Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Freelance Work is Dominating the Job Market

I got a nice email from Elance today informing be that there are now over 53 million Americans doing freelance work! Granted, I believe the number includes people who may only do freelance on the side or a couple of times a year to earn some spare change, but still....okay?

With this huge shift in workforce setting, what does that mean for those of us who freelance for a living vs those of us who don't?

Companies are relying more and more on utilizing freelancers, they often only need them for projects or jobs that have a finite time frame, so it ends up being much cheaper to hire a freelancer rather than a full time employee with all those pesky benefits. 2% of the standard work force positions are being awarded to freelancers

Surely the current freelancers are seeing less demand for their work now that the freelancer supply has grown so large though... Actually, quite the opposite has happened. In the last year, twice as many freelancers saw an increase in demand than those who saw a decrease.

Other than location, the requirements for freelancing are comparable with the traditional workforce. Jobs still tend to go to those who have more than a high school education and more experience in their field than those who have little experience and limited education.

So why doesn't everybody do it? Freelancing is not something anyone does out of necessity (or at least extreme necessity), if you need a stable pay check, freelancing is probably not for you. Don't get me wrong, you can have some REALLY GREAT weeks, but they may be followed by a month of nothing but cricket sounds as you wait around for other work. Fittingly, financial necessity is not one of the highest reasons freelancers have chosen the trade. Schedule flexibility, pursuing projects your passionate about, strengthening skills, and spending more time with friends and family are all highly valued reasons people freelance.

So what will the next several years look like for us freelancers? First of all, traditional insurance and loan options will have to adjust to fit the growing freelance market. There will likely also be more freelance buildings where people can go, share ideas, have access to internet....I know, I'm basically describing a Starbucks...but one great-big-giant Starbucks...with free coffee?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Crazy Few months...

Wow... I don't really know where to start to fill you in on the last few months...I guess one big bomb is fine.

I quit my job and became a freelance writer!

I'm crazy I know, really. All of my family and many of my friends are terrified on my behalf. I'll start off with saying that I'm fortunate enough to be supported both emotionally and financially by my boyfriend who, though he is probably terrified himself, has been a trooper through this whole "I want to do something that makes me happy," crisis.

That's the gist of it, I quit my job. It should also be noted that I didn't quit in order to become a writer, I quit and then discovered the world of freelance writing mere days before my last day with a paycheck. It feels like I've been doing this for months, though.

Within the first two weeks of writing, I've accomplished more than I had in the last three years of my old job. I have written dozens of articles, product descriptions, and blogs. I've learned about investing in gold, video marketing strategies, and even how to fix a garage door when it gets jammed. I've written my first e-book about art therapy, I've started my own book about how to become a freelance writer (from a beginner's perspective), and I've signed a deal to re-write classical children's stories.

I feel so blessed and, more importantly, SO FREE!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Battles of Westeros

This is my first board game review - I've chosen a rather involved game so people can get a feel for what I'm going to cover and...I just really liked it, so I wanted to talk about it. Get off my back, okay?

First and foremost, for those who are not Game of Thrones fans, this game is a strategy based game set in the fictional land of Westeros, created by George R.R. Martine in his saga "A Song of Ice and Fire." If you haven't read this series or seen it on HBO, go. Come back and finish this after you're done...

Are you back? What did you think? How 'bout that red wedding? Okay, enough, back to the game.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I'm Alive!

So it's been about a year since I started this blog and about 9 months since I last posted. Yep, I was on top of it for a record 3 months and then just stopped one day, about the same time I started a new project at work and lost touch with most of the hobbies I had :/

So, today I've decided to give this another shot, partly because maintaining this blog has helped me tremendously as a writer. Putting myself out there and forcing myself to write things completely out of my comfort zone (and I mean SO FAR out of my comfort zone that I thought I had almost lost it), has made me not only a more well-rounded writer (still amateur, let's not get ahead of ourselves), but a stronger person in general. But I think my favorite part about having the blog is that it really is just a glorified journal for me. I've been able to look at a 3 month span of my life and remember so many little things that I otherwise would have lost. My adventures in reading, writing, gardening, traveling, cooking, and blogging are all documented. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words are worth...ok, well, a thousand words. But you get the picture.

So here goes my effort to re-energize my blog for myself!

When I last posted, I had set down my novel for the obligatory waiting period suggested by absolutely every author/editor/publicist that I've researched. The thing about that waiting period though, is that it absolutely killed my writing fervor. I consider myself a pretty disciplined person, I told myself I had to write a certain number of words every week and write a certain number of blog posts every week, and I did it! When I had to put it down, I lost interest in it. I've still yet to gain that momentum back. When I stopped writing the book, I had less to write about in the weekly blogs. When I started my work project I had even less time to not only write the blogs, but do the activities I was writing about.

