How to Change Careers (Successfully)

Whether it’s due to dissatisfaction with your current career or possibly getting laid off from a job in a dying business sector, chances are great that you’re going to want to change careers (or may at least seriously contemplate doing so) at least one in your professional lifetime.

Many people do change careers. You hear often about people such as the person who left a career as a data analyst to that of freelance writer. Or the lawyer who left the profession to become an intern at a local television news station and who now covers the Supreme Court as a correspondent. Or how about this doozy of a change: going from a TV station control room to school bus driver and wedding officiant (both of which he LOVES)!

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But there also are many other people who change careers who find that the new career a) isn’t what they thought it would be or b) they struggle mightily to become successful within that career and/or make ends meet. We don’t hear as much about these people, but they’re out there, rueing the day they made the change.

And why do they regret the change? There usually are at least one – or more – of the following six reasons:

  1. They didn’t take the time to really think about what they wanted to do.
  2. They didn’t research the new career and went in blind.
  3. They quit their current job before researching the career and/or even having another job lined up.
  4. They didn’t get any training needed before quitting their current position and looking for a new job in a new field.
  5. They assumed they could get a job in the new career at the same level – and amount of salary — they had in in their old career (“Operations manager in retail to director in a marketing agency, here I come!”)
  6. Deciding to change careers because they hate their current boss/colleagues/company. (They forgot that a single job is not a career.)

Instead, here’s what successful career changers do.

  • They research and research – and research some more – the career(s) in which they are interested.

We may think that we know what it’s like working in a certain career, but that’s pretty much impossible unless we actually work in the career or at least talk to several people who work within it.

Since it would be very difficult to work in the field before, well, working in the field, your best bet is to talk to as many people as possible who do what you want to do. Ask them about the best and worst things about the career. Ask them how they got into the career. Ask them about salaries, skills and education requirements, etc. Ask them if they know of anyone else in the field you could talk to.

Doing this not only helps you get a better idea of what the career actual entails day-to-day, it also helps you build a network of people who can help you find work if/when you decide to make a move.

  • They work hard to see how their current skills can transfer easily to the new career and they showcase this to potential employers.

Chances are great that unless you have the skills that transfer easily from one career to another (sales skills, for example), you may have to start a bit “from the bottom.”

Not always, but usually. And the people who do start at a level somewhat akin to their current position in their current career work hard to either gain the skills needed  for the new career or show potential employers how they transfer.

They realize that it’s not their new manager’s job to make their career dreams come true: they need to show value and how they can solve the new supervisor’s problems from the get go.

If they don’t have the skills that transfer easily, they graciously come to terms with it and accept that they may have to climb the ladder all over again.

Possibly the easiest career change to make is to one that’s related to a current career: advertising to marketing, law to finance, medicine to public health, for example. That doesn’t mean a change from interior design to finance (for example) isn’t unheard of, but anyone making such a drastic change needs to make it with eyes wide open.

Are you looking for a change? Helpmates may be able to help you, so long as you understand the limits of your current skills in regards to what the jobs in a new career require. Whether you’re looking for a new job or a whole new profession, take a look at our current opportunities and, if one or more pique your interest, follow the instructions on the posting.

Growing Young Talent into Great Leaders

You spent a lot of effort and funds to hire your younger team members, some of whom are actually phenomenal people and terrific at what they do for your company.

And, yet….you lose them. Forty-two percent of young people (who are mostly millennials today, but Generation Z is coming!) tend to stay at a job just one to three years.

It cost you several thousand dollars to hire the person and, because the worker left, you’ll now have to incur those costs again. But what if you could keep those young, talented people on your payroll? The benefits would be substantial:

  • You wouldn’t have the cost of replacing them.
  • You wouldn’t need to train their replacements.
  • You’d have the benefit of the knowledge they’ve accumulated in their time with you (compared to new hires, who wouldn’t have that accumulated knowledge).
  • And so on.

Orange County temp agency

What do young people want? What could entice them to say with you for more than three years? Raises and the chance for advancement!

It’s a no-brainer really: take your best young talent and groom them to become your company’s future leaders. Home grown CEOs, if you will.

