In traditional nine-to-five jobs, workers’ compensation represents an essential part of the employee-employer relationship that supports injured workers and businesses alike. Employees have job security and apt time to recover from their injuries, but if you’re an independent contractor, what do you do when you have a work injury?
As a contractor, you’re not technically an employee with the same protections. Your operation is different from the company’s, and you fill a role as outlined by your contract for a set span of time. There are many kinds of independent contractors, from plumbers to specialized freelancers.
With the rise of peer-to-peer marketplaces, such as Instacart and Uber, addressing work injuries becomes more complicated. These companies don’t have an obligation to offer the same protections to independent contractors as regular employees, such as health insurance, paid sick leave or workers’ compensation. Here’s how to handle confusing situations when a work injury happens to you as an independent contractor.
Claims Take Time the Injured Don’t Have
Independent contractors are largely free to choose their own work hours and remain free to take off when they need time to attend a doctor’s appointment or other obligation. The downside is that the contractor typically provides their own health insurance and other similar safeguards. When injuries occur, the independent contractor is usually on their own to cover any related costs and take the time to recover. It’s up the employer to decide if they’ll wait around or not for the worker to get better.
Even traditional employees wait around for the insurance company’s decision on a claim, which may take up to 21 days to rule in favor of providing worker’s compensation or not. If you talk to an attorney, you’d proceed with a prosecution of your case to get your benefits started or a defense when benefits have been initiated, but something’s off.
Some businesses tell an employee to go back to work when the employee isn’t ready and refuse to pay medical bills they say are unrelated to a filed workers’ comp claim. You may return to work from the hospital with particular restrictions where you can’t perform particular job duties. That goes to show that workers’ compensation, insurance and work injuries are a complicated scheme with run-around between you and an employer that leaves you with more questions than answers. Situations can arise where one would want to pursue a case, especially an independent worker with limited to no protections.
Whether you provide your own insurance or not, you need to schedule a consultation with an attorney before out-of-pocket expenses pile too high.
What if You Were Misclassified When Hired?
What if the circumstances are murkier? Who’s at fault isn’t always clear. Some companies classify employees as contractors to save money, but sometimes circumstances make the work relationship resemble an employee-employer relationship too closely.
Some laws place more emphasis on the conduct of the parties than in labels used in contracts that employees are forced to sign if they want to drive a cab, for example. This occurred in the 2017 Linton v. DeSoto Cab. Co. Inc. case, where the work provided by the employee was integral to the business. DeSoto had also provided the tools, including the cab, and only collected gate fees for business income. The case was sent back to trial court to reconsider evidence, clarifying that labels in contracts don’t set anything in stone. Were you misclassified as an employee?
Perhaps you were issued a company-owned cellphone or other equipment and tools to conduct business cost-free. The work you do is necessary and integral to the business. That supports an employee-employer relationship. If you were paid a franchise fee, you could be deemed an independent contractor. If you’re not paid wages or required to work a set schedule, that still makes the court raise an eyebrow.
What Options Do You Have?
More people choose to work as independent contractors, and the sharing economy is growing. The standard rules don’t apply to everyone, and many workers feel hung out to dry — especially when they can’t provide their own insurance. Even when they can, obstacles abound. Right now, companies aren’t required to step up when it comes to offering protection to contractors, and independent contractors aren’t eligible for typical workers’ compensation.
Independent workers must advocate for themselves in advance with companies and when forming relationships with third parties. Have insurance options for injuries and disability in place from the start. You may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits and may want to pursue filing for disability through your county health department.
Beyond that, all injured workers have legal choices available to them, but the odds feel even more stacked against independent contractors. You may pursue a case for misclassification or sue for negligence for personal injury, for example.
When injured, you don’t have time to wait around. When an injury occurs on the job as an independent contractor, the circumstances and resolutions get murkier.
Seek treatment and put your health first — otherwise, you’re good to no one. Do your part and contact your company and insurance company, should you have a policy.
Gather all your information, and don’t be afraid to dig deeper. A consultation with a lawyer never hurts anyone, as does a conversation with those you work for to cultivate better protection policies for those who follow you.
The 3 transformative steps every personal brand should follow
It’s no secret to any reader of this blog that an intentional, carefully-managed personal brand is critical to take control of your career in today’s professional landscape. As Mark Schaefer elaborates in his most recent book KNOWN, “You need to be known for SOMETHING in a relevant space that’s large enough for it to matter. You need to create content in a way that makes a difference and builds an audience that you can activate.” By following Schaefer’s advice, and the four steps in his book, you can build an enduring personal brand and become a recognized thought leader in your desired field.
