Thursday, February 27, 2014

Five Ways to Turn Your "Professional Liability" into a Marketable Credential

You may have been freelancing for a year or two, or even more, and you want to keep going. But it's also a fact that the majority of people who aspired to freelance went back to being employees after merely a year or two of trying to make it. 

There may be less stress in freelancing, but it's still a business, and you have to keep your business up and running, especially if there are bills that need to be paid.

And more than a lack of experience, marketable skills or credentials, there remains to be only one thing that is far more limiting than any other reason. And what is that one thing?

It's a negative attitude.

Time and again, a negative attitude has proven to be the only recurring hindrance, not just in freelancing, but in any worthy endeavor or field.

Now, let's look into five of the most common "professional liabilities" perceived by most aspiring freelancers as hindrances to their career growth.

Professional Liability Number One: Time constraints

You waited for several months before quitting your job in order to save up for a year's worth of living expenses, and then you started working on a few projects on the side while you were still employed to build a network of clients. But as soon as you left your job and plunged full-time into freelancing, you realized it takes more work and effort than you originally expected.

In addition to that, your spouse may still be working, and with a reduction in the family income, you would need to assume some of the household responsibilities in order to cut back on expenses incurred for hired help. You also need to make sure that your kids get more attention from you now.

So how can you juggle it all?

  • Plan your calendar in advance, or according to what you'd like to achieve every month, quarter, semi-annually, or annually (e.g. make 20 percent more from magazine writing by emailing queries twice instead of once a week, bid for web development jobs that pay USD500-USD1,000 per project, etc.).
  • Create a weekly schedule on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. Set aside large blocks of time for your projects and assignments.
  • Shoot two birds with one stone by having one day every week for laundry, and then draft your cover letters, proposals, or marketing strategies afterwards. You may be washing less items of clothing now, because you don't need to get up and put on corporate attire everyday.
  • Turn off the TV, or drastically reduce the time you spend in front of the boob tube by being selective about the programs you watch.
  • Have enough discipline not to turn to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, unless you use them as a form of marketing strategy.
  • Keep yourself healthy by spending two to three afternoons a week exercising. Or, get a good workout by sweeping and mopping floors or pulling weeds from your backyard.
  • Cook food in bulk and freeze them in your refrigerator. And then, when meal time comes, heat just enough to serve the entire family.

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