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Working on Your Own Time: It’s What Freelancing is About
Do you have a busy life? Do you wish that you could schedule your work around the rest of your priorities? You work to make money so that you can live. You have no choice but to pay for housing and food and other life necessities. Because you need the money, work tends to creep up to the top of the priority list. Other things are more important though. Freelance jobs allow you to put work where it belongs on the list of priorities. You can play with your kids when they’re home, enjoy doing the things you enjoy outdoors while it’s daytime and spend your Sunday mornings at church instead of behind a counter. The work still needs to get done, but you can do it when you have time instead of from nine to five, Monday through Friday or worse, whenever you’re put on the schedule.
Kinds of Freelance Jobs
Do you have the appropriate skills and abilities to work at freelance jobs? There are many, many different kinds available. Those with professional degrees can consult. While the jobs that result from extensive education generally lead to many hours working for a good salary, your education can lead you in another direction. If you can manage to find the clients, you can work by appointment only, guiding those who do not have the experience or education that you have. If you are not a professional, you may still have the appropriate talents that will get you into freelance jobs. Writing is a very popular freelance opportunity. You live in a world that relies on the written word. You do not go through a single day without reading a considerable amount of text. Someone needs to do all of that writing, and much of it is hired out to freelancers. Actually, any skill that you possess may be suited to freelance work. Check out a few job boards and find out who’s hiring.
Tips of the Trade
Freelance jobs are out there, but so is the competition. To get yourself to the top of the hiring list, there are a few things you can do. First, use any experience you have to your advantage. Even if a previous job was short term or didn’t seem significant to you, you gained experience there. Let the employers know about everything you can do. Another thing you must do as a freelancer is to be very consistent and organized. An employer will be much more likely to rehire you if you turn out a good product. Everything you turn in should be clear and professional. Always meet deadlines. While most of the freelance jobs are extremely flexible, allowing you to work at your convenience, there are still deadlines. The work needs to be finished when the employer asks for it. Most of the qualities that will get you more freelance jobs only require common sense and a good work ethic.
Living on Sparse Paychecks
One downside of freelance jobs is that they are not necessarily consistent. Especially if you jump from one job to another, working for different companies, you will not have any guarantee about how much you will get paid each month. The flexibility may or may not be worth the uncertainty of freelancing to you. If you can manage to save effectively, the distance between paychecks won’t matter. If you do get frustrated about always wondering where the next paycheck is coming from, just remind yourself that the trade off is getting to enjoy more precious time not tied to a desk. There are definitely pros and cons when it comes to freelancing. You just need to decide how important it is to you to prioritize your life around what really matters to you.
Preparing Questions to Ask in your Upcoming Job Interview When you get ready for a job interview, chances are you have spent a lot of time trying to guess the questions you will be asked and prepare your answers to them. How will you explain that gap in your work history? What will you say when they ask you why you left your last job? In the rush to make sure that you have all of your answers perfectly prepared and ready, don’t forget to prepare a few questions of your own to ask the person who is interviewing you. Asking questions is an important part of your interview. When you get asked the old “do you have any questions for us” one, it pays to actually be able to come back with a few questions instead of a, “no, I don’t think so.” Asking questions will show that you are engaged in the interview and have done some thinking about the position, plus, the questions you ask will help you elicit valuable information you need when you have to decide whether or not to actually take the job, should it be offered to you. The first thing you should want to find out is why the job is open in the first place. Is the job you are applying for a new position? That means you can expect to have a lot of transitional bumps along the way as you are integrated into the company. If the job is not new, and the person before you was fired, then you can expect things to be in a state of disarray when you take over and that you will have to spend a lot of time up front cleaning up spilled milk. If the job is open because the person who had it before you moved up in the company, then you will know that this is a job with a lot of future potential. Next, find out a little bit about the person who will actually be your boss if you get the job. Sometimes, this person will be involved in the interview, but often they will not. Finding out how high up in the company chain you will be reporting will help you gauge how important the position for which you are applying is to the company. Also, it helps to know a little bit about the personality type of the boss to be. If you like to keep your head down and do your work, and your potential new boss is one of those “wacky” types, then you may want to look elsewhere. From there, ask about the kinds of responsibilities you will need to take on board right out of the gate. When companies are hiring for a new position, they usually have a few ideas about what that person will need to start working on right away. Getting a clue about your first project will help you decide if this job is right for you. This is also a good time to ask the interviewer about their job and why they like working the company. You may find out that this really could be your dream job, or you may end up sensing from your interviewer that you should run away, fast. Last but not least, ask your interview when you should follow-up on your interview. Don’t open the door for a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” kind of interview closing. Let the interviewer know to their face that will be making the effort to contact them again. You may get the vibe from your interviewer that the job probably will be going to someone else, so you can move on quickly, or you may end up being offered the job on the spot. Either way, you will have opened the lines of communication to take the next step.