But what happens, when your passions and career experiences change over time? In Dorie Clark‘s HBR article on this topic, she quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Clark emphasizes, “Your path may make perfect sense to you, but how can you persuade others to embrace your new brand—and take you seriously?”
My Personal Re-Brand Story: From “China Guy” to “Global Marketing Strategist”
I recently went through a “personal re-brand” in preparation for the release of my next book, Digital Influence. I spent the first half of my career in Asia working in major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei and Singapore. As a result of my regional business experience, and years of article writing building up to my first book, China Goes West, I became known within my professional circles as the go-to “China guy.”
However, at the same time as I traveled around the world speaking about “China Goes West” and the rise of Chinese international brands, my day job focused more on global marketing. As I accumulated more than a decade of marketing experience, I faced Longfellow’s dilemma above – my colleagues and business partners knew my professional strengths as a marketer, but the topic I was known for by anyone who Googles “Joel Backaler” was almost exclusively China-related.
Manage Your Personal Brand, As Your Favorite Company Manages Theirs
I knew in order for Digital Influence to be successful, I’d need to rebrand from purely a China insider, to a more global marketing focus since the book’s content on Influencer Marketing covers more countries than China. To do this, I partnered with digital marketer, author and international keynote, Cynthia Johnson, and her talented team at Bell + Ivy in Los Angeles for their external perspective.
The following quote from Johnson sums up why I chose to work with them, “Think about why you love your favorite brands. It could be their name, their product, their messaging or even something as simple as their color palette. Overall, these brands are memorable and have an impact. That’s what we do at Bell + Ivy; we create a voice and proliferate influence for our clients so they can create unstoppable change in their industries. Branding has the power to do that.” Johnson and her team members all share my own belief that a personal brand is just as powerful as any corporate brand, and as such it requires careful management to ensure you are perceived in the way you would ideally want others to know you.
3 Steps to Your Own Personal Re-Brand
Johnson and her team took me through a series of steps that anyone going through a personal re-brand can follow:
#1 Personal Brand Audit: Before you can re-brand you need to fully understand your current personal brand through careful review of your digital footprint. The Bell + Ivy team conducted a personal brand audit on my behalf to identify everywhere my name appears online, how I’m generally positioned, along with any inconsistencies of how I appear from site to site.
#2 Update Personal Brand Positioning: Based on their findings from the Personal Brand Audit, we collaborated on updating my personal brand positioning to more accurately reflect the current topics I’m writing and speaking about. In other words, want to be known for. It was more of an “update” because I still want to be known for my China expertise (I speak Mandarin and have been involved directly or indirectly with the country since 2001), but we needed to tie in my marketing experience as well so we came up with “Global Marketing Strategist” since that allows me to cover marketing topics from China and any other part of the world.
#3 Content Creation + Consistency: The final step in the process is actually a series of many steps that I’m still working through at the time of writing this post. With my new personal brand positioning established, I updated my online platform, from a new personal website, to consistent positioning across all of my social media profiles and bylines, and finally the ongoing creation of new content that ties back to my new brand positioning. The last bit of course, is far from simple – consistent, high-quality content-creation is the only way I’ll truly be able to re-brand to help new members of my audience view me based on the topics I now want to be known for, rather than judging me by the work I’ve done years ago.
Now It’s Your Turn
A personal re-brand isn’t easy. It’s much more comfortable to continue along the same path where people know you for what you do best – or at least what they think you do best. However, as Schaefer rightly points out in KNOWN, “Becoming known is not a linear process.” As your passions and career experience evolve over time, it’s only natural to pivot into new areas. But be thoughtful in how you do so. Inconsistency (multiple re-brands) will hold you back over the long term so choose the right time, follow these three steps, and you’ll be ready to take your brand to the next level.
Having a focused email marketing plan is important to have in place for your personal brand in order to best connect with your subscribers. The right message for each list will greatly enhance your leads and sales.
There are several ways that a segmented strategy can work for your brand, which should be well suited for the type of option form your subscribers used. Knowing the needs of your audience will also help your company know what to provide for them, especially when it comes to valuable offers.
Building the right email marketing campaign takes target market research, careful planning, and a message that is based upon the specific needs and desires of your prospects. Here are several ways your communication with your leads and customers can be enhanced:
Ask targeted questions – Find out more about the specific needs of your niche with surveys that provide an incentive in return. This will increase your open rates with a reward of providing something of value that your audience can really use.
Write appealing headlines – Utilize a good headline analyzer to test out different versions for your emails. Remember that broad or generic subject lines will often get skipped or deleted. Instead, your brand should appeal to the reader’s emotions right away and provide them a reason to open your message.
