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Remote Freelance Work: 4 Myths You Should Be Aware Of

Below are 4 myths about remote freelance workers and the realities that debunk them.

Josh Althuser

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As technology evolves and the economy becomes increasingly globalised, it’s no surprise that remote freelance work is on the rise. Workers, disenchanted traditional work models and dwindling full-time job security, are opting for the flexibility and comfort of remote freelance jobs.

Today, 34% of the U.S. workforce is freelancing, up 6% from two years ago. Studies even estimate that 50% of the workforce will be freelancing by 2020.This shift marks a core change in how people work and businesses operate and has caused some to compare it to the Industrial Revolution. With the ease of matching talent with businesses and the advent of shared workspace in many major cities, the barriers to remote freelance work have been lowered considerably.

Still, despite these statistics, there are still myths floating around discouraging the use of freelance remote workers. With the trend being so new and reliant on technology, it’s no surprise that some still consider working with remote freelancers a gamble. Though myths might be essential to how people make sense of the new and opaque, they are mainly fictional and a result of misinformation.

Myth 1: Offshore Freelancers Aren’t As Good As Domestic Talent

Since the remote freelancer network is global, you will have the opportunity to vet and hire workers from outside of the U.S. if you use the freelance marketplace. And though the myth that domestic workers are better than their international counterparts persists, the numbers show otherwise.

Related: Why Time Management is Just a Waste of Time

After all, U.S. students have ranked in the middle of the pack worldwide, landing at 29th in science, 22nd in math, and 19th in reading the last several years. These numbers point to a growing trend, the U.S. education system is not getting worse, just being outpaced.

There is no reason to believe then that offshore freelancers are incapable of performing as well as the homegrown. They are as well-trained and adaptable, if not more so.

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Myth 2: Differences in Language and Timezone are Insurmountable

There are shades of truth to this myth. It would be impossible to deny that an English-speaking business located in New York and running on Eastern Standard Time would run into difficulties utilising a Mandarin-speaking freelancer in Beijing.

Communicating effectively with your workers is essential in any work situation, and even small misunderstandings or missed subtleties in language can result in problems down the line.

These issues are only exacerbated when workers are remote. However, with a highly rigorous and exacting screening process, you can find the best possible freelancer equipped with the proper language faculties. As far as time zone issues, there is an ever-growing throng of tools available to aid in asynchronous communication such as Trello and Hackpad.

Plus, you only ever need a few hours of overlap in working hours to sync up, and you benefit from having your team work around the clock. In reality, there are tons of success stories from companies dedicated to adjusting their practices to accommodate remote workers, even successful, 100% remote companies with 50-plus global employees.

Myth 3: Remote Workers Don’t Integrate Well

A remote freelancer’s ability to integrate with your team comes down to the quality of the freelancer. The best will be experienced with remote work, which means they’ll be independent and self-directed, as well as socially and professionally perceptive, and, according to Harvard Business Review, they will be more committed to working with you to overcome any hurdle.

They’ll likely communicate consistently through a variety of avenues and will be cognisant of the problems associated with the absence of nonverbal cues. On your end, accommodate your freelancers as best as possible and, most importantly, trust them and give them space to make their own decisions.

Given the likelihood of remote workers’ non-traditional schedules and time differences, it’s easy for them to feel isolated by management that requires constant consent. Avoid forming relationships in which your freelancers twiddle their thumbs, waiting for you to okay their ideas.

Related: Lessons From A Freelancer

Myth 4: Remote Workers Work Less and Are Inefficient

Without the face-to-face monitoring made possible by the physical office, it’s easy to imagine that remote workers are constantly walking back and forth from the fridge, stopping to cuddle their pets, and are the last-to-arrive and first-to-leave.

The truth is that remote workers keep longer hours and are more efficient compared to their in-office counterparts. Businesses reported losses of $600 billion a year due to office distractions and major companies found that their remote workers are up to 45% more productive.

According to the data crunchers at Gallup, remote workers average 4 more work hours per week than their on-site peers. Due to the emergence of remote work-oriented tools like Basecamp and Time Doctor, it’s never been easier for companies to set goals and monitor progress remotely.

The Takeaway

With these myths dispelled, you should now be primed to dive into the remote work marketplace and find your ideal freelancer, a cost-effective move that opens up your options greatly.

Is the best candidate available within commuting distance from your office? Not likely. Remember the above realities of remote work and broaden your horizons, but don’t forget to take the time to consider how to empower remote workers to add the most value.

Trust them, communicate, utilise collaboration tools, and tweak practices as you go to ensure that you and your remote freelancers can succeed together.

Josh Althuser is a tech entrepreneur and open source advocate specializing in providing mentorship for startups. You may connect with him on Twitter.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

3 Dangerous Entrepreneurial Myths You Need To Ignore

This terrible advice won’t actually get you anywhere.

Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurial Myths

We’ve all heard the numbers about how hard it is to build a long-lasting business. While there are many factors at play to get there, without effective marketing and sales a business cannot survive.

