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Building A Successful Freelance Career:More Choices For Getting Started Right

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It’s a pleasure introducing readers to the growth of the freelance support ecosystem, the variety of ways that smart entrepreneurs have helped freelancers grow in competence, opportunity, and success. Interesting investors, innovative business and financial utility builders, and expert educators are helping freelance platforms and independent freelancers to do what they must do best: deliver value to clients. A particular subset of ecosystem partners is the subject of this article. We’ve seen a very positive explosion of help in educating and preparing freelancers to build their business and providing the tools they need to get started as a full-time freelancer or part-time side-gigger. 

Here are some of the different approaches entrepreneurs have taken:

Parkerdewey.comParkerDewey.com was the subject of a prior article in Forbes, and under founder and former VC Jeffrey Moss, it has continued to do great things. Despite the challenges and obstacles posed by Covid-19, Parkerdewey.com connected thousands of undergraduates, grad students, and recent college graduates to gigs with leading corporations, and over 80% of these young people are individuals from underrepresented populations in the workforce.

It was particularly exciting to learn that parkerdewey.com, in collaboration with the DeBruce Foundation of Kansas City, the Kansas Department of Commerce, and Board of Regents have taken a big step in growing their program, working together with 33 Kansas public colleges and universities to provide paid micro-internship opportunities for students through an impressive new program called the Kansas Micro-Internship Program. Moss, with his signature modesty, gives his co-creators the credit, but working with a large system like the state universities and colleges of Kansas is a game changer.

Techinterns.io. It’s helpful to think of techinterns.io, also mentioned , as a cousin of parkerdewey.com, but focused on tech students. While parkerdewey.com matches students and companies and provides micro-internship work experience for a wide range of occupational interests, techintern.io connects technically oriented students with part-time or project opportunity, and the chance to build a CV, get a job, or begin their freelance career. A second difference is the importance of the social action component of parkerdewey.com, which is not a feature of techintern.io. 

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The startup was originally focused on students where it was incubated – the University of Waterloo, a top university in Canada – but has grown now to embrace tech student participants from top universities across North America like UC Berkeley and MIT. Founder Kingsong Chen describes their purpose this way: “We see interns as the best way to expand the tech hiring pipeline as well as find passionate builders for (any) company.” Feedback from companies has been very positive: the portal is easy to navigate and well supported. The students are consistently described as top notch. 

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Underpinned.com. Albert Azis-Clauson, for many years training for a career in ballet, turned to freelancing to make money while a university student in London.  As a freelancer, he worked on a variety of consulting, strategy, and business development projects. But, he was frustrated by the lack of access freelancers had to helpful education or helpful tools about how to freelance successfully. 

That led to the creation of underpinned.com by Albert and his colleagues in London, a platform offering prospective freelancers an innovative and research-based process and rich tool kit to help them get started and thrive during the “fumble years” in freelancing.  We’ve all been there, the trial-and-error period of working through challenges and obstacles to create a viable business and a steady income. 

That means creating a network of clients and colleagues, developing a compelling value proposition, building well-defined market focus and target client, crafting a strong pitch, and establish fair value and pricing. These themes collectively provide a syllabus for freelancing competence, supported by a community and access to marketplace opportunities. As Albert explained: “We’ve equipped 50,000 freelancers with the tools and, more importantly, the confidence, to create their own future.”

DBMBootcamp.com. Living in Berlin, Deya Aliaga Kuhnle grew disinterested in a career in full-time consultant while an intern in one of the big firms. Her plan B: “I joined Upwork and applied to everything.” Thus shifting to a freelance career, Deya briskly experienced a wide variety of work, from voiceovers to administrative support. And, in so doing, she recognized a gap in freelancers’ access to education that would prepare a freelancer for part-time or interim roles as a digital business manager or chief of staff for startups and very early-stage companies.

 She also recognized that three skills were critical to the success of a fractional or interim digital manager: project planning and management, team management, and operational management. These competency areas, as well as covering finance and operational basics for freelancers, setting up your online business, and working closely with clients, form the curriculum that prepares professionals for interim and part-time chief of staff type roles at DBMBootcamp.com.

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The program she created teaches these skills over the course of eight comprehensive modules, and her community now includes over 500 members, primarily women, from 30 countries. DBMBootcamp.com has intentionally kept the cost to students low to build a vibrant community and keep the program accessible to a large population.

