#SWAAYthenarrative
Career

Are self-employment and side hustles the future? Or are we in the 9-5 for life?

In partnership with Bestow, We've put together a fun infographics (see below) to help you decide which career move you should make.

Well over 57 million people freelanced in 2019, proving that self-employment and side hustles could very well be the future of working. Considering that close to four million more people joined the freelance life between 2014 and 2019, there are some serious draw factors to freelancing.

Being your own boss, being able to work from anywhere at anytime, deciding what you do and what you don't, and having the ability to make your own working hours are just some of the factors that are drawing people to freelancing. For those that yearn for freedom and flexibility, this working style has some serious appeal. Not to mention, the rise of the solopreneur has helped revolutionize working for introverts.

As with anything, those that have freelanced as a full-time position will be the first to tell you that these pros come with their fair share of cons. For all the flexibility that freelancing offers, there is a fair share of uncertainty and instability. Especially for those just starting out, there could be weeks (or even months) between gigs. This unpredictability extends to payment, as there's no accounting department to make sure you get paid. The onus is on you to follow up with clients and make sure they pay, or you could be risking not getting your hard-earned money at all.

That said, stability of pay is often not even a question at a typical, full-time 9-5 job. The same can be said for job security, which is enough to make most people stay in a full-time position even if they're unhappy or want to spread their wings. Stability is a big pull for many people to a full-time position, as they wake up each day and know (for the most part) what their day will look like.

As anyone who has worked one for long enough can attest to, a full-time job has several downsides. For many, the lack of autonomy, flexibility, and freedom can oftentimes feel stifling, and like the creative spark in them is being stamped out by routines, regulations, and the ever-dreaded busy work. For companies that have not kept up with modern benefits, having only two weeks of vacation a year, tightly scheduled maternity leave for working moms, plus limited work-from-home (or remote) availability can feel restrictive.

When it comes down to making the decision between freelancing and full-time work, the real question to answer is what makes you the happiest and will lead to long-term job satisfaction. If you're someone with dependents who relies heavily on structure, and thrives on regulations, then a 9-5 might be the best bet for you. If you consider yourself more of a "free spirit" with ever-changing interests who wishes to explore the world over, a more flexible freelancing position might be the path forward.

Taking what makes you happiest into consideration isn't just an option—it's a necessity. Adults spend nearly 13 years of their total lives at work—wouldn't you much rather do something you're passionate about, or at least inspires and motivates you to do the best you can?

Making the ultimate decision between freelancing vs. full-time work may sound like an intimidating choice with life-altering consequences either way, but you don't have to make this decision alone. Carefully considering the best path forward for you with a friend, mentor, or career coach can help you make an informed decision that is the best choice for you. While making this choice, use this visual from Bestow to help guide you through the different factors that freelancing and full-time work has; from earning potential to the pros and cons of each. This is an exciting decision either way, so remember to be excited about the leap you (and your career) are taking!



Freelance or Full-Time

Infographic courtesy of hellobestow.com.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.