But how do you actually do this? Read below.

Offer special training opportunities.

In fact, it may be a good idea to provide leadership/management training courses/webinars/seminars/programs for those employees who show potential (and interest). After all, what 27-year-old knows how to exude an aura of “I’m in charge” with the proper tone to address subordinates (who may be older than he/she), showcase appropriate body language and know the right way to react/punish when a team member exhibits unacceptable behavior?

Offer the chance to role play.

Make sure you your leaders-in-training have a chance to try out these new behaviors in a critical, but supportive, arena (as in critiques, not criticism).

Understand that many young people have a lot of self-confidence, but it’s the type that hasn’t been “tried by fire.” That is, your top young employees may have a strong can-do attitude, but the fact remains that they don’t have the skills needed to manage or lead.

Start providing increased responsibilities.

Allow your budding leaders the chance to exercise their new management skills in real life. Do so gradually and make sure they have someone in management (a mentor) to whom they report. Watch how they handle their additional responsibilities. Provide them greater obligations as they show the ability to handle them.

Depending on the new challenge, don’t shirk giving the person a promotion and/or an increase in salary.

Give feedback, and not just from other managers.

The trainee’s mentor/manager should review and give the person feedback, but so should others, particularly those who also have worked with you for about the same amount of time but who weren’t chosen for leadership training.  Encourage open and truthful feedback without fear of reprisal.

Looking for more great talent for your Orange County or Los Angeles-area company? Then contact Helpmates! We can help you find new grads, middle-managers and members of the C-suite for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

When a Co-Worker Drives You Crazy


Co-workers: they can make or break a job. You could be working in your dream career, even at your dream company doing work you absolutely love, but if even if there’s just one colleague who is annoying as all get out? Well, you may soon start looking for another employer, THAT’s how much a colleague who puts your teeth on edge can affect you.

What types of co-workers make the list of the most annoying? Take a look below:

Drama Queens. Male or female, these types of folks make a big thing out of Did another colleague look the drama queen a bit too long? Instead of thinking that perhaps the person was looking out in to space deep in thought, drama queens automatically assume the worst: the person hates them, is obsessed with them, is plotting against them, and so on.

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In other words, to drama queens, everything is about them. Oh, and life is one crises after another.These people Just. Can’t. Be. Bothered.

Want to ask if they can help you real quick on deadline? Don’t bother; it’s not their project. Are you on a work team together and you notice someone is doing the bare minimum (if that) and she always seems to work in slow motion? Oh, and does she often complain about her horrendous workload? Yup, a slacker.

The Braggart. Did someone just get a new Camry after just two years with the old one? You know about it because the braggart is letting everyone know about it. Did her boyfriend just give her a dozen roses and a nice necklace, just because? Does she talk about the new shoes she just purchased, how she got into a club no one can get into, and on and on about her fabulous life? There’s a braggart!

These aren’t the only types of crazy-making colleagues. There are bullies, perfectionists, gossips, suck-ups, shrinking violets, smiling backstabbers, Pollyannas, heroes, TMI sharers, and more.

But notice something here: chances are you at some point, sometime may have been one of these annoyances yourself? In other words, we’re all human, we all have our weaknesses and we all are annoying to someone else at some time.

We advocate understanding and forgiveness. So with that in mind, take a look below for some coping mechanisms you can use when the annoying ones make your life crazy at work.

When you find yourself annoyed by a co-worker, pause for a moment and dig into what you’re really feeling at the moment of annoyance. Are you angry, sad, disappointed, anxious? The simple act of naming your emotion can help alleviate it. At the same time, identify the exact thing/behavior your colleague does that annoys you. Instead of “he’s just an attention grabber,” it should be “I dislike it when he interrupts a speaker during meetings.”

Now ask yourself what your reaction can teach you about yourself. Chances are that another person’s actions irk you because you’re worried that you exhibit the same tendencies. Taking the above as example, if someone annoys you for interrupting and you think it’s because he needs to hog the spotlight, are you possibly concerned that you may sometimes come across as a limelight lover, too? Or are you worried that you’re too quiet and never speak up when you have a great idea?

