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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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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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