The Way We Work – Upwork Blog https://www.upwork.com/blog Insights, info and updates about Upwork Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:59:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Perspectives on the Future of Work: August 15 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/future-work-august-15/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/future-work-august-15/#respond Mon, 15 Aug 2016 14:00:37 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=38110

Feeling overwhelmed about growing your business? This week's future of work roundup highlights a seven-step plan to help you scale up, with tips to streamline admin and manage stress.

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Upwork’s biweekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Forbes | 7 Steps To Scaling Your Freelance Business

Freelance professionals look after every aspect of their business: Finding and interacting with clients, keeping the backend of their business in order, networking, professional development—and doing the work.

This hands-on passion for what you do is what helps your business thrive. It’s also very difficult to scale.

Entrepreneur and writer Abdullahi Muhammed says there’s a process to follow if you plan to grow your business, which he outlines in seven steps. To start, he says, you need to understand your brand. “What makes what you’re doing stand out?” He asked. “Why should they choose you over others doing similar work?”

Then, to rev up the number of opportunities coming your way, he recommends branching out—and doing so on a regular basis. “You want to constantly be looking for new ways to find clients and get your business in front of a wider audience,” he said.

Muhammed explains why growing your networking, finding other people to help with business admin, and creating systems to automate and simplify your business processes are all part of a successful and sustainable business.

Business Insider | How to Drastically Simplify Your Workflow and Get More Done

If you’re ready to consider a new way to get things done, writer Aaron Orendorff makes a case for simplifying the way you work.

“With so many conveniences at our digital fingertips, life should be getting easier,” he said. “And yet, if we’re honest, our workflows are anything but simple.”

How can you adopt a more minimalist approach? Orendorff suggests a four-step strategy:

  • Be clear and focused on your vision—know exactly what you want
  • Watch for roadblocks, what Orendorff describes as “friction”
  • Set a regular routine for yourself
  • Walk away from new ideas that can distract you from your vision

“Simplicity is a battle,” he admitted. “But following these four steps will give you a fighting chance.”

HBR | How to Use Stress to Your Advantage

Feeling stressed out about all the things you need to do to streamline your business and prime it for growth?

Business author and advisor Susan David says you should embrace that stress and turn it to your advantage. “In my work on ‘emotional agility,’ I’ve found that attempting to get rid of stress can actually make you more stressed.”

Instead, she points out that stress is an evolutionary response that helps us “run faster, jump higher, see better, and think quicker.”

To harness your stress for good, David recommends trying a few techniques:

  • Change the way you think about stress. “Thinking of your stress as a built-in pump-up mechanism, one that prepares you for challenging situations, can help you move forward rather than get bogged down.”
  • “Unhook” yourself from the idea that you’re stressed. “When we identify strongly with an emotion, it can become our definition of self, a terrifying reality that we must face every day.” David continues, “Once you step back, even just a bit, you’ll gain the perspective needed to move forward.”
  • Figure out why you feel stress and analyze how you respond to it.

Relieving stress isn’t easy, David says, so instead find ways to change the way you process it and respond to the world.

What changes have you noticed in the way we get things done? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: August 1 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/future-work-august-1/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/08/future-work-august-1/#respond Mon, 01 Aug 2016 12:49:27 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=38058

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights how demotivating it can be to compare yourself to other freelancers, tips to help keep your work-life balance in check, and the importance of taking time to review your schedule to make sure you're taking care of all your priorities.

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Upwork’s biweekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

FreelancerFaqs | Is Comparison Sabotaging Your Freelance Writing Business?

Learning from online colleagues and fellow freelancers can be a useful tool for improving your own professional world, but comparing yourself to others in your field can also be de-motivating or even damaging to your own business, warns freelancer Taylor Gordon, who says she’s struggled with this herself in the past.

“You give yourself an unfair disadvantage when comparing your skillset to someone who’s been in the game far longer than you. Comparing a fine-tuned business against the bootstrapping stages of your own is an uneven playing field,” she said.