Either scenario could mean that you have some work to do on yourself: either work on giving others a chance to shine or start speaking up more when you have something to say.

Of course, some annoying colleagues are – frankly – truly toxic! If that’s the case and you can give concrete examples of how their toxicity affected you (a team member slacked so much the project missed a deadline, and you have the documentation to prove it), bring your concerns (and documentation) to your manager or human resources.

Finally, if you find that a colleague truly does make your workday miserable, it may be time to look for another employer. If that’s the case, consider contacting the recruiters at Helpmates. While we do offer temporary assignments, we also have a lot of direct-hire opportunities. Take a look at all of our current openings and follow the instructions on the listing if one appeals to you.

Does One Word Lead to True Employee Engagement?

How many of your employees like working for you? Probably not as many as you may think, and definitely far fewer than you would want: Gallup reports that worldwide, a full 67 percent of workers are “not engaged,” with 18 percent actually “are actively disengaged.”

And these numbers are nothing new; employees have Not. Liked. Working. At. Their. Employer. For. Years!

And we don’t have to spell out why this is a bad thing for your company’s bottom line: you already know so.

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Many reasons exist for this disengagement. Your employees may feel:

  • Their boss is mean.
  • The workplace is hostile/threatening.
  • They toil in hazardous or unpleasant conditions.

In addition, they may feel all of these things and also feel too afraid to speak up.

And what do all of the above have in common? What is the one missing thing that ties them all together?


Think about it: when it comes to engaging employees aren’t we really talking about respect, motivation, workplace relationships, teamwork, shared goals, genuine connections?

And how does one create these connections, motivate others, build strong relationships, share goals? By being nice. Follow the golden rule and treat others as you would want to be treated.

Yes, you can cajole, force, make employees do that which needs to be done. But you can also help them eagerly perform their jobs well by making it an absolute top-down, company-wide culture of respect, kindness and support of employees.

Understand, also, that this won’t be easy. Being understanding and compassionate when others around you are disagreeable or even mean (and there will be at least one instance each day when someone at your company will be mean or at least “not nice” to a colleague or subordinate in some way), is difficult. No workplace is perfect, just as no human within it is perfect.

But because a workplace is the sum of its parts, with its employees being the greatest “part’ of its whole, a simple, concerted effort by everyone to respect, build trust and show care for one another will go a long way to creating a workplace in which employees:

  • Feel appreciated.
  • Trust management.
  • Get excited about company goals and mission.
  • Enjoy coming to work/absenteeism declines.
  • Take responsibility for their failures and accomplishments.
  • Work efficiently, meeting deadlines.

Don’t believe us? It’s true: kindness in the workplace works!

When looking for terrific – and kind – individuals for your Orange County company’s temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities, look to Helpmates  to help you find them.  Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you today.

Why Soft Skills Still Matter

Have you noticed how companies, hiring managers and recruiters are screaming “Where are all the skilled workers!?” It seems everyone working to fill a position is looking for skills, as in skills in technology, engineering, digital, coding, nano-tech, accounting and so on.

But what if you don’t have those particular skills? What if you’re a great writer? You get along well with others and help alleviate conflicts among colleagues when things get testy? What if you work well alone as well as in a team? What if you’re good at training others in sales, or WordPress?

What about you? Are you sunk, lost, never to be noticed by an employer again!

Hardly! Yes, certain skills are highly valued by employers, but the best coder in the world isn’t going to be highly prized by his colleagues or his supervisor if he’s a loner who makes snide remarks when he’s interrupted.

Instead, as technical skills become more and more important, so are soft skills raising their profile among hiring managers because the more impersonal the workplace becomes, so grows employers’ need to hire people who have the skills necessary to answer yes when someone asks “Can’t we all just get along?”

This post discusses how you can showcase your soft skills to an employer. Take a look below.

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The Three Top Soft Skills.

As our workplaces become more automated and technical (and therefore impersonal), employers are going to be looking people who:

  • Have the ability to collaborate with others (also known as a knack for teamwork).
  • Can think critically.
  • Are able to communicate well.

