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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 February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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