Many new freelancers and creative professionals occasionally struggle with imposter syndrome and feelings of inadequacy in a competitive landscape. Gordon suggests taking a moment to consider the uniqueness you bring to the table.

“No two business owners are alike. Even if you start freelancing the exact day and minute another writer does, you both bring unique experiences, expertise, connections, personality traits, and skills to your work that simply can’t be compared.”

To avoid self-sabotage through unfair comparison, Gordon suggests you find motivation in the successes of others, develop camaraderie with your peers, and if all else-fails, double down focus on growing your own business.

Forbes | 7 Strategies For A Better Work-Life Balance in the Freelance Economy

As an entrepreneur in charge of shaping your own business, it can be easy to inadvertently tip the scale in the wrong direction when it comes to setting limits between work and personal time. This is amplified when your professional well-being relies on your ability to secure a steady inflow of income each month.

Forbes writer Larry Alton offers useful tips to help you decide where to draw the line and how to avoid hitting the wall as a freelancer, including:

Be willing to cut loose difficult clients. While there can be good reasons for sticking it out when things get rough, Alton says it’s important to recognize nightmare clients and muster the courage to “fire” them when necessary—before they drain too much of your time and energy.

Beware the “blur.” Consider making a more concerted effort to separate work time from personal time. This can include everything from setting strict business hours to using a dedicated space in your house for work only.

Unplug and step away. Most people have a smartphone within reach at all times, which makes the prospect of checking work email or messaging clients a tempting habit for those who find it difficult to stop working. Alton recommends occasional mini-breaks from ALL devices.

Fast Company | The Importance of Making Time to Manage Time

Anyone with a strong entrepreneurial streak can find themselves so busy and overwhelmed by the numerous facets of their business that they forget to carve out time to make sure all their priorities get the time they need.

This is exactly what happened to Marcus Whitney, reports Fast Company writer David Zax, and it threatened to consume him. “When you become an entrepreneur, the need for your time feels like it grows exponentially,” said Whitney, echoing a sentiment that’s common among freelancers and other self-employed professionals.

It wasn’t until Whitney decided to regularly set aside time to organize and manage his schedule that the disparate pieces of his life—his business, children, and partner—began to fall back into order, writes Zax. This simple commitment, it turns out, was the key to unlocking and unraveling his scheduling crisis, and has become an important part of his regular routine.

What changes have you noticed in the way we work? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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How to Ace Your Next Client Interview https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/client-interview-tip-tuesday/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/client-interview-tip-tuesday/#respond Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37772

How do you convince a client they should choose you over the other service providers they are chatting with? According to Upwork's Facebook community, the keys are professionalism and effective communication. Here are some great winning interview techniques, from other freelance professionals, that can help.

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Long-distance client interviews have a unique dynamic: It’s your chance to convince the client you are the best business to partner with for their project, and you need to pitch yourself without being in the same room—via video, voice, or text.

How can you manage the remote interview? How do you convince a client they should choose you over the other service providers they are chatting with? According to Upwork’s Facebook community, the keys are professionalism and effective communication. Here are some great winning interview techniques, from other freelance professionals, that can help.


“Timely responses communicate professionalism and create a sense of urgency. Set proper expectations and be concise with your communication unless asked to elaborate on something.”
— Tobz Gorospe


“The main points for interview success: Study the job description and research the needs of the client, list all the important matters that need to be discussed, dress up properly, and take down notes during the interview.”
— Lex Iñosa


“Provide solid solutions at the interview itself. This means you need to have an overview of the project even before the interview and think of ways on how to improve it. Analyze it beforehand so you will show to the client how well you are adept at handling projects of the kind he is giving. Also if he gives you an overview of the project at the interview itself, ASK QUESTIONS. This shows enthusiasm to implement the project successfully and gives you better knowledge on the project itself. These methods build trust and demonstrate that you know what you are talking about, and that you have a mastery of your field.”
John Ernest Guadalupe


