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How These 40-Year-Olds Earn $7k+ From Their Site, Etsy, and TpT Stores Via SEO and Pinterest

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How These 40-Year-Olds Earn $7k+ From Their Site, Etsy, and TpT Stores Via SEO and Pinterest

Vee Rae and Karla Midwood first met through their daughters, and not only did they share a connection from the start as moms, but they also had the same professional goal: to be entrepreneurs.

Together, they embarked on an adventure. 

First, they dipped their toe into the Etsy market in 2021 with a shop selling affordable printables for all kinds of celebrations. Once that was up and running successfully, they started their own website: Little Halo J . Then they opened a Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

Today, they’re proud to have sold over 28,000 products on Etsy, plus many more on their website and TpT store. With their site recently joining Raptive, they’re seeing even more success.

They escaped unscathed from the HCU and today are earning over $7k per month across multiple platforms. 

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Keep reading to find out:

  • Exactly how they met and got started
  • What happened with their store initially on Etsy
  • Why they created their website
  • What really moved the needle for their site
  • How they chose their niche
  • How they come up with ideas
  • Where their income comes from
  • What marketing strategies work for them
  • Their thoughts on SEO
  • Their approach to keyword research and links
  • How they create content
  • Their thoughts on list building
  • Their go-to tools and resources
  • Their biggest challenge
  • Their greatest accomplishment
  • Their main mistake
  • Their advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Vee and Karla

We’re Karla and Vee, the creative minds behind the website Little Halo J

We first crossed paths through our daughters (who incidentally were born on the same day!). We shared the same ideas about wanting to be our own bosses one day, but we were just not sure how to make it happen.

Karla spent many years in the travel industry, and Vee had worked as a private investigator, but we both wanted a way to escape the 9 to 5.

Then, one day we were chatting and brainstorming, and that day over coffee we decided to explore selling online. 

We initially delved into making and selling vinyl decals. While this sold well, it was very time consuming, so we started looking for other options.

We purchased a Cricut machine and watched YouTube videos on how to make the decals. We sold these at local markets.

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We transitioned quickly from physical products to selling printables due to their passive nature and scalability.

Initially starting with a store on Etsy, our journey has extended and now includes our own website, specializing in selling printables and blogging about party games and ideas.

When we are not putting pen to paper or working on our business, we juggle the joys of motherhood as we both have teenagers and family dogs. 

Family is at the core of what we do and if we are not immersed in writing or working on our business strategy, you will find us planning our next family holiday or simply soaking up the sun down at the beach.

Why They Created Their Website and Stores

We both wanted an outlet for our creativity and to earn an income outside of our normal 9-5 jobs. We didn’t know what direction to take but saw huge potential in the digital download market, so we decided to start there. 

Before launching our business, we did some research and kept an eye on some top Etsy sellers in our niche and took note of how many sales they were making each day. This really surprised us and spurred us on knowing that we really could make money doing this. 

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We could see that some top sellers were making over 60 sales every day, and based on their average selling price we estimated their earnings to be around $200 per day. 

This was at off-peak times, and their sales dramatically increased over popular times such as Valentine’s Day and Easter.

Wanting to spend as little money as possible to start this venture, so we bought a Canva subscription, and in the evenings we created a bunch of printable products and listed them on Etsy.

We were so excited and thought we were onto a winning combination. We launched our store just before Easter and had a fantastic response to our Easter-themed products. 

However, we had not done enough research into pricing, and despite the initial success, our profits were very thin. 

We didn’t enroll in any specific course, but gained our knowledge from different sources: blog articles, podcasts, and YouTube. We chose a niche that we love and are continuously educating ourselves. 

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Choosing a niche we are interested in has been crucial in helping to grow Little Halo J into a profitable business that we enjoy.

The experience and knowledge we have gained along the way have led us to create an ebook on How to Sell on Etsy.

This book is our way of sharing what we’ve learned, by providing a practical guide for others looking to embark on a similar path. You can find the ebook on our website. 

We faced another unexpected twist when, just a few weeks after launching our Etsy shop, we were hit with a temporary closure. This closure lasted three days and occurred without any warning or explanation. This was a pivotal moment that made us reassess our business strategy. 

