Your boss is a jerk. Your commute takes two hours a day. You spend half your time in the office doing nothing. Sometimes it seems like you could be even more financially successful while running your own business from your own desktop. You’re probably right.

More and more people are choosing to work from home for these exact same reasons and more. Meanwhile, a growing number of companies are choosing to outsource jobs, from writing press releases to designing websites, in an effort to cut down on costs. It’s a perfect fit for everyone involved, so now is the time to get in on the action.

Decide What to Do

This may be relatively easy if you’re already working as a web designer and would like to continue doing this but from home. Other careers, such as writing and programming, already have a ready-made market. For others, it may not be so easy, but there’s no reason to despair. Ask yourself these three questions: What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing? What will people pay for?

The same answer to all three questions is your new job. Remember, there’s no reason you can’t make a career change if you already have some experience in a core skill. Take a close look at would you do on a daily basis, and you might find a task that would bring in some cash while working on your laptop.

Put Your House in Order

The first thing to do is set aside a space in your home or your apartment where you can get some work done. This may be a separate room that call your office, but a corner of your bedroom or living room could serve the same purpose once you add a desk, chair and cabinet. You’ll probably get little done if your workspace is messy and cluttered, so keep it clean and organized.

You’re also going to need to maintain financial records once the gigs start rolling in. According to Business Insider, bookkeeping software could help to keep a close eye on income and expenses while simplifying taxes. And stick to a set schedule, with time set aside for finding new clients and working on contracts already in the can.

Find Your First Gigs

Now it’s time to start making some money. For certain core skills, such as the aforementioned copywriter or web developer, job boards are a solid way to start off. The online version of Entrepreneur magazine has posted a list of their top 15 sites for freelancers looking for new work.

One of those is FlexJobs.com, which offers work in 55 categories, so there’s a good chance that you’ll find something that matches your skill set. Another one, Fiverr, has a whole section entitled Fun & Lifestyle. Though many of the jobs there pay less than $10, it’s not a bad way to build your portfolio while looking for more lucrative opportunities.

Get Your Name Out

Marketing is one of the most important things that a freelancer can do, says Matthew Stibbe, founder of Articulate Marketing, in an article with 27 tips on finding new clients. Others include making pitches to potential clients on a daily basis and writing a blog to sell your expertise.

Another option is networking, and one of the best places to start is with friends, family and colleagues. It won’t even seem like work as you’re just having a casual chat with somebody you already know. Once you’re ready to move out of your comfort zone, you can check out some local networking events. Remember not to show up in full pitch mode, but get ready to socialize and have a little fun while passing out business cards on the sly.

At this stage, you should have a few clients under your belt. Remember, without a regular salary you need to stay busy getting more business in the pipeline, but there’s plenty to be hopeful about as you’re working for yourself, and what could be better than that?

Image from Pexels.com.

Engaging in winning strategies can give you the edge you need for success in the gig economy.

Decide on your role. Establishing your income earning goals early on will help you to understand the market and develop a professional course. If you engage customers who need more from you than you can handle, you can damage their impression of you. In developing your business plan, you need to fully acknowledge your limitations, or you’ll never meet your goals. There are four basic categories of workers in the gig economy:

  • Free agent: When you’re ready to spread your wings and make a gig venture your primary source of income.
  • Casual earner: You aren’t ready to quit your day job, and side hustle is for fun money.
  • Reluctant: You wish you had a day job, but you’re stuck trying for gig employment.
  • Financially strapped: Your day job doesn’t bring in enough money to make ends meet, so you’re doing extra work to stay in the black.

What’s your gig? To be a success in the gig economy, you’ll need to have a clear vision. For instance, you may want to work with animals, but that’s a vague notion. However, you can narrow that down to becoming a dog walker or offering a boarding and pet-sitting service. These examples of gig businesses are concise—customers understand exactly what services are being offered. Knowing your customer base and focusing on your niche helps you target your clientele effectively and meet their needs efficiently.

