In the digital age, freelancing has experienced an incredible boom. Now, according to Forbes, freelancers make up an astounding 35% of US workers, accounting for right at $1 trillion of income in 2016.

So what are the factors behind this growth of the freelance economy, and how can freelancers and businesses alike take best advantage of this growing trend?

Factors Leading to the Growth of Freelancing

The rapid growth of freelancing is no coincidence, as several factors have boosted freelancing to the prominence it now enjoys. These factors are:

Technological Advances

By far the biggest factor contributing to the growth of freelancing has been innovations in technology. The internet and the plethora of tools and platforms it has given birth to have opened the door for many employees to complete their work remotely. No longer required to show up at an office, employees in legal, marketing, engineering, design, and many other fields are now able to find clients and deliver work to them on their own thanks to advances in technology.

Changing Attitudes

The attitudes and lifestyle of modern workers, particularly millennials, have played a large role in the popularity of freelancing. Many millennial workers have a thirst for freedom and travel that only freelancing can provide. They value the ability to set their own hours and work from the location that they choose above most anything else that a traditional job could offer. Of course, it isn’t only the younger generation that is recognizing these benefits – 28% of Baby Boomers worked as freelancers as well in 2016.

Higher Pay

Talented freelancers are in demand. Companies all over the world value the flexibility, diversity, and skill that freelancers bring to the table, and they are willing to pay for it. According to a survey of freelancers who quit their traditional jobs to begin freelancing, a little over half of those surveyed said that they are now earning more as a freelancer than they did at their old job. Meanwhile, 53% of freelancers surveyed said they believed having a number of clients they work for makes them more financially secure than relying on a single employer.

How to Take Advantage of the Growth of Freelancing

The growth of the freelancing economy offers plenty of new opportunities to both businesses and freelancers alike. For businesses, more freelancers in the field means more options to choose from, providing plenty of flexibility in regard to how modern companies complete their projects.

For freelancers, freelancing’s rising popularity may mean more competition, but it also means more opportunities that may have not been available just a few years ago. As companies all over the world continue to increasingly rely on freelancers as part of their workforce, you can expect more and more lucrative freelancing positions to become available.

Whether you are looking to hire a freelancer or you are thinking of starting a career as one, now is an excellent time wade into the wonderful world of freelancing. If you’re ready to get started, be sure to check out the freelancing platform freelancemyway.com

When someone slips and falls on your property, the law usually goes by “premises liability.” However, in cases involving trespassing, things can quickly get complex. Although it’s rare that a trespasser who gets hurt on another’s property can recover for their injuries, there are exceptions. If you are a property owner, knowing what those exceptions are is imperative so that you don’t leave yourself vulnerable.

The general rule is that if someone is on your property and they do not have permission to be there, then you hold no responsibility if they are hurt. The exceptions are:

  • If you have acted either aggressively or violently toward them and those actions end in their injury.
  • If you have been egregiously negligent and expected that trespassers might enter your property, and have done nothing to make sure that conditions are safe. An example would be if you knew that there was a serious hazard on a property you owned and that someone could easily gain access, but you didn’t put up signs to warn anyone who came onto your property. Not alerting people that your property is highly dangerous means that you could be found liable for their injuries.

If you are chasing an intruder from your property, that does not make you liable for any injuries they sustain. Also, if you use a “reasonable” amount of force to get them off your property, then you likewise won’t be found liable for any injuries. If you use deadly force, however, or you use the threat of bodily harm, then that might be grounds for liability.

Special cases - like undocumented immigrants who trespass and are injured

In states like Texas where there is a large undocumented immigration population, trespassing is very common. In 2014, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of property owners when it came to liability when their properties were trespassed on by immigrants who got hurt. The specific case involved three undocumented immigrants who were trying to escape border control; they trespassed onto someone’s property and were killed.

The court ruled that the property owner was not liable for the trespassers’ deaths if the deaths were self-inflicted. Also, since the trespassers were engaging in illegal activities at the time, they forfeited their rights. Committing criminal acts, like smuggling drugs, meant that they gave up any rights they had, and the property owner could not be held liable for their deaths.

Do you need to put up a no-trespassing sign?

If you own property where hazards may or may not exist it is always a good idea to post a no- trespassing sign to warn individuals that they can be hurt if they come onto your property. That way people understand that it is private property and that if they pass over the boundaries, they are trespassing onto your private land. In some instances, you can protect yourself from premises liability simply because you gave written or verbal warning not to be on your property.