“Points to prepare for an interview: Study the job, particularly the qualifications required. Prepare a point for each qualification that you have experience with, and an impressive thought for those that you are not yet experienced. Make sure you have CONFIDENCE (since we work online, confidence is heard in our voice so it’s important that you’re prepared), ENTHUSIASM (an attitude showing you want the job by asking questions about the job–it gives employers the feeling that you’re easy to work with at the same time very interested with the position), and FLEXIBILITY (clients love to work with [multi-talented] freelancers). Good luck!”
Klarissa Castillo


“I make it clear to clients that they are making the best decision hiring me because of my attitude. My skills are just a bonus. There’s very tight competition for a single job post, imagine everyone having the same skills, and there even might be better skilled ones out there. But, at the end, the person with the ‘right attitude’ will stand out.”
Kristine Alexis William


What are your best interview techniques? Tell us in the comments!

Editor’s note: Responses edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity. The statements above are those of their authors and do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork.

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: July 18 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/perspectives-future-work-july-18/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/perspectives-future-work-july-18/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37630

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights a new trend for coworking spaces, and offers suggestions for freelancers who are in need of a break.

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Upwork’s biweekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Fast Company | Are Empty High-End Restaurants The Next Coworking Trend?

In metropolitan areas with large freelance and entrepreneurial communities, the creation of dedicated coworking spaces has been a growing trend that gives individuals an opportunity to work in a collaborative environment and share resources. Much like the rapid growth we’ve seen in the freelance workforce in recent years, coworking continues to evolve in interesting ways, too, freelancer Susan Johnston Taylor reports.

To save money and make better use of building resources, some entrepreneurs are experimenting with a new approach by adapt existing spaces for use as functional coworking environments. Their prime target? Restaurants and cafes—during non-business hours.

“Having a place that’s relaxed and comfortable is very good for creative type work,” said CoworkCafe co-founder David James. “There’s a certain feeling that you get in a place like this you can’t get in an office-type building. They really love the feeling of the space; they don’t want to be in a traditional office setting.”

Working in a creative environment with ambiance and a unique vibe that’s very different from typical office culture is one benefit, writes Taylor, but these arrangements also utilize existing furniture, tables, and shared resources for a cost savings, too. And there are other perks to partnering with restaurants.

“There’s a different mood when you leave your home office versus a restaurant,” said NYC content strategist Angela Pham. “I can either leave when I’m done with my work or I have a choice of staying for happy hour. It doesn’t feel like I’ve left a long workday.”

Freelancers Union | Take an “Alterna-cation”

Lamenting the quick passing of summer’s warm rays and those fleeting opportunities to enjoy being outdoors can be a common complaint for freelancers who find themselves swamped with work. When going on a fancier getaway for some much-needed R&R isn’t a realistic option, creative entrepreneur Mica Scalin says taking an “alterna-cation” might be your next best option.

“Taking intentional time off from your day-to-day affairs could be the most important thing you invest in all year–and for creative professionals all the more so,” said Scalin, citing scientific studies that underscore the positive impact vacation time can have on your overall health, wellness, and productivity levels.

“Beyond that, for creative freelancers, the opportunity for off-task thinking and self-reflection that vacations provide is key to generating the new perspectives that keep your work fresh.”

Scalin suggests not putting off taking time for yourself and offers a few recommended options to consider as alternatives to a more traditional vacation, including:

  1. Day-cation. Try taking one day a week off to unwind completely. If that’s too frequent to fit your schedule, once a month is also a good starting point.
  2. Stay-cation. Invite an out-of-town friend to visit and unwind with them by showing them unique sites, restaurants, and local hotspots.
  3. Health-cation. Spend a week taking time to tend to your health and wellbeing, whether that means exercise, yoga, a spa, or some other body and mind energizing activity.

What changes have you noticed in the way we work? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: July 4 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/future-work-july-4/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/07/future-work-july-4/#respond Mon, 04 Jul 2016 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37541

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights the prospect of using virtual reality to enhance work conditions, tips for finding healthcare as a freelancer, and a information on how freelancers can save for retirement.