We still do not know what caused the temporary closure of our store, but have heard that from time to time, Etsy does close down brand-new stores. We contacted Etsy numerous times via email and then four days after being closed, Etsy reopened our store and we were back up and running.

We could still see the potential in printable products and our initial success was enough to push us into taking the leap and launching our own website. Sales continued to come in and we were making some pocket money, but not enough for us to take our new venture seriously. 

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We poured hours into our website, and although we could see our website traffic growing, for the first 18 months we were still earning very little and our dreams of leaving our regular jobs were put on hold. 

But all of that changed when we added a blog to our website and started seriously focusing on keywords and SEO. Adding the blog turned out to be a game changer by attracting more visitors and finally turning our website into a profitable business.

During this time, our Etsy shop also thrived. 

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How Vee and Karla Come Up With Ideas

When it comes to creating our printable products, we like to mix things up. 

We start off with a bit of keyword research with KeySearch, checking out what buzzwords are most popular. This helps us tap into the current trends and figure out what people are currently searching for.

We have a specific niche that is focused on party themes, games, and ideas but we will also create products outside of this to tap into current trends. 

We usually start by looking for a good keyword that usually aligns with our party niche. We will then write a blog post and try to create a relatable printed product to add to that post.

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A great instance of this is our Printable Family Reunion Games blog post. For this, we created a variety of printable family reunion games to add to the content of the article. 

Similarly, with our Princess Party Ideas blog post, we have created relevant products like a Princess Treasure Hunt and Princess Cupcake Toppers. 

We feel these products are helpful to our readers and enhance the content of our posts.

You can see these examples and how we integrate our printables with our blog content here:

This strategy helps us maintain a balance between sticking to our niche and leveraging popular trends to offer a diverse range of products.

We also keep a close eye on what’s hot on Etsy. 

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Checking out what’s popular and the bestsellers gives us a good sense of what people are loving right now. We take notes on successful products, see what patterns emerge, and let that inspire us to cook up fresh and new additions to our lineup.

We are working towards our ideal business model, but on average, we each dedicate about 25 hours per week to our business. 

This time is invested in a variety of tasks including creating new products, managing our website, Etsy store, and Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) shop, as well as blogging and staying updated with the latest trends in our niche. 

We are consistently tweaking and improving our work strategies to grow Little Halo J to the point where it matches our vision perfectly.

How Much They’re Making

Our income does vary throughout the year depending on the seasons, with spikes around Easter, Halloween, and Christmas.

Our Etsy shop has sold over 28,000 products with an average monthly revenue of $3,200 over the last two years.

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In addition to our Etsy store, our website now features over 430 blog posts and a shop that has become a thriving revenue stream. Our website is generating over $1000 per month in sales and Little Halo J is now on a premium ad network, Raptive. 

Since joining it on October 16th, last month we hit over $3,000 in ad revenue, and this month is on track to make $4500. 

Website Sales:

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Raptive Ad Network

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We are continuing to expand our business reach and opened a Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) shop in March of this year. Despite being a relatively new venture, the TpT shop generated over $433 in revenue in November 2023. 

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Our average monthly earnings are:

  • Website Little HaloJ – (printables) $1000
  • Raptive Ad network – $3800 
  • TPT – $435 
  • Etsy – $3200

Little Halo J is getting approximately 193Kk pageviews per month (145K sessions).

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And the majority of our traffic is from organic search.

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Their Top Marketing Strategy

When it comes to marketing, we use SEO and rely on Pinterest and email. Our popular posts will bring people to our website where they can download freebies and sign up for our email list.

When we first started our business, our SEO knowledge was pretty basic. We learned the ropes through self-education: reading numerous blog posts, joining blogging-focused Facebook groups, and watching tutorial videos on YouTube for practical, visual guidance. 

This approach allowed us to gradually build our SEO skills, directly contributing to the growth of our business.

Our Pinterest strategy has been significantly influenced by the insights from Carly, creator of the Pinteresting Strategies course. 

