Arlington Entrepreneurs

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Three Ways to Freedom

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From the National Freelancers Union by member Justine Clay. Give this article a read. It’s full of tactical information for anyone who wants to improve their business and give their mental health a break in the bargain!

 

3 ways to bring more freedom to your freelance business (without sacrificing income)

Do you want the freedom to:

• Work with whom you want?

• Work when you want?

• Work the hours you want?

• Work where you want?

• Charge how much you want?

• Grow as much as you want?

Did you say “yes” any (or all) of the above, yet your reality tells quite a different story?

Perhaps you’re making great money, but you work ALL the time. Or maybe you work all the time, and still don’t make the money you desire.

If either of these rings true, it’s possible you’ve got caught in that oh-so-easy-trap of working IN your business, rather than ON it.

Read the rest of this article on the National Freelancers Union website.

On the Move: Tips for Freelancers Without a Permanent Workspace

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Here’s an article from the National Freelancers Union about managing your work life if you don’t have a permanent workplace. Freelancers Union member Jerrian Ireland offers some advice for maximum productivity as well as maximum freedom and independence.

By the way – don’t forget the public library if you’re currently without a permanent work “home.” Here in Arlington you can check out a computer and take advantage of the library’s business books, magazines and databases. Even better, there’s a dedicated staff of reference librarians whose sole job is to help you!

Here’s the article, with thanks to the Freelancers Union!

On the Move: Tips for Freelancers Without a Permanent Workspace

by Jerrian Ireland

One of the many reasons that people choose to freelance is to have flexibility of workspace. This can mean a lot of different things, from the ability to work from home, to being able to travel while working, and many nuances between.

For some, a permanent workspace is part of this equation, while others work wherever their jobs and lives take them. Below are some tips for freelancers without a permanent workspace.

Read the rest of this article.

Freelancing is a Force – and We Need to Reckon With it

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An excellent article from Scott Tillitt of the National Freelancers Union

Within 10 years, at its current growth rate, the majority of the US workforce will be freelancers. Think about that for a second (or a minute): It has major ramifications for our economy, politics, culture.

This startling stat comes from “Freelancing in America: 2017” (FIA), a comprehensive study from freelancing website Upwork and our own Freelancers Union.

FIA estimates that already more than one-third of the US workforce are currently freelancing (57 million Americans) and contribute approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy — a nearly 30% jump since last year.

Read the rest of this article

The Power of Community

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Many Hands Make Light Work (photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash)

Arlington Entrepreneurs is lucky to have a large number of motivated and talented members. You’ve stepped up to the plate more than once and have made our network all that much better. There are very few organizations that represent the needs of freelance, self-employed workers. Arlington Entrepreneurs is trying to help fill that gap, with opportunities for networking, information sharing and more.

We’re a volunteer organization and, as such, we rely on volunteers to help keep things running. Our Advisory Board volunteers its time and expertise. Others pitch in when and where needed: answering questions and offering suggestions and help on an as-needed basis. All our event presenters are volunteers, too.

Maureen Igoe

Maureen Igoe

Volunteers are going to be hosting two events this fall: an upcoming happy hour in October, along with a coffee break in early November.  Maureen Igoe, of Ameriprise, will be our guest host at our fall Happy Hour at Menotomy Grill and Tavern. Maureen has been a long-standing supporter of our network and is also a Premium member. She has a busy life as a financial advisor and mother of a teen aged daughter.

Laura Bergamini

Laura Bergamini

Laura Bergamini will be guest-hosting an early November Coffee Break, this time at Cafe Nero in Arlington Center. Originally from Italy, Laura is a technical translator between Italian and English. She’s also a volunteer member of the Arlington Entrepreneurs Advisory Board.

There are other projects that could use your help. An Events Committee would be a wonderful resource, particularly now that we have spaces to hold meetings, social gatherings and networking events (many thanks to AE Advisory Board member Debra Woog for that idea).

We could also use a Tech Committee, to help develop more web-based resources for our community. For example, Arlington Entrepreneurs is part of a WordPress multi-site installation. That installation could produce a number of web-based products: starter websites for new businesses, wikis, forums, media showcase galleries and more. The AE multi-site includes detailed instructional videos, which would help the non-technical among us navigate the WordPress landscape. Of course, today’s tech volunteer could be tomorrow’s paid tech consultant, either on or off of the AE WordPress installation!

These are only two ideas. Do you have any more (marketing, writing, health activities, etc?). Volunteer work is not necessarily a one-way process. Many people have gained new clients after making a presentation, for example. More hands on-board could also mean more income for the network, too. Part of that income could be shared with the hands that brought it in (that means you!).

We hope to see you at an upcoming event this fall. Fill out the (very) brief survey below if you’d like to participate in – or learn about – any type of volunteer activity. We’d love to hear from you!