“Hard” skills may get you an interview, but unless you have soft skills, you won’t get the job – and then promoted within it. Tech, accounting, coding, marketing skills, etc. are what employers specify in job descriptions, but you will need to let your soft skills shine by being personable in your job interview, communicating well, asking questions, sending sincere thank you notes, negotiating salary, and so on in order to receive an offer

In addition, once you’re on the job, your people skills, your positive attitude, a strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, etc. will help you move up the ladder. They are, in fact, crucial skills to have if you want to succeed in any capacity.

To showcase your soft skills in a job interview, follow these tips:

  • Give specific examples of the times you went “above and beyond” for an employer and how doing so benefited the project on which you worked. (Soft skill: work ethic.)
  • Bring examples of written work you created to showcase your communication skills. In addition, tell the hiring manager/interviewer how you helped diffuse a tense situation, how you were able to move a skeptical prospect into a buyer, and so on.
  • Explain how you prioritize your to-do list, how you delegate to others and/or speak to managers when too many of their competing must-dos need to be coordinated among them. (Soft skill: time management.)
  • Dress appropriately for the job interview. Look the interviewer directly in the eye. Give her a firm handshake before and after the interview. Keep fidgeting to a minimum. Ask questions that show you’ve researched different aspects of the company and how the job opening fits into helping the company meet its goals. (Soft skill: self-confidence.) Practice these skills with a trusted friend or family member, if possible.

If looking for work in Southern California, bring your much-needed soft skills to Helpmates. We can help you find terrific job and career opportunities with many of the region’s top employers. It’s a candidates’ market today and our clients need you! Contact us today.

Helpmates Staffing Services Once Again Wins Two of Inavero’s 2018 Best of Staffing® Diamond Awards

Helpmates Staffing – once again! – has been named to the “Best of Staffing” list.  For the 9th straight year! We are way beyond thrilled! And honored!!

Helpmates Staffing  Services has earned Inavero’s Best of Staffing® Talent and Client Diamond Awards after winning the best “Best of Staffing” award in each category at least five years in a row.

Only 2 percent of all staffing firms in the U.S. and Canada win the Best of Staffing award and only 33 percent of the Best of Staffing Award winners also earned the diamond distinction this year.

More than 1.2 million people (staffing candidates and clients) across the country provided feedback on many of the nation’s staffing firms. Award winners are determined by the percentage of satisfaction scores of 9 or 10 (out of a possible 10) given to them by their placed job candidates and clients.

Helpmates Wins Best of Staffing Diamond Awards Again

Helpmates won in four areas:

  • Client Satisfaction Award (9th year in a row)
  • Talent Satisfaction Award (7th year in a row)
  • The Best of Staffing Client Diamond Award (4th year in a row)
  • The Best of Staffing Talent Diamond Award (2nd year in a row)

What’s particularly important in this year’s awards is the fact that our Net Promoter Score (NPS), a customer metric that measure the loyalty between a provider (Helpmates) and its customers (clients and candidates/talent). Helpmates’ 2018 NPS score was 51.3 percent far above the staffing industry average of just 9 percent.

We need to acknowledge the dedication and extremely hard work our internal Helpmates team members performed on our behalf in order to earn us these important awards. We are grateful beyond words that our clients and temporary associates appreciate the work that our recruiters, branch managers and sales professionals do on their behalf.

All of us here at Helpmates intend to continue that hard work throughout the rest of this year and beyond, committing once again to ensuring that Southern California candidates and businesses find terrific work and the top talent possible.

Finally, thank you to our clients and candidates: it’s a great honor to work for and with you and we are exceedingly grateful for your belief in us!

Is THIS Why the Candidate Said No to Your Job Offer?

Yours is a nice company filled with nice people who work hard and aim to do their best in their jobs. Your receptionists are pleasant. Your HR department is filled with people-persons. You feel your managers are professional and have great communication skills.

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Then why do so many job candidates feel they’ve been treated so shoddily?