Segment your subscribers – Your subscribers may be coming from different campaigns in both social media and via your blog. Send out specific emails targeted to these groups. Focused emails are more likely to be opened as they specifically address a more narrow market.
Follow up with each list – Send periodic reminders out to your subscribers about what they opted into your offer. Schedule according to your own emailing agenda — it’s important not to send too many messages and overwhelm them with information.
Sending regular and segmented emails throughout the month on a consistent basis will keep your personal brand at the top of your readers’ minds and will help you focus your efforts for a better return. By targeting the right subscribers they will be more likely to make a purchase and also recommend your company to their friends, family, and co-workers. The process may take some effort and research to set up for each list, but is well worth the the payoff in the end.
In the current job market, it’s not unusual for people to be looking for jobs over many months. It’s a very competitive market, and job openings are few. This situation is amplified by the herd mentality whereby people deploy the job search strategies commonly used in the past. For example, asking people about their target companies elicits, in most cases, the names of large and very well-known companies. This means that all of those people are competing for the same few openings. Yet there are lots of jobs in the untapped arena called the hidden job market.
The hidden job market is at the other end of the spectrum—mostly hidden from the public because the jobs in it don’t get published. Such jobs get filled by word of mouth or through recommendations. Most jobs are not advertised anyway, and people who get hired never responded to advertisements. Research has shown that 25 percent of people lie on their résumés. Hiring managers have a basic mistrust about résumés, preferring candidates who are recommended.
Some news articles profess that only one-third of job openings are advertised. That means that two-thirds of job openings are invisible to most job applicants. Here are some more facts:
Big companies are eliminating jobs as a result of their mergers-and-acquisitions activities, while small and medium-size companies are creating jobs.
Small companies have problems attracting talent and are thus often settling for less-than-perfect candidates.
The job market is localized. Plumbers in New Orleans could be doing well, while those in other cities could be doing poorly.
At the same time that companies are laying off people, they could be hiring in areas where other employees are needed.
More than ten percent of the current job market is contingent (part-time, temporary, or contract).
Two-thirds of all new jobs are on a contingent basis. The chances of a contingent job’s becoming permanent are very good because the employees in them are known quantities.
So, what should job seekers do to increase their chances of getting employed? Here are a few suggestions.
It takes a minimum of 40 job-search work hours a week to get a job. Research has shown that many unemployed people spend less than 10 hours a week.
One has to make several contacts in the same company to get hired. It is a multi-step and protracted effort. Nothing happens fast when one is looking for a job.
People get jobs by talking to people. Improve your verbal and written communication skills.
You should be working on at least 5 leads at all times. Don’t be discouraged by the voices in your head saying you cannot do it.
By following these suggestions, people in transition will not only speed up the process but also increase their chances exponentially.
Since your newborn’s birth, talk consists of everything baby-related: name, age, weight and hours spent in labor. While you love discussing your bundle of joy, you’ve got other labor in mind — returning to work and life post-maternity leave.
How do you get back into gear when your leave is up and you have to start a new routine with baby? Your slow integration back into the world of work and life will make you feel stuck in a weird time warp, but with a few baby steps, you’ll get back on track in no time:
1. Remember How to Speak Adult
You’ve spent your time with family, and most of that time with your newborn. Chances are you also speak in baby talk to yourself, especially with reminders and needs: “Go to sleep now, silly. Don’t forget the breast pump or your boobies are going to be two sore, leaky and squeaky balloons!”
Other moms will understand if you talk this way while you’re in the grocery store, but the cashier may look a little confused. Your boss will probably turn several shades red when you refer to them as “silly” or your biggest client as “sweetie.” Skip the sweet whimsy, and slow down when talking as you remember how to speak adult.
2. You’re Going to Need New Work Clothes
Don’t skip the postpartum shopping spree. As your body continues to recover, your shape and weight will fluctuate. Buying new clothes today only to toss them in two months may seem senseless, but you don’t want to be late for your first day back as you try to find something that fits — anything that isn’t stretchy yoga pants.
When you return to work, schedule a short chat with your boss to get up to speed. Address any questions or concerns they have and raise your own. As you made a plan for leaving, you’ll need a plan for integrating back into your workflow.
Will you be working your usual hours or slowly increasing your work hours? Half days will be easier for you and your child, especially if they’ll be at daycare. While 47 percent of mothers believe part-time work is ideal for maintaining a work-life balance, keeping a full-time job with a flexible work schedule is best for your family in the long-term. It’s okay to take it slow.
Do you need any accommodations to get through the day for your physical health, such as more breaks to pump milk? Do you need a different chair for your back? Send emails to let colleagues and clients know you’re back in action.