If you don’t have a fence around your property, then it’s a good idea to post signs to set boundaries. If it is a normal traveling route, then marking it, either through posting signs or putting marking on trees, will indicate to those who are crossing over onto private property that they do not have consent and are trespassing. If you have any specific hazards on the property then, yes, it is always a good idea to put up warning signs to protect yourself and to limit your liability.

If someone is injured while on your property, your liability will be determined by the specifics related to their injuries. One factor that will greatly affect if you are liable for a person’s slip and fall injury is whether or not you gave consent for them to be on your property.

Even if they were trespassing and didn’t have your permission, there is still a chance that you might be held liable for their injuries, which is why you want to have a slip and fall lawyers in your corner to ensure that you know what your rights and responsibilities are as a property owner. 

Workers’ compensation is a system that was set up to provide a safety net for workers who are injured while on the job. So the question becomes, if I get injured at work do I get paid? In most states, someone who sustains an injury while at work is entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical bills and sometimes lost wages or long-term disability benefits. What are the types of benefits that workers’ compensation victims can claim?

Medical care

If you are injured while on the job, you have the right to receive reasonable care from a medical professional for your injuries. If it is necessary to seek medical attention to lessen the impact of the injury or to ensure that no further injuries result, then you are entitled to have your medical bills paid and prescriptions filled.

You can even have your transportation costs paid, including mileage to a hospital or medical care facility. This varies depending on the workers’ compensation plan, and a worker might have to use a company or specific doctor, but that is usually only for the first 30 days after the incident. After that time, a patient can typically choose their own doctor after making a request in writing.

Temporary disability

If an injury happens at work that requires a worker to take time off from their employment, they might be entitled to temporary disability payments. Temporary disability payments are meant to make up for any lost wages. The amount that a worker is entitled to has both a minimum and a maximum amount that can be paid out. Typically, it is about two-thirds of what a worker makes in their gross pay, and it is paid every two weeks. A doctor must first verify that a worker is unable to return to work or that they cannot function in their normal work capacity. You shouldn’t have to wait more than a week for your first check, which helps ensure that you aren’t left without the money to pay your bills.

Permanent disability

A permanent disability is something that a person will have forever and will prevent them from working in their previous capacity. A worker who sustains a permanent disability is entitled to a monetary award. As they are unable to function in the same workforce or capacity, the amount a person is entitled to relies heavily on how greatly they are limited by their injury or illness, and what their new capacity for activity is. There are many factors that are taken into account when determining the monetary award for a permanent disability. Things like the age of the worker and their occupation when they were injured are all used to determine how much cash they are entitled to. The monetary compensation usually includes the addition of loss of future wages.

Vocational rehabilitation

There are times when even if a person cannot return to work in the same capacity as they did before they were injured, they are capable of being retrained for another occupation. Workers’ compensation will usually pay for a worker to be trained for a new vocation. While they are being retrained, they are often entitled to partial payment of loss of wages and temporary disability payments. The goal of vocational rehabilitation is to allow someone who can’t perform in the capacity they did before the incident to do other comparable and meaningful work.

Wage loss benefits

Within most states, there is a clause that allows for two different types of wage loss benefits for workers’ compensation. You can either receive temporary partial payments or temporary total benefits. If you are temporarily disabled, you are entitled to still earn wages outside of the temporary disability payments you are receiving. The benefits are payable according to a percentage of pre-and post-illness or injury earnings.

Temporary total disability benefits are also paid to workers, but the difference is that while they are receiving the benefits, they are not allowed to earn any other wages. The benefits are payable according to the percentage of what the worker was earning pre-injury. The key to understanding wage loss benefits is to know what is expected of you and what is prohibited. If you earn money while you are supposed to be on total disability, that can result in forfeiture.

Workers’ compensation varies across states and organizations. If you want to ensure that you are getting all that you are entitled to, it is imperative that you understand the complexities of what your responsibilities are and the responsibility of your employer, and don’t cross the line or make a mistake that could jeopardize what is rightfully yours.

10 tips for sole traders

By Pete | @kingpetey | 21 Nov 2017

Running your own business can give you the freedom and peace of mind that no ordinary job can offer. Below, we’ve rounded up ten top tips for sole traders to consider…

1.Set up your business as soon as possible

Becoming a sole trader is simple – all you have to do is sign up on the Government website, and then keep a record of your business’ sales and expenses and submit a Self Assessment tax return at the end of every business year. The good news is that, after paying tax, you’ll get to keep 100% of your profits, so getting organised and signing up your business as soon as possible makes sense. Otherwise, you may have to submit the previous year’s finances and back-pay your tax, which can be time-consuming, stressful and costly.

