A meeting with a girlfriend today resulted in this topic of conversation. Oh, also, Happy March! So, financial freedom...what does that mean to you?
To me, financial freedom means the freedom to choose how I earn my finances, who I work for or with, what I do with my finances, when I want to work or not, and why, and where. Does that mean I always have the finances to practice that freedom? Not necessarily. The last few months have been financially restricting. For one, I moved coast to coast so that involved a whole new landscape in terms of type of market, work available, clients, networking, gigs, etc. For another, the time taken to adjust, relocate, apartment hunt, get settled in means a halt in my regular scheduling and dipping into savings for the time being. So while I had the freedom to not work for a while, and choose how I used my finances, to say that I always had the finances to support that situation would be a lie. A regular paycheck would have helped. No doubt. But then it would not give me the freedom to choose to move where I want, when I want and take a break for the 'time being' so I can settle into my new place. To say that financial freedom is all about the money would be wrong. Its more about the freedoms you enjoy because of the money, how much ever that may be to support the lifestyle you maintain. To assume that the amount of money we are talking here is the same for any two individuals would be naive. To assume that the amount of money at which financial freedom is a possibility for me in my last city and now in the new one I call home is also the same would be wrong too. So I guess, to answer my girlfriend, to me, financial freedom is the freedom to support my lifestyle in a given geographic area, dependent on my financial stability at that time. And the degree to which I enjoy (or don't) that financial freedom will vary widely dependent on many related factors at that time and place in my life. What does financial freedom mean for you? Comment below, if you'd like to have that conversation...
Most of my colleagues talk about how it is difficult to get started with a story sometimes. Or even build an introduction that ties together the rest of your copy perfectly. Here are some tactics I've used that I hope are useful to you as well:
1. Throw out an element of shock that immediately gets the reader hooked.
2. Use an analogy to help readers understand the similarity and relate to the story.
3. A play on words is always great, also a sign of a true crafty wordsmith.
4. Repetition. This one should be used carefully, or it will reek redundancy.
5. Include one truly memorable word that piques interest.
6. Introduce an element of mystery to encourage reading on.
7. This one's simple - a question or a declaration leading into your piece.
8. Address something that is a universal concern like love, money, sex, food, work.
9. Another often observed trick - a pithy quote.
10. Keeping it simple and memorable. Don't unload a barrage of technical terms or hifalutin phrases all at once at the very beginning - readers will turn away!
What are your tips and tricks to grab your readers' attention?
Attended a lunch and learn event today hosted by the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce and LAX Coworking featuring Jory Rosen of J. Rosen Group. The topic was best business tips for 2016 and it was a good session to hear someone with so much experience speak so frankly about what works/not in the business world these days. Here's a quick rundown of the notes I took, not necessarily verbatim but what I took away - I've actually typed them out to print and stick up by my work desk at home - wise words to remember.
1. Always exude confidence, everywhere, all the time.
2. Love what you do.
3. Do it the best way (not the fastest or the cheapest).
4. Be remarkable - be flamboyant if you need to, to stand out, be visible, get attention.
5. Review what you are selling, what people want, and if what you are selling is still relevant.
6. Make it easy for people to do business with you, buy from you, spend money with you.
7. Do give away advice or entry to events etc. to get clients in.
8. Ask for the sale, don't dilly dally.
9. Ask for referrals.
10. Always send thank yous.
11. Ask for testimonials.
12. Forget the office - go to your client to see them in their own environment.
13. Always keep learning.
14. Find a mentor.
15. Learn from your mistakes and bounce back, don't fall down.
The big one for me was to go to clients - I work freelance most times and my clients are almost always solo entrepreneurs like me working from home or coffee shops so going to where they work is pretty much where I work out of. In other cases, they are in a whole other city or country even so going to where they are is not so much an option. And I did think, for the longest time, that meeting in a mutual place, neutral to all parties involved, is the best arrangement, so nobody has home base advantage, but I can see the intent in that point and hope I can use it to my advantage some time. Hope these are useful to you as well. Good luck!
