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:
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.
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.
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.
If you have a true love for writing, you’ll be familiar with that magical thing that happens when you're writing about something that you're passionate about – the words seem to flow out of their own accord and spin themselves into clever phrases right before your eyes with seemingly no input from you. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could actually get paid to do that all day?
In the real world, however, it’s never that simple! Actually working as a copywriter means bending your pen to a host of different subjects and styles, many of which will not come naturally to you. Many times, you’ll need to write about subjects or products that you find completely uninspiring, or worse, actually go against what you stand for – imagine being a committed vegetarian and having to churn out some clever copy for a meat product, for example!
On the other hand, working for such a diverse range of clients, companies and brands is sure to keep you on your toes, and present a new challenge every single day. And while it can be very frustrating to have to deal with subject matter you're not particularly keen on, there’s also an immense amount of pride and satisfaction to be had in doing a good job anyway. And as an extra reward, there will always be those pieces that come along that you feel you were just born to write, and let you know you're still definitely working in the right career!
Working as a copywriter for an agency, versus working freelance:
The information age has brought about so many new ways to earn a living, and the field of digital marketingis perhaps the most exciting for someone who wants to work in a creative role from home. Working as a freelance copywriter from the comfort of your own home sounds like a dream come true for anyone who wants a bit more freedom to set their own schedule, work around their kids, or even just avoid the daily commute! And while it can help you do all those things, there are a few benefits to working in a 9 to 5 job that you're really going to miss out on too.
Freelancer copywriters often have more freedom over which projects they choose to take on, when they want to work, and how much they want to take on. Highly creative people often battle to stick to a routine and grind out engaging content on demand, so the option of being your own boss is very appealing. That said, they can also be incredibly talented at the fine art of procrastination, and without a boss to answer to, there’s a real chance that you're just not going to be able to get enough work done to support yourself!
And that’s another big drawback of working freelance – you're going to earn a lotless money. When you throw your hat into the working from home ring, you're suddenly competing with the entire globe, rather than just your city, or even country. There are literally millions of other freelance writers out there, and you're going to have to be willing to work for a lot less to get your foot in the door. And if you use one of the large international freelancing platforms to find your clients, they're going to take a not-inconsiderable cut of your earnings too. Nonetheless, if you're willing to take a bit of a lifestyle knock in order to set your own hours, take as long of a lunch break as you like, and never have to sit in rush hour traffic again, it can definitely be worth it.
Working for an agency in a more stable role comes with all the other perks, like a predictable salary, paid annual leave, and free coffee! (For whatever reason, copywriters and coffee have a close and intimate relationship!) You’re also guaranteed a much steadier flow of work, have the opportunity to socialize with and bounce ideas off coworkers, and you won’t have to fight quite so hard against the urge to procrastinate on challenging pieces and stick to deadlines. There’s also something about just being in a working environment and surrounded with activity that is bound to make you more productive – and once the work week is done, you get to take two full days off – a luxury freelancers can seldom afford!
Perhaps the most exciting part about being a copywriter, whether you work from home or for an agency, is that every day presents an opportunity to learn about something new, and challenges you to create content that your audience is going to respond to. If you love language and finding new ways of expressing ideas, then it’s a versatile and rewarding career path to consider!
Many people spend too much time Netflix binging or simply wasting valuable time. Instead, maybe it is time to discover a new hobby in 2017, one that can even be done while watching those favourite shows. Choosing a new hobby can lead to much enjoyment and will even allow you to create some amazing masterpieces in your spare time. There are some great new hobbies for 2017 that will appeal to many and these are some of the greatest ideas on how to pass the time while remaining productive.
Arts and Crafts
For those that are artistic and wish to create, there are some great hobby ideas that can be explored. Embroidery and cross stitch are great for those that like to work with their hands and create gifts or things that can be placed around the home. These are inexpensive options and can be quite relaxing. Making paper flowers is also a great hobby for those that like using their hands. This craft can be dome while watching television and it is another cheap option.
Gaming and Entertainment
Some people are looking for hobbies that offer more excitement and will enjoy taking up online gambling as a hobby. Looking for something more physical? How about ballroom dancing or horseback riding? While these will be a bit more costly, they provide a great way to get out and interact with others while spending quality time with friends and family.
Improve Your Mental Health
Improve your mental health with online therapy from BetterHelp.
Photography is one of the greatest hobbies and it can create pictures that can last a lifetime. There are many ways in which one can engage ion photography, from simply snapping phots throughout time to starting to shoot portraits. With a photography hobby, you can capture those special moments and find beauty in just about everything.