Unfortunately, there is a multitude of dangerous and destructive marketing advice swirling around the heads of vulnerable entrepreneurs. Like vultures seeking their next meal, “gurus” pontificate nonsense that these hard-working business owners follow, only to discover that what they tried doesn’t work.

Often, once the damage is done, it is too late for them to do anything else about it.

If you want to not only survive, but thrive, here is some of the terrible advice you need to start ignoring:

1“You need to be everywhere”

I’m sorry, but how do these people sleep at night without the use of narcotics? “Experts” spew out dribble to make headlines saying you need to get on Snapchat, get on Periscope, do YouTube Live … be everywhere! They’ll say you need to get on this platform or that social media network. Oh, and use LinkedIn Live! And make sure to post on Instagram three times a day and Facebook twice a day. And don’t forget those Facebook Lives. Make sure to do them every day.

Related: The Journey Of Entrepreneurship: How The Tough Get Going

ACK! Just writing that paragraph stressed me out. How the heck are you supposed to be on all of those channels, never mind doing it all effectively, and still run your business? Of course you can’t. And you shouldn’t. (Unless self-torture is your thing, in which case have at it. There are books about that, but I’m not giving any titles because I’d have to Google them and then I’d be retargeted by the ads and that would just be gross.)

It is impossible to spend even half an hour on each major network and still get any work done. Forget about focusing on measurement, profit and return on investment. They don’t mention that on purpose, because then these crazy-pants suggestions would really make no sense. But, then these “experts” would stop making the headlines, so they keep serving up spoiled advice for the poor folk who chow down and then get sick on it.

Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to their plots of deception. Demand strategies that value your time and produce results in a significant and measurable way quickly.

2“It takes money to make money”

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I didn’t take the easy way out. I am part of a group of scrappy entrepreneurs who have a lot of hustle and heart and little/no/negative funds. I didn’t come from family money, and the big banks certainly weren’t lending to businesses like mine.

The only way I was going to get a big pile of cash was if I won the lottery. And since I’ve only played about four times in the last decade, the chances of that happening were slim. What I had to find was the same thing you most likely want – a solution to predictably bring in customers when there is no marketing budget to play with.

3The Schmo-bags

The worst are who I call the “Ferrari Marketers.” They rent a sportscar for an hour or two, hang out in front of it and then sell us shiny object strategies that they haven’t even used in their own business.

Related: 6 Timeless Strategies That Drive Successful Entrepreneurship

They are abhorrent, hideous and dangerous. Not only are they crooks stealing the money of the people who are seeking a solution from them, but they may prevent really talented people who have a gift/service/product/offer to share that can help someone else from ever reaching them.

Did I mention they suck?

But, once you discover a game-changing system, you are responsible for implementing it. You can’t be distracted by shiny objects any longer.

As Jack Welch says, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

Don’t allow yourself to be enticed or distracted by fads or the “latest and greatest/not greatest” new social media strategy, channel or tactic.

Once you uncover how to truly get results, be strong-willed and stubborn. Repel any idea, strategy or initiative that requires you to keep spending money to make money. If you keep throwing dollars and time at a goal, hoping and wishing that it will work, yet not tracking or measuring the results and scaling accordingly, then you cannot expect results.

Start measuring, tracking and demanding results from your time and money, rising above others and landing in the successful minority that thrives instead of survives.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

5 Mindset Changes You Must Make When Going From Employee To Entrepreneur

As one prominent author wrote, “Entrepreneurs don’t finish when we are tired. We finish when we are done.”

Sujan Patel

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Thousands of people dream of the day they can quit their jobs and escape the 9-to-5 life. In fact, Gallup found that 87 percent of the employees it surveyed worldwide did not see themselves as engaged.

But quitting your job and starting your own business is only half the battle. You need to prepare to be an entrepreneur. Besides getting your finances in order and having a plan in place, you also need to prepare your mind.

Your habits dictate your success, and if you’re still stuck in that 9-to-5 mindset, your endeavors will fail. You must adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and start thinking the way the world’s top leaders do.

Being an entrepreneur is very different than being an employee, and the way you envision it may be completely off base. Here are five changes you must make to your thinking in order to prepare yourself for the realities of being an entrepreneur.

1Train your mind to think outside the box

Once you leave your office job, you’re no longer confined by corporate life. That means you need to open your mind to new possibilities – possibilities that may not have been an option in your old life.

Related: For Shatty Mashego Success Lies In Maintaining A Positive Mindset

In an article for TIME magazineWarren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said, “People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional.” In short, others may not see your vision, but you can’t let that stop you. You need to be creative with your business, offer something new and be different to be successful.

2Develop both short-term and long-term vision

Albert Einstein once told the New York Times, “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.”

That new type of thinking needs to be focused on a strategic goal. You must have a vision for your company – an idea of where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

As an entrepreneur, you are the leader of your company, and your team members are looking to you to show them the path to success.

What’s your plan? You should be able to see the big picture as well as all of the steps it will take to reach your main goal. Then, you must communicate that vision to those on your team and ensure they each understand their individual roles in the plan.