Her approach has guided us in developing a strategy that works well for our business.

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The Importance of SEO

We believe that SEO is absolutely crucial for our business and our online presence. With the majority of our traffic coming from organic search, having a good understanding of SEO is indispensable. 

We try to stay updated in the SEO world with their constantly evolving trends and algorithm updates.

We approach SEO very simply. 

Firstly, we focus on lots of keyword research. We don’t want to be spending lots of time writing blog posts or creating products that people are not searching for. 

We use tools like KeySearch to help identify low-competition keywords with a decent search volume. This helps us target specific niches and create content that we know our audience is actively searching for.

Then we get to work creating high-quality, relevant content. We try to make sure that our new content is not only interesting, but also optimized for search engines.

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Another critical part of our SEO strategy is on-page optimization. This means we optimize our meta descriptions, titles, and images.

And finally, we’re creating a strong backlink profile, with internal linking within our site also playing a significant role.

So overall our SEO strategy is about creating value for our customers and making it easier for them to find us online. We still have a lot to learn, so it’s a continuous process of trying, testing, and adapting, but the effort is well worth it given the impact it has on our traffic and business growth.

During the latest Google Helpful Content Update, we were lucky to not have been impacted at all, and our traffic continues to go up and up.

Keyword Research

We look for low-competition keywords in KeySearch

We try to target keywords that have a search volume of over 100 and a difficulty score of under 35. 

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Then we try to write the best article we can to rank for those words.

Link Building and Internal Linking

Link building is a vital part of our SEO strategy. It really helps to improve our website’s authority and also drives a lot of referral traffic to us, along with helping with our search engine rankings.

One of our key strategies we use is internal linking. We use Link Whisper to help us with this.  

We see value in spending time linking all our content within our website. This helps to distribute page authority and is hopefully providing more value to our readers. As a bonus, we have found this also allows search engines to crawl our site more effectively.

In terms of backlink building, we actively participate in round-up posts. This approach has been quite effective in gaining quality backlinks and increasing our online visibility.

To find these opportunities, we joined numerous Facebook groups dedicated to round-ups. These groups are great resources for connecting with other bloggers and website owners looking to feature various content. 

By engaging in these communities, we’re able to contribute to round-up posts that are relevant to our niche, which in turn helps in building our website’s authority and reach.

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Their Content Creation Process

Our approach to creating content is pretty straightforward. 

We start with some good old keyword research. Both of us dive into this, looking for topics that not only excite us but are also something that we think our audience is looking for. If we stumble across a blog post idea that we’re both keen on, we say, ‘Let’s write about this!’

We keep everything organized with a simple Google spreadsheet. It’s our go-to for planning who writes what and when. This way, we’re always on track with our articles, and since we have a pretty similar writing style, it all flows together nicely.

Every week, we get together and do our research. It’s a mix of brainstorming, trend-spotting, and adding fresh ideas to our spreadsheet. It’s not just about keeping our content updated; it’s also our time to sync up and make sure we’re on the same page.

Our strategy is centered around providing value to our readers through well-researched and engaging content. By staying in sync with each other’s work and keeping a steady flow of content ideas, we ensure that our blog remains relevant and informative. This has been key to growing our blog and connecting with our audience.

We have a good system in place when it comes to publishing content. 

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We average 4 to 5 posts a week and have found that being consistent with posting new content has really helped with our growth. We don’t outsource anything, but as we’re growing, this will be something we will need to consider.

Their Email List

Yes, we currently maintain a small yet engaged email list, primarily comprised of customers who have made purchases or downloaded our freebies. This is an area we are working on as we realize the value in growing your email community.

Currently, to grow our email list, we use incentives on our website, encouraging visitors to subscribe with offers like freebies and discounts.

We use Omnisend as our email provider and currently have 3000 people on our list. 

We realize the importance of growing and maintaining your email list but this is an area we have not put much focus on. Going forward, this is something we will be working on more actively in the new year.

Their Favorite Resources

One of our go-to resources and one we recommend to everyone is the Niche Pursuits Podcast. We have gained so many valuable and practical tips and advice from listening to this podcast. 