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Conestoga College.on.ca. Rose Mastnak joined Conestoga College in Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario (down the road from the University of Waterloo) after a successful freelancing and executive career to give back. That’s led to a thriving educational program for promising entrepreneurs and freelancers . Over the past two years, the team of educators and volunteer coaches and mentors have taken freelancer education to the next level by creating what the team calls the gig lab. 

The program was born in summer 2020, at the height of Covid 19, and is still working out the details of its program, but generally consists of 15 freelance students per cohort, a 15-week comprehensive program, and three cohorts are offered annually. The program is built around four key elements: concept teaching, hands on experience, team and individual based reflection and feedback, and active coaching by experienced freelancers. 

And, program graduates have access to Conestogagigs.ca, a soft-launched platform for interaction, exchange, and providing freelance opportunities. As Rose points out, “There is no ’hack’. We help our students see freelancing as a business requiring – as any business does – strong professional and business skill, excellent relationship skills, and good personal branding. Otherwise, it’s a race to the bottom on cost.”  

Each of these approaches helps individuals to create their freelancing future, and the variety is impressive. Other platforms, described in prior Forbes articles, intersect with the educational space; for example, platforms like Collective.comWethos.co and HoneyBook.com, who provide comprehensive business services for established independent freelancers, as well as communities like freelancebusiness.be and coaching platforms that offer different models of freelance incubation

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The common element: Recognition that freelancing is a business requiring the skills that any small or large business leader must master. But, along with the benefits of diverse approaches, we have a collective responsibility to learn and improve from one another by sharing best practice: Let’s learn together how to provide education at scale, and work together to deliver high quality at fair cost. It’s the oxygen the freelance revolution needs to continue to grow. via_forbes

Entrepreneur

Why Digital Freelancing is the Future of Work

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The corporate world has changed more in the past two years than in the past twenty years. It took a pandemic to make people realize that you don’t need to travel for work two hours a day to sit in front of a computer that is connected to the internet anyway.

It is no longer possible to attract people to work at a full-time job in a corporate office because people have realized that the idea of a “safe and secure” job is just a dream that can collapse at any time. There is no need to work at a specific location in a specific city because we all live in the global village called the internet. 

If you have expertise on a specific skill, you can remotely work for the best companies in the world at command earnings that compete with anyone in the world with the same skill. And the best part is that you can work on a contract basis.

So what is preventing people from becoming freelancers and quit their day job (if they are fortunate to have one)? The lack of a personal brand.

The full-time corporate world operates on slightly different rules where you can jump from one company to another based on your personal network and influence. But in the freelance world, having a personal network is not enough, you need a personal brand.

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Building a personal brand doesn’t mean becoming popular. A personal brand is built when you add value to people’s lives through your content, sometimes without charging anything for it.

If you want to build a strong personal brand as an influencer, you need to start with blogging. Write a few articles a month about what you learn, what you know and what you have experienced. Writing is the best way to let the world know that you exist.

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Once you start writing, you will see that opportunities will come your way. Start helping out people with your content and then with free consultations. There are a ton of freelancing opportunities in the world, and you can become a specialist in one category. Let’s say, for example, you are an SEO expert. Start writing about SEO on your blog, share them on social media and post videos about what you know. 

Research companies that you want to help and maybe create an SEO audit report for them and cold-email it to them. If you add value first instead of asking for an opportunity, an opportunity will come your way. 

You cannot demand heat before you throw in the piece of wood. Set up a calendar that shows your available times and let people book a free 15-20 minute consultation call with you. This is how you add value and then get a sale, without asking explicitly for the sale.

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Freelancing makes you an entrepreneur where the product is yourself. This is the first step in your long journey of building something for yourself, that eventually becomes greater than yourself. 

Freelancing also requires professional relationship skills, sales skills and the skill of adding more value than what you are getting paid for. This skill is vastly different from the skill of being an employee.

If you are not in a full-time corporate job right now, it is time to start freelancing instead of trying to find a job in the post-pandemic, new world order. 

If you are already in a corporate job, you need to start freelancing as a side-hustle as soon as possible. Even if you are just building your brand and doing free consultations, it is more than enough to start with because it creates the foundation for your future freelancing journey. 