3Let it all fall on your shoulders

stress-on-shoulders

Becoming an entrepreneur can be scary. Your success is now completely dependent on the work that you do. You can no longer fall back on a salary or benefits.

As an employee, if you had a bad day at work, you were still paid your salary, regardless. But as an entrepreneur, if your business isn’t successful, you won’t make any money. Plus, you now have others relying on you for their livelihood.

Ryan Farley is a typical example of corporate employee-turned-entrepreneur, quitting a fast-paced finance job to start lawn care marketplace LawnStarter Lawn Care. “I was used to working extremely long hours in the corporate finance world,” Farley told me. “I thought that would have conditioned me well, but nothing can prepare you for this amount of stress.

“It’s pretty common for founders to have the stress get so bad it affects your physical and mental health,” Farley continued. “But you have to press on, and you’re better off for it.” Prominent entrepreneurs like Brad Feld and Mark Suster, have expressed similar sentiments.

Working for yourself also means you need to be your own motivator. You no longer have a boss hounding you to get your work done. You need to stay organised and focused, and you’re going to have to be comfortable with hard work and long hours.

Related: 8 Mindsets That Will Set You On The Path To Success

4Get ready to be a jack of all trades

As an entrepreneur, you can’t say “That’s not my job.” Every job is your job now. There’s no one else to pick up the slack but you. You need to make sure everything in your business continues to run on track, and that may mean doing work you aren’t used to doing. You may need to be the accounting department, IT, marketing and more in addition to leading your company.

Entrepreneurs wear many different hats and are constantly learning new skills and working hard. If you think becoming an entrepreneur means you get to sit back and kick your feet up, you’d better stick to your day job.

As entrepreneur, author and investor Robert Kiyosaki has written on Twitter, “Entrepreneurs don’t finish when we are tired. We finish when we are done.”

5Be flexible, focused and positive

Attitude is everything in business. You can’t let challenges get in the way of your dream. Entrepreneurs need to be optimistic and stay focused on their goals. Your passion must drive you.

Related: An Entrepreneurial Mindset – Why And How To Develop One

As Steve Jobs once said in an interview with the Smithsonian Institution, “Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So, you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about; otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Passion Is The Key To Entrepreneurial Success

Marine Louw chose to leave the relative security of a professional corporate career to go out on her own 28 years ago. What lessons can we learn from this successful entrepreneur as we kick off our feature on women in business?

Morné Stoltz

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It’s important that we understand what motivates an individual to start a business, because the small business sector is the biggest current employer of labour, and is widely considered to be our best chance of tackling our current high levels of unemployment.

According to BANKSETA, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMEs) are estimated to provide employment to up to 60% of the South African labour force. No surprise then that the National Development Plan says that “most new jobs are likely to be sourced in domestic-orientated businesses, and in growing small and medium-sized firms.”

Related: CEO Of The Hospice South Africa Shares Why Compassion And Passion Are Critical To Success

And yet, despite their importance to the economy and society as a whole, the truth is that entrepreneurs have to overcome many challenges – and 70% to 80% of them fail. South Africa, in particular, has one of the highest failure rates for new businesses.

In other words, creating and sustaining a successful business is rare.

With an Honours in Industrial Sociology and a Higher Diploma in Education, Marine Louw could have built a corporate career. Instead, some 28 years ago, she elected to build her own company in the fashion sector. Her company, Bonufusion, imports high-end ladies’ fashion from Europe and wholesales the garments to boutiques around the country.

The unique value proposition is that the garments are imported in small quantities to maintain exclusivity. Garments are often modified here with perfect finishing touches, and to suit local tastes.

Marine explains her motivation for leaving behind the safer corporate world: “It was key for me to find my passion, completely believing in my talent and abilities and then choosing to create a business where I could live my passion.”

She also makes it clear that to a certain extent she was actively retreating from a workstyle that did not appeal to her, especially corporate red tape and the time wasted in meetings. If you are running your own business, she says, there are no boundaries or ceilings, and you can choose how you spend your time – in her case, growing the business, selling and keeping customers happy.

Related: A 4-Step Guide To Realistically Pursuing Your Passion

When it comes to obtaining finance, the entrepreneur’s passion and commitment are also paramount, Marine believes. The entrepreneur is the business, so the financier will be investing in him or her, essentially. “It’s up to you to be so passionate about your dream that you will inspire the investor to invest not just in the business opportunity, but in you as a person,” she explains.

This passion and commitment are also essential to overcome the inevitable setbacks and challenges that will arise. “In all circumstances, maintain a positive attitude – yes, it’s hard to achieve, but it can be done,” she advises.

Marine says that a key success factor in any business is networking based on word of mouth referrals from happy customers. Customers that are happy are always ready to share the good news that they have a supplier that delivers.

“Good service, great product and a positive attitude equals good business. It will only happen if customers believe they are dealing with a reliable business,” she says. “There are four key points to remember when you start out: Find your passion, believe in your ability, work 24 hours a day when necessary, and be prepared to give everything up to live your dream – or don’t bother to start!”

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