2.Organise yourself

There are a whole host of benefits of working for yourself, but one drawback is self-motivation. If you’re struggling to know where to start, create a calendar and organise where you’ll need to be, what you should be doing and how long you’ll need to do it for.

3.Get the best deals

Just as you would for your personal finances, you should shop around to get the best value for money on things like rent, marketing and insurance. If you have a van, for example, then you can find cheap fleet insurance quotes on websites such as Be Wiser. It pays to use price comparison websites and haggle to get the best deal – it almost always results in a discount.

4.Start your own website

Your website is your online shop front – it's where people will go to find out about what you do. Whether you're a mechanic or a hairdresser, a website is essential – use a web design tool such as Web.com or hire a professional web design company to create one for you.

5.Do some marketing

Nobody is going to buy from you if they don't know you exist, so do some marketing to get the word out. Consider printing off leaflets, set up social media handles for your business and put an advert in the local newspaper – every little helps in the early days of a company.

6.Save money when you can

Taking out a small business loan can work, but it pays to have money set aside for when you need new equipment or want to expand. Rather than boosting your salary or splashing out on expensive work meals and outings, save money as and when you can for a “rainy day”.

7.Collect money as soon as possible

Whenever you’re hired for a job, you should send out an invoice for the work – that way, you’ll be able to collect money and avoid being scammed. We recommend sticking to email-based invoices, as that way, customers can’t argue that their invoice was “lost in the post”.

8.Monitor your competitors

When you're in the early days of running a business, it's crucial that you identify your competition. Look around to see who else is offering services similar to yours, monitor their marketing and online activity, and see what they're doing differently to you. You can learn a lot about your industry by copying best practices from your competition, so don't be afraid.

9.Set up a bank account

Although you don’t technically need a separate bank account as a sole trader, having one can keep your personal and business finances from intertwining. Get business earnings paid into a separate account that you can monitor, and then transfer wages into your personal account. That way, you’ll be less tempted to spend money you’ve earned for your business.

10.Make friends

A one-man-band business can be great fun, but it can also be lonely. Network with other business owners and industry friends, as they’ll not only keep you company when you’re sick of working alone, but they could become useful contacts when looking for new work.

Building a solid link profile is a very important part of SEO. However, not all links are created equal. If you are looking to build a solid link profile here are 3 ways you can do just that.

Focus On High Quality Links

The quality of links in your profile matter. If you have thousands of poor quality links pointing to your website Google and other search engines will see that as a problem.

If there are any toxic links pointing to your website, disavow them as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure they don't pass on any bad link juice to your website.

Get Links From Sites In Your Niche

If you are a personal trainer in Los Angeles, you want to make sure your site has links coming from sites in the health and fitness space.

If you have a ton of links coming from a real estate agents site Google will view that as irrelevant and your rankings will take a hit.

Diversify Your Links

Instead of focusing on getting all of your links from one or two niche sites, try getting a range of links from several trustworthy sites.

When a trustworthy site is linking back to you the search engines see that as a good thing and will send you more traffic as a result.

A solid link profile is the key to getting quality organic traffic to your website. It doesn't matter how well you have optimized your website, if your link profile isn't strong your traffic and conversions will suffer.

To get the best results you have to put yourself in the place of your ideal customers. What are they searching for when they go to Google? Knowing this information will give you an advantage over the competition.

Need Help With Your Link Profile?

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to building a solid link profile, 445 Media can help. They are experts in both on and off page SEO and can help you build a link profile that drives hundreds of targeted visitors to your site every single month.

There are more than 12 million eCommerce websites on the internet today. Less than 650,000 of them make more than a thousand dollars every year. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity to marketers. While the probability of success in eCommerce might seem low, entrepreneurs can make a killing buying not so successful online stores and turning them around. In this article, we will look at some ridiculously easy ways marketers can make failing eCommerce websites profitable.

Content Marketing

Growing traffic to standalone eCommerce websites can be tough work. This is because of the sheer competition that your business faces from rival stores selling the same products. Thanks to the latest algorithm updates, search engines like Google rank established websites like Amazon over smaller, niche stores. One way to get around this challenge is through content marketing. Publishing blogs, videos and images that appeal to your target audience helps your business get seen on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Also, a well-planned content marketing strategy can also help your business rank for lucrative long-tail searches on Google. All of this draws your targeted audience to your website who may then be directed to your eCommerce portal.