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Upwork’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

The (Virtual) Future of Work? (Co.Design)

For some, the benefits of virtual reality (VR) goes beyond common applications in the game and entertainment industries. Co.Design senior writer Mark Wilson found tech companies are using VR to enhance how people work.

In his experimental profile piece, Wilson explores the new VR productivity app, Space. “I’m at my standing desk, typing this note. But instead of looking at my 24-inch monitor as usual, I’m wearing an HTC Vive Headset. I’m surrounded by six giant, 70-ish-inch screens. To my left, a small tower of YouTube videos. On my right, CNN’s latest on Brexit. And in the middle? I can look up to see my Gmail and down to see this very document sitting below,” explains Wilson.

As VR continues to mature and evolve, this kind of application is expected to develop into a promising tool for online collaboration, multitasking, and virtual productivity. At this stage, working from a virtual desktop has its challenges. Wilson’s neck ached from staring at improperly angled screens, found the sheer number of screens too distracting, and had trouble typing on a keyboard that didn’t exist. He concludes, “I don’t know if this setup is efficient…it’s stupidly amazing, however.”

7 Ways Freelancers Can Get the Right Deal on Healthcare (Time)

Despite increased flexibility and protections, healthcare remains a major expense for today’s self-employed professionals. To make sure you’re covered properly, Time Money Reporter Kara Brandeisky suggests these seven do’s and don’ts for freelancers.

1. Do learn the basics. Go to Healthcare.gov to learn about the Affordable Care Act and compare plans.
2. Do take advantage of subsidies. You may qualify for subsidies or you can shop for insurers directly through sites like eHealth.
3. Do go for higher deductible plans. If typical premiums are too high, consider higher deductible plans—they’ll lower your monthly premium cost.
4. Do plan for taxes. Depending on your income, you may have to pay back a portion of your premium credit.
5. Don’t be tempted with short-term health plans. They don’t offer the same coverage as traditional insurance and they don’t meet the Affordable Care Act coverage requirements.
6. Don’t go into sticker shock. The prices may seem high, but in addition to the tax penalty for not having insurance, paying for healthcare without insurance costs more.
7. Don’t miss the deadline. If you don’t have insurance yet for 2016, you’ve already missed the open enrollment period. But go to Healthcare.gov to see if you qualify for exceptions.

3 Ways Freelancers Can Save For Retirement  (The Alternative Daily)

Especially when starting out, freelancers often worry more about making their monthly bill payments than saving for retirement. And saving requires more discipline because contributions aren’t automatically taken out of paychecks.

Until you can increase your savings significantly, these three options help ease you into saving for a comfortable retirement. And they help you save on taxes in the short run. Be sure to seek professional advice for details about qualifications and limitations.

1. Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP-IRA). You can put away as much as 20 percent of your net income from self-employment. You’re taxed on the distributions once you start making withdrawals in retirement.
2. Roth IRA. You can’t deduct contributions to Roth IRAs, but you aren’t taxed on the distributions once you start making withdrawals in retirement. Unlike SEP or traditional IRAs, there’s no age limit at which you must start making withdrawals.
3. Solo 401(k). This is also known as an individual 401(k) or self-employed 401(k). You can include your spouse in a solo 401(k). Freelancers may also contribute up to 25 percent of earned net income as an employer contribution.

What changes have you noticed in the way we work? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: June 20 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/future-work-june-20/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/future-work-june-20/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2016 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37477

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights a study that asks whether women make better freelancers than men, tips for being a successful contractor while looking for a job, and a study that shows freelancers are a pretty happy bunch.

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Upwork’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Do women make better freelancers than men? (Vice)

A Freelancers Union study found a majority of full-time freelancers are women. And they’re thriving while balancing the demands of project work along with a traditional job and family.

Writer Katherine Gillespie wonders whether this might be because freelancing allows women to circumvent obstacles they may face in a traditional career, such as pay gaps, confidence gaps, workplace sexism, or sexual harassment.

Ngaio Parr, a designer, illustrator and curator says, “Freelancing benefits women as it sits outside of a system that was not made for us. I don’t think it exclusively benefits women… but in general, women have to jump more hurdles in the traditional workplace, and some of these issues can be somewhat alleviated when working independently.”

