate Christmas with the people you have to spend five days a week with already. When it comes to freelancing, limiting your social interactions is as easy as clicking the little X at the top right corner of your tab. That’s it. You can interact with colleagues through social networking platforms, and you can even exchange valuable advice, but when you are ready to enjoy a complete lack of interaction, you just close the tab.

Follow Your Dreams

Maybe you are looking to write articles for a living. Perhaps you want to be a professional voice over actor. There are plenty of sites out there that cater to specific areas, while sites like Upwork, Bunny Inc., and Fiverr cover multiple platforms that allow creative freelancers to pursue their passions.

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Being a freelancer means that you have the freedom to do the work you want to do and when you want to do it. This kind of freedom can become addictive so that you soon start to look at other areas of your life where you need to break free. You start to remember all those dreams you had, dreams that had to be put aside so you could adhere to the demands of your job outside the home. Pretty soon, you start to question why those dreams are still sitting to the side when they should be part of your overall plan and experience.

Freelancing isn’t for everyone. It requires self-discipline and the ability to hold yourself to a higher standard when it comes to your work performance. Even so, those who choose to take a trip down this road usually don’t look back. Instead, they tend to wonder why they wasted so much time doing anything else. This is when you find out what it really means to “be anything you want to be when you grow up.”

Being what you want to be is a fantastic feeling. The only thing that will stop you from achieving this wonderful lifestyle is fear. If you have a creative mind and the desire to break free from the ordinary, give part-time freelancing a shot and see where it goes. The worst case scenario is that it doesn’t work out and you make a few extra bucks learning this lesson. The best case? You become your own boss and your life changes forever. Those are some wonderful odds.

Featured photo credit: Writer in the park via pixabay.com

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

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become 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.

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. He 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.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” 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.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He 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.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he 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.

His 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.”

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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:

“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:

  • He riles 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.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

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

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances 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!

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

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.

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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.

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

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s 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. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

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!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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