Yes, that’s right: too many companies make the application, interviewing and job offer process tough for applicants:

  • They don’t let rejected candidates know they didn’t get the job.
  • They make candidates jump through hoops to even apply. (WHY – in this age of identity theft – are employers still insisting on online applications that applicants provide social security numbers!?)
  • They call applicants at their current job insisting on having a phone interview right then.
  • They won’t accommodate candidates who can only interview in person after hours.
  • They put them through impersonal preliminary interviews.
  • They insist on tough panel interviews.
  • An experienced candidate contacts a hiring manager directly but the manager insists the candidate contact HR first
  • Candidates with several years of experience must still take basic-level skills testing.
  • And so on.

It’s tough to find great people. But too many companies still treat candidates as if it were 2008, the peak of the Great Recession, when great people were plentiful and businesses could pick and choose among the best job candidates.

Instead, it’s 2018 and the tables have turned: candidates get to choose among the best job opportunities!

This is important when it comes to hiring top talent because 79 percent of those surveyed said they would be “unlikely” to accept a job offer if they felt they were treated poorly during the recruiting process.

And it gets worse: 27 percent of respondents said they might talk about their poor experience on their social media channels!

What’s the right way to treat candidates?  With considerable courtesy and attention. Look at it this way: it’s something of a courtship today between employers and candidates, with companies doing the wooing and candidates saying yes or no to making a commitment.

So court your candidates! How do you do so?

  • Be accommodating to their schedules: interview them after hours, if necessary.
  • Make it easy for them to apply. Allow them, for example, to simply send a resume and cover letter as application. Ask for references only once you’re thinking of hiring and individual. Leave the nitty-gritty paperwork (and asking for their SSN) when they start the job, not before.
  • Send emails – or even videos — about the company culture, dress code, directions, etc. to those people you invite for an interview. This helps them get to know you before meeting and helps them know how to dress, where to park, etc.
  • Hiring managers: welcome phone calls from candidates who have the chutzpah to pick up the phone. Most applicants won’t; doing so shows assertiveness, courage and not a small amount of self-confidence, all terrific traits to have in employees.
  • Make a decision quickly and let interviewees know when you expect to make it. In fact, explain your next steps in the recruiting process clearly. If there’s a delay, let all interviewees know of it.
  • If you interview a candidate but decide not to hire her, she deserves the courtesy of a phone call from the hiring manager letting her know so. After all, she took several hours out of one of more of her days to visit your offices. It’s simple common courtesy.
  • Let all non-interview applicants know when the job is filled. An e-mail message or snail-mailed letter is sufficient.

When you need help attracting, interviewing and, yes, even courting top candidates in Southern California, let Helpmates help you source, interview, vet, and place them. Contact the office nearest you to learn how we can help you make job candidates feel like the VIPs they are in today’s tough talent-search market.

The Quick-Start Job Search Guide

Even though this definitely is a candidate-driven market (and it should continue to be so at least through all of 2018) and employers are practically on bended knee “proposing” to talent, Los Angeles-area workers could see themselves suddenly without a job: layoffs STILL occur!

If this has happened to you, you may decide to take a few days or weeks off to mourn your loss and even recharge. (“It’s a sort-of vacation!”) This can be a good idea, but we urge you to take only two or three weeks – at most – “off” before starting your job search in earnest.

Why? Because the very fact that you are unemployed – even if it wasn’t your fault – makes you much less desirable than someone who is still employed, even if you have highly sought after skills. Why? Because being unemployed makes you an “active” candidate. If you were still employed, you would be a “passive” candidate and employers prefer passive candidates because “we don’t have to worry about the circumstances surrounding their departure from their last job.” That’s right: get laid off for no reason other than because your employer decided it needed to cut back on its employee roster and you’re automatically (probably subconsciously) lumped in with ne’er do wells, thieves, folks who weren’t up to the task, “problem” employees, etc.

Is this fair? Of course not! But it is reality. So if you find yourself out of work, don’t sit around watching Hulu videos or finally getting around to painting your Huntington Beach condo. Start looking for work. Pronto!

Take a look below for 11 steps to take to get your job search started quickly. As in half a day!

Orange County Jobs

  1. Get organized.

Put on some comfortable clothes, find a quiet space in your home, get your previous resume and a cover letter handy, open up the laptop, and start contacting friends to see if they’d be willing to proofread your revised resume. Get some tea and/or coffee and settle down for the afternoon.

