Working from Home is More Productive

Hi, I’m Ludell and I’m the Marketing Director of an educational publishing company called Eazl. Our channel has all kinds of interesting things, from weekly Brain Boosts (to keep you informed on all things business, marketing, and the labor market) and free mini courses to 20 min. travel shows and interviews with industry experts. On my vlog playlist, you’ll find videos about my day to day marketing experiences and I’ll show you what it’s like to be me -a marketer and entrepreneur. I’m also curious to learn about your own experiences.

FIND THE BOOK I MENTIONED
Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

FEATURED MUSIC
Eastminster by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
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If you’re reading this, tell me what some of your favorite marketing or entrepreneurship books, blogs, or courses.

Thanks for watching See you tomorrow!

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From Freelancer’s Union: Six Ways to Crush Solopreneur Burnout

solopreneur burnout

“As solopreneurs, we’re either feeling guilty for not being busy, or we’re in over our heads with work. Neither phase in the ‘feast or famine’ work cycle is stress-free, which means solopreneur burn out is a real problem.

Here are a few common situations I experienced myself, along with ways to overcome them. I am not going to include tips like taking a deep breath or working on multiple projects as I have tried them before – but these did not seem to help me solve my burnout problems from the origin.

Here’s how to turn your marketing campaign around…”

Solopreneur Burnout

QUIZ: What kind of freelancer are you?

freelancer quiz

If you’re a freelancer and anything like me, you’ve developed a very particular style and way of doing things. You have to…being financially independent comes with a lot of responsibility so focusing on perfecting your offering and your service (so it’s right for your client AND for you) comes with the job.

Take this quiz to learn more about how you deal with clients and sticky situations. Share your result in the comments below!

What kind of freelancer are you? I’m really curious…let me know your results in the comments.

How to Design Your Offering as a Freelancer or Online Business Specialist

Learn how to reinterpret concepts for enterprise strategy so that they’re relevant for you as a freelancer or online entrepreneur. The fact is this: strategic thinking is crucial, but the academic/business education world doesn’t apply these concepts for small businesses, freelancers, and online businesspeople.

This video is an excerpt from our course, Freelancing: Launch Your Career as a Successful Freelancer.

Does the Government Hate Freelancers?

As tax time comes in the US, Eazl has a question: does the government hate freelancers? Should we rework the tax code to make sense for self-employed people? Have your say! Answer the poll at the end of this video or leave your comment.

• The New 40%: Freelancers and self-employed people represent the fastest-growing portion of the labor market in the US and in many countries around the world. There are currently 55mm freelancers in the US and by 2020 freelancers will be 40% of the work force [1]. This trend will only continue as millennials and Gen Z are the largest groups who opt in to the freelancer work style.

• Support for Big Business: Meanwhile, governments around the world continue to flow money towards massive corporations. For example, the CATO Institute found that $10bn in farm subsidies went to publicly-listed industrial agriculture businesses, $4.4bn in special financing was directed towards Boeing, and Walmart has received more than $150mm in land grants and financing at the expense of US taxpayers. [2]

• 43.3% Tax Rate: Now that it’s tax time, freelancers are cutting relatively huge checks to federal and state governments… and taxes on self-employed people are rising. In her Piece for the Huffington Post, Nancy Humphries shows that freelancers who make under $110k annually pay an effective tax rate of 43.3% in the US [3]. That’s a higher rate than most billionaires! The US isn’t alone in raising taxes on self-employed people. The UK just passed a hugely controversial law requiring self-employed people to pay higher National Insurance Contributions [4] which many self-employed people say makes it even harder to survive.

Sources:
[1] See https://www.slideshare.net/upwork/freelancing-in-america-2016/1
[2] See https://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa592.pdf
[3] See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-k-humphreys/selfemployed-pay-highest-_b_2397853.html
[4] See https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/09/self-employed-nics-increase-budget

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Favorite Productivity Apps & Tools

favorite productivity apps

The Eazl marketing and entrepreneurship community has spoken; we’ve pinpointed the top 5 favorite productivity apps and tools. If you have any tools to add that weren’t mentioned or an opinion about the ones we DID mention, leave us a comment below.

  1. Slack
    The winner, BY MILES, was Slack, which is an extremely useful tool for teamwork and project management.

We used Slack to manage our digital incubator which, admittedly, deflated like a pierced tire…not because of the platform but because of functional issues that we would absolutely changed if we tried it again. In fact, learning about the platform was the best thing about the incubator!

I would definitely use Slack again if I worked with a remote team on a piece of content or an event.

  1. Google Drive
    Coming in second was Google Drive and I cast my own vote there as well. Everything Google makes seems to be just the right amount of useful, easy to learn, and non-invasive (as in, Facebook-level all up in my grill styles life integration).

We use Google Drive for just about everything here at Eazl, from course video storage and Photoshop file sharing to blog post writing and marketing campaign planning.

It ticks all the boxes on the list of what we need to run an organized company.

Favorite Productivity Apps

  1. Xmind
    I’d never hear of this one until 13% of respondents voted for it but I am a BIG FAN of mind mapping –we even created course content on it– so I’m interested in trying it out. The free version should be enough for personal use.
  1. Evernote
    Before I converted to Google Drive, I was an Evernote user and there a couple of users in our community who voted it as their favorite productivity tool.

I eventually let Evernote because I was never able to fully integrate it into my work process and none of my team members used it. I did find, however, that it’s great for planning and writing blog posts if content is your thing.

I never tried the paid version, which probably would have kept me using the tool. It’s actually REALLY affordable

  1. Wunderlist
    I’d never heard of Wunderlist and what makes this app stand out amongst the others is the to-do list format and the focus on integrating professional and personal responsibilities. It looks like a great on-the-go tool that might compete with your use if iCal.