Consolidation

ECommerce marketplaces like Shopify Exchange are extremely popular among serial entrepreneurs who own a lot of businesses. The reason for this is consolidation. Entrepreneurs who own a lot of properties in an industry tend to buy more businesses in the space in order to refer visitors and customers from one portal to the other. For instance, if you own a fashion blog, it is a good idea to buy an online apparel store that aligns with the kind of fashion you cover on your website. This way, you could refer the visitors from the blog to your online store and vice versa, thereby growing the traffic and revenue across both these properties.

Coupons

Customers love giveaways and discounts. Coupon marketing can however bleed your revenue and should therefore be deployed judiciously. To begin with, target your coupons at specific customers or products. For instance, you could offer a ten percent discount on new customers. This way, you incentivize new registrations while forcing regular customers to pay market price for products. Similarly, if you are having trouble moving certain SKUs, you could look at offering discounts on these products alone. One way to make sure that your coupon strategy does not cause loss is by setting a minimum order value.

Partnerships

The purchase of an eCommerce store should not be viewed as a standalone transaction. Buying an online store also helps you get access to suppliers, wholesalers and distributors who can provide you products at a discounted rate. Besides selling these products on your eCommerce store, you may also strike a partnership with complementary websites or brick and mortar destinations to deliver these products to their customers. This helps your business scale up your monthly volume which can fetch you a better price from the suppliers. This strategy is particularly useful to increase profitability as well as to dramatically improve your monthly turnover.

Do you have a job that keeps you tied to your desk throughout the day? It can be difficult to stay in shape in an office environment, but there are things you can do to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Read on for our top five work fitness tips to help you avoid piling on the pounds.

Adjust your posture

Many people fall into the trap of slouching at their desk. Sitting up straight is a calorie-burner as it contributes to toning your physique. Your back and core muscles tighten up when you sit up straight, helping to tone them as well. Having correct posture can prevent backaches and neck pain, allowing you to continue exercising away from work without injuries or injuring yourself further.

Don't skip lunch or 'down time'

Do you usually grab your lunch without taking a break from your work? This usually results in us rushing something unhealthy down and increases the chances of putting on weight. Choosing healthy options such as fruits, vegetables and fat free yogurts away from your desk can help you stay fit. Take time away from the daily grind and utilise your lunch hour to do something enjoyable such as trying out casumo free spins or reading a good book can also help our wellbeing.

Keep yourself mobile

Standing up and going for a short walk can help you stay in shape as this will increase your activity levels during the day. If you need to speak with a colleague, pop along to their office rather than phoning or sending an email. At lunchtime try and get outside for some fresh air – even a brisk 15 minute walk can make a difference to your fitness levels.

Don't overdo tea or coffee

It can be notoriously difficult to try to control your intake of tea and coffee at work. This can be made worse if you take your drinks with sugar. Drink plenty of water throughout the day so that you remain hydrated and alert. Water can trick your body into feeling full, significantly diminishing your hunger and cravings.

Don't skip your gym session

You can soon get out of the habit of visiting the gym if you have an office job, but keeping a workout in your daily routine will undoubtedly help you to stay in shape. Most gyms offer early morning sessions, so why not get up an hour earlier and start the day on a treadmill or exercise bike? A quick shower afterwards will leave you refreshed and ready to tackle your office duties.

Modern technology has changed the way we live, offering users a vast range of opportunities to make their lives easier. The internet allows people to diversify the way they work, opening up the possibility or working from home or starting a business to run alongside full-time employment. Read on to discover our five top tips for making money online.

1. Social media management Social media has changed the way companies advertise and market themselves. If you're particularly savvy with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram it's possible to earn a decent amount of money by becoming a social media manager. Build yourself a strong online presence in a personal capacity, then look for freelance social media management opportunities to seriously boost your income.

2. Set up a blog or website If you're a talented writer with something interesting to say why not use a blog or website to make some money? The majority of successful websites generate income through advertising, with Venice Magic Slot or similar advertisers eager to take advantage of the traffic they can generate. It is important not to bombard your readers with too many advertisements, but carefully placed content can actually enhance a user's experience of visiting your site.

3. Start an online shop Are you good at buying and selling? Maybe you've identified a product you can buy cheaply and sell at a profit online? Whether it's one of these or something else, starting an online shop can provide you with an excellent main or secondary source of income. Sites such as Amazon and eBay also offer the opportunity to sell affiliate products, further boosting your chances of making money online.

