Cutting Through Messy Side Hustles With Accessibility

Whether you are an independent freelancer or you’ve decided to launch your own side-hustle company, there is one thing that you need to know from the start: Messy businesses don’t make it. Indeed, in a world where everything is accessible in a click, you can’t afford to delay your work and services. That’s precisely why organization is essential: Keeping everything you and your customers need accessible at all times.

For freelancers, stay-at-home dads and moms, and independent professionals, the notion of accessibility is the ideal combination of digital technology and offline practicality. To create a substantial presence, you need to focus your efforts on gathering the tools to maximize your response time, your availability at the right time and location, and your visibility on the go. Being accessible in the modern economy is as much about ensuring customers can find you than ensuring you can find what they need from you.

Mobile side hustlers need an app

Business on the go is what your customers want

Online retailers such as Amazon have built their entire businesses on enabling maximum accessibility to their customers. There is only one level up after that, and it’s to redefine the on-demand market. Indeed, side-hustlers need to look for one-to-one alternatives to make accessibility their USP – Unique Selling Proposition – on the go. Thankfully, you can find guidance in Android Uber app inspired platforms that put individual skills and features on a market in needs of short-term and immediate services. Getting in touch with a professional massage or beauty expert, for instance, can happen through an app, where you can book the right service to the location of your choice. For a mobile hairdresser business, this is the perfect solution.

The most effective office in the world

Admittedly, even a mobile side-hustle business needs a tidy office space where you can keep all your invoices, certification and equipment. Keeping a side-business at home is, however, tricky, especially if you’re prone to misplace documents or items. Here’s another rule of accessibility for you: Everything in one place and one place for everything. Something as simple as labeling your electric cords can avoid confusing in the long term. Similarly, storage boxes and color-coded filing systems will keep your stuff organized and easy to find whenever you need them. Why does it matter? Because your side-hustle on the go needs to maintain a professional front both for customers and official authorities.

No more wasting space!

Finding digital storage room for your business data is also a matter of accessibility. You don’t want to walk around with a pack of USB keys at all times, trying to remember what is stored on each of them. Live with your time! Your side hustle needs cloud computing to keep all data accessible when you need them – and to scale up when you need more storage space. For someone who wants to stay on top of the curve, it makes everything accessible from anywhere!

Cloud computing

In conclusion, with half of Americans pursuing a side-hustle career, you can’t afford to build your freelancing activities without accessibility. From making your services accessible when people need them to keeping all your business documentation stored and findable for admin purposes, being accessible gives you the economic freedom you crave.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Great Tips For New Freelancers & Small Business Owners

As a freelancer or home business owner, you are in charge of absolutely everything. It can feel like you have been gifted with the most freedom you’ve ever had – but with great freedom comes great organization. Having the freedom to create your working week is a great thing. But, you need to have systems in place that allow you to enjoy that freedom and stay as productive as possible.

There are of course going to be plenty of days where the system doesn’t feel like it’s working, or that you just don’t feel like working – and that is fine too. But, to help you have less of those days, and more ultra-productive smooth ones, here are a few tips.

Photo by MARVIN TOLENTINO on Unsplash

Work With How You Work

Some people are night owls, some people are early birds, and others work in dribs and drabs throughout the day. If you can see a pattern in how you work, use that as the basis for your schedule. There is little point in putting a working routine together that starts at 6am if you aren’t functioning at your best till 12. By choosing to work in the times, you are most productive you won’t waste any time getting things done. If you have any staff or work with other freelancers, you’ll also want to implement a system to schedule your employees with ease too. As well as time routine, you could think about what times your breaks would work best, could you prep your lunch the night before?

It is all about making your day run as smoothly as possible and maximizing your working time.

Set Timers

Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” – does that sound familiar? Probably. Most freelancers are guilty of letting their days run long because they don’t set solid time limits on their work. It might sound counterproductive – getting all of this freedom then tying yourself into timetables and timers, but by maximizing your working time, you’re going to getting a lot more free time. A few great options are:

  • Be Focused: Allows you to set up a task list with a time to complete it and a work interval in between each. Typically it sits in 15-minute slots with 5-minute intervals until the long interval of 30 minutes. You tick each task as you complete and it moves on to the next one.
  • Office Time: This one has expense tracking, Apple calendar syncing ability, summary graphs, and a simple invoicing system. Perfect for keeping track of hourly contracts.
  • Time Panther: This has a brilliant break down of projects and clients. So you can tally up how much time you have spent on each, making invoicing for hours spent super easy. It has timers to keep track of all of the activity, and it can even tell you when you were working productively or when you were surfing facebook.

Lists Are Your Friend

Each and every morning, you should make a checklist. You might like to tie this moment into when you have your morning coffee (or shake if that is what you do), think about what you need to achieve. Be specific too. Rather than just write ‘deal with emails’ write something closer to ‘respond to XYZ, contact ABC and unsubscribe from X newsletter’. Setting actionable goals will help you feel accomplished. Transfer that written list into your digital time tracking app, set your timers up and away you go.

Goals are Goals

The lists are part of you setting daily goals. As well as daily, you should think about setting goals for the next 3/6/9/12 months. Think about what it is that you would like to achieve. Want to create some downloads? How about complete an eBook? Learn a new skill? You’d be wise to write down a financial goal too. Visualizing your goals, and keeping them somewhere as a visible reminder will help you stay on track. Once you have written down your goals, think about the actionable steps that you’ll need to take. If you don’t already have one, then you should put together a business plan or at the very least a vision for your venture. For two reasons, every business should have an idea of the very long-term goals, and the purpose which they serve. And, on the very hard days, the vision is a nice reminder of why you started this in the first place.