Freelance documentary photographer and journalist Elize Strydom takes a more economic view. She believes women often freelance to supplement their income, motivated by tougher competition coupled with waning job security. Strydom provides an example within her own industry: “If you’re a journalist, it’s no longer enough to simply write. You must be able to write and take photos, record video and audio, edit it all then put it online and promote it across your social media networks. It’s rare for employers to hire a person to specialize in one creative area.”

How to freelance successfully while looking for a full-time job (Money)

Recruiter and coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine says you need to maintain a careful balance when you’re promoting yourself as a consultant while also looking for a full-time job. Here are her suggestions:

Focus on your activities and results, rather than on a specific title. For example, instead of saying you’re a marketing consultant with Company X, talk about what you’re doing, such as spearheading new product development or executing social media campaigns.

On your LinkedIn profile, choose one way to represent your work experience for anyone who happens upon your profile. Include accurate, updated information, and state your goals. You can appear committed to both your clients and potential employers by focusing on the skills you’re building, the results you’re achieving, and the expertise you’re gaining.

And manage your time by going after the right opportunities. If you want a permanent job and can afford to hold off working for a while, consider concentrating your efforts on a full-time job search. If you need to find work quickly, dedicate time to pitching for consulting projects. Ceniza-Levine suggests allotting at least 10-15 hours per week to your job search or your next consulting project.

Most freelancers are happy with their income and career choice (SIA)

The 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study found 95 percent of freelancers feel positively about what they do. According to the study, the newest shift in freelancing isn’t in its growing numbers—it’s in how traditional and freelance workforces are blending.

The report states: “While the freelance movement continues to accelerate and widen, we do not foresee a future where everyone is independent. Rather, we see a hybrid workforce emerging that taps a network of expertise for collaborative projects, and elastic teams that scale up and down with need, demand and capacity. This is the blended workforce.”

The study shows freelancing is driven more by choice than economic reasons. Eighty-six percent of freelancers surveyed said they chose to freelance rather than feeling forced into it. The top two reasons cited are: “More flexibility” (33 percent), and “control over my future” (23 percent).

Other findings include:

  • 72 percent of freelancers make the same or more than they did when traditionally employed.
  • For 94 percent of freelancers surveyed, contract work comprises a regular, reliable part of their household income.

What changes have you noticed in the way we work? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: June 13 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/future-work-june-13/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/future-work-june-13/#respond Mon, 13 Jun 2016 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37453

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights habits followed by some of the most successful freelancers and key questions entrepreneurs should ask to test new ideas.

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Upwork’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Money | 7 Habits of Highly Effective Freelancers

The most successful freelancers never forget that they’re running a business—“even if that business happens to be headquartered at the kitchen table,” noted financial writer Sarah Max.

To keep that business running smoothly, habits Max has picked up through experience and her peers include:

  • Make calculated exceptions. “There are times when you should be willing to negotiate, whether it’s under the banner of employee morale (your own) or business development,” Max wrote. “If a project opens doors, takes you in a new direction that interests you, or benefits a cause you care about—think of it as your personal social giving campaign—there is additional value, beyond the fee.”
  • Write a mission statement. Because “in the freelance world, it’s up to you to set goals and chart your path,” Max said.
  • Give yourself a paycheck. Don’t go hog wild when you receive a large check, and you won’t have to live on ramen during slow periods.
  • Network. Seek out fellow freelancers and professionals in your industry to bounce ideas off, brainstorm with, ask for advice, and commiserate with.

Fast Company | How to Test That Brilliant Idea As Soon As It Hits You

So you’ve come up with what you’re convinced is a million-dollar—make that billion-dollar—idea. Don’t invest all your resources into turning that concept into a product, service, or business just yet, however.