Take it one step at a time and know you don’t have to bring your A-game on the first day. Getting back in the workflow is a process, and you’re a true professional to realize this.
4. Use Your Most Powerful Word
Moms everywhere know the power of “because I said so” even if they hated hearing it as a child themselves. It typically stops or slows any protests or temper tantrums. Take that firm mama tone and apply it to the most powerful word you know but don’t often use: “No.”
As if having a child wasn’t enough to shake up life! Your work-life balance will be threatened by your prior obligations and by new “requests” left and right. Don’t feel pressured to accept additional obligations, work-related or social, that will overwhelm you and threaten your mental, emotional or physical health. If you take on too much, you will burn out. Say no, and don’t feel guilty about it.
5. Focus on Small Meals and Healthy Snacks
When you’re in a rush, meal planning for a whole family — much less yourself — presents a challenge that leaves you defeated and hungry. It’s important to keep your health up as you produce milk and recover. As you get back into gear in other areas of life, eating healthily will give you the energy you need to get through the day.
Focus on creating small meals to eat throughout the day, such as a spread of hummus, vegetables, nuts and cheeses. Breastfeeding or not, super foods like protein-packed almonds that may help boost milk supply and sunflower seeds that are packed with fiber and high selenium, which helps repair damaged cells, are great choices. Such a healthy combination is important to recovery and breastfeeding. Make trail mix and carry small snacks with you.
6. Make a List and Check It Twice
When you return to work and life, you’ll resume many responsibilities with many new ones to balance, especially with your new child in tow. Time management will be intrinsic to your success and sanity, though not everything goes according to plan. Think like Santa: Make a list and check it twice.
Sticky notes on the fridge and on your computer are helpful and handy, but the cloud and your smartphone apps will be your best friends to get through daily routines, such as the Baby Tracker Nursing App and Mom Maps. Keep track of your nursing and child-friendly restaurants when you need to have the baby in tow for errands and work-related adventures. A shared calendar will allow your family to keep track of each other’s schedules along with meal planning. Make the lists, and check them twice.
Selling anything to anyone is a very hard thing to do. Once you get out of your comfort zone and get used to sales, you learn a lot of life lessons. Below you can find 5 of them.
It is the stories that sell: Products don’t sell by themselves. You need to back them up with stories. You need to touch other people’s feelings so that they can put themselves into the same shoes. If you look at the marketing videos carefully, all of them try to tell a story putting the product into the center of the story. Therefore, it is important to have a few stories about the product because facts don’t sell but stories do!
Befriend the right people: People prefer to work with people that they like and get along well. Therefore, if you work in corporate sales, try to become friends with the people that you work with. Become friends with not only the ones that will buy from you but also with others such as the employee sitting in the front door of the company that you visit or the marketing people, etc. You will soon realize that this makes your life much easier plus you can learn inside information, for instance whether there are different offers other than yours, if you befriend the employees.
Be honest: Always be an honest salesperson. Don’t over exaggerate your product and if you are giving a service, be realistic about timelines. Admit to your clients when your product is not a good fit for their business so that you can earn their respect. When you gain the respect and trust of your clients, you can build a forever business. Otherwise, if you deceive them, you can only get a one-time shot. Think this as a marathon and not a sprint.
Deal with rejection: If you want to be a good salesman, you need to learn how to deal with rejection. When you get rejected, ask for feedback. Try to learn the reason behind rejection. If you can learn the real reason, next time you can take steps to avoid the same situation. Also, when you get rejected, don’t take it personally. You are not getting rejected as a person, your product or service is getting rejected. Therefore, go back to your team and brainstorm what you can do to prevent rejection again.
Not everybody is your customer: Learn your target segment very well. For example; if your product is intended for AB income classes, then don’t waste your time with the DE group because you won’t succeed. Remember that not every client fits into your sales strategy. Also, stay away from clients that expects you to work only for them 24/7 because this is not realistic. You are their salesperson and not slave.
Some jobs are sprints, others are marathons. There are lots of roles, such as those in retail, hospitality and logistics, where you are likely to be bouncing between quiet, calm periods and busy, highly demanding periods several times in the same day. Others, such as marketing, copywriting and many office-based roles, are slow burning but taxing all the same.
Spending all day sat at a desk doesn’t sound awfully tiring, but mental exhaustion is just as exacting as physical exertion. Here are some simple but valuable tips for staying as energetic as possible throughout your day.