Don’t Get Bogged Down

When you are implementing new working systems, it can be all too easy to pile on too much work and not manage to finish any of it to the standard you want. Or, in your excitement, you take on more clients than you had room for. Be sensible with what you have the time to do without exhausting yourself. Overwhelm is a real thing and can hit particularly hard when you are the only person who can be held accountable.

End of The Day

When you send that last email or put the final period at the end of the sentence, and is time to switch from work to personal take stock of the day. Have a look at your to-do list from the day, what did you accomplish, what needed more time than you had thought? Where there any tasks that you keep putting off? By taking a moment to talk about what you didn’t get done, you will begin to streamline your process even more.

Now is a good time to check things that track your productivity vs procrastination, like the Time Panther app mentioned above. How can you eliminate those distractions?

If you haven’t been able to find a system that works for you, now might be a good time to head to Google and check out some productivity planners. You might just find the one that makes a serious impact.

Keep it Neat

Having a neat filing system that works is very important. The earlier on you have a system for your files the better. As a freelancer or small business owner, you need to be able to access things quickly and easily. If a client were to call and ask for some specific information, but you couldn’t find the file – either on your computer or a paper file, it doesn’t look great. These are some of the documents that you should make sure are within easy reach and in good order.

  • Receipts (although you might like to get an app to manage these)
  • Invoices (have a paper and digital copy of all of them)
  • Tax Forms
  • VAT documents
  • Legal Business Documents
  • Client Project Files
  • Accounts

To be extra organized, use color coding for all of you files, and have the corresponding folders and email markers for that client on your emails. Anything over a year old that you no longer need to refer to, place in an archive folder. Remember to keep any financial details or sensitive information in a safe filing cabinet with a lock.

Make Friends

The joy of the internet is that even if you are really pushed for time to meet in person, there will be numerous online message boards or groups that have the same interest as you. If you work in marketing or PR for example, search for groups that meet your needs. You can use them to socialize, to chat with others, ask for advice and maybe even pick up some work. Building a community of people with similar goals is great for motivation.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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How To Be A Good Dad After A Relationship Breakdown

A relationship breakdown is difficult, and is made even harder to deal with when there are children involved. Your beautiful, innocent children are now going to have to live without their parents being together and for some children, it’s a really difficult transition. The worst thing about your breakup is that you will no longer be able to see your children every single day. You may miss large milestones in their lives and that’s heartbreaking. However, it’s important to remember that they are the most important thing to think about right now, so here are some tips on how to be a good Dad after a relationship breakdown so that they have the best life possible.

Photo by Trym Nilsen on Unsplash

Call them every day

Some Fathers think that if they shower their children with gifts and material things that they can get away with not calling their children every day. A simple fact is, your children want you in their lives and while they might love gifts, a simple phone call each day will make the world of difference. Chatting to them (and their mother) about their day and asking if there’s any way that you can help will show your children that nothing has changed apart from the fact that their parents no longer live together. It will also help you stay in the loop of your child’s life!

Know your rights

With relationship breakdowns come resentment, and sometimes Mothers stop contact between their children and their Fathers. It’s important to make sure that you know what your rights are as a Father so that you’re not missing out on precious time with your children. If you’re not sure where to seek this information, it might be a good idea to hire a Father’s rights lawyer to help walk you through the steps you should be taking. Remember that there’s a difference between being stopped contact completely and simply having to negotiate the days you see your children.

Keep your promises

One extremely important thing to remember is that if you promise to do something for your children and don’t come through, they will remember. It’s imperative to make sure that you don’t give your children false hope. If you can’t make it to their school play, tell them! Don’t leave them thinking that you’ll be there if you know full well that you won’t be. Keeping your promises will also help your parenting relationship with their mother and may result in you seeing your children more.

Keep any discrepancies away from the children

Finally, and possibly most importantly, make sure that you keep any arguments or disagreements away from your children. They simply want to see their parents and at times you will argue with their Mother, but protect them from seeing anything like that by discussing matters in private. If they can see that their parents are able to be civil they will find the breakup a much easier situation to deal with.

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WIN YOUR OWN CANVAS FACTORY PRINT!

Canvas Factory reached out and offered to send me a canvas with our beautiful family printed on it in exchange for a review and a giveaway. So be sure to read below for the Canvas Factory giveaway, USA and Canada residents only.

The canvas I received from Canvas Factory is very high quality and looks amazing on our wall. What I really liked about this canvas print is how easy it was to get. You just go to the website, upload your photo, make some adjustments if you want. They even have different filters for your pictures so you can make something color into a black and white photo or sepia, or whatever!

Having photos of our family up on the walls reminds us about the important things that bring us all together. In the photo we had printed, we chose a beautiful photo from our vacation this summer in Cape San Blas, Florida. Family is everything and seeing our love for each other is exactly what we need on our walls to see everyday. Being able to take a simple photo and then uploading it to the internet so I can get a beautiful canvas print in just a few days is amazing. I remember when it would take weeks or months to have something like this done. Now in just a few clicks it can happen almost instantly.

I love our new canvas print. The quality is perfect and it just makes me smile every time I see. I can imagine that I will be picking up a few more of these canvas prints from Canvas Factory once that refund check comes in.

WIN YOUR OWN CANVAS FACTORY PRINT!

To win your own canvas print from Canvas Factory you have to like St. Louis Dad on Facebook and comment on this blog post below and tell me what kind of photo you would print at Canvas Factory. I will randomly select a winner on Friday, November 16th, 2018. So be sure to use a valid email address so I can contact you! If the winner does not contact me in 24 hours I will select a new winner. Giveaway only available to U.S. and Canadian residents. No purchase necessary, like and comment to win!

canvasfactorylogo

This post and giveaway is sponsored by Canvas Factory.

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