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How To Prepare Yourself To Quit Your Job And Go Freelance

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“It gets harder to contemplate going full time when your day job has a very high salary, great benefits, room for advancement and is in a explosive growth industry. (That also usually comes with long hours, lots of stress, and lots of travel, which can be a strain on your family.)

Any advice for people in a situation like this, where making the move from part time to full time freelancing would ultimately make them happier, but the leap gets more difficult to make?”

Before I started my product company, I used to run a consultancy. And in this consultancy, I had ten people who received benefits, paychecks, and a semblance of security from me. A few of the people who worked for me were originally freelancers but wanted to escape the “rat race” of finding and selling clients.

But Malcolm makes a very good point: What if you know that you’d be much happier controlling your own destiny by running your own freelancing business, but doing so would sacrifice the years of hard work, advancement, and pay that you’ve accrued at your current gig?

I Quit

I’m sure I could Google a bunch of inspiration and motivational business quotes about perseverance and initiative and, and, and… but let’s be real here. Malcolm has a family. He has kids. He has a house. It’s one thing to be 20 and move across the continent to pursue entrepreneurship, but it’s an entirely different story when you’re trying to keep a household afloat.

I tend to steer clear of risk (unless I’m in a casino, where rationale and reason are blacked out with the sun.) So if I were Malcolm — and I have been Malcolm — here’s what I’d do…

  1. Come to terms with what you need to survive. If you’re salaried, you have income (paychecks) and liabilities (house, car, insurance, food, etc.) While few of us actually budget, which is probably why many of us live paycheck to paycheck, you should immediately start by setting up a basic budget. How much do you need to keep up your standard of living? If you’re adventurous, you might be able to cut away the fat and lower your monthly liabilities, but if you’re like me you enjoy life and want to be able to take your wife out on dates or buy Frozen on Blu-Ray for your kids. I’ve tried a bunch of budgeting apps but almost always come back to a simple spreadsheet. Make a list of everything you’re on the hook for each month, and realize you need to bring in that and more each month to succeed.
  2. Start saving. You need to set aside money in your business. It took me way too long to realize this. Finding clients, meeting with prospects, and everything else that doesn’t translate to a line item on an invoice is overhead. Invoices will be late. That dream client won’t start when they said they will (or they’ll vanish entirely.) You can’t pay bills on an IOU (OK, so there’s credit, but let’s not go there.) On top of saving about 30% for your taxes, try to tack on another 20% for cash flow insurance. 
  3. Understand that your benefits are just money. Medical insurance, dental, 401k, vision, free soda. These are all easily deconstructed into dollars and cents. It’s tempting to be glued to your benefits package, but ultimately those same benefits can be replaced (and then some) with your consulting income. It’s just money.
  4. Don’t reverse engineer your salary to come up with a rate. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard a variation of the following: “I make $100k a year, which given a 2000 hour working year means I make $50 an hour. So I’ll charge about that.” First off, if you divide all of your income by two, you’re making $25 an hour now. And secondly, you can’t compare being an employee to being a freelancer. If I’m hiring an employee, I need to pay for recruitment (job ads, the overhead of hiring, finders fees, maybe recruiter fees.) I also need to pay for onboarding (getting you settled into the company.) But I’m also paying for your vacations, sick days, and time spent lounging around Reddit. Every employer on the planet knows no one fully commits to them full-time. So charge them for your uncanny ability to turn on-off with the flip of your time tracker’s timer. Your rate should reflect the fact that you’re drastically easier to hire and fire than your employed counterparts. 
  5. Get your first few clients now. The last thing you want is to do a bunch of busywork before quitting and have no one ready to pay you once you’re on your own. What I mean by busywork is doing a bunch of stuff that looks productive, but really isn’t. This includes getting a lawyer to write up a contract, putting together a business plan, opening up a business bank account, designing that perfect website, and more. Sure, these are all good things, and things that need to get done. But these chores can often seem like you’re doing something big for your business, whereas you should be laser focused on finding people who will pay you money. That’s it. Start getting to know your local business community. Go to networking events. Tell everyone what you do and who you work with. Pick up a few Pete Drucker books and get to know how business owners think and talk (after all, you’re about to join their ranks.) If you’re valuable to your employer, you can often get them to be Client #1 (remember what a pain it is to recruit and onboard new employees?)
  6. You’re in charge of your own advancement. Want to get a raise? Charge more. Want to get promoted? Hire a few subcontractors or employees — congratulations, you’re now a manager! Love learning new things? Yes, it’ll be your credit card being charged to attend an industry conference and not your boss’s card, but it’s important to draw a distinction between “business money” and “personal money”.

I don’t believe that running your own business is for everyone. But for many of us, it’s a reachable reality. It’s a heck of a lot harder to become a freelance auto mechanic or bank teller than it is to write, design, code, and create for clients instead of a boss; but like Malcolm pointed out, a lot of our employers have us in golden handcuffs.

The worst that can happen is your business goes belly up and that you go back and get your old job back. Or you go back, get your job, and regroup until you’re ready to take a stab at entrepreneurship again. But by following the six points above, you’re less likely to fail — which is what matters most.

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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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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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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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