Copyright Infringement Play It Safe: Making Sure You're Not Committing Copyright Infringement Copyright infringement is not an easy thing to explain. While it may seem as simple as not using someone else’s work, it’s not that easy. Thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and many other organizations, we have the ability to use others’ works – as long as we use it under ‘fair use’ laws. So what does fair use have to do with copyright infringement, and how can you utilize it? Fair use laws are the conditions in which you can use a copyrighted work without having to pay someone royalties. This includes when you use a copyrighted work for educational or instructional uses, criticism of the work, commentaries on the work, news reporting about the work, teaching on the work (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship uses, and research. This is talked about fully in Section 107 of the Copyright Code (commonly called Fair Use) and is available for you to read at your local library. Copyright Infringement in day-to-day life Sometimes, if you’re writing a paper for work or school, or if you are creating a Power Point presentation, you need to use someone’s work that is already in copyright. So how do you use it without committing copyright infringement? All you have to do is ask – the worst they can say is no, right? But, if they do say no, there are several items in the public domain which may help you to finish your project without having to commit copyright infringement. What is the public domain, and how does it relate to copyright infringement? Material that is not copyrighted is considered in the public domain – you cannot commit copyright infringement on works in the public domain. These works include things that the copyright has expired on, or is not copyright-able – such as government publications, jokes, titles, and ideas. Some creators (writers, musicians, artists, and more) deliberately put their work in the public domain, without ever obtaining copyright, by providing an affiliation with Creative Commons. Creative Commons allows people who create materials to forfeit some, or all, of their copyright rights and place their work either partially or fully in the public domain. So, how do I ensure I’m not committing copyright infringement? First of all, if you’re going to use someone else’s material, you may want to check the public domain to see if something is suitable for use, instead of trying to use someone else’s copyright. However, if you can’t find something suitable (and you can’t create something yourself), the next best thing (and your only legal course of action) is to find a piece that is in copyright, and contacting the copyright holder. When you contact the copyright holder, make sure you tell them what you want to use their piece for – whether it’s for your blog, podcast, or report – and ask them if you can use it. You may have to pay royalties, or an attribution in your piece, or a combination of both. The creator may also place many limitations on when and how you can use their material. Follow all these instructions they give you, and you’ll be free and clear to use their work as you want. Once you have permission to use a copyrighted work, you need to make sure you stay within the agreed-upon boundaries - if you veer outside their agreed terms, you may open yourself up for a copyright infringement lawsuit – which can be nasty, costly, and time consuming. If you’re in doubt, before contacting the copyright holder, contact a copyright lawyer to ensure you’re following the law – and protect yourself!
Positive Reasons Why Employee Turnover Can Be a Good Thing Employee turnover is the bane of many an organization. If you pick up any business paper, you will find headline after headline screaming about how much turnover is costing companies and how to keep your employees happy and on board to avoid the headaches and hassles of high turnover. The tide, however, is starting to turn. More and more business experts are stepping up and saying turnover doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, in some cases, turnover can be the best thing that ever happened to your company. While some turnover is as bad as traditional wisdom assumes it is, other instances of turnover can be a real positive for your business. How can turnover possibly be a good thing? It all comes down to who is leaving the company, and why. Every office has its workers that are a drag on the business for one reason or another. Maybe the employee is dissatisfied with their job because they have been working it for too long and are overqualified, but they don’t have any room for advancement. Maybe an employee thinks that all of the decisions you are making about the business are the wrong ones and are constantly critical. Maybe the employee just has a personality conflict with the other people in the company and you and other works simply don’t like them very much. When these kinds of employees leave your company, it can be a shot of life into the business. Suddenly, everyone feels hopeful and re-energized because the negative energy in the air is gone. Negative vibes in the office can have a very damaging effect on the staff, and by extension, your business. When the person causing the bad feeling heads for the highway, they take with them all of the problems they created. Not only does the departure of an employee who was causing trouble in the office boost morale for the employees who are left behind because the bad feelings are gone, but it also boosts morale because it creates a job opening within company. If the person who left was a superior to many people in the office, there is now an instant opportunity for advancement. Your workers will step up with their games as they vie for the position, creating new business opportunities for you and generally keeping the spirit high in the office. If you decide to promote from within whenever possible after a turnover, your employees will work harder with the knowledge that they have a chance of moving up. These turnover positives hold true whether the employee in question quit the job or was fired. Who they were in the company and why they left are often much more important in determining whether the turnover was positive or negative. While losing an employee who is bringing everyone else down is a positive thing for your business, losing an employee who was an integral part of the corporation is another. Of course, there are costs involved in a turnover – you have to re-train an employee, and if you hire from outside of the company, you have the costs of advertising the job and the cost of the time spent interviewing candidates. If you are losing employee after employee, and the employees you are losing are the ones who were holding things together at the office, then you need to consider things you can do to reverse the turnover trend. Despite the potential negative side, turnover doesn’t have to be a bad thing for your company. If you manage it properly and if you are dropping employees who have been bringing your business down, turnover could be just the thing to turn your fortunes around.