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15 Struggles Only Freelancers Would Understand

15 Struggles Only Freelancers Would Understand
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With freelancing come several perks and benefits. As a freelancer you are the boss of your time and work. As a way of working, freelancing enables you to follow your passion as you earn a living – perhaps that is why many college graduates are making the choice of becoming freelancers. However there still remains a huge margin between working as a freelancer and working for a private enterprise. The struggles or challenges a freelancer face are not similar to those of regular employees. It’s important for you to know the problems you have to deal with as you navigate a freelancing career.

1. You know that requirements and demands of employers keep changing

What applied to a certain client before may not apply to your present client. Also as a freelancer you are expected to keep upgrading your skills and never be static. What was applicable last year may not apply now; neither is the terrain of freelancing stationary. Freelancing demands adaptability and growth from the freelancer.

2. You understand working with different time zones

There is an opportunity for freelancers to connect with employers and clients from different parts of the world in this era of internet and technology. This opportunity presents interesting experiences; from dealing with a whole set of culture different to yours, to meeting new persons from different backgrounds. Yet there is a challenge for the freelancer to adjust to different time zones. There are demands of being awake at odd hours because you want to satisfy a client or even attract one.

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3. You face the reality of bad clients

There will be difficult clients to deal with as a freelancer. Not every client you attract will be pleasant. Some demand too much work for little pay while others are reluctant to pay on time. A freelancer is at risk in the face of a bad client because many clients do not like to pay upfront.

4. You have to tackle money management

To keep your career going as a freelancer you must make sure there is more incoming cash than outgoing cash. Freelancing requires that you are an excellent money manager as there are high and low times during your career. This is why it is necessary that the freelancer keeps working hard to land paying gigs to keep his freelancing business going.

5. You try to balance work and life

It becomes a dangerous good when you have flexible hours and conditions to work with as managing your personal life and work can become challenging. There could be a clash in time with when you desire to visit the gym and when you need to complete a task.

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6. You have to keep hunting for clients

A major struggle for freelancers is getting jobs. Although there are freelance portals like Elance.com, Guru.com and Freelancer.com, competition can be stiff and challenging. Finding clients isn’t as easy as it seems and this could be one of the major struggles of any freelancer.

7. You need to become a Jack of all trades

With freelancing you become the boss of your own business. A freelancing career requires your being able to manage your financials, marketing and interacting with clients. You can only be a successful and efficient freelancer if you can handle a lot of activities at once. Yet being versatile yet efficient can prove overwhelming and cumbersome.

8. You have to meet ridiculous deadlines

Many clients offer a deadline for an assignment or task to be completed. This could stir tension and make you nervous especially if you have so much to do at once.

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9. You always stare at procrastination

It is easy for the freelancer to assume that he has a lot of time to accomplish a task and such could be completed later. Procrastination is a killer and could be a freelancer’s worse struggle when managing his career.

10. You have to make real world connections

Beyond the several opportunities available online for the freelancer, landing a paying gig sometimes requires reaching out of your comfort zone. Real world interaction is essential for the freelancer to succeed. For an individual who is not sociable or isn’t an extrovert this could be a struggle.

11. You are a victim of global currency fluctuations

The currency you are familiar with may not be the same the client who is living thousands of miles away is familiar with. In a world of unstable currency rates this could present a challenge to your freelancing career.

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12. You have to be a better time manager

Time is not ever enough when you have to revise, review and try to meet with the desire of your clients. The more clients you possess the better you should be with managing your time.

13. You have to battle with different payment methods

In certain parts of Europe, Africa and the world, flexible payment methods like Paypal are not yet available. Payment methods suitable for the client may not be suitable for you.

14. You have to be a better negotiator

Most times clients feel they can take advantage of freelancers through unfair pricing. In a world where it is pretty difficult to land a client, a freelancer has to be a better and more strategic negotiator.

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15. You learn to be flexible

Freelancing means meeting to the needs of your client. Sometimes even what you consider fantastic may not be what the client wants. Adapting to a client’s needs will serve your freelancing career better.

Featured photo credit: Young man at home using a computer, freelance developer or designer working at home. via shutterstock.com

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Casey Imafidon

Specialized in motivation and personal growth, providing advice to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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