Brian Scordata, founder of Tacklebox Accelerator, suggests that entrepreneurs (and would-be entrepreneurs) answer these three questions first:

  • What are you making? “If you can’t describe what you’re making in a sentence, it won’t work. Simple as that,” he wrote. After all, if you can’t explain it succinctly, how will anyone else understand it, let alone spread the word to others?
  • Is anyone listening? If people don’t have a need or desire for your brilliant product or service, they’re not going to listen to your description of it, no matter how succinct it is.
  • Where’s the water cooler? “When, where, and why do conversations between your perfect customers about the problem you’re solving occur?” Scordata asked. Knowing this will enable you to successfully market to them.

What changes have you noticed in the way we work? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: June 6 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/future-work-june-6/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/06/future-work-june-6/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2016 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37368

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights why some experts think we'll work more—not less—as the way we work changes, why lawyers are increasingly attracted by the freelance life, and the benefits and challenges of remote teams.

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Upwork’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Forbes ǀ Future of Work: We’ll Work More (But Be Happier About It?)

A think tank of expert panelists predict that in five to 10 years, we’re probably going to work more—in hopes of achieving work/life balance. So how does working more accomplish that?

One theory is flexibility. Author David Carr says we’ll likely opt to spend less time in actual offices, and more time working at home and in coffee shops—planning that time around other commitments. When you add up all of that time, it could exceed the typical 40-50 hour week many office workers currently log.

Kate Kendall, CEO and founder of CloudPeeps, also suggests we’ll work more because we like it, “We will be working more for ourselves – working on things we are passionate about.” Or our definition of work could change to include work outside of company time, such as volunteering for a nonprofit or working on a freelance project. So, while we could create longer work weeks, our efforts may expand to include more personal pursuits.

But what about all of the technology that’s supposed to make our life more efficient? Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky says technology doesn’t make us work less. It makes us work on the right things.

The Guardian ǀ Could freelance be the future for lawyers?

Freelancing isn’t new for lawyers. As Tess Reidy reports, clients have been saving by going to freelancing marketplaces like Lawyers On Demand, Axiom, and Vario for years. However, the number of independent lawyers—and demand for them—has boomed over the last three years. Tom Hartley, managing director of Lawyers On Demand explains, “The freelance path is now seen as attractive and aspirational; it enables lawyers to work for big names like Google, Barclays and Vodafone on their own terms.”

The growing trend is a reminder that lawyers have other interests too, and they want to enjoy them more. Kay Ma, who is part of an in-house legal team for a global company, chose to go freelance so she could spend more time on building up her novelty cake-making business. “A lot of freelance solicitors are good lawyers – and something else. I can be a serious lawyer and have other interests without feeling like I am committing adultery on my career.”

David Wides, a commercial lawyer, couldn’t stand being tied to an office. As a freelancer, “I get to decide what trips I want to do and I plan my work around them. Before, I was always worrying whether my work would allow me time to take holidays at all, and I was worried about the pile of work waiting for me on my return. With freelancing this isn’t an issue.”

CIO ǀ Remote Project Teams Work…But It’s Not for Everyone

There’s no doubt virtual teams work. Many successful startups either run fully distributed, or they rely on remote teams. Although the web is full of success stories romanticizing the freedom of working from home in your bunny slippers, it’s not for everyone. As a project manager, you’ve got to be experienced to make it work.

As consultant and author Brad Egeland explains, to succeed with a remote team you must possess superior organizational skills, be extremely disciplined, and your team should feel your confidence pouring across the internet. You also need to be able to pick up on signs that someone’s not working out and be able to take the appropriate actions from a distance. That’s especially difficult when you can’t see the person live to observe work habits, or read body language for cues that you’re making the right decision.

If you’ve got the chops to make it work, Egeland says remote teams can provide several benefits. In today’s talent shortage, he notes, one critical benefit is the ability to go outside of your locale to find the best talent—many times at a savings.

What changes have you noticed in the way we work? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: May 30 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/future-work-may-30/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/future-work-may-30/#respond Mon, 30 May 2016 13:02:57 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37329

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights technology's impact on the way we work, how teams are going virtual, mistakes freelancers often make, and the benefits of hiring an "entrepreneur-in-residence."