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You might have friction getting started in this journey if you are an employee or have been one. Because the typical mindset of an employee is to look for security and “something guaranteed” for every piece of effort that you put in. Getting started with your freelancing career is the first step in dealing with career and professional uncertainty.

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I cannot tell you what opportunities you will get once you start building your personal brand. But I can say with conviction that once you start, you will start getting opportunities.

Via Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneur

Why You Need a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy–And How to Build One

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B2B influencer marketing has essentially been around since the beginning of commerce. When the dairyman told all the bakers on his delivery route that they should purchase flour from a certain miller, and when the miller gave the dairyman flour for his household as repayment, B2B influencer marketing was born. So, how can you make this marketing strategy work for your business, and why should you want to?

Why is B2B influencer marketing important?

At its core, influencer marketing is a field of marketing that focuses on using key leaders to drive or showcase a brand message to the larger market. Rather than selling directly to a big group, instead you can inspire, hire, or even pay market influencers to promote what you have to offer.

In the world of networking, we see B2B influencers guide, direct, and even enhance the experience a business has with another business. While we would like to think that slick ad campaigns and ad spend are directing traffic, it is still the word-of-mouth influence that guides people and businesses to each other.

A quick guide to B2B influencer marketing

Where to find influencers

Ask yourself who your current advocates are. Who already speaks highly of you? Who refers business to you?

Advocates aren’t always clients or customers. Sometimes, they can be our vendors and suppliers. Other times, we must look at other professionals related to our industry. Advocates speak highly of your people, products, or services.

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Do your clients connect on social channels? Do they tag referral partners? Do they recommend services and providers to their own clients as a value-add? Where are they also sharing information on non-social channels, such as podcasts, speaking events, and books?

Consider sponsoring a speaking event where a potential B2B connector will be presenting. Build a relationship with them off-stage in order to get their shout-out on-stage. Feature potential B2B influencers on your own company podcast. Showcasing your relationships with influencers and companies will add to the trust factor so that other businesses will be comfortable connecting with you.

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Build a B2B influencer connection

Think about tires. If you are a fleet manager and you are purchasing new tires for vehicles in your fleet, you might discover you need brakes. You might then mention to the tire dealer that you need to have some new decal work done. Your tire provider suggests a brake shop that specializes in fleet maintenance, and suggests a painting and decal service that one of their other clients uses.

Did the tire provider need the brake guy or decal person? No. Most likely the brake shop and the decal creator reached out to create a B2B connection which would benefit the tire dealer (and themselves). If you know of other businesses that your clients regularly utilize, your business can build a B2B influencer connection with benefits for all.

Did the tire provider need the brake guy or decal person? No. Most likely the brake shop and the decal creator reached out to create a B2B connection which would benefit the tire dealer (and themselves). If you know of other businesses that your clients regularly utilize, your business can build a B2B influencer connection with benefits for all.

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Make sure to vet any potential connections

It is easy to speed forward and engage a B2B business as a possible connector or influencer. However, you need to take some time to vet the affiliations and relevance of the connection. Checking affiliations and relevance is as simple as doing a Google search, website review, or social media audit.

While it might seem like a particular business would be an ideal connection and influence, their affiliations and company culture may not be a perfect fit and could create some reputation, brand, and image problems in the long run.

What is your plan for co-creation?

If you are just hoping your B2B influencer is sharing your service/product accurately or is referring potential clients through the right contact at your company, you are not going to receive the impact you are looking for through this influencer.

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B2B influencing is about co-creation. Co-creation means you are working together with the influencer—it is collaboration and partnership. It is developing a relationship, not just a tactical means to an end.

In a number of instances, a company hires an influencer from a transactional perspective, and only provides the influencer with what is needed to achieve a given result. However, the more you develop a relationship, and provide the influencer with the education and resources to make the most impact for your company, the better the result and outcome.

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How do you plan to compensate influencers?

Not all influencer marketing requires you to pay for time. Sometimes, B2B connections are made that are just about giving valuable connections.

Could a “paid” influencer provide value? Absolutely. But you should determine the best influencer for your product or service first. Then determine if that influencer relationship should be a compensated one or a value/connection one.

B2B influencer marketing and your business

Just a few years ago, B2B businesses would have balked at the idea of using influencer marketing as a marketing strategy; it was considered “celebrity” and a hack. However, businesses have been using this technique long before it was given a trendy name and celebrity status.

