How to keep from overworking yourself

How to keep from overworking yourself

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When you are working as a freelancer, the chances of you overworking yourself can be quite high. Recently, I have worked myself up to a point where I am already feeling sick with fatigue for working long hours.

I used to have this thing about working overtime at home but I seem to have lost grasp of that. My husband and I set our minds to achieve a financial goal in a couple of years and I am obsessively driven to reach that target.

Admittedly, this is probably not a healthy arrangement for me. This compulsion to achieve our goal has the right intentions but I have to control it to keep from abusing myself. I have to keep my strength to take care of my son – which was and still is the reason why I started writing from home.

This is proving to be quite a difficult dilemma for me. But, like everything else, I need to know my limits. So here are a couple of things that I remind myself so I can keep me from being too overworked.

  1. I think about my priorities. Again, I need to touch base with my reason for staying at home – which as I mentioned, is my son. Oftentimes I find myself rushing my son so that I can go back to work – which is me being a bad mom. I usually have to reprimand myself when I am putting my work ahead of my son.
  2. I remind myself that I have an emergency fund. This is the benefit of having an emergency fund – you have the secure feeling that you are financially capable of providing for your family even if you are not earning. This is something that I have to keep on reminding myself from time to time.
  3. I lose more when I get sick. When I get sick, I can’t work and I need medication. If I take it slow, I get to lose a couple of hours of work. All in all, I lose more when I let myself get too sick to be able to work.

So far, these are the reminders that I use to make myself stop working. People who own their business can probably relate to this – you never really stop thinking about earning more because you are in control of your source of income. But then again, it defeats the purpose of me quitting the corporate rat race so I can slow down.

This is still an on-going process. I can’t say that I have mastered the art of not overworking myself. I’m sure I need to be thankful that I have a happy problem of having too many work coming my way. But then again, I have to think about what it is robbing from me – which is my personal well-being and time away from my son.

I need to re-assess my priorities. Wish me luck!

Managing Your Finances As A Freelancer

One of my clients is in the debt relief industry and I must say, it is one of the most interesting and educational projects that I had ever been involved in. Because of that, I thought that maybe I should write some money management lessons that I have learned so far.

The thing about freelancing is you are not guaranteed the same income every week. Sometimes the projects are overflowing and the income is more than what you really need. In some cases, you barely have enough to live on.

Managing Your Finances As A Freelancer

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I guess what I really want to send across is this: make sure you prepare for the lean moments when your cash flow is not as strong as you need it to be. Here are three tips that I believe can help you.

Learn how to budget.
Budgeting is something that I had been doing even before and I must say, the relevance of it has grown stronger for me. This can get quite tedious, especially when you are taking note of every expense. However, I noticed that it allowed me to identify how much money I need to target in order to have more than enough for our monthly needs. Although my husband has a day job that brings in income regularly, I still need to shoulder some of the expenses if we want to live conveniently and comfortably.

Spend only on what you need.
Through my budgeting efforts, I noticed one trend that I really think we should work on: whenever our household income increased, our expenses also grew. I think it is all but natural for us to want to reward ourselves when we bring in more money but I think it is not the healthiest of habits for your finances. When your income grows, I suggest that you make your savings grow – not your expenses. Sure, a reward may be in order but control it. Do not splurge because saving may prove to be more rewarding in the long run.

Save for the rainy day.
This is such a cliché I know. However, your savings will literally save you. For instance, when my father-in-law passed away early this year, my husband and I had to help with all the expenses. Our savings allowed us to do that without sacrificing our usual expenses. Not only that I could take the week off from work to be able to attend to the needs of my family. For others, it can be the car breaking down or an unexpected illness in the family. These can all be financed by your savings – you do not have to put yourself in debt for it. Also, during the lean times when projects are slow, I will not worry because I know that we have built a financial security net for our family.

All of these give me the peace of mind that even if I end up without clients for a couple of weeks, we will be alright. Now, my husband and I are working on a supplemental source of income since we are saving up to buy a home in the next few years – in cash. Anyway, wish us luck and in my end, I will wish that you can implement the right management skills that will keep you financially secure as you grow in your freelancing career.

Till the next article! :)

Important Qualities of a Successful Writer Part 2: Flexibility

In part one of this article series, we talked about how your stamina plays an important role in your freelancing career. Even if you are just sitting in front of your laptop and working your fingers to type your ideas, you need to physically command yourself to be in top writing form when you need to.

Now that we’ve talked about that let us go on to the second trait that Rebecca Garland mentioned in her article.