The end of the year is a great time to get rid of the clutter. I usually use the last few days of the year to clear out any mess and clean up my home, desk, laptop, purse of unnecessary things that simply don't belong. Most of it is waste, some of it has to be organized and quite a bit of it finds a home at a donation center. I enjoy starting the new year on a somewhat clean slate. It is difficult to say there is nothing carried over as there is continuity to what I will do in 2016 from where I was in 2015, but giving myself the gift of a clean space to work in, a neat desk to arrange my thoughts and a laptop free of all sorts of downloads and lists means starting out without any obstacles in my path. Paving the way for your success is in your hands. Making sure everything around me is just what I need, and anything I do not need is put away, is my way of ensuring I reach that path to success a little faster. Having moved to Los Angeles recently, I now find myself in an apartment that doe into afford me a designated desk area - then one end of my dining table will suffice for now. But having just my laptop, phone, notepad, diary and coffee cup around me gives me a sense of openness and organization to work unencumbered by too many things. This is my little routine every new year and it always works like magic. A fresh start for a new journey. Do you have any clutter tricks you'd like to share?
Its a brand new year and I am excited to start on a high. More about that and other new announcements in the coming week. Meanwhile, I am taking this first day of the year to enjoy some rest and relaxation from a fun yet hectic holiday season. While I vegetate in my cozy apartment, I am leisurely filling in some of my goals for the year onto my 2016 American Express Appointment Book which I so love - its my NYE gift to myself every year. It is going to be a fantastic year and I can already feel it. I wish you, wherever you are and whatever you do, purpose in your direction personally and professionally, good health, prosperity, happiness and the warmth of near and dear at all times. To also keep me somewhat on track, I have embarked on this 31 Day challenge and hope you will join in too. Here's to an amazing journey ahead and may this year be the best one yet! Onward bound!
I wouldn't be writing professionally today if not for parents that encouraged me writing and reading as a child. Nurture the writing talents in your kids with these fun tips courtesy BIC in Shelton, CT.
You might not know it but the number of staffing firms representing freelancers in the corporate environment has increased over the past few years, keeping up with the freelance demand and supply in the workplace. Gone are the days when staffing firms were only for permanent or full-time employment. Many staffing firms today, especially freelance staffing firms, are focused on solely project-based, temporary, seasonal and part-time employment opportunities. For freelancers, it not only opens up the avenues for applying for freelance positions but also puts you in the playing field with an agency representing you and promoting your skills actively to their audience. Sometimes this audience does happen to be large clients that a single freelancer might never have been able to approach. So while you might have other channels you actively pursue to attract freelance gigs, do not write off staffing firms, especially those representing the creative fields. A simple search for creative staffing firms or agencies in your area should pull up a few viable results. Reach out with an introduction or complete their talent forms on their websites and rest assured, if what you have to offer meets with some of their client needs, they will get in touch. Some of my best work, by which I mean, both, well-paying jobs as well as challenging roles and those with brands and big name clients, have been because of my agent at a creative firm representing me on the right roles. Some of these staffing firms also offer national presence so no matter where you move to in the country, and if you are lucky, even internationally, they are happy to represent you and send work your way. Of course, the personal rapport you share with your agent also weighs in. Refusing every opportunity they send your way is a surefire sign they won't be thinking of you top of mind when a new client comes through. Be open to exploring opportunities your agent thinks might be a good fit - you never know, you could end up enjoying something you had never considered before! Here are some based in L.A for easy reference:
The Creative Group
(These are not affiliate links and I don't get anything out of mentioning these companies, they came up on my search and I figured it wouldn't hurt to share this information with other freelancers)
It has officially been a month since I moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles. This day, a month ago, we drove into L.A in our car with a trailer towing along carrying our belongings. We lived in an AirBnB rental for close to a month, during which time we tried to find an apartment we liked, could afford and wanted to call home for the long haul. Happy to say we have moved into one such space now and are busy unpacking. Professionally though, this move has meant leaving behind everything I had built over almost 10 years in Atlanta and building new professional connections and networks. Much of that has happened online with virtual introductions and emails. I have only yet started meeting with folks in-person to see how I can continue freelancing, editing and writing in this new city. I have a few things lined up but as always, you never know which ones come through and which will fall away, along the way. Keeping my fingers crossed for some promising projects in the near future. Stay tuned here for updates!