Influencer marketing is all about relationships—your relationship with an “influencer” and their relationship with your client/customer or prospects. The key is to know the purpose, audience, and tools necessary to make it work effectively. Knowing your audience and the key influencers in your industry, professional network, or community can make the biggest difference.

My guess is that you have already been using this technique or are an influencer yourself. You just didn’t know you were doing it. Now, do it with purpose!

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Via AB

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freelance

Will Employer know if you are self- Employed

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The quick answer? No, your employer won’t automatically find out if you’re self-employed. In this day and age, having a side hustle is becoming pretty commonplace. Supplementing a salary with a second (or even third) source of income is a great way to expand your skills offering and of course, bump up your bank balance. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash, grow your network, indulge in your passions and continue to diversify your talents.

However, if you are going to go down the route of secondary self-employment, alongside your regular ‘day job’, there are some things you need to consider. For example, if you earn more than £1,000 from self-employment activities in a tax year, you’ll need to let HMRC know by registering for Self Assessment. And then, of course, submitting tax returns so that you pay the right amount of tax on your earnings.

Informing HMRC is one thing, but what many side-hustlers are concerned about is their employer finding out about their extracurricular activity.

Can you register for self-employment if you’re already employed?

Absolutely! Even if you’re on the payroll for a full-time or part-time job, you’re still allowed to work for yourself outside of those hours. For example, somebody who works in marketing might do some freelance copywriting or social media management on the side. This secondary source of income classes as self-employment and can run parallel alongside their regular employment.

The benefits of working for yourself as well as for an employer are many, but the most common include:

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  • Earning more money – perhaps the most appealing advantage and most common motivation.
  • Being able to develop and explore the skillset you use in your regular role.
  • A chance to dip your toe into the water of new or alternative skills that you aren’t able to fulfil through your employment.
  • Expanding your network of contacts.
  • Being able to turn a passion into income.
  • You get to learn a great deal about business ownership and being on the other side of the books.
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Will a full-time employer find out if you’re self-employed?

Unless you tell your employer directly, there is no reason why they should have to find out about your self-employed work. The only other way they might find out is if you tell a colleague or mutual connection about your side hustle and it gets back to your employer that way.

However, in terms of tax codes and self-employment registration – two things that many employed people are concerned will give them up – you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Your tax information is highly confidential so HMRC will never inform your employer if you register as self-employed. Nor would that be necessary as your PAYE income and self-employed earnings are entirely separate in the eyes of HMRC. The only reason that this might change is if you ask HMRC to collect your self-employed tax through your tax code.

What if I register a limited company?

The only other way this might become a potential issue, if you’re hellbent on hiding your side job from your employer, is if you register a Limited Company.

These details are shared publicly on Companies House so all your employer would need to do is a quick search to find information about your business. That said, it’s highly unlikely they would do this unprovoked, or without prior knowledge.

Is honesty the best policy in this situation?

Although it’s very unlikely that your employer would find out about your self-employed work without you telling them directly, is it worth being transparent with them about it?

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Honesty is usually the best policy, but the decision is yours alone to make. Just consider:

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  • There might be something in your employment contract that forbids you from having any additional work, which means a side job would be in breach of that.
  • Transparency lays the foundations for a healthy relationship with your employer – something that is going to be pivotal in your future success within your role there.
  • If your employer is supportive of your self-employment, they might even be able to help you out with some contacts or advice.
  • Again, if your employer is in support of your side hustle, making them aware might mean they can be more flexible around things like annual leave and working hours to accommodate your other commitments where possible.

Our top tips on balancing more than one job

If you are juggling both regular employment and self-employment, it can be tricky to strike a healthy balance between the two. The aim of the game is to find a balance that means you can maintain your own wellbeing whilst ensuring that you’re doing your best possible work for all involved.

Here is our advice on how to master the juggling act:

  • Be realistic about what your clients can expect from you – and be honest with them about it!
  • Identify your goals. Are you hoping to make some extra income, or to become fully self-employed, for instance? Keep these in mind – it will help you remember when it’s time to say no!
  • Know when you’ve reached your capacity so that you don’t get burnt out.
  • Make sure you’re registered as self-employed so that you can report your additional earnings to HMRC and pay the necessary deductions. Failing to do so could land you in some serious trouble.Via FN
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