Advice For Freelance Remote Work Success

Working remotely freelance

Advice For Freelance Remote Work Success. – A great guide from the guys at Trello.

Everyday I work remotely, wherever I am in the world I am at my desk. For some people that sounds like a huge burden, and sure I understand that, but the reality is that I have total freedom. I am not tied into the morning commute, fixed lunch breaks or a uniform, some days I work in short and flip flops!

Gaining clients in a freelance world is only half the battle, the other half is managing them. I have tried many different methods to keep on top of projects from bouncing emails back and forth to relying on Skype or Facebook Messenger (I know it sounds crazy) but until very recently I hadn’t been able to find a solution that works for me. Enter Trello.

What is Trello? In a nutshell:

Trello is the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything, trusted by millions of people from all over the world.

I don’t work for these guys and i’m not endorsed to offer shameless plugs but as far as remote management tools go these guys have it nailed!

I use Trello in conjunction with Slack. Slack basically creates a simple, navigable way to work in a remote office. Slack has been talked about, debated and discussed the internet over so I won’t outline what they do or how they do it but suffice to say they have worked hard to provide a great service that fosters a professional remote working environment.

I have used Slack/Trello alternatives such as Asana and have found that whilst Asana has some awesome features it isn’t as to-the-point and simple to dive into as Slack and Trello.

So why Trello?

Well for me its the ease and simplicity of its design. You can create boards, lists and then cards. My methodology is:

Board – Clientcentric
List – For the type of task, so for example “Blog Images”
Card – For the attachments.

It saves so much time drafting emails with concepts, everything is kept nice and ordered and can always be sent onto other people within the pipeline without having to forward a potentially personal email you sent to your client or having to write something new.

Trello interacts directly with Slack too. So you can easily post your content right to your remote office without having to duplicate anything at all.

In my opinion the marriage of these two platforms makes freelance project management a breeze.

Trello needn’t be about just the freelance market either. There is a very real appeal to any employ within a normal business. Everybody knows that people are more productive when they’re happy right? Lauren Moon over on Trello has kindly written an interesting blog about how the platform can work for employers everywhere.

“Let’s say it nice and loud for the people in the back:

Remote work is here, and it’s revolutionizing the way we work.

Technology has advanced such that embracing remote is no longer challenging. It requires different considerations for collaboration and communication, sure, but ultimately it is not a lower quality work experience.

How do we know? Because we are proving it out as a team right now, and so are some of the fastest-growing teams in tech.

If you’re not on the remote train yet, we’ve got you covered. We wrote a guide all about the benefits, considerations, and best practices of remote work. These are the most important tips and tried-and-tested practices we’ve picked up along the way of building out our 65% remote team.” – Trello Blog

There is even a great PDF guide that I encourage you all to grab and read through, it’s far better put together than my musings here but I encounter the “I can’t work remotely, I don’t know how to function…” type attitude all the time so thought i’d share this with you.

Freelance

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality the Battle for the Internet

As an avid internet user i’ve been known to visit the odd website or two, I even occasionally use Google. Im joking of course! Something not to joke about is what’s happening in America right now, the Net Neutrality Bill. If you haven’t heard of this let me just sum up what this means to you.

  1. Websites wont be on an even playing field. ISP’s reserve the right to throttle sites that aren’t paying a ‘fast lane’ premium.
  2. In a nutshell thats it.

Of course there is much much more involved than simply that and you can read more about the implications and the extent of this reach on the USA Networks blog, here.

That may not sound too bad right, wrong. The internet is a wonderful network or information that we can access at the click of a button and digest just as quickly. Wether you’re researching your next blog post or watching the latest episode of [insert current trending Netflix show here] you can be sure that without equality the small guys will get lost.

Net Neutrality

For example take the mom-and-pop at home startup. They keep bees or have a modest orchard and winery, they hire great web designer *ahem* to build a beautiful website but they simply do not have the funds to ‘rent’ bandwidth from the ISP and users have to wait an age for their site to load. What will happen? What do you do when a page doesn’t load instantly? Hit the back button, find the next result in the Google search and surf away. Good bye Happy Home Orchard.

This shouldn’t happen and in todays climate, setting SEO aside, everyone has the same rights to have their sites load, after the abolition or Net Neutrality you can kiss this goodbye. Is this the internet you want?

If you want to find out how you can help visit The Internet Defense League or Battle for the Net

Surprising facts about the freelance economy, and how to get started.

Freelancers Union.

Surprising facts about the freelance economy, and how to get started.

An interesting article on how the American workplace is evolving. With a move away from ‘normal’ workplaces what kind of challenges do workers face and what benefits are there? Well the answers aren’t so easy. I have been a freelancer for around five years and this last 18-months has really been my breakthrough but with supply and demand shifting how can I, and therefore you, stay in the game?

Check out the article below and head over to their site for some great tips.

The majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by 2027. That mind-blowing prediction comes from the new Freelancing in America: 2017 report, conducted by the Edelman Intelligence research firm and commissioned by the Upwork freelancing platform and Freelancers Union.