Sell yourself. Once you’re goals are defined, take steps to market your business. Develop a portfolio so you can show clients what you are capable of. Set up a website and business accounts on social media, create business cards and flyers, and start talking it up with friends and family members.

Work it! Being a success means you will need to be disciplined and productive. For your gig business to thrive, you need to be professional and develop a hardy work ethic. Generate realistic goals and meet them in a timely manner, and don’t allow yourself to be distracted or disorganized.

You can be a winner in the game of gigs, you just have to have the right strategies. Decide on your role, develop your niche, sell it, and work at it.

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Gigs are the new side job and, for many, a primary means of income. Being a gig master means you have control over your own finances, schedule, and life. But there are a few things you need to do before jumping into the overcrowded pool that is s free market.

Here are some suggestions on how to break into the world of self-employment.

Know what you can/want to do. If you’ve been an employee for any length of time or have a particular set of skills that other people in need of, congratulations, you are qualified for freelance work. It can be difficult to pinpoint these skills, however, if you don’t fully appreciate the value of your talents. Monster reports that some of the highest paying side hustles, such as doing independent food delivery or driving for the two major ridesharing companies, don’t require a ton of experience. If you’re looking to replace a full-time income, you will need to focus on areas in which you’re already familiar. This might be housecleaning, graphic design, or financial consulting.

Set up your workspace. When you’re working from home, you have a lot of luxuries that you don’t in the office. But you also don’t have a network of support that can keep things running smoothly. Increase your efficiency by setting up your workspace in a way that’s comfortable for you. Start by ensuring your chair, desk, and computer screen are ergonomically aligned. Look for a room that is well lit and keep your desk as clutter-free as possible. Fast Company offers more tips here.

Market for success. Your business marketing plan is paramount to your success. And there is perhaps nothing more important to your marketing efforts then your brand. One of the most difficult aspects of creating a brand is coming up with an eye-catching and memorable logo, which serves as a visual summary of your business. If your budget is low and you don’t have design skills, consider using an online business logo generator that can walk you through the steps and help you craft the perfect logo.

Understand the economics. If you’ve ever wondered why consultants tend to charge more money than a similar employee, it’s partly because of taxes. When you’re an employee, the one who signs your paycheck forks out a chunk of cash for employment taxes to Uncle Sam. Working as a freelance contractor means you will have to cover your entire tax bill yourself. The IRS requires every small business owner or self-employed individual to pay self-employment taxes. If you expect to owe more than $1000, you’ll need to make quarterly tax payments on top of filing an end-of-year tax return.

Learn to balance. An often overlooked issue for self-employed people is finding a balance between work and home. It is easy to allow your projects to overtake your life. If you want to be successful both at work and at home you’ll need to take steps to prevent your professional endeavors from interfering with your overall quality of life. Forbes explains you can do this by leveraging technology and learning how to rethink your idea of a perfect home — chores may fall to the wayside, and that’s okay. Protect your private time and you’ll see an increase in productivity.

Never get comfortable. Perhaps most importantly, you can never get comfortable doing just good enough when you work for yourself. You must always strive to improve your products or services and give your clients the individual attention they deserve.

Being a freelancer isn’t just about working in your pajamas and a enjoying a 10-second commute. It takes hard work, an entrepreneurial mindset, and a deep understanding of both business and finances. But despite the difficulties, going the gig way gives you a world of freedom you’ve never experienced and the pros almost always outweigh the cons.

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We live in a culture in which pursuing a successful career and being female don’t always mesh seamlessly. Workplace sexism is alive and well, and cracking the ever-present glass ceiling to earn a leadership position is typically difficult at best, regardless of a woman’s qualifications. With smart strategies, you can climb the ladder of success without gender-bias thwarting your efforts.

Plan your process. What are your goals? One of the best things you can do to ensure you move up the career ladder is to identify your personal goals and the steps you should take to reach them. There is a great acronym for helping to streamline the goal-setting process: SMART. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited. You can apply that term to all your goals, whether they apply to your growth inside or outside the workplace.

