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How to Become a Freelancer and Succeed

How to Become a Freelancer and Succeed

We live in the era of freelancing and entrepreneurship. Anyone can take back control of his time by leaving the 9-5 lifestyle and working for himself instead.

But the mental shift seems to be the hardest part. Some people have the mindset of an employee long after they have become independent freelancers.

It’s absolutely possible to succeed, though, and the steps to getting there are easy. You need to have a service to offer, of course, but if you’re a writer, you don’t need to worry about that. With every new day the importance of written content online increases and every company, regardless of its industry and goals, realises it needs to have a website and a frequently updated blog to it. That’s when they decide to hire a team of writers, or even assign a single project every now and then. That’s when you come to help them improve their ranking and get new clients by doing what you do best.

The benefits of freelancing are huge. But those who are still working a regular job and feel comfortable and safe there aren’t aware of them. Here are the most important ones:

1. No fixed working hours

One of the worst things about a job is that you need to be there during the best part of the day, and you rarely have the chance to do something else.

But if you’re a freelancer, you decide when to work. Plus, you get to reject a client if you don’t like his requirements or if the communication isn’t smooth.

2. You work as much as you want

If you feel exhausted, take a break. Plan your work for your most productive time and get it done faster then.

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But freelancers become hustlers as the more projects they take up, the more money comes in. And they look forward to the next article they have to write, the next contract with a client, etc.

3. You do what you love and are good at

That’s a huge benefit. And it’s life-changing.

At a regular job, even if it’s in the field you enjoy, you have to do side stuff you hate all the time. And you may not even be good at it. Others may complete them better but they are assigned to you. That’s why you often procrastinate, feel bad, get bored at work, and eventually hate going to the office.

4. Location independence

You get to work from the comfort of your home. There you play by your rules. What’s more, there’s no more commuting or unfriendly working environment.

But that’s not all. If you’re an adventurer, you can move to any place you want as location isn’t an issue anymore. You’re working remotely and can even travel the world while making money and doing what you love.

So the only limits now are the ones you set yourself.

5. You can scale

A 9-5 job is a prison when it comes to leveling up too. You can’t really start working on new projects when you feel like it, you can’t show off your talents, and you can’t speak up when you have a brilliant idea.

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But when you’re working for yourself, you have the actual chance of turning your writing career into a business. It takes time, a solid strategy and many mistakes till you get there, of course, but most freelancers scale after doing it for a few years. And then there’s a new world of possibilities that you can’t enter when you’re working for someone else.

All this sounds great. And if you weren’t aware of how beautiful the world of freelancing is, you should be quite excited now. And the question that comes to mind is, ‘How do I become a freelance writer?’. And most importantly, ‘How do I become a successful one?’.

Here are the steps that are proven to work:

1. Do it on the side first

You can’t just leave your job and start working for yourself. You need to do it on the side first, to make connections, build your portfolio, do your research and start making some income. And when it gets big enough, you can turn that into your career and do it all the time.

But for now, do it on weekends and before and after work. But be serious about it.

Start by getting familiar with the things you can do and choosing what will work best for you. Read about how others have done it and learn from them. That will also help your mind get used to the idea and make the transition when the time comes.

2. Start building your personal brand today

For starters, create a website. It may be a blog where you’ll write frequently and which you’ll want to make popular, or it can just be a domain with your name to show who you are and what you do. But it’s important to have it as that will be your online home and you will present it to potential clients in the future.

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If you don’t want to tackle the design, optimisation and other things yourself, hire someone to do it for you.

But pay special attention to your About page. Tell your story, showcase your work, make it easy for people to contact you.

Then, be on every social media outlet and use it with a purpose. Take your time when creating the profiles. Use a nice profile picture, give a link to your website and contact details, write short descriptions saying what you do best and what you believe in. And start connecting with people.

Also, share the posts you write, interesting things you read online, or news related to your industry. Use the right keywords and hashtags so that others can find these too. And keep in mind that at any moment someone may offer you a job by simply finding something you’ve shared.

3. Work for free

Now that you’ve started your journey to becoming a successful freelance writer, find your first client and offer your service for free. Connect with companies who don’t update their blog regularly, or email influencers, or else.

Your goal here is to see what freelancing is all about, to have an actual client to use as a proof on your site and thus have experience.

4. Join sites for freelancers.

Now join websites for beginner freelancers like UpWork, Freelancer and similar ones. Again, carefully think through everything you include in your profile.

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There’s way too much competition there, but that shouldn’t stop you from pitching clients. Browse the job offers and submit proposals (which are written with attention to detail).

Finding your first client and doing a good job for him will let others see you’ve got experience in the site. Soon, you’ll start collecting positive feedback and it will be easier to get accepted for new jobs.

Some of these will be one-time gigs. But others may turn into long-term business relationships.

These steps don’t need to take long. It’s up to you and it’s all about making it a priority and taking action daily to reaching your goal.

And soon, you’ll be able to leave your current job. You may start publishing books of your own and selling them after that. Or make money from your blog. And you can also start building the foundation of your business, which may include marketing your service, outsourcing some of your work or even gathering a whole team.

Now you’ve got your beginner’s guide to becoming a successful freelance writer. How you’ll use that information is up to you. What steps can you take today to turn that dream into reality?

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

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Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

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