One great option to consider if you are planning to take up photography this year is tilt shift photography, where a picture is taken to make it appear as a miniature scene. This process is often done through Photoshop or other photo editing software programs.
I've had SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional (here) running for about a month now, it's a good step forward from version 9. As usual it's fixed lots of annoyances but created more.
SuSE Linux 9.1 comes in two flavours, the Personal edition (RRP ?24:95) and the Professional edition (RRP ?64:99). The Professional edition also comes as an update (RRP ?42:95) and a student version (RRP ?42:95).
The Personal edition comes on one CD and is aimed at the first time user for Linux. It has a limited number of packages compared to the Professional and normally contains one program for a certain task, for instance Konqueror (here) is the only web browser included. The Professional edition on the other hand comes with a much wider range of packages including server and development tools.
As of last week the Personal edition can be downloaded for free as an ISO image directly from SuSE (here) this is an unexpected first for SuSE but a welcomed one. SuSE 9.1 Professional can be downloaded for free as usual through an FTP install. There is also a live CD version of the Personal edition which can be downloaded for free from FTP.
As soon as the SuSE 9.1 DVD boots you get the nice graphical installer of YaST (Yet Another Set-up Tool). The first screen you get once it has loaded is to select you're language, after that SuSE automatically detects settings for you but allows you to change them if you wish. It's a good idea to keep an eye on what YaST is doing especially for partitioning and package selection.
YaST handily allows you to resize Fat32 and NTFS partitions, while it's been reported that there has been a bug with this and the 2.6 Kernel I risked it anyway, luckily there were no problems. Once you have confirmed all you're settings the installer goes on to copy all the packages to your hard drive, this for me took about 30 minutes.
Once done the installer reboots and leads you on to a number of steps including user accounts, network configuration, on-line updating and device configuration. Most were pretty self explanatory or could be left and changed at a later date.
Once finished you automatically login to your account and the KDE (here) desktop is loaded. I prefer not having to login to a machine especially when it's a home machine and you're the only person using it.
In my view the installation process it about as easy as you can make it compared with any other OS including Windows. It's not the quickest or shortest installer compared to some Linux distributions but it does cover the most options in the simplest way.
I have read in quite a few reviews of SuSE 9.1 that they think the post-installation is too complex especially with the network and devices but SuSE does attempt to configure everything itself and only if the user knows what they are doing do they need to edit these settings.
Look and feel
As usual SuSE have done well in making the desktop as nice as possible especially in KDE. It doesn't look as slick or smart as Fedora (here) but is friendly and makes the desktop feel welcoming which I prefer. A nice mountain picture is put as default on the desktop with some interesting squares giving the picture more of a design.
The menu has been categorised into different sections just as most distributions do, the menu looked better on higher resolutions as it tended to spread itself across the screen too much on the lower ones.
SuSE also has a nice theme for OpenOffice (here) which makes it fit in nicely with KDE. It doesn't look so good in Gnome (here) however SuSE isn't normally the first choice for Gnome users. I will point out that significant changes have been made with Gnomes look and feel but some things still look misplaced such as the YaST icons.
I also noticed that when you double click on the title bar of a window it maximises or minimises it rather than hiding or showing the window below similar to what you get in Windows. I personally prefer this as I quite often change between OS's depending on what I'm doing.
The desktop has an icon called my computer, inside are shortcuts to CD drives, floppy drives and Windows partitions, yet there are no links to the home directory or root directory. Unfortunately you can not write to this folder so any configuring cant be made. SuSE could go as far to put links to YaST and KDE control panel in here.
YaST does the majority of the day to day configuration that you're going to be needing. Settings from RPM installations to tweaking devices are covered here. It does a fairly good job of most things but it's not as fast as Mandrakes (here) control centre.
Most of my hardware worked straight away but not all. I was hoping that my Netgear USB wireless adapter would have been set-up for me, unfortunately not. It was however nice how when you plugged in a USB hard drive or memory stick it would automatically mount it and add it to My Computer.
My BT848 TV card was detected as usual but YaST fails to configure it properly, for one it doesn't include support for Pal-I, used in the UK and second I couldn't get any sound from the card. It's not surprising how old the card is but it's not much good watching a black and white picture with no sound.
SuSE's on-line update provides the latest patches and certain other downloads which aren't available for licensing issues on the CD however they tend to be security related rather then program updates.
The Professional edition comes with a full range of programs and a few nice new ones. Two must have programs ? Firefox (here) and Thunderbird (here) have now been included which I personally found good.