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One aspect we love is the success stories. These are so motivating and inspirational and also shed light on the many ways to gain success in online business. 

Listening to the in-depth discussions between Spencer and Jared on a multitude of topics, from SEO strategies and affiliate marketing to niche selection and blogging tips are all extremely relevant for anyone looking to grow their online venture.

Their Top Tools

First, Canva Pro is an absolute game-changer for us. It is so user-friendly and has a range of features which we use for quickly and easily creating our printable products and marketing materials. 

We can quickly design professional-looking products, which has saved us so much time and streamlined our workflow significantly.

Second, KeySearch is our go-to tool for SEO and keyword research. It’s easy to use and helpful for understanding market trends, discovering what our audience is searching for, and optimizing our content to rank higher in search results. 

We believe this tool has been instrumental in driving organic traffic to our website.

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Lastly, the Pinterest native scheduler is a vital part of our marketing strategy. This allows us to plan and schedule our pins so we can maintain a consistent presence on Pinterest without having to spend all day on the platform. 

These three tools form the backbone of our digital strategy, which enables us to create, optimize, and promote our products effectively in a highly competitive online marketplace.

Their Biggest Challenge

One of our biggest challenges has been the unpredictable nature of online platforms, particularly when faced with unexpected events like the temporary closure of our Etsy store. 

This experience taught us the importance of diversifying our income sources and not depending solely on one platform. 

Additionally, we’ve realized that outsourcing is not our strong suit. Balancing the need to delegate tasks while maintaining the quality and vision of Little Halo J has been a learning experience. 

We understand the benefits of outsourcing, but finding the right balance and trusting others with our brand has been a gradual process.

Their Greatest Accomplishment

Our most significant accomplishment to date, and one that we are most proud of, has been securing a place on the Raptive ad network. 

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From day one, this was a major goal for us, and achieving it was such a special moment in our journey. Being accepted onto Raptive is a reward for all of the hard work and dedication we have put into growing our website.

This milestone was particularly meaningful because it represented the countless hours spent learning SEO, content creation, and how to keep our audience engaged. 

It’s more than just an ad network for us; it shows our ability to create a website that not only attracts substantial traffic but also delivers value to both our audience and advertisers.

What They Wish They Knew When They Started

Don’t stress about everything being perfect right away. 

Looking back, we wish I knew that it’s totally okay not to have everything figured out from the get-go. You’re going to learn and get better as you go along. 

Just be consistent with your efforts, and know that it’s all part of the journey. 

Don’t let the fear of not being perfect hold you back, focus on staying committed and improving bit by bit. 

Their Main Mistake

Our biggest mistake was not starting to write blog posts earlier. While we had always been focused on SEO and keyword research from the beginning, we didn’t initially realize the huge value that regular blogging could add to our business in terms of traffic and engagement. 

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Additionally, while we’ve been active on Pinterest, in hindsight, employing a Virtual Assistant (VA) to help us maximize our presence there could have really accelerated our growth and allowed us to focus more on other aspects of our business. 

Recognizing these has helped refine our strategy and drive our business forward.

Their Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

Our biggest piece of advice is to embrace the journey with all its ups and downs. Building a successful online business is a marathon, not a sprint. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment and be open to pivot when necessary. 

Understanding the value of your unique voice and ideas in the market and what sets you apart can often be your greatest strength. We started Little Halo J in our mid-40s, proving that it’s never too late to chase your entrepreneurial dreams. 

Your dedication and passion can turn your dreams into reality at any stage in life. If we, with our diverse backgrounds and life experiences, could make it happen, so can you. 

Believe in your vision, and know that success is achievable at any age.



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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

Four-day workweeks might have all the buzz, but one major tech company is going in the opposite direction.

Samsung is implementing a six-day workweek for all executives after some of the firm’s core businesses delivered lower-than-expected financial results last year.

A Samsung Group executive told a Korean news outlet that “considering that performance of our major units, including Samsung Electronics Co., fell short of expectations in 2023, we are introducing the six-day work week for executives to inject a sense of crisis and make all-out efforts to overcome this crisis.”