From Inc.: Successful Remote Workers Share Their Productivity Secrets

remote working

“Remote working means we no longer have to choose between a career and travel. Improved efficiency and lower stress mean it can be a winner for employers too. But just how do you stay productive while working on the move?

Remote working is more accessible to both employees and the self employed than ever before. This is largely due to an improvement in technology and tools, enabling employees and consultants to work from wherever in the world they may be with ease.

For the remote workers themselves, this affords an opportunity that previous generations rarely had: to be able to travel and work at the same time. It no longer has to be one or the other.

There are huge benefits for employers too. Remote workers typically report lower levels of stress, which in turn increases efficiency and productivity. It can also result in lower overheads for employers.

But remote working requires discipline, and it isn’t free of pitfalls. So what makes for successful remote working?”

remote workers

What It’s Like to Work Virtually in Washington DC

work virtually in washington dc

Check out more photos from our experience in DC on Instagram.

The first week of September, we headed from Eazl headquarters in Chicago to Washington DC to film the second episode of our new series about entrepreneurship and innovation, What’s Next. While here, we based our operations in Falls Church, Virginia –about a 15 minute drive from the White House.

Thanks to cousin Pete for hooking us up with the sweet digs in such a lovely town!

The area is beautiful and, clearly, city planning is a priority in DC (and in this area of the United States in general). Where city governments in the south would bulldoze and put in a strip mall, DC works to build around the living beauty. It’s green and lush, with trees lining the roads, and there are restrictions on building that both maintain the city’s charm and create dense living spaces.

The fact that so many are drawn to live and work here –including a whole slew of staff from Obama’s 2008 campaign who felt so inspired they changed zip codes– can sometimes make you want to escape to a less popular area for a little bit of breathing room…or at least to find a parking space that won’t cost $20. Uber will be your savior in DC, friends!

A city where paintings of the most respected US Presidents line the walls of pubs and citizens speak in acronyms during happy hour, it is clear as day that some –if not most– of the country’s important activities happen right here in DC. And it’s intoxicating.

So intoxicating that, if you work virtually, you might find DC to be a great place to spend time or even lay down some roots.

Here are the main takeaways from our experience working virtually in DC:

  1.  There are a ton of smart people
    If you are a person who cares about working on your brain, lifelong learning, and thoughtful discussion + debate, DC is the place for you. There are more people here working on cool things that matter than anywhere I’ve ever been.Move over all you techies in Silicon Valley who claim to be changing the world with a food delivery app!Residents are well educated and have very balanced views on policy, considering the fact that they are so close to where it’s all happening, they either work in government (or closely with it) or know many who do, and have a much less filtered interaction with the political process.

It really is elite and that’s a great thing for the right kind of person.

  1. Crowded, dense, and high traffic
    Just as with any other desirable place for living, the city is dense and you might often feel like you are living on top of other people. There is much attention to city planning as far as aesthetics go, but some of the traffic flow and road situations get surprisingly complicated.

If you plan on being in the thick of it and making use of co-working spaces or coffee shops right in the heart of DC, opt for Uber or Lyft instead of making the drive.

  1. People are open for collaboration
    Compared to some of the other cities where we’ve attempted to collaborate with locals, we found DC to be easy going and we were able to infiltrate much more easily than we would have thought. Highly experienced and talented people aren’t afraid to say “yes” to collaboration opportunities, they are forthcoming with information, and we didn’t find a single standoffish person in our entire pool of interviewees.

This is a place where people create and get stuff done. They realize the value of working with other smart people.

This is quite different compared to the talent in places like San Francisco and New York.

 

We’ll leave DC this weekend with the thought in mind that it would be a great place to move Eazl Headquarters sometime in the near future.

 

Keep an eye out for the episode where we speak with leaders in policy and innovation in DC about entrepreneurship’s role in society. It will launch this November.

Check out the pilot episode here.

How to Become a Freelancer and Design Your Services

eazl become a freelancer

In this post, you’re going to learn to apply the strength versus size concept to your specific situation as you become a freelancer and design your offering.

Strength describes the components of your competitive advantage. Usually these are things like knowledge of a specific industry, knowledge a specific geography, knowledge about technology, or other sources of competitive advantage that your competition likely doesn’t have.

Size basically just describes the size of the market. A common error for less experienced businesspeople is to think that they can serve many different industries, geographies, or people. In reality, your source of competitive advantage is going to be to specialize early on.

Specialization takes two forms. One is specialization in terms of the tribe on which you’re focusing. If you’re focusing on a specific tribe of people, then your specialization is very compelling to that audience.

Check out our post, How to Define Your Tribe.

The other form a specialization is on your technology. Your technology could be a computer or other specific technological application that helps deliver value for your customers. Or maybe just a specialized process that you developed over time that’s more a efficient or more effective than your competitors.

A good rule of thumb to check yourself on when you’re thinking about designing and delivering your offering is this: “Am I delivering ten times the value to the customer relative to the price that they paid?”

For example, if somebody is paying you $1,000, how can you demonstrate to them that they’re either going to save or earn ten thousand dollars more. Once you have that narrative down, you’re in a much more powerful position.

Many people don’t feel great about getting into sales conversations. If that’s your case, you might want to  check out our Word Tracks for Leads resource.

eazl courses

From Inc.: How to Become a Highly Paid Freelancer While Keeping Your Full-Time Job

highly paid freelancer

“Since I began freelancing just over a year ago, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen high-growth startups and world-class experts. What’s more, I’ve never had to negotiate for the premium prices I charge for my content marketing services.

Because I’ve done such an effective job of defining my value propositions, branding myself as an expert within my field, and getting my content in front of new target audiences, I now have a three- to six-month waiting list for new freelance clients.”

highly paid freelancer