  1. Start thinking about where you’d like to work.

Have you always wanted to work at some particular company or companies? List them. Go to each of their websites and do some research. Jot notes about the companies’ products/services, their goals/challenges (check their blogs or news media sites for insight into these things). Look at your LinkedIn profile to see if you have any first, second or even third connections who either work at the companies or who may have connections at the companies. Check the companies’ job openings to see if there’s anything that fits your bill.

  1. Check job boards.

Don’t spend a lot of time on this. And don’t apply to any openings. Not yet. This is recon: you want to see what job opportunities currently are to be had for your background and skill set. Make notes (bookmarks, too) if anything you see particularly strikes you or piques your interest.

  1. Pick five favorite openings and/or companies.

Head back to LinkedIn and see if you know anyone with any connection. Ask them to set up an informational interview with them. (Here’s a networking email template that says it will “get you a meeting with anyone you ask.” Let us know if it works!)

Work to set up a minimum of three meetings. Set those three meetings up today.

  1. Write a cover letter and tailor it to EACH different opportunity.

Seriously: each cover letter needs to be different. You cannot use the same cover letter for each opening. You need to show how your skills, background, accomplishments, and possibly education will help the employer solve the problems the position is supposed to solve and/or reach the goals the position is supposed to reach.

  1. Beef up your resume.

Tweak/edit it so that it highlights your specific accomplishments: those problems you solved and goals you reached for your previous employers. Don’t be afraid to also tweak your resume for each position.

  1. Send the resume/cover letter to one or more friends for proofing/feedback.

You want absolutely no grammar or spelling mistakes. None!

  1. Apply for the three or so openings online.

Upload your docs and hit send.

  1. If you’ve heard back from your potential informational interviews, set up meeting times.

Mention that you’ve applied for openings at their company (if applicable). Approach friends, family members and current and/or former colleagues for coffee meetings. Let them know what type of work you’re looking for, your skills/background and make sure to ask them if they know of anyone else with whom you could meet. (Tip: don’t wait for your friend to make the intro: people are busy and may forget. instead ask your friend for his contact’s email or phone info and ask your buddy if it’s OK if you contact the person directly, saying that your friend suggested that you contact the individual.)

  1. Repeat each day until you accept a job offer.

The way to find a job quickly is look for work each day. Yes, the old saw is true: view searching for a job as your job.

  1. Consider signing up with a staffing service such as ours.

Helpmates has new temporary, temp-to-hire and even direct-hire job opportunities appearing every day. You can work with us on temporary assignments while you job hunt on your own or allow us to send you on interviews for more permanent positions.

Take a look at our job openings and apply online. Or contact the office nearest you.

Is This Why No One’s Sharing Your Job Postings on Social Media?

Your company has what you believe is a pretty nifty job-referral program for employees: if they refer someone who ends up working for you for at least six months, the referring worker gets a few hundred dollars.

So you ask your employees to let their friends and friends of friends know about career/job opportunities with you. You also ask that employees share your job postings on their personal social media channels.

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You sit back and wait for the referrals to rush on in. But what do you hear? The sound of nada (if nada made a sound).

What gives? You ask employees to share your job openings, you reward them handsomely if a referral works out, they can easily hit “share” on a job posting, but candidates don’t respond?


It could well be because the employees who refer great people are really, really picky regarding who they will refer to your (and their) company: they only make a referral if they truly feel it’s a good match for both the company and the potential employee.

And so that downsizes their pool of referable friends/acquaintances considerably!

And regarding why those jobs that are shared don’t get a response?’s study of 10,000 job seekers, Privacy of Job Search, found that 24 percent of those looking for work are the least likely to share this fact online. What’s more, 50 percent of job seekers wouldn’t even tell a partner that they’ve applied for a new position. In fact, two-thirds of job hunters said they were concerned (very to somewhat) about their job search going public.

So when it comes to jobs that do get shared via social media? No one may apply because they are worried about being found out: if they express interest to a friend on social media for more information? Ooops! There goes their cover!