Lower performance combined with other economic uncertainties like high borrowing costs have pushed the South Korean company to enter “emergency mode,” per The Korea Economic Daily.

Related: Apple Is No Longer the Top Phonemaker in the World as AI Pressure and Competition Intensifies

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Executives at all Samsung Group divisions will be affected, including those in sales and manufacturing, according to the report.

Samsung had its worst financial year in over a decade in 2023, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that net profit fell 73% in Q4. It also lost its top spot on the global smartphone market to Apple in the same quarter, though it reclaimed it this year.

Though employees below the executive level aren’t yet mandated to clock in on weekends, some might follow the unwritten example of their bosses. After all, The Korea Economic Daily reports that executives across some Samsung divisions have been voluntarily working six days a week since January, before the company decided to implement the six-day workweek policy.

Entrepreneur has reached out to Samsung’s U.S. newsroom to ask if this news includes executives situated globally, including in the U.S., or if it only affects employees in Korea. Samsung did not immediately respond.

Research on the relationship between hours worked and output shows that working more does not necessarily increase productivity.

A Stanford project, for example, found that overwork leads to decreased total output. Average productivity decreases due to stress, sleep deprivation, and other factors “to the extent that the additional hours [worked] provide no benefit (and, in fact, are detrimental),” the study said.

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Related: Samsung’s Newest Galaxy Gadget Aims ‘To See How Productive You Can Be’

Longer hours can also mean long-term health effects. The World Health Organization found that working more than 55 hours a week decreases life expectancy and increases the risk of stroke by 35%.

The same 55-hour workweek leads to a 17% higher risk of heart disease, per the same study.

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John Deere Hiring CTO ‘Chief Tractor Officer,’ TikTok Creator

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John Deere Hiring CTO 'Chief Tractor Officer,' TikTok Creator

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Agriculture equipment company John Deere is on the hunt for a different kind of CTO.

The brand on Tuesday announced a two-week search to find a “Chief Tractor Officer” who would create social media content to reach younger consumers.

One winning applicant will receive up to $192,300 to traverse the country over the next several months showcasing the way John Deere products are used by workers, from Yellowstone National Park to Chicago’s Wrigley Field and beyond.

“No matter what you do — whether it’s your coffee, getting dressed in the morning, driving to work, the building you go into — it’s all been touched by a construction worker, a farmer, or a lawn care maintenance group,” Jen Hartmann, John Deere’s global director of strategic public relations, told AdAge.

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To kick off the search, John Deere tapped NFL quarterback Brock Purdy (who will presumably be a bit busy this Fall to take the job himself) to star in a clip in which he attempts to set out on a road trip in an industrial tractor.

Suited up in the obligatory vest, work boots, and John Deere hat, Purdy’s progress is interrupted by teammate Colton McKivitz hopping into the cab while a string of messages floods in from other athletes and influencers expressing interest in the job.

The clip also represents the first time that the 187-year-old company has used celebrities to promote itself, Hartmann told AdAge.

According to the contest rules, entrants have until April 29 at midnight to submit a single 60-second video making their pitch for why they should be the face and voice of the company.

In addition, entrants must live in the 48 contiguous states or DC — sorry Hawaii and Alaska residents. Interestingly, any AI-generated submissions are prohibited, too.

Videos will be judged against four categories — originally, creativity, quality, and brand knowledge — after which five finalists will be chosen and notified after May 17.

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How to Capitalize On This Thriving Talent Pool to Drive Your Company’s Growth

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How to Capitalize On This Thriving Talent Pool to Drive Your Company's Growth

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As business operations shift, executives and entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to an on-demand workforce that is simultaneously empowered by technology and drawn to purpose-driven projects.

Consider Upwork, whose 2020 Future of Workforce Pulse Report revealed that nearly 80% of hiring managers engaging freelancers feel confident about doing so. These hires provide coveted expertise — on a project-to-project basis — that entrepreneurs need to scale their operations without incurring long-term overhead costs.