Learn as much as you can, as often as you can. You want to be a standout employee regardless of your gender, and one of the most basic ways to accomplish this feat is to learn as much as you can about your industry, your clients and your individual role. Not only should you always be willing to learn from others, you should also be actively seeking out learning opportunities. If your company and your peers aren’t good places to turn, fire up the internet. There are ebooks on just about every business subject or you can take an online course, both of which can help you brush up on your hard and soft skills.

Use your voice. Sexism is alive and well. According to some studies, when women assert themselves, they are apt to be seen as angry or aggressive, while men are seen as serious achievers. Women are more likely to be seen as emotional, although they actually do not respond more emotionally to situations than men do. Men are likely to be seen as “having a bad day.” However, when women become upset, they are “just emotional.” You won’t be able to overcome those mindsets, but you can successfully navigate stereotypes with a few strategies in place.

For instance, addressing your gender directly can defuse circumstances and prime the pump when it comes to meetings with the good ol’ boys. Men often talk over women in work situations, and can even take credit for their ideas. Rather than allowing those situations, opening a meeting by addressing the fact that you are the only (or one of the only) women present and that you might need to speak up to be heard at times tells the guys you won’t be talked over. At the same time, you can offer up that since they are used to working with women, you know they will respect you and your ideas. In this manner, you lay the groundwork for mutual respect and having a voice. Forbes suggests maintaining a collaborative tone when you assert your ideas in meetings, and avoid sounding accusatory or apologetic.

Build rapport. You can’t become one of the guys, but you can use your wits to lower gender bias and help men see you as an “insider.” Crack some jokes when the time is right, yet maintain professionalism. It can help men see you as a peer rather than an intruder. Also, don’t be afraid to point out your purpose. Remind your colleagues you are there because you were trained and are skilled. You can point out particular qualifications and achievements in a manner that is matter of fact, rather than confrontational or whiny.

Another suggestion is to participate in office politics. Many women prefer to steer clear of game playing so they can focus on business, but as The Guardian points out, networking and engaging in behind-the-scenes activities can help you earn respect.

Find your tribe. Oftentimes, women who participate with teams of men find themselves overlooked when it comes to promotions or accolades. When possible, try to collaborate with other women or work alone. Women are more likely to be recognized when they aren’t in the shadow of male counterparts, and you set yourself up for more success. In addition, you should try to connect with other women who are leaders in their careers, even if they aren’t in the same company or even the same field. By supporting and mentoring each other, women can advise and shape advancement together.

Climbing the ladder of success continues to be especially challenging for career-minded women. Be SMART, be an active learner, speak up, build rapport and connect with other women. You can navigate gender bias and achieve your goals.

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Millions of Americans feel unsatisfied with their jobs at some point in their careers, and sometimes a major setback — such as a demotion, being passed over for a promotion or raise, or facing big changes that are out of our control — can have devastating effects. You may be feeling like it’s time to make a move to a different company, or perhaps you need to take a break and figure out where to go from here. There is no right answer for everyone, and it’s important to figure out your goals and motivations, in addition to a plan, before you act.

Of course, some individuals take these setbacks as a sign that it’s time to finally go after what they want and start their own business, and it may sound like a huge undertaking, but it’s not as difficult as you may think. There are plenty of ways to go into business for yourself that don’t require a lot of startup cash.

Here are some of the best ways to get back on your feet after a major setback.

Update Your Resume

Even if you’re not sure whether you want to change jobs, it’s always a good idea to have the most updated, polished version of a resume as possible. This way, if you do decide to make a move, you’ll be armed with the perfect representation of your work history.

You might also consider doing something new that will impact your resume, such as learning a new language, taking a class at the community college, volunteering, or joining the board of a local organization.

Take Some Time for Yourself

Depending on exactly what the setback was, you may be feeling unappreciated or upset. It’s a good idea to take a little break and focus on yourself, even if it’s just for the weekend. Get out of town for a day or two, or spend some time with friends. Incorporating self-care is also a great way to focus on your mental and physical health. Eating healthy foods, exercising, getting a massage, and even taking long walks are perfect ways to practice self-care.

