A New Generation Emerges: How Micro Jobs Are on Your Side

Looking for work? Somebody out there wants you to design websites, write an application for mobile phones, maybe remotely sort out their network, or just do PC support, either on site or via the internet. And they don’t want to do it all formally. It’s more like “You do this for me, and I give you money”

Our world has become extremely small. No, we won’t be running out of space soon, but as far as computing is concerned, very small. We are capable of controlling a computer on the other side of the world remotely (with the owners’ permission, of course) and fix or modify it without breaking a sweat.

Whether you call this consulting, freelance or “Micro Jobs,” more of us are headed that way, according to Kristin Cardinale. The author of The 9-to-5 Cure, Cardinale cites U.S. Department of Labor projections that “millions of short-term workers” are needed.

Short-term gigs can help programmers meet specific goals like paying for their studies, saving towards a new car, or just having some spare cash lying around.

Many people simply don’t want to punch a clock, according to Odd Jobs: How to Have Fun and Make Money in a Bad Economy “Usually you decide when you work and when you take the morning off to sleep, or the week off to go skiing,” writes author Abigail R. Gehring. “And the variety of people you will meet, places you’ll find yourself and skill sets you’ll discover are sure to keep life interesting.”

Pros and cons.

OK, before you zoom off to go and quit your day job, there are (always) a few things you have to remember: Working for yourself is challenging.

If you think self-employment equals endless free time, think again, it’s not always so.

However, this working lifestyle may be perfect for people who:

Are not Office Johnnies, and prefer to work on their own, at their own pace,
People who travel long distances, and find that the time and cost of getting to work are sometimes not worth the effort.
Have a special skill, and wants to make these known to a large audience of clients.

Other advantages of being your own boss?

Work according to your own hours.
Every day is Casual Friday!
Take holidays whenever you want, provided of course, you are on schedule.
Meetings between you and the client are really easy to arrange.

However, there are (always) the potential disadvantages:

Work-play balance control, There is an amount of dedication involved.
You need to keep your administration under control.
No insurance or retirement. (Some full-time jobs don’t provide these, either.)
You work alone. No other colleagues to chat to. (May be an advantage)
Unpredictable, and fluctuations of income. It will be important to budget properly.

Right, so how do I do this?

The Internet has always been your friend. There are many sites that offer freelancers the ability to post their listing, often for free. Clients react to these post fairly quickly, obviously depending on the type of work you have to offer.

Some sites even allow clients to bid on your work, and you can then accept the individual or company that you want to work with.

Google the net for reputable sites and work with them. Try the Micro Jobs arena and see how it pans out for you. There is lots of money to be made in this new and wonderful money-making haven, and the whole concept just makes a lot of sense.

Written by Theo van Niekerk, I have been involved in the IT business for more than 30 years and have worked with on-line clients for many years now.

Being Your Own Boss Is So Great

This week I hosted a free information session for Virtual Assistants.

One of the first things I ask anyone when they are thinking of starting out: why they want to start their own business.

I have heard a variety of answers to this question, but many times the answer is ‘to be my own boss’.

When I start to work with someone as their coach, I ask them to look deeper into that statement. Why do you want to be your own boss?

There are always more underlying reasons that simply because you want to.

And we often talk about needed to understand WHY you want to be in business for yourself. Because some days are hard, and some decisions are hard.

Some days you will find yourself wondering if it’s worth it.

So why not start your whole business by considering that WHY, and building on it?

Why do you want to be your own boss? Think of the actual reasons.

Because it’s GREAT to be your own boss – for lots of reasons!

Here are some I have heard through discussions with other VAs:

1. I get to make my own decisions (good or bad!)

2. I can manage my own schedule.

3. I can manage my own workload.

4. I can choose the people who I want to work with.

5. I can decide which services I want to offer.

6. I can make time to fit in the other things I want to do in my life: kids’ field trips, travel, holidays, etc.

These are the normal responses that I hear.

Here are a few additional ones that you may not have thought of.

7. I get to decide what I charge, and how much money I make.

8. I get to claim some of my expenses on my taxes.

9. I don’t have to answer to anyone.

10. I can hire my own staff!

11. I can take a vacation any time I want!

12. I can make as much or as little money as I want to, anytime.

Being your own boss is a huge responsibility, but when you look at the advantages, it sure makes it easier to handle those tough days.

When you approach your business with a CEO mindset (you are not an employee, you are the owner and Chief Executive Officer of your own business), you will work better with your clients.

Too Busy For Your Own Business Growth?

I have recently been talking to many Virtual Assistants about blocks they are facing in their businesses.

One of the ones that comes up time and again is that they can’t concentrate enough on their own business to grow it properly.

We work hard to get clients, and then we get too busy with client work to look at our own business.

We stop marketing, we don’t network anymore… we forget how to tell people how great we are at what we do.

Then when something happens, and we need new clients, we struggle to find them. We have to start all over again.

Or worse, we suffer working with clients we don’t like or doing things we don’t like to do, simply because it’s easier to do that than to begin again.

We all cite the same excuses:

I don’t have time (to network, to market).

I don’t have money (to go to events, to take trainings).

I don’t know where to start (to find the shortest path to what I need).

And these reasons are valid, but they will keep you where you are.

If that’s not where you want to be, you need to dig deep and find your way out.

Getting motivated to work on your own business can be tough. Here are a few tips that might help:

1. Start your day on a positive note, and in a positive mood. Work hard to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind, and note when you slip away from that (write it down if possible, to establish patterns). When you keep yourself in a good mood, you can complete your client work more quickly, and then jump to your own.

2. Try to avoid the need to vent to colleagues. I love the social media groups as much as anyone, but I see a lot of negativity and time wasting in those groups all day long. Find a trusted colleague you can vent to when necessary, and keep it off of the public airwaves. You don’t know how much this will keep you focused on moving forward in your business until you do it (trust me!)

3. Compare yourself with yourself, not others. Go through your numbers from last year and write them down, month by month (revenue, expenses, # of clients you worked with). Begin to update those numbers with goals for this year (small to start, bigger as you get more confidence). And be sure to enter your numbers for this year as well to start to compare your own stuff to your own stuff. Invigorating! And it really shows you where you can make small changes that will yield you big results!

4. Simplify things for yourself. If you have a project or task management system, take extra time every day to get that organized. You will find your day so much more productive when you have that up to date. Being organized is one thing. Staying that way is another. Both will help you get more done, no matter how much you have to do.

5. Pay yourself to do your own marketing and business stuff. One of my business coaches told me to do this once and it was a great way to get me to block time into my schedule to get my own business stuff done. I would only work about 2 hours a week for myself but paying myself (or knowing how much I had earned, more like it) was really motivating for me. I knew I was worth more than I was earning.

6. Make the effort. Motivation doesn’t just happen. Unfortunately, you have to make the effort to make it happen. To do that, make sure you understand what the payoff will be. More money? Better clients? That’s all good. What does that translate to for you? Maybe a vacation? Pay off some debt? A night out every month? Some other guilty pleasure?

In order to really stay in tune with your business, you have to stay aware of it.

Immersing yourself in client work is an extremely common excuse for not paying attention to what we have the most control over – our own decisions!