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Live interview with Freelancing.eu founder Robert Vlach hosted by Nina English for her community of freelance English teachers covered a broad range of topics relevant to any freelance business. It also touched on some sensitive issues like the lack of financial self-management of many freelancers, or requesting feedback and recommendations from clients. The interview is available as a video or podcast.
One in five highly skilled UK’s freelancers expect to have to close their business because of the coronavirus crisis, according to new research Falling through the cracks by the University of Edinburgh Business School in association with IPSE. The underlying problem seems to be that most of them could not access the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) either because they work through their limited company (73%) or they were earning over the £50,000 threshold (13%), making them ineligible for state financial support.
Preserving your savings and financial reserves for the future and protecting them against inflation is one of the long-term goals of a freelancer’s financial self-management. When it comes to investing, one of the best options is stocks — over the last 120 years, their annualized real return after inflation has been 5.2 %, according to Credit Suisse. Yet stocks are also hard to grasp for a layperson. It often comes down to a choice whether to buy a broader index like S&P 500 (through an ETF) or pick individual growth and value stocks (like Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway). The hedge fund manager and bestselling writer Daniel Gladis addressed this dilemma in his insightful article Berkshire Hathaway or S&P 500 Index?
If you are running a coworking space, or you are a freelancer working in one, here are some ideas for improvements: What are the signs of an advanced freelance economy and how can they be supported by coworking spaces is the title of Robert Vlach’s 15-minutes talk for the international Coworking Symposium online conference that presented some early takeaways from our research of European resources.
If you work in a noisy environment or travel often and still want to focus fully on your work, an excellent aid would be headphones with a noise-canceling feature, which suppresses sounds and surrounding noise. There are many models available on the market. However, when it comes to the noise-suppressing quality as well as reviews and our experience, Sony’s product line beats the rest of the pack, especially with the latest model WH-1000XM3.
The headphones are wireless and can be paired with your laptop or mobile via Bluetooth. A stereo mini-jack cable is also included as an option if the battery runs out — it can play up to 30 hours per charge. The touch controls are fairly intuitive. For example, if you touch the right earpiece, the Quick Attention feature suspends any playing music and lets environmental sounds in so that you can hear or reply to someone without needing to take the earphones off.
These are not the cheapest noise-canceling headphones, but since they have already been selling for quite some time, you may be able to buy them at a large discount. A drawback for some people might be a less sensitive microphone if one wants to use these headphones for calls. Still, for work in a café, busy home, coworking space, on a plane or a train, it’s a perfect choice.
When you cross borders as a freelancer, pricing can be a greater challenge than setting prices on your particular domestic, national or local market. This requires making an intelligent assessment, asking peers, and weighing numerous pricing factors. One of the most useful research tools here is Clutch. It isn't primarily a gig platform for freelancers and their typical clients like, say, Upwork. However, it may still be very helpful in reviewing regular hourly rates in IT, (web) development, and marketing for companies as well as independent professionals. The results can be filtered geographically (or to freelancers only, by the Employees filter), enabling you to estimate a price range for given expertise and location. Unlike many closed platforms, Clutch is also free to use and access websites of listed companies and professionals.
If you are a freelancer working in a coworking space (or interested in coworking trends), there is a free, international Coworking Symposium online conference on May 27 worthy of your attention. The event organized by Marko Orel from Prague’s University of Economics is packed with leading coworking researchers and supporters from the European Coworking Assembly, Coworking Library, etc. There will also be a talk (by Robert Vlach) about the signs of an advanced freelance economy and how can they be supported by coworking spaces. Free online registration takes only a minute.
Lateral Action is one of the world’s best resources for “creative entrepreneurs,” developed by an award-winning poet and a creative coach Mark McGuinness. He’s been coaching creative professionals since 1996, so there’s a lot of valuable content to explore, including his 21st Century Creative podcast, blog, and books. This really should be a permanent online bookmark for any freelancing creative.
Have you ever considered writing a book about a professional topic but then hesitated because it would be… well, too boring? In that case, you need to read Mark Miodownik’s books Stuff Matters (2013) and Liquid Rules (2018). Mark is a world-class material scientist and both of his books are a top-notch popular science. Yet somehow, they are also short and highly engaging for any reader, an excellent example of how to popularize expert knowledge. As one of our friends, who translated Mark’s book, said: “When he writes about subjects like reinforced concrete, it’s still way more entertaining than your average thriller.”
Many freelancers experience anxiety during their careers in a moment of a personal or business crisis. While there are many rather superfluous online articles on how to deal with such moments, Tomas Baranek’s Pocket Guide to Anxiety and Panic is a rare exception. Being a successful publisher with an inborn tendency towards neuroticism led him to a number of surprising life-hacks described in his article. Keep reading and don’t panic.