1. Travel blogger
Is traveling the world your life-time passion and you always complain about the routine office hours? Is adventure the only thing that truly motivates you? Then you are probably one of the free spirits who would make an excellent travel blogger. Although traveling and writing about it it sounds like the dream job, there is much more to it. Blogging requires all your attention if you want to transform it into your full-time job. Here are a few aspects to consider in order to be successful: build an audience by writing content that travelers find useful. This could be food and accommodation advice, destination reviews, interesting activities and so on. Don’t forget to include interactive content like pictures and videos, which are like magnets for readers’ attention. Be a social media guru: explore different social media channels and stay very active on them! Also, try to promote yourself in media outlets and among well-known bloggers. Again, this will depend on the content you share with your readers and the activities that you are involved in. But don’t be discouraged! If traveling is your passion, your blog can be your travel diary and readers won’t hesitate to come. You just have to be perseverant in following your dream!
2. Yoga/fitness instructor
Probably the most active freelance job you could ever find, being an independent sports instructor can be very fulfilling. Are you already passionate about working out and are craving an active lifestyle? It’s never too late to change your career path. Having a healthy lifestyle is very important to more and more people, therefore the interest in the fitness industry is at its highest point. Fortunately for you, many working professionals have busy schedules, so it is hard for them to go to the gym regularly. This is why many request the help of personal trainers who can build a workout routine tailored to their needs. After you get acquainted with the job and you specialize either in yoga or another fitness programme, it is probably a good idea to get some certifications in the industry, so your services appear trustworthy. Another way is to start a blog or set up a Youtube channel with videos of your routine, so you can attract clients. The more people hear about you the better. Even though the beginning may seem hard, think about the benefits you will get later on: leading an active and healthy life and being paid for it!
3. SEO consultant
The digital age we live in has had an impact in many business sectors. Every company needs to be visible online in order to keep an active relationship with its clients. It is why so much emphasis is being put on the success of websites. If you rank at the top of users’ searches, they will easily find you and this will increase both your reputation and your business revenue. SEO stands for search engine optimization and specialists use different techniques to optimize web pages, such as creating interesting content that others in the industry will share. If you have a flair for marketing or IT and you are creative, this could be the right job for you. You don’t need a permanent employer to do this. You can easily work as a consultant for different projects. If you get good at it and you set up a network of clients, it can be a very rewarding job.
4. Event planner
If you have great organizational skills, you are outgoing and creative, then perhaps you can freelance as an event planner. The first thing you have to consider is that this market has a lot of competition. Finding a niche for organizing events is probably the best idea. For example, you could specialize in events for children or theme weddings. Second, you have to keep in mind that your success depends on how well you network with people. You need to find the right opportunities and build a chain of customers. But you also need to interact with caterers, contractors, venue managers and so on. So if you are a social butterfly, then this is definitely for you. The rest is all about organization and promotion. So if you collaborate with the right people and are a good planner, you are headed to success. Add a touch of creativity and you can actually make a career out of this.
How many times did you express your opinion about a product and wanted more people to hear it? Maybe you found a great product or an amazing discount or maybe you were rather dissatisfied with your acquisition. Either way, sharing your opinion seems like a great way to do something that matters. The great news is that you can actually make money by writing product reviews. You can start your own site and share your opinion about different products. Or you can answer online surveys about different products for market research companies and get rewarded in cash or gift vouchers. One such example is surveybee.net, a trustworthy platform that connects you to different survey panels, so you don’t have to do all the research work. You may think that being a product reviewer takes up too much of your time, especially if you have a full-time job. The truth is that it just requires good organizational skills, attention to detail and a touch of creativity. Think about all the products you buy all the time anyway and how amazing it would be to get some of your money back.
Found yourself in one of the above descriptions? Then you have no excuse to postpone your fresh start as a freelancer!
About the author:
Diana Popescu is a blogger for surveybee.net, covering topics on money management, working from home tips and ideas and much more. Follow on: @surveybeeNET or SurveyBee.net
In a rare case of my two loves - writing and travel - in the same book, I was excited tor receive a review copy of Island Journeys and am happy to share it was well-worth the read. The author has done a great job of sharing his own travels to different island nations while also bringing attention to the issues that concern islanders, being a native of St Kitts and Nevis himself. I loved reading his stories of travel and also his memories of his childhood in his homeland, while throwing light on matters of importance to island nations. Few images in the book give you an idea of the places he is talking about. I realized I really don't know much about islanders, their way of life or have even considered them as countries in and of themselves so I think the author's efforts are in line with what he is trying to achieve. I certainly looked up a bunch of information as I was reading the book so I could learn more about the places he was describing and the experiences narrated. This is a light read but very informative and highly recommended. For a travel-centric version of the book review, please head here.