The post Perspectives on the Future of Work: May 30 appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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Upwork’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Forbes | Four Ways Tech Will Dramatically Transform the Global Workforce

Some of the ways technology is changing—and will continue to change—the workforce and the workplace are fairly obvious (telecommuting, anyone?). Others are less so. Tech writer Kavi Guppta distills four of the most pervasive changes we can expect:

  1. Everyone will work remotely in some capacity. Beyond writers who can work at coffee shops with WiFi and illustrators who have long produced imagery for clients halfway around the globe, advancements such as drone technology will enable even some logistics-oriented jobs to be performed remotely.
  2. Everyone will be a free agent. The job market will actually be more of a job marketplace, with increased demand for services that connect people with skills or resources to the people who need their help.
  3. People and companies will embrace outsourcing. “As talent continues to transcend borders, and workers can demand better support and wages, the workforce will increasingly outsource or unbundle itself to reduce costs and reinvest savings in other ways,” Guppta predicted.
  4. Skills development and training will be overhauled. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other types of distance learning will make education more accessible—a boon to workers who want to learn new skills or expand their knowledge.

HR.BL.com | Virtual Is the New Reality for Workplace Teams, Says New Study

More proof that having an entire organization headquartered in one building is becoming a thing of the past: 52 percent of the 9,000 knowledge workers (i.e. software engineers, architects, writers, and others whose jobs focus on “thinking”) who responded to a recent survey said they now work more in virtual teams across locations than they have in the past.

The survey, commissioned by communications and collaboration software company Unify, encompassed workers in the United States, the UK, and Germany. Of those surveyed, 36 percent said “creative thinking is one of the biggest benefits of working with people outside of traditional, physically located teams,” according to HR.BLR.com. What’s more, 42 percent felt that virtual teams can be more effective than teams that work face to face.

Technology, of course, is enabling this sort of collaboration across locations and even borders. Fifty-seven percent of survey participants said they use online or cloud-based on-demand tools for virtual collaboration and project management. As a result, Unify CEO Jon Pritchard stated in a press release, “it’s our belief that knowledge workers will increasingly want to define how, when, and where they work. It’s up to businesses to enable this behavior and manage further disruption and change.”

Organizations that insist knowledge workers perform their tasks in a specific locale could find it difficult to attract and retain top-notch talent.

Wise Bread | The Five Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make

As a freelancer, you can be booked with a solid roster of loyal clients and still have a flailing business. Why? According to writer Amanda Meadows, you could be making one (or several) of these mistakes:

  1. Forgetting to withhold taxes. For freelancers in the States, she advises automatically putting away at least 20 percent of every payment to help cover the IRS’s 15.3 percent self-employment tax as well as state and local taxes.
  2. Neglecting to save for retirement. “Considering the uneven payment schedule of freelancers, a place where your money can grow slowly over time is an important safety net to have,” Meadows noted.
  3. Losing track of expenses. And not just things like supplies and transportation. “Do you spend hours of unpaid time and/or money on research before doing the job? This should all be tracked and never go beyond a certain limit you determine, based on the work,” Meadows advised.
  4. Failing to set a schedule. Good time management will help you juggle multiple jobs—and ensure you don’t lose momentum during time between jobs.
  5. Opting not to market yourself. You may have plenty of work on your plate right now, but you can’t assume such will be the case two months from now. That’s why it’s important to maintain a website, start a blog, submit articles to sites and publications in your specific field, and network online and in person.

Entrepreneur | Three Benefits of Hiring an “Entrepreneur-in-Residence”

If you’re an entrepreneur yourself, the idea of hiring an entrepreneur-in-residence may seem redundant. But Hawke Media CEO—and serial entrepreneur—Erik Huberman makes a solid case as to why small and startup businesses, as much as large conglomerates, can benefit from having an “intrepreneur.”