After all, according to the study, 52 percent of respondents reported that their biggest fear was having colleagues find out that they’re on the job hunt. This fear was far greater than the risk of not getting a new job (29 percent).

It’s a bit ironic: we tend to post great photos of our families, our activities and so on to all and sundry on social media. But when it comes to our search for work, mum’s the word.

If your Irvine-area company isn’t finding the right people for your openings via employee referrals, consider partnering with Helpmates: we’ve been helping companies in Southern California find great people for their temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities for more than 40 years and we’d love to help your company. Contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.


Making the Gig Economy Work for You

The Great Recession definitely “did a number” on many individuals’ careers. Mid- or late-career professionals were downsized and unable to find a similar position at a similar income. New college grads struggled mightly to even find their first post-college position. Many men were let go and unable to find work due to a lack of positions in “traditionally” male occupations such as construction, transportation, etc.

Southern California jobs

If you’ve struggled to find employment in the years since then, you may have found that you prefer to work as a free-lancer, subcontractor or even temporary associate due to the independence and flexibility such positions offer.

Yet the “gig economy” is attractive to many people today, not just those who fought to find regular work with an employer, because the siren call of freedom is hard to resist for many who have the skills to make it in this new, flexible economy:

“No one can ever fire me again!” is their mantra!

Additional reasons why more and more people are embracing a non-traditional work style (from

  • Only 14 percent of companies offer pension plans to their employees (down from 60 percent in 1982), so what’s the point of working for an employer (some people may figure)?
  • LinkedIn reports that the average length of unemployment is almost six months (25 weeks). Many people may have decided not to look for work anymore and instead started a freelance enterprise.
  • Developments in technology make it easier than ever for people to start up new ventures and/or freelance from home.
  • Artificial intelligence probably will uproot the workplace in ways as yet unimagined, forcing/pushing more and more people to go solo. The Forbes article predicts that 47 percent of jobs are “at risk in the next 20 years,” with those who work in transportation, office and administration, logistics, and production probably at the most risk of employment upheaval

If you’d like to become a member of the gig economy, take a look below for some steps you may want to take in order to do so:

  • Ascertain your skills.

Many freelancers develop websites, work as business writers, write code, provide bookkeeping services, work as virtual assistants, consult for businesses, etc. What skills do you have that you could sell to others? Start researching how much money you may be able to make as a freelancer.

  • Save money! Lots of money.

It’s going to take time to start making money, so you’ll need some sort of income/cushion to tide yourself over as you start marketing your services. If you have a working spouse, congratulations! If you have debt, pay it down while you save.

The less outgo you need to worry about and the more savings you have as you start your new gig-economy career, the better. If at all possible, have at least three to six months’ savings handy and no debt.

  • Build a website and a social media presence.

Don’t spend too much time on your website in the beginning; it needn’t be fancy at all. Create social media channels and start posting/curating information of benefit to your target market.

  • Start trying different marketing tactics.

Whether you want to network at business functions in your local area, email or cold-call prospects, approach them on LinkedIn (or a strategy that uses all three), you’re going to have to start putting yourself out there.

If you consider yourself a shy person, work hard to take yourself out of your comfort zone: many introverts think they can simply email/reach out on social media to get clients. Of course you can, but it will take you far longer to land clients that way than if you were to pick up the phone and call and/or attend many networking events. At least in the beginning.

Instead, if you hustle up some courage and actually ask people for work, you’ll grow as an individual and grow your business much more quickly than you will hiding behind a computer.

  • Treat your freelancing as a business.

Sure, you can take an afternoon off to see the latest blockbuster, but if you do so and miss deadlines, you’ll have seen the movie but missed out on income. You can do both (see the movie when you want and get paid), but understand you may have to work on the weekends/late into the night in order to meet deadlines.

Remember: most clients want a reliable freelancer, not the best freelancer. Good enough is more than good enough if your clients know they can count on you to meet deadlines.

If you’ve decided to become a part of the gig economy and need some income to help you along as you build your business, consider working temporary assignments with Helpmates. You can work one-day assignments here and there, or work at a client for several weeks, which will help you keep your coffers full. Contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you today.

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