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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

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.

timezone-smart-watch

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.

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Going It Alone In Business? 5 Reasons That’s A Really Bad Idea

Being a solopreneur sounds great, but it’s actually a poor choice for your business.

Luis Congdon

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When we read about Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and all the other business giants – we immediately see a single champion. Much like old literature traditions where the hero triumphantly wins alone, our legends in business are often portrayed as the singular hero.

Steve Jobs reigning over Apple, Bill Gates towering over the giant that is Microsoft and Richard Branson stylised in his cape throughout the veins of Virgin – this kind of mythology and idealisation of the single hero in business has spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs who call themselves “solopreneurs.” We idealise the entrepreneur who does it alone and doesn’t need a team or support.

If you’ve been doing it alone or aspire to become a solopreneur, let me share with you five reasons to not be a solopreneur – and why the myth of any singular hero, whether in literature or business, is a misnomer and will only hold you back from having the most significant successes.

1. You’ll become a jack of all trades and a master of none

When you are a solopreneur, it’s practically impossible for you to master every skill needed to substantially grow.

Running a business takes a lot of capabilities: Mapping out content, creating it, sharing it, building a tribe, sending out emails, doing sales, attending events and growing the network, coaching, consulting and building out products is a small list of what a profitable business requires.

If you’re weak in some of these areas, it will hamper your business growth and fun.

Related: The Foundations Of Growth

Trying to do it all will soon see you doing low-level activities that pull you away you from making sales, doing projects for your high-end clients and doing the things that help keep the business growing.

2. You can’t scale or grow

business-strategist-jay-abrahamBusiness strategist Jay Abraham says there are only three ways to grow a business. You either get more clients, increase the cost of each transaction or you service your clients with more products. Two of these methods will mean more work.

If you increase clients or increase the number of products you sell, you will most likely need to increase your output.

Since there are only so many hours in a day, you’ll either become your own bottleneck and slow business down – or decide to outsource some of the tasks to your team and ensure business runs smoothly.

3. You won’t have time to do everything you want to do

When you’re overworked and doing it alone, you have no one to relieve the pressure. You have no team to support you, and you have no partners who can take some work off your plate. That means when there are emergencies, you won’t be available.

If a client needs you, your kids need you and a new client wants to pay you a lot for a new project – you’ll have to decide which is most important.

While having a team may not save you from making hard decisions, ideally you aren’t so thinly spread out that you find yourself saying no to more clients, family emergencies and serving current clients to the best of your abilities.With a team, you’ll be able to free yourself more, and you can say yes to more opportunities.

4. You’re more vulnerable to mistakes

Imagine if didn’t have spell check your documents and emails. Or what if this magazine didn’t have editors and any article got through? I’m sure you’d agree, the quality would be lost, and it’d likely result in many lost customers.

Related: The Case For A Business Partner Who Makes You Uncomfortable

In my life, I’m lucky to run a business with my wife and my team. Having a team helps me to not only “cut once and measure twice,” it also relieves some of the pressure to be perfect. It helps me to do my work, knowing my team will help me, and that inspires me. Doing it alone would be too stressful.

Having a team will allow you to call upon a support network, hand off jobs and have an extra set of eyeballs when you’re delivering a service.

If you’ve aspired to be like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington or any highly successful entrepreneur – take some time and study them and you’ll find they love building and being a part of a team. Soon you’ll find out all these legends have a team, an incredible support system, and they don’t do it alone.

5. You can’t ever sell your business

In most entrepreneurs’ minds, the idea of selling isn’t there until decades after starting the business. But, it’s something that if given the opportunity most of us would do.

Related: Why Partnerships Will Make Or Break Your Business

Even if you wouldn’t sell your business, isn’t nice to know that if you wanted you could take your business and get paid one lump sum equaling years of work?

Or if you don’t want to sell your business, maybe you want to step out of business but collect payments and keep it in the family – well, if you’re a solopreneur it’s tough to ever to work yourself out of a job.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Start This Business With Zero Advertising Budget And No Need For Premises

What do we need to do to make our chances of entrepreneurial success as high as possible? Is it possible to build and position a business that has the highest statistical chances of survival? How would we even go about building such a business? Financial Freedom Project seems to have the answer.

Financial Freedom Project

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What are the causes of most business failures?

When it comes to business failure in South Africa, the numbers aren’t optimistic. Some of the more common reasons for business failure include:

  • Start-up funding
  • Ongoing support
  • Lack of new business to sustain growth
  • Admin time / costs associated with running a business
  • High cost of equipment / premises
  • Advertising budget
  • Cost of personnel labor
  • Legalities of employment contracts
  • Costs of credit
  • Market experience
  • Competition within the industry
  • Current market conditions.