For instance, “entrepreneurs-in-residence [EIRs] can lead spinoff brands and equity deals, freeing up the CEO while the business gains new market shares and audiences,” Huberman wrote. “CEOs should include EIRs in meetings that concern venture capital, influencers, and agencies. This way, the entrepreneurs-in-residence can connect the dots about portfolio businesses and hit the ground running with spinoff brands.”

Perhaps most important, an intrepreneur can—and should—have skills that complement those of the CEO. A chief executive who’s a whiz at striking equity deals, but has little operational expertise, might want an entrepreneur-in-residence with experience in manufacturing or fulfillment; a CEO who is an expert at public relations and networking could benefit from a numbers-crunching EIR.

What business trends have caught your attention recently? Tell us about them in the comments below!

The post Perspectives on the Future of Work: May 30 appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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Perspectives on the Future of Work: May 23 https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/future-work-may-23/ https://www.upwork.com/blog/2016/05/future-work-may-23/#respond Mon, 23 May 2016 13:00:20 +0000 http://www.upwork.com/blog/?p=37312

What's the latest news about the future of work? This week’s roundup highlights why freelancing might be the solution professionals of retirement age are looking for, some of the secrets behind one serial entrepreneur's success, and what flags freelancers can watch for to help avoid challenging clients.

The post Perspectives on the Future of Work: May 23 appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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Upwork’s weekly column brings you the latest news on hiring and working with freelancers, freelancing, and the future of work.

Huffington Post | Freelancing Through Our Golden Years

With the uncertainty of Social Security and the cost of living continuing to rise, kicking back after retirement and coasting by comfortably on savings and a solid pension isn’t the sure and steady option it once was. Freelancing, and the part-time flexibility that comes with it, might be the answer many folks of retirement age are looking for, says Baby Boomer and long-time freelancer Jeb Harrison.

“For those of us that need to continue to generate some form of income until we’re physically and/or mentally incapable of doing so, retiring from the eight-to-six office life (by choice or otherwise) may be akin to getting thrown in the ocean without a life preserver,” he wrote, adding it’s a growing predicament that many others will inevitably face in the not-too-distant future.

Harrison’s own answer to “what’s next” for the older generation relies heavily on contract work and part-time freelance projects, which he says offer a happy medium.

Inc. | 6 Secrets of Radical Productivity, From an Entrepreneur Who Runs 4 Businesses

If running one business doesn’t sound complicated enough, imagine running four at the same time and living to tell the tale. Serial entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg manages to pull this off, and Inc. editor Kimberly Weisul digs deep into the successful business owner’s secrets for staying productive amidst all the hustle and bustle.

Among her other recommendations for other like-minded entrepreneurs, Eisenberg shares a few choice nuggets of inspiration.

Hire people who have that same creative spark – “I want to hear about what excites you. I want to hear about projects you’re working on,” she said. “That you had an idea, and you executed on it.”

Be generous with your time – “I actually believe the generosity model pays off in some way. Not always in money, but in connections and opportunities.”

Create the solution instead of complaining about it – All of Eisenberg’s business ideas came about as solutions to irritating problems, she says.

When you say yes, mean it and follow-through – “When I say yes to something, I’m willing to go all the way,” she said. “I am all in and I will not underdeliver.”

Freelancers Union | How to use Psychology to Avoid Clients from Hell

As a freelancer, some clients can be amazing to work with. Others? Not so much. Knowing what to look for when a potential client reaches out with a freelance opportunity can help you sidestep potential disasters, says blogger and entrepreneur Melissa Chu.

The first step in steering clear of time- and energy-wasting clients is to watch for common red flags.

“If someone is difficult to deal with during initial discussions, things won’t get better after you’ve signed them on — if they decide to go with you,” she said. “For example, a prospect might take up a lot of your time asking for advice with no signs of moving forward.”

It’s important during any client courtship phase to demonstrate how you can deliver value through your freelance services. However, Chu also suggests you should be aware of how much time is being spent on a client without any concrete arrangements materializing. Knowing the psychology of buying and non-buying behavior can help make it easier to determine whether a prospective client is serious about working with you—and whether the engagement is worth the trouble, she says.

What business trends have caught your attention recently? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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