Tag Archives: freelancer

Culture Hunting: What’s right for me?

CompanyCulture_BlogImage_24SevenMaking a cultural match has become one of the most important factors for millennials when it comes to the job hunt. That being said, how do you know what corporate culture is right for you? To take it one step further, how do you even begin to understand the culture of a company before you’ve started to work there?

First let’s start with some basic questions to ask yourself. Before you can decide on what culture you want, you need to understand what work environments you thrive in. Our friends at The Muse suggest asking yourself “What Motivates Me?” This may seem like an obvious question, but have you ever really thought about the answer before? Think about a time when you were extremely productive, was there anything special about the situation? Were you working as part of a group or solo? Did you have a quick deadline or a generous amount of time? All ofthese questions will help you find an optimal work environment.

Being productive is just one half of the equation. There’s no point in churning out work if you are miserable. The next question to ask yourself is, “What makes me happy?” Again, this is a general question that you will need to break down in order to fully understand which work environment best suits you. The Muserecommends doing some backward thinking with this question. For example, are you a morning person? Do you want a lax workplace? Maybe you are happier in a more structured environment. All of these things will be central to finding out where your sweet spot is.

Now that you have the answers to these questions you may be thinking “Ok I know what I want but how do I figure out if a company is the right fit for me?”

A really quick and painless way to get an idea of a company’s culture is to check out their website. This will usually be able to tell you the company size and their business style. Be sure to read the “About” section on the webpage to get an idea of the company history and their goals for the future-you may also find a mission statement that explains company ideals.

Another indicator is location. When you go for your interview take time to walk around and note the surrounding areas. Also pay attention to the office inside. Is it light and airy? Are the desks in a group or are they individually placed?  Also note the mood and atmosphere when you are interviewing. Are people happy and chatting? Is it silent with only the sound of keyboards clicking? This is obviously only a brief glimpse into what the day to day is like, and of course there are exceptions, but it will give you some idea.

Finally, when you go in for the interview, remember that first impressions are important not only for the interviewer but also for you as the interviewee. If the person interviewing you is going to be your direct manager, pay close attention, you may be able to glean some insight into their management style.  Note how you are greeted, the style of your interview, is it formal or more relaxed and friendly? Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer questions about the culture in the office, what your typical day will be or if you will be part of a team.

Use these tips to find the ideal environment for your happiness and your productivity. Think about your goals and your personality and make sure you think about whether you will align with the company. Remember, you need to make sure that you’re in the right environment for you to grow both personally and professionally. Happy culture hunting!

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Freelance Tips: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Stay in contact – as a remote worker it’s critical that you stay connected, both from a client accessibility standpoint and to stave loneliness that sometimes accompanies being a solo act.  Today’s technology makes working from anywhere that much easier – so make sure you are equipped with the fastest Internet connection possible and latest communication gear that enables a variety of ways for clients to reach you.  Phone, email, Skype – stay connected to keep clients happy and your project pipeline humming.


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Freelance Tips: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Set boundaries and limit distractions – with no one looking over your shoulder, it’s a challenge to stay focused and motivated or to keep others from interrupting your work flow.  The traditional workplace once restricted your accessibility, but now friends, family, pets, frivolous screen time, and household tasks compete for your attention.  Set rules for taking personal phone calls, doing the laundry, or checking Facebook during work time.  Be clear with family and friends that even though you’re home, you’re working and you’ll be happy to connect with them when your work day is done. “I have two phone lines – one for home and one for my office,” a freelance writer reported, “During my office hours, my rule is that I don’t answer the home line. I only pick up my office phone because only clients have that number.”  Another helpful suggestion is to set specific times for checking email so that the diversion doesn’t impact critical deliverables for the day.


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Freelance Tips: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Establish regular work hours – freelancers enjoy the freedom of deciding when they work.  Some are night owls who prefer to crank projects out while the rest of the world slumbers.  Others are happy with traditional work times. Whatever your preference, decide when you’re “on the clock” so that clients know when they can reach you and personal contacts know when to leave you alone .  “Getting in a regular routine keeps me productive, “ one freelancer explained, “Without that discipline I’ve found that one of two things happen.  I procrastinate and then am in a self-created, stressful crunch to get things done. Or I start to feel like there’s never any downtime.”


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Freelance Tips: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Plan your time – the most productive freelancers we know tell us one of their secrets is to create to-do lists for both the week and each day.  This keeps them on track with major deliverables while helpfully breaking projects down into smaller daily chunks, making deadlines more achievable.  “My list is how I manage myself.  My frame of mind is that the day is done when the checklist is complete – that way I stay disciplined early on to free up my day later,” one professional explained.  To help juggle deadlines and keep track of your time, consider using project or time management software  – many are available for free or at a very low cost.





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