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Want an amazing Career? Jump Start It with These 4 Freelance Sites!

Want an amazing Career? Jump Start It with These 4 Freelance Sites!

Though the term freelance may have had a stigma attached to it in the past, trends in 2016 are changing that. According to Freelancersunion.org nearly 1 in 3 Americans are working as an independent worker, that’s approaching 54 million people in one country alone.

With so many people joining the freelance community it should come as no surprise that websites have been popping up connecting companies with talented freelancers. We have compiled a list of some of the top freelancing websites to connect freelancers with companies paying for individual projects.

1. Upwork

Rebranded after the merger of Elance and oDesk, Upwork.com has rolled out some new features and tools with the new name. New mobile apps, search algorithms, better interface, and real-time chat are just some of the new features rolled out since the merger. With portfolios of work completed and client feedback being easily viewed by prospective clients: Clients can see what value a freelancer could bring to the project before the first conversation takes place.

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One of the best benefits of Upwork has to be that it is so vast. With over 2,700 skills (and growing) and a freelance pool from over 180 countries, work can always be found in the network. Tracking and invoicing time spent on projects is elegantly handled within the platform. With the “Work Diary”, snapshots (accessible by the client) are taken every ten minutes to insure their project is on track. While there isn’t a membership fee to join, Upwork collects up to 10% of your proceeds every time a freelancer gets paid.

2. Freelancer

Just like Upwork, Freelancer.com charges 10% of a freelancer’s proceeds. This percentage can be reduced to 5% or 3% when freelancers buy a monthly membership. If a freelancer uses this network heavily, spending the money on a membership is a great way to offset costs of the network.

The network offers a wide array of skill categories for freelancers to work in. Website development, marketing, content and blog writing are just a few of the skills in demand. With over 7 million completed projects, freelancers have no trouble finding work in this network!

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3. People Per Hour

This freelance network has been around since 2005, connecting freelancers with small businesses. Just like Upwork, skill categories are wide-ranging. Given that most of the hiring organizations are small businesses looking for cost effective solutions, this network only charges 3.5% of the proceeds from freelancers. This lower cost insures freelancers can offer lower prices without having to take large pay-cuts to do so.

Peopleperhour.com will notify freelancers when a client has posted a bid, allowing them to know when work is available without having to search for it. The network keeps track of work streams to help freelancers manage their work flows, feedback, and invoicing. While this network is a little smaller than some of the others, they really do try to help make freelancers a success.

4. 99Designs

99Designs.com offers a network for specialized freelancers. This network is built for freelance graphic designers to compete for projects. Jobs on the network range from brand design to stationary design. This network only deals with graphic arts, however they are quickly becoming the go-to solution for many companies looking for graphic work on the internet. Once a client has worked with a freelancer, the client can request that person as many times as they want.

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Other Opportunities

Odd as it may seem, Google’s search engine can be a great job finding resource for freelancers. Hiring trends are showing companies are starting to look outside of these networks to find talented freelancers. Websites like Indeed.com and Simplyhired.com  (just to name a few) are working with companies like Betterteam to help companies setup job listings, as well as freelance opportunities. If a freelancer has a strong work history, he or she can take those skills directly to clients, cutting out the middle man.

If a freelancer really wants to stand out, they need to be able to showcase their portfolio on their own site. Using a service to find a great website for your portfolio is important; the domain and the layout of the site need to be remarkable. This, after all, is the home of your most powerful, independent selling tool. Adding a blog that covers the major areas of your chosen skill can help the website gain its own footing on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Be Your Own Boss

Freelancing is more than just a way to make money. For some it provides a safety net in today’s economic climate. For others it means financial independence. Being a freelancer can free you from the shackles of the office grind, allowing people to be passionate about their work. Yes, breaking out on your own can be daunting, but remember, there are vast resources on the internet to help you make your dreams come true, instead of making your boss’ dreams come true.

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Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Ahmed Raza

CEO of Samurais.co

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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