This new market paradigm also promotes dynamism, with 79% of businesses agreeing that freelance talent enables greater innovativeness. Perhaps most telling, 84% of hiring managers utilizing it feel more assured about adapting to future disruption, compared to just 69% of those relying solely on full-time staff.

By capitalizing on freelance marketplaces, entrepreneurs can amplify employer branding, augment capabilities and future-proof organizations, even amid turbulence. As nearly 60% of hiring managers plan to increase engagement with freelancers over the next two years, the time is now for executives to realize their inherent potential.

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Related: Navigating the Great Reshuffle: Why Your Employer Brand is Key in Recruiting Talent

The job market continues to shift

After a season of massive hiring, we’re back to seeing layoffs and downsizing. Companies are feeling the bloat—from unused office spaces with rising rent to oversized employee structures — and are shifting focus to hiring only the most essential positions. This leaves a critical talent gap needed for complex projects and specialized tasks. Highly skilled and specialized independents can fill this void.

A few key benefits to engaging them:

Access to niche experts: Platforms like Toptal and Guru provide access to elite professionals from leading Fortune 500 companies and innovative startups. Whether the need is for a machine learning specialist, growth strategist or financial modeler, entrepreneurs can now curate on-demand teams that boast specialized skillsets, enabling them to focus investment on projects with the highest strategic value.

Enhanced agility: Leading corporations increasingly “rent” skills by tapping freelance experts for initiatives involving new technologies or while entering unfamiliar markets. With niche contributors available to plug knowledge gaps, owners can explore ideas that once seemed unrealistic due to internal constraints—unlocking inventiveness and first-mover advantage.

• Stronger employment brand: Blending full-time employees with project-based freelancers signals a commitment to modernization and work-life balance. Offering both engaging work and flexibility will help draw exceptional candidates and help you compete with corporate giants for top-tier talent.

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Related: Can Retirees Thrive in the Gig Economy? Navigating a Changed Workforce

Tips for capitalizing on gig talent

Having explored the forces reshaping work, executives may wonder how to effectively leverage freelance platforms. After all, how can you know you’re getting your money’s worth if a hire isn’t physically present full-time?

• Define projects clearly: Contract hires thrive when expectations and deadlines are established upfront. So, clearly, detail needs around deliverables, success metrics, required skills and projected time investments. Staying ahead when it comes to communication and expectations will help avoid headaches, including delays.

• Build loyalty with talent: The best independent professionals have options regarding the projects they accept. Study their profiles to discern passions and incentives. Offer interesting work, flexibility and strong communication to motivate interest and improve results.

• Manage collaboration: Provide steady context, feedback and guidance at each project stage, but also foster autonomy, even while directing efforts toward strategic goals. A dynamic balance of these qualities drives optimal outcomes.

• Continue expanding your talent pool: Add proven freelancers to an internal database for repeat engagements, and notify talent about new initiatives for which their expertise would provide an edge. Uncovering additional ways, freelancers can enhance the business deepens the relationship.

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Related: Fill Your Talent Gap by Sourcing Candidates From the Veteran Community

Top platforms for connecting with talent

Now comes the hard part: finding contractors who bring fractional expertise sets. There are a growing number of platforms, of course, but I’ve found that the following stand out as leaders:

Fiverr: Ideal for execs seeking design, digital marketing, writing, video and admin support. Known for affordability and ease of posting jobs. It taps a global talent pool, too.

Upwork: A flexible platform that spans more than 150 skills. Used by everyone from small businesses to global enterprises. Strong at IT, development, design, finance and consulting.

Toptal: Focuses exclusively on the top 3% of talent. Best for expert software developers, designers, project managers and finance experts. All contributors are extensively vetted.

Contra: A growing independent platform that vets and connects both job candidates and hiring companies. Best of all, it doesn’t take a commission from projects.

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Related: 3 Strategies to Optimize Your Hiring Process and Find the Best Employees

The numbers speak for themselves: businesses engaging freelance professionals report greater confidence and competitiveness, as well as the ability to withstand turbulence, yet legacy beliefs can still cause hesitancy among those keen to hire. Supported by such specialized collaborators, companies can explore new horizons unencumbered by a one-time narrow view of staffing models.

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