4. Take part in online surveys There are numerous websites that ask you to take part in surveys and get paid. These can be done in your own time and although they offer a relatively low amount for each one completed, you can generate a steady stream of income for just a few hours work each month. Recommending friends and family can help you earn even more money.

5. Teach online Do you have a particular skill you could pass on? Perhaps you're fluent in languages or maybe you're good at DIY? Whatever your skill you could become a virtual teacher and host one-on-one tutoring sessions or webinars to help people directly with any number of topics. Creating video tutorials on sites like YouTube can also generate a significant amount of income if you have a particular niche that would attract a significant number of viewers. Whatever you consider taking on, you must be dedicated and prepared to work hard to ensure your efforts are properly rewarded.

If you're thinking of starting your own gym there's plenty to consider before you can get the business off the ground. You've found your ideal location and have a picture in your mind of what you want, but you still need to determine whether your idea makes commercial sense. Read on for some useful tips to help you get up-and-running.

1. Do your homework The planning stage should include a complete budget. This will obviously include equipment, but don't forget other expenses such as utility bills, marketing and insurance. Try and speak to owners of similar sized gyms to get their advice about some of the pitfalls in the industry. You could try and boost your budget by using Dirty Dancing Slot Free Spins to generate some extra income, but always seek independent financial advice and don't take the plunge unless you're absolutely sure your gym will be successful.

2. It's all about the space Laying out your gym doesn't just involve working out how much equipment you need. Changing rooms, bathroom facilities, group fitness areas, studios and offices can all eat into the space you have available. As a general rule of thumb around 60% of your gym's space will be areas for strength and cardio equipment, with the rest used for everything else.

3. Utilise a design service A full design service offers customers with a new build or an existing area the opportunity to see full 3D images of what their gym will look like prior to placing an order. Engineers will attend site, assess your equipment needs and take full measurements. From there, they will prepare you a full 3D Cad designed presentation and a quote for you to approve. The beauty of this service is you can change your design as many times as you want, until you are satisfied that you are getting exactly what you need and keeping within your budget. Use a company who can also audit your existing equipment and incorporate it within your design. For a more unique or corporate look, you could consider colour coding your upholstery and having logos embossed.

4. Keep on top of servicing Regular servicing and maintenance of gym equipment reduces the number of breakdowns and increases the longevity of equipment, preventing costly repair and replacement. It's recommend that each item of equipment is serviced twice a year to meet the strict industry health and safety requirements. There are different levels of service plans you can utilise including ad hoc, annual scheduled service agreements, all-inclusive contracts, audit servicing and full estate management.

Regardless of the type of business you run, your customer is the most important element of your operations. The success of your business depends highly on how happy you can make your customers and how long you can keep them feeling that way about your products and services.

Good customer service is one of the best ways to get closer to customers. Customer service is so much more than providing support and after-sales services. It is more about building and maintaining good relationships with your customers, and we have just the tips to help you get started in this article.

Utilise Your Customers’ Preferred Channels

In the old days, we chose the right support channels based on many factors, from the budget we had in hand to the most convenient way of providing customer support. Today, the best approach is to use the channels customers are already using.

This is one of the main reasons why more businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, now offer customer care through social media sites. Your customers are already there, so connecting with them and offering help whenever possible is much easier to do.

Another interesting approach is to use mobile apps. If you already have an app for your products and services, add a Live Chat feature so that customers can ask questions at any time. Gaffey, a leading provider of industrial water treatment systems, take this approach a step further and offers their business customers a technical support app.

Get Feedback

Don’t wait until customers run into issues with the products and services you offer before reaching out to them. It is actually better to reach out and ask questions before that happens because you can build stronger relationships with them this way.

There are several ways to do this. You can, for example, send a follow-up email one or two weeks after a customer’s purchase. You can use suggestion boxes and printed sheets to capture feedback from customers in a retail establishment or an offline store. You can even call customers directly to get the insights you need.

Learn from Complaints

Your first priority must always be to get complaints settled as quickly as possible. Make sure your team finds the perfect solution and helps customers in a timely manner. Solving the problem, however, is not the end of the customer support cycle.

You must also take the time to analyse complaints and learn from them. Are there similar complaints coming from different customers? What can you do to prevent the same issues from happening again? Is there a lesson to be learned in the complaints you receive?

Take a more active stance in learning from a customers’ problems. You can also learn from the compliments and positive feedback you receive. Combined, the learning experience will allow you to improve your products and services while building stronger relationships with your customers.

These are simple tips and strategies you can implement right away to improve how you handle your customers. Invest in building a stronger relationship and you will enjoy many long-term benefits in return.

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