Important Qualities of a Successful Writer Part 2 Flexibility

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The second trait that was mentioned is flexibility. She stated that this career changes over time. You need to be able to ride all those changes and be ready to adapt if you have to. I started with just my writing skills but now I can manage websites, publish articles, research data and upload graphs. I still have a lot of things to learn and I need to continue adding to my skills so that I have something new to offer clients. If you want to grow in this field, you need to grow your skills as well.

I can also say that this flexibility includes the type of niches that you will choose to write about. Freelance writing, especially online, is quite a competitive career to be in. You have to be flexible enough to be able to write about any niche – regardless if you believe in it or not. It’s not really a matter of how knowledgeable you are about it because you can always do your research. There was this time when I had to write about hypnosis – which is personally, I find to be quite absurd (no offense to those who have been helped by it). But I was pretty new and I wanted to grow my portfolio so I still took the job. That was a bit tough to accomplish – writing a piece that would convince others to believe in a topic when you don’t even believe in it yourself. But I did it anyway and just focused on the facts and did a lot of research about it. These are the times when your talent will really come into play.

Ms. Garland also mentioned being able to marketing your skills as a writer. Since you are a freelance writer, you are probably working alone. You need to advertise what you can do so clients will come to you. I have written an article about how you can market yourself as a writer. You may want to check it out here: How to Market Services Online.

Find out if you have both stamina and flexibility and you should have what you need to succeed in this career.

Best of luck!

Important Qualities of a Successful Writer Part 1: Stamina

I came across an interesting article at All Freelance Writing regarding what is most important when you are a freelance writer. It was written by Rebecca Garland and she just made an interesting comment about the qualities that one needs to be successful in one’s writing career. She actually mentioned three points but I think I will just concentrate on 2 (as I have previously written an article about the third). Let’s split this article in two so you can focus on one trait at a time.

The thing about freelancing is there is no certainty to the compensation and the stream of projects. One minute you are full of projects and another you have none. You need to work hard every step of the way because unlike corporate jobs, you don’t get paid vacation leaves or any other benefits. When there is no work, there is literally no pay.

I still believe that it is a great career but you need to have the determination to make it through. You don’t just sit around waiting for someone to hire you. The key is to have the following traits as discussed by Ms. Garland.

Important Qualities of a Successful Writer Part 1 Stamina

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The first trait that she mentioned is the need to have stamina – which I agree 100%. She mentioned having to wake up at 4am because it is the only quiet time at home. I do the same thing but not as early. I wake up at 6am everyday because I want to do as much as I can before my son wakes up to wreak havoc at home. (That’s an exaggeration of course. My son is a complete angel and he’s well behaved.) But nevertheless, you need to be able to make the proper physical sacrifices to be able to achieve your maximum earning potential.

She also mentioned that having the ability to write well is one thing but it is not enough. If you want to build your career around your writing skills, you need to be able to write well on command. That is very important and I completely agree with it. If you are the type of writer who needs inspiration and all that, you may find it hard to get the creative juices flowing when it matters the most.

In the next article, we will discuss the second trait that you have to possess: flexibility. In the meantime, exercise your stamina so you get to maximize the potential of your writing career.

SEO Tips from Google

SEO Tips from Google

Website owners have got their hands full trying to look for the latest SEO tipsthat will get their sites back on the search engine map. For the past couple of years, Google changed their algorithms repeatedly as a response to user’s request for quality search results. They came up with the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes that was meant to provide users with the information they are searching for. These two changes rocked the traditional world of SEO and the websites that used to rank well in searches are now found to be at the latter pages.

SEO Tips from Google

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While Google is not the only search engine but it is the most prominent compared to Bing or Yahoo. This is why every website has to get on the good side of this search engine for them to drive in the traffic that their site needs.

If you will adhere to the old SEO tips, your website will not rank. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become a tricky technique to keep up with and it remains to be one of the driving forces that will get your online business to succeed.

So the question remains, how do you conquer the algorithms that Google placed upon their search engines?

Google’s Advice on SEO

Matt Cutts of Google has one advice: stop focusing on discovering SEO tips and concentrate on delivering quality content.

For a long time now, site owners focused on making sure that search engines will notice them by placing keywords strategically on their content. While this still works, Cutts advices against it. Content is still king and here are the major points that will make your website get ahead.

  1. Feel free to use the synonyms of your keywords or keyphrase. The search engine crawlers of Google are programmed to recognize synonyms. For instance, if your keyword is “doctor”, the words physician and medical professional will be identified together with the main keyword. Using all three will tell Google that your content is all about doctors.
  2. Do not be too technical about it. The new algorithms of Google will be able to view the totality of your content to pinpoint its relevance to a user’s search.
  3. Focus on quality and not what the search engines are looking for.

These are the new SEO tips that you should live by when creating your content. Be true to the information that you will be providing your readers and Google will see just how relevant your website is.