With the odds stacked against you, what type of business could you start that offers you:

1. Minimal start-up funding

Consider minimal start-up funding requirements to mitigate as much risk as possible and make start-up as easy and quick as possible.

We need to go as low as less than one month of one month’s average salary as so to be able to start this business on the spot. Let’s make our criteria less than R10 000.

Related: 15 Things Every Newbie Needs to Know About Starting a Business

2. Mentor/ Trainer support

For support and experience we need to have easily accessible communication methods with a mentor / trainer i.e. WhatsApp and skype.

3. Access to a market full of customers with unlimited spending ability

Want a colossal market, how about an estimated 5.3 Trillion Dollars a day?

4. No need for an advertising budget

Maybe a business where customers come to you without advertising because they want what you have. Let’s be ridiculous and put a zero advertising budget.

5. Minimum paper work / admin requirements before and after sales

Let’s aim for no admin and have everything processed and stored online for absolute minimal ongoing costs.

6. No premises required

You can work from anywhere at minimal cost and only need one computer.

Related: Why Build a Business Just to Close It?

7. No employees required

This business must be able to run as a “one man show” as to exclude all labor costs and employment legalities. As in previous point, let’s aim for one person to run this business and internet to stay connected to the world.

8. Little competition

This industry offers the least possible competition between participants.

9. A industry with no “seasonal times” so you can make money all the time

To get a never ending supply of opportunity we absolutely have to be a part of the global supply and demand system.

10. A proven concept

This will be outlined below.

What’s the business?

Financial Freedom Project provides you with a long-term financial freedom by utilising financial markets. The Financial Freedom Project is a results-based wealth creation training and mentorship programme that has start-up capital requirements of only R4 000 to begin accessing markets.  The course requires only 3 days of your time and offers unlimited course re-sits.

For more information about how you can work with Financial Freedom Project visit financialfreedomproject.net or call them on 010 020 5699 for further info.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

BrightRock’s 5 Entrepreneurial Tips For Start-ups

Schalk Malan, co-founder and executive director, shares five tips that he says were instrumental to BrightRock’s success thus far.

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After six years in business, needs-matched life insurance player BrightRock is widely regarded as the fastest growing player in its segment. By the end of 2017, they have achieved an annualised premium income of of over R1.1 billion and a year-on-year growth of 62%, relative to the industry’s growth of 8%. Schalk Malan, co-founder and executive director, shares five tips that he says were instrumental to BrightRock’s success thus far:

1. Get the right people together

It all starts with a shared goal to make a difference – in our instance, we shared a vision to change the life insurance industry through a unique, needs-matched product that would make BrightRock stand out from the crowd. We ensure that this vision is embedded in the actions of each and every one of our employees by encouraging a collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit, which in turn continues to enable us to drive the business forward.

Related: How BrightRock Is Rocking The (Industry) Boat In Only 5 Years Since Launch

2. Always put your clients’ interests first or build products that really create value for your clients

We put clients’ interests first by designing a product that tracks the changes in clients’ financial needs over time, so they pay only for the cover they actually need. It’s more cost-efficient and sustainable, because we strip out wasted cover to deliver premium savings. In doing so, we also create more value for our clients. But it’s not just the product that puts clients’ interests first:

By communicating our cover in simple, plain language without intricate terminology and clauses, our clients are empowered to understand what they signed up for. This principle of client-centric design can be applied in any business.

3. Play on a differentiated playing field >>> Stand out from the crowd, create your own niche

BrightRock operates in a competitive and well-established market, so we understood we couldn’t compete if we simply did things the way they’d always been done. We created our own playing field with new rules, where we differentiate what we do in every facet of our business. This is done on various levels – from our highly advanced product and systems architecture; to having the best claims definitions in the market; to offering a high touch; personal claims experience; personalised documentation; various initiatives offering support for independent financial advice; to our content-led consumer marketing strategy.

Related: Bright Futures

4. There will be twists and turns, no new business perfectly follows the original business plan

Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that you will need to constantly adapt and make changes to your business plan to stay at the top of your game. This needs to be done without compromising on the reasons why you started your business. One of many examples of this in the BrightRock story is that we originally had envisaged a Johannesburg-based head office. These days, we have a large contingent of our staff based in Port Elizabeth – delivering cost efficiencies and service improvement to our servicing model, much to the benefit of our clients.

5. Never give up

In the beginning of any new venture, it is hard because many people doubt you. We were told we were nuts to leave successful careers to start something new and take on the big boys. That doubt can be crippling if you let it be. You’re constantly watching the cash flow and new business numbers and need to recruit and motivate people based on a promise of what the business will become. There will be many sleepless nights and dark-hours-of-the-morning butterflies-in-the-stomach, but just keep going – your perseverance will eventually pay off.

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