 

The Disposable Employee

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I happened upon this article in an excellent, philosophy-oriented news magazine, Aeon. It looks like employees have finally become the same products as widgets on an assembly line. No job security, no employer loyalty, nor even an expectation of one. You take a job, not for the economic security or benefits, but to prepare yourself for the next one. It’s chilling and may be another reason behind the  increase in the freelance workforce. Welcome to the world of neoliberal capitalism in the US and the domination of markets over people. How does it feel to be disposable?

The quitting economy: When employees are treated as short-term assets, they reinvent themselves as marketable goods, always ready to quit

“But as market value overtook other measures of a company’s value, maximising the short-term interests of shareholders began to override other concerns, other relationships. Quarterly earnings reports and stock prices became even more important, the sole measures of success. How companies treated employees changed, and has not changed back.”

Read the rest of this article. (If you’re an employee in this type of situation, or already a freelancer, don’t expect to enjoy it.)

9 Ways to Thrive in a Business Famine

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(Posted from the Freelancers Union blog)

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelance contractor, or an employee that is currently in between jobs, there may be times when you find yourself on the famine end of the feast-or-famine work cycle.

It’s normal to experience fear and discouragement in these times, but it doesn’t have to be your norm. Times of famine can actually help us to reset and focus on the more important aspects of life.

There is more to achieving the ultimate work-life balance, there’s more to YOU and your life than simply living to watch the digits increase in your bank account.

Find out how to manage the inevitable dry-spells of freelance living.

Ahead of the Curve

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This may not be the happiest news in the world, but it’s part and parcel of what we deal with as a nation. Welcome to the world of the independent contractor, which may be almost half of us by 2020. We already know the lifestyle. It’s nice to know that at least some media outlets are starting to report on this.

From The Boston Globe:

The gig economy is coming. You probably won’t like it.

Say goodbye to salaries, health insurance, and vacation days. Forty percent of America’s workforce could be freelance by 2020.

By Brandon Ambrosino  

KAGE YAMI is a ninja for hire.

For the past four years, the 27-year-old Newton resident has worked as a professional stunt performer for films and TV shows being made in the Boston area, like Ghostbusters, set for release this summer. Sometimes work takes him to New York. Sometimes California. Sometimes he models. Basically, he says, he takes on “whatever gig comes my way.”

 Yami is one of a growing number of workers participating in the “gig economy,” the hip-sounding term used to describe those Americans who make their livings in nontraditional ways — nontraditional meaning “in ways not limited to a 9-to-5 job” or, framed in less optimistic terms, “in ways that don’t usually offer health insurance.”

According to a 2014 study commissioned by the Freelancers Union, 53 million Americans are independent workers, about 34 percent of the total workforce. A study from Intuit predicts that by 2020, 40 percent of US workers will fall into this category.

Read the rest of this article.

Then feel free to chime in yourself. What do you think? Any ideas for stabilizing the coming independent workforce tsunami? What would you like to see by way of a sustainable social safety  net? In case you didn’t know, the independent workforce is now about 1/3 of the US economy. The same statistic holds true of independents in Arlington, Mass.

The comments section awaits you!

Running From Safety (Michael Katz)

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I browse the internet a lot. Oddly, it helps keep my mind off of the news. I came across this post from Michael Katz, a top-notch newsletter and communications consultant who always has something worthwhile to say about being in business for yourself. It’s a great reminder of what we’ve chosen to do with our lives – and why.

Here’s what I’m usually not doing on a Saturday night: Sitting in a car for 90 minutes in a rundown section of an unfamiliar city, across the street from a seedy-looking bar. But that’s precisely what my wife Linda and I were up to this past weekend.

Here’s how it happened…

Read the rest of Michael’s post on LinkedIn

And did I mention that Michael’s a great story-teller? Read on and you’ll see what I mean!

Building A Business Along the Straight and Narrow? Won’t Happen.

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Up, Down and Around. Situation Normal.

Up, Down and Around. Situation Normal.

I was working my way through my morning news read when I came across this great post. It’s a humorous examination of the expectations small business owners frequently have about their growth and development. It’s rare to find a perspective that applies to small and micro-business owners and I grab those articles whenever I can.

Here’s some advice, then, from a local business that truly understands what it’s like. Thank you, Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development for your advice, encouragement and comfort.

People who’ve never worked for themselves often make…an…erroneous assumption about running a business: They think it will be a steady climb, when in fact, it’s anything but.

In my experience, it goes something like this:

Up … up … down … sidewayssssss … up … more up … down … down … what the … maybe I should get a job again … oh look, leveling off … AMAZING! … sideways the other way … AAArrrrggggg!!! …. down … UP … UP … what the hell just happened?

Been there, done that, right? Now here’s the rest of the article:

Fly The Friendly Skies (by Michael Katz, Blue Penguin Development)

The truth is, I’m not actually afraid of heights … I’m afraid of falling from heights.

Read the rest of this article here.