Life has calmed a little bit for me now, and I now feel like I am able to pick some of these interests back up. Some of the things I expect to write about over the next couple months include writing (more short stories and potentially a new novel), books that I'm reading, board games I'm playing - I'm going to review these as an exercise for myself as well as to provide a reference for board gamers, and potentially my journey of starting a small business. This last one may or may not make the blog. I'm getting really interested in it, but I'm going to hazard to say that tax laws and business licenses do not make for the most interesting subject matter.

Regardless of the blog's value, I'm looking forward to jumping back in to the adrenaline rush that is writing and letting myself grow in all sorts of different directions. Here's to a very exciting next couple of months!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's up Wednesday: Weight Watchers and Chopped!

I have two big goals coming up in the near-ish future.

1. Lose 20 pounds by September 23
2. Become the 2nd Annual Chopped Champion!!!!

Don't worry, I'll explain...

I lost about twenty pounds a little over two years ago, and over the course of the last two years, I have put 21 pounds back on. When I did it the first time, I counted calories and worked out. I ate only 2,000 calories per day and worked out at least 4 or 5 times a week. It MELTED off!! But maybe it wasn't super healthy.

I'm a big coffee drinker, almost 1/4 of my calories was going to my coffee (because I put sugar and creamer in it) and I couldn't eat as many other things because my cap was 2,000 calories per day. Yes I lost the weight, but  don't feel my that my overall health improved as much as it could have.

NOW, I am doing weight watchers plus. I have a daily allotted amount of points and 35 extra points per week that can be used whenever. Daily points don't roll over, but your weekly points are there all week. The best thing about this program is that most fruits and vegetables are 0 points! The points are calculated based on fat, carbs, fiber, and protein, so the healthier the food, the fewer the points.

Also, you can earn points back! Say I plan on eating a lot this weekend, I can work out every day this week to build up activity points to cover it! And one week into it, I have lost 5 pounds (I need to average 1.5 pounds a week to hit my goal)!

And I actually DO feel like I'm healthier and have a little more energy. I've been eating more fruits and vegetables and working out everyday!

Now for the most serious of the two topics...Chopped!

My little sister , Eric, and I started this competition last year after my sister and I watched tons of "Chopped!" over the summer. Sadly, I did not win. Eric won and he rubbed it in all year long with the prestigious t-shirt declaring him the First Annual Chopped Champion.

What we do, is we go to the store and pick 3 ingredients for the meal we are judging (appetizer, entrée, dessert). Then we blitz the store, taking bout thirty minutes to come up with a plan and buy the ingredients for the two meals we will cook.

We define a time limit (in the show they have 30 minutes for each round, but we are nowhere good enough to do that), and cook! Then the judge tastes the food and decided who won the round. Whoever wins the majority of the rounds is the champion. In the even of a tie, the chef's must prepare a meal out of only the ingredients lying around in the house (this hasn't happened to us yet).

Anyway, I have been doing my research this year. I know how to make a basic soup without a recipe, lots of different smoothies, different ways to treat meat, and ways to cook root vegetables that scare me away because they look ugly.

I'm READY!!!!! Cue Rocky montage

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's up Wednesday: 4 things I learned this week

This is the first post in a series of posts called What's Up Wednesday. WUW will be exactly what it sounds like. What's up with me, my writing, the world if there's something particularly interesting going on.

For this week's What's Up Wednesday my topic is 4 things I learned this week.

1. How do I shut off water to my house?

We've been growing a garden. It's been real. It's been fun. It's been real fun. BUT, there are tons of things that just keep popping up for us to deal with in the yard work department. Lowes has quickly grown to be one of my favorite stores, all they need is a grocery department and we'd be all set.

Anyways, we've had a problem with the hose spigot, it leaks everywhere! We can fill up a 10 gallon bucket of leaked water just in the 10 minutes it takes us to water our garden! We've (and be we, I mean mostly Eric), have spent the last three weeks trying to fix it. It was leaking through the handle and we needed to remove the handle to see what was wrong...but you can't remove the handle without dousing yourself with cold water. So obviously we need to figure out how to shut water off to the house.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Countdown to editing my book

It's about that time...It's been 4 weeks, I only have two weeks left until it's editing time and so many things are on my mind.

I work a full-time job and devoted my after work free time to writing. Near the end of my book, I was on a roll with a writing commitment of 1,000 word a day. Since my book-writing hiatus started, I have been  doing my best to fill the extra time with value added stuff (and by that, I mean value added to writing).

I started the blogging class, launched a Twitter account, joined a critique circle and have been critiquing a lot of stories, began doing weekly short stories, and I researched a lot about the editing process and finding an agent. SO I've found myself in this little cocoon of fun things to keep me busy. Things that matter, things that are helping me become a better writer. And now I'm like a kid graduating high school. What's going to happen to me now? Blogging and I will be friends forever...right? I'm nervous that when I start writing/editing again, I will no longer have time for all these little things that I'm nervous to give up.