The audio manager Juk has also been included with this release of SuSE, it's quite nice but it would be good if it supported video and mp3 streams.
SuSE 9.1 also includes the database application Rekall and the text processor and spreadsheet applications Textmaker and Planmaker.
The media players Xine (here) and Kaffeine are also included but don't come with any codecs so are practically useless. Not to include DVD support is fair enough because of licensing issues but the majority of other codecs (Xvid etc) are available often for free distribution. Even if they could not be distributed for legal reasons they could be offered though YaST's on-line update similar to the way the Nvidia drivers or Microsoft's fonts are distributed.
I had considerable problems installing Xine for reasons I couldn't work out, in the end I settled for Mplayer thanks to some RPMs found on here. This is by far the best site for SuSE RPMs on a range of programs.
There are a couple of programs I would want to see added to future releases of SuSE Linux, one would be AMSN (here) simply because it is the best MSN messenger clone available and the other would be Mplayer as a Xine alternative.
XMMS is included as the default audio player but it seems to have issues when minimising as the components do not minimise with it. Whether this is a XMMS or SuSE bug I couldn't be sure.
SuSE 9.1 is an improvement but as I said in my opening line it's a step forward on one front yet a step back on another.
The biggest improvements are definitely in the GUI and the surrounding images that support the overall look of SuSE 9.1. It's package selection is also becoming better and more refined, new packages are being added and the range of commercial programs available is much better then the majority of distributions.
Overall I liked SuSE 9.1, I personally prefer it over Mandrake and Fedora for ease of use and features however hardware support is still lacking in some areas and stability isn't perfect.
Pentium 4 ? 2gig
120gig Hard drive
ATI Radeon 9600
Last Edited 27/06/04
For ?11 a year PHP/MYSQl webhosting with a free .co.uk domain check out here
Millennials are consistently seen as reluctant investors. Some are a decade into their career, but they’re still relatively risk-averse, which many analysts believe is largely the result of the fact they grew up or came into adulthood in the midst of the Great Recession. Millennials have seen one of the worst financial environments in history, which has understandably made them gun-shy when it comes to investing, particularly in the stock market.
To combat that sense of hesitation, fintech companies have been creating platforms and technology that speak specifically to Millennials, and many of these companies have been quite successful in the process.
One of the biggest fintech trends leading the way not just for Millennials but investors in a range of age brackets is robo-investing. The premise behind robo-investing is one that Millennials tend to embrace because it’s seen as easy, inexpensive, and it gives the ability to create a set-it-and-forget strategy that requires minimal effort.
Robo-investing is also a viable alternative to the old way of doing things, which was to work with a financial advisor. Financial advisors, however, have been lumped in with many others in the financial services industry, such as bankers and lenders, and they’re not necessarily viewed in the most positive light by Millennials. Robo-investing platforms like Betterment give them the opportunity to skip the financial advisor, while still getting similar advantages, such as diversification and tax efficiency.
In the past, most investors would use services such as YAHOO! Finance to do their research and to track stocks, but there has been a new wave of trading software popping up that’s more comprehensive than ever before. Options such as Stocks to Trade, which was introduced by Millennial investment professional Timothy Sykes, is designed not just for the Wall Street elite, but is instead for real people.
These trading software platforms include some of the most varied data points available, and they give users the opportunity to see everything they could need or want to know about all of the big markets in one location.
Budgeting and Spending
When looking for strategies to invest, it’s just important to decide how you’ll allocate your assets. It’s also important to look at your investment capabilities versus your income and spending needs. That’s why budgeting apps and banking services are also an essential component of many Millennials financial and investment strategies.
Just one of the many examples is called Simple, which is essentially branchless banking where everything can be done on a mobile phone.
This helps investors and would-be investors because it has features to create specific, personalized goals, such as putting aside a certain amount of money each week to invest. It also includes a feature called “Safe-to-Spend” which lets users see how much they can spontaneously spend without sabotaging their budget and existing goals.
Finally, another big way fintech is changing the investing landscape not just for Millennials but for everyone? Peer-to-peer lending.
Peer-to-peer lending offers the opportunity for people to bypass the traditional bank environment for personal and business loans, and it gives investors the chance to look outside the stock market for investing opportunities. There is a high level of risk, particularly when it comes to investing in certain borrowers, but Millennials seem to like the concept because the potential returns are much higher than they would be with something like a high-yield savings account, and as long as funds are spread out over many loans, the level risk isn’t incredibly high.
Fintech is changing the way Millennials invest and shifting how they view the concept itself, creating not just new opportunities for investors, but new possibilities in technology as well.