Odds are, you’ll want to know how to become a freelancer, either full-time or part-time and either as a side gig while you’re holding down a full-time job or as a way of earning income in retirement. I’ll offer three suggestions in a minute.

The  Freelancing in America: 2017  study surveyed 6,000 U.S. workers (freelancers and non-freelancers) to analyze the growing freelance economy and the role it plays in the future of work.

Of course, no survey can predict exactly how many people will be working on a temporary, contract or project basis 10 years from now. And even determining how many people freelance today is tough; statistics on the freelance economy are notoriously elusive. But this report’s findings leave little doubt that we are rapidly barreling toward a freelance-based workplace — and the sooner you prepare for that shift, the better.

A few fascinating findings from Freelancing in America 2017:

  • The U.S. freelance workforce has grown three times faster than the overall U.S. workforce since 2014. Currently, 36% of the workforce is freelancing.
  • Although freelancers skew younger, many in their 50s and 60s are freelancing, too.  About half of freelancers are millennials; roughly 28% of workers in their 50s and 60s are.
  • More freelancers are doing it full-time these days, not as a way to supplement their income.Over the last three years, the number of full-time freelancers increased by 12 percentage points, to 29%, while the percentage of moonlighters and part-time freelancers fell. And 63% of freelancers started freelancing more out of choice than necessity (that’s up 10 points since 2014).
  • Freelancers are doing well financially.  Nearly 2/3 of freelancers surveyed said they now make more than they did when they had an employer. That’s up 10 percentage points since 2014. Of those who earn more now than before, 75% said that happened within the first year of freelancing. The survey found that 36% of freelancers now earn $75,000 or more. Notably, half of freelancers claim they wouldn’t even consider a traditional job, no matter how much money was offered.
  • Technology is making it easier to find freelance work online.  Nearly 3/4 of the freelancers surveyed said they found work online this past year, up 5 points from the year prior. In short: As technology has improved and companies continue to outsource work, freelancing is becoming a more acceptable, enjoyable and desirable way to work.

This doesn’t mean freelancing is a perfect work solution, though. The triple whammy of unpredictable work assignments, fluctuating cash flow and the challenge of securing and paying for health insurance is still a major obstacle for many freelancers (although most freelancers surveyed believe the Affordable Care Act has helped them and prefer Congress keep it). Worth noting: 63% of full-time freelancers dip into their savings at least once a month; just 20% of full-time non-freelancers do. This article is reprinted without permission from NextAvenue.org .

Freelance Facts

Virtual Reality, VR, can work for you too!

VR - Phil Shaw Digital Media

2016 came and went and the waves of VR devices subsided as this fad wore off right? Like the hoverboard it hasn’t really been able to revolutionise anything, I still enjoy walking just like I enjoy seeing with my eyes and nothing else.

Wrong! Ok ok I was a sceptic, I never jump onboard any new tech bandwagons until they have really made a splash. Thats to say I was stung by minidisc in the 90’s/00’s with the endless hours transferring all my CD’s onto the new tiny little earth shattering, music changing, heart stopping portability of the plastic miniature floppy, only to be awed by the iPod a year or so later (and breath). Fool me once technology goddess, shame on you. SO lets fast forward 15 years and Hamlet on the Holodeck is our reality with the linear nature of gaming having long moved off of the table top onto screen, but, now it’s being beamed into your eyes, well almost.

“Get to the point” I can sense you thinking and I will. If you’re a naysayer like me I challenge you to not find a VR experience you enjoy. Im not talking about playing games through something like Oculus Rift for example, that may not be your jam, but the applications for VR are vast!

VR - Phil Shaw Digital Media

I very recently purchased a VR headset in Walmart on rollback for a mere $11 with the intention to see what was going on with this. I love it. My first port of call was Youtube to check out some scary VR experiences, I have bluetooth earphones that work an absolute treat. I was blown away by “Float” the I.T. Trailer, the mix of rail visuals and sound design makes this really pop. This then led me down a path of exploration and I watched a a number of independent and studio released VR content and honestly have loved it.

A couple of applications of the tech outside of gaming are really engaging to me, such as; tailored movie experiences like “Float” and something else i’m very interested in, VR hikes! Sound odd right? Well think of this, a home gym, a cross trainer, 2 hours to kill, a VR headset, an iPhone and the Grand Canyon….

This idea appeals to me, I love visiting new places but sometimes, like when you’re waiting on emails or simply have a little time to kill, it’d be great to beam off somewhere and get a little exercise too. Youtube is already a wash with VR content taking you through some truly inspiring vistas around our world and as time progress I only hope more are made. Today I walked 3 miles through Yellowstone Park on my treadmill without falling over or throwing up. It only took about 4o minutes and got me away from my desk whilst waiting for a scene to render in Cinema 4D what an innovative idea!

I could spend hours listing the literally thousands of cool things that can be done with this tech but why bother when other great writers have already done so. For example take a look at this article by  I was a Virtual Reality Non Believer I know exactly where he’s coming from.