Use this time to really think about what happened and the events that led up to it; this could help you reach a more informed decision about what your next move will be.

Think about your strengths

Going into business for yourself may be just the career move for you, but it’s important to have a solid plan beforehand. Think about what your strengths are and where your happiness might lie. Do you love animals and enjoy being around dogs — even other people’s dogs? Maybe you’re a good fit for a dog walking business or becoming a pet sitter. Are you a creative person? Do you love to bake? Consider starting a cake baking business. Or are you a fitness expert? Do you love helping others get into shape? You can get certified fairly quickly and being on your way toward being paid to help others take better care of themselves.

Whatever the business is, make sure it’s something you love to do. And don’t forget to do some research in the local area to find out more about your competition.

Get educated

You might have an idea about how to get started, but even the smallest businesses need a little help. If you don’t have anyone you can ask for advice, consider taking a class in business at a local college or from a reputable online college. You can learn valuable information about how to get started and what not to do in the beginning.

If taking a class isn’t for you, there is a wealth of solid information available online that will help you learn about starting a business and everything that goes into it. You’ll also need to read up on funding, compliance, and cash flow management.

It’s easy to be intimidated by the thought of venturing out on your own, but you have to look at it as taking your destiny into your own hands. When you run your own business, you are no longer beholden to others. Nobody is saying it will be easy, but if you have the determination to educate yourself and follow through, the rewards will be more than worth it.

Photo via Pixabay by Unsplash

Perhaps you’ve spent a significant part of your work life nodding off at your cubicle while secretly longing to find a career you actually love. Maybe you were quite vocal about it, telling anyone you bumped into in the breakroom that you couldn’t wait to leave your current job for good. Or maybe it’s not that you’re necessarily unhappy with your current position, but have high hopes of making it to the top, and weren’t able to make the moves you needed to in order to get there. Whatever the case may be, you’re here now, and you’re looking for a change. In fact, you’re looking for a change in career that’s so seamless, it doesn’t even feel like work.

Well, look no more! Here are a few tips to help you find and live out the career that you’ve always dreamed of!

Identify your passion

Typically, your passion is something that you love so much, you would do it for free. Your passion doesn’t take a lot of effort, nor does it rob you of your energy. It is something that you can be so engaged in that you don’t even realize how many hours have passed. If you know what that “something” is, that is the direction in which you want to take your career! Whether you are a fashion designer, musician or a dog lover, own it, and figure out how you can make money doing it.

If you are unsure of what your passion is or how to even find it, think back to your childhood. Did you have any talents or hobbies that you let fall to the side as you grew older? Did you excel in any subjects at school, like math or english? Give yourself some time to dig deep into your memory bank to see if you can unveil your passion. If more than one thing comes to mind, that’s OK! That just means you have more avenues to explore until you find the right fit. Just know that once you’ve recognized your passion, you’re halfway to success!

Build it up

Now that you’ve identified your dream job, it’s time to get to work! It would be great if you could just uncover your passion, then dive straight into making an income from it, but unfortunately, that’s seldom how it works. This is the time for you to polish what you’re good at by incorporating it into your daily routine. If you want to make a career as a writer, then you need to write every day! It doesn’t matter if you write short stories, blogs or novels — all that matters is that you’re using your “writing muscle” daily. Think of it like exercise — the more you do it, the stronger you become. Do not make the mistake of thinking that because your passion comes to you freely, it doesn’t need to be practiced.

Put yourself out there

Now that you’ve done all the groundwork, it’s time to sell it! The only way to turn your passion into a career is to let people know about it! You can make people aware of what you do in various ways. If you are a musician, start playing in local talent expos or nightlife venues. If you are an artist, display your work in a local art gallery. Every time you encounter someone is an opportunity to express what you do — take advantage!

As you grow into doing what you love, be fearless! Don’t be afraid to tell others what you do. It’s your duty to share your talents with the world, because you never know how it can positively impact you and those around you.

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