Eat little and often
Snacking is often the bane of anybody who wants to keep in shape, yet spends their 9 to 5 sat at a desk. Despite the abundance of unhealthy snacks in the 21st century, this doesn’t have to result in a diet loaded with additives. In fact, nutritionists have stated that this is not detrimental to your health when done right, and is just as good for your body as a solid three meals a day. Smaller boosts of energy spread out amongst your working hours can be just what you need to prevent your concentration from flagging – just be sure it isn’t all sugar!
Take mini breaks
This is not to suggest you should start dictating your own work schedule over your manager, but there’s no harm in letting your mind and body take a quick breather from the screen and having to hold that horribly stiff computer desk pose. There’s nothing tricky in this; simply walk away from your desk. Get yourself a tea or coffee, nip to the toilet, go and restock on pens from the stationary cupboard. Anything that allows you to defocus and stretch your legs for a few minutes is ideal. Deliberately loitering is, of course, not going to go down well, but a small and meaningful reason to disengage from your keyboard could be all you need to recharge for the next couple of hours.
Keep your desk clear
A cluttered work space is a cliché for creative types, and in my experience it’s true more often than not. Trying to cope with a disorderly desk, however, is preventing you from numerous benefits. When your physical working area is clear and organised, your work life can see fantastic improvements such as greater focus, more freedom to be adaptive and a good reputation with your managers. Demonstrating your ability to keep things organised and tidy is a great indicator that you’re serious about your work and you’ll keep things in check, which can always lead to better opportunities down the road.
Set daily goals
Having small checkpoints for your work can make it much easier to get through a long list, particularly when used to break a big task or project down to simpler, bite-sized tasks. In project managing roles, this is referred to as a work breakdown structure (WBS), and it is commonly employed to help keep everyone involved on-track and focused on their individual goals. When combined with small rewards for yourself (such as that coffee break or a harmless bit of chocolate), you can make the work day far less daunting and almost turn it into a game of sorts.
There are lots of ways you can make the work day flow easier, and the things that will work best depend on the kind of person you are. Maybe music keeps you focused, or perhaps any noise whatsoever is the concentration killer. Be open and communicative with your management, and see what they can help you incorporate – after all, they want you to work at your best, and you should too!
Ethan Lee writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.
Search engine marketing has changed quite a bit since mobile and voice search have emerged onto the scene, and many brands are left wondering which marketing methods work best to build visibility? Social media is a large influence in the way people look for information, and although this is not measured directly the social signals can have a significant impact.
Do you need to improve your search ranking? There are social media marketing methods that can attract visitors, and increase your reach. In order to be successful online you need to be active and involved in the top social networks.
Today’s SEO strategy is no longer focused on keywords. Instead, original content both in text and visual format are now in favor for audiences and the search engines. There are several ways that can help your website rank higher and attract a larger following online.
Steps to Search Engine Marketing in 2018 with Social Media
Publishing and cross promoting fresh, original content for your target market is just the beginning of being found in search. Here are some tips on improving your social signals:
Check your current Fans and followers – If your brand has paid or promoted content on social media you might have a larger audience, but not ones who are necessarily interested in what you have to offer. In order to be seen as trusted and authentic it’s best to weed out fake accounts or those not relevant, and instead build relationships with your community.
Think more hashtags and less links – External links used to help a website rank higher in search, but what really counts are the right use of keywords on your content on social media. Be sure to include any important website links on your posts and tweets along with relevant hashtags in order to build social proof and attract inbound links.
Increase visual marketing campaigns – Capture your visitors quickly with images and videos that inform and encourage interactions. Create infographics from previously published blog posts, native video, podcasts, ect. These should be something of value for your audience that sparks a conversation and builds relationships.
Launch a live broadcast or chat on Twitter – People are turning to their smart TV’s and mobile devices to gather information. This is an opportunity your brand does not want to miss in order become their go-to source. Using live video and chat tools can dramatically increase your following and substantially grow your community.
As search engine marketing continues to transform it is important to keep up with the latest trends in technology, and to create original content that people are searching for in your personal brand’s niche. Once you successfully meet the needs of your audience it is more likely that your website will rank higher in search, which will attract more exposure online.
That old saying of Work Smarter Not Harder is very easy to say.
However, it’s much hard to do.
To Stand Out in Your Career it will take focus, practice, and foresight.
In order to start Working Smarter and Not Harder… Today. You’ll need to brace yourself, prepare yourself, and hold yourself accountable for both successes and failures. Part of working harder includes embracing the successes and learning from the failures.
Let’s dig into it a little.
Work smarter. – What does it mean?
Work harder – what does that mean?
By themselves and with no context they are effectively meaningless.
But, this is where you come in and apply your business sense your logic.
In the real world we don’t always get to decide what we work on. We also don’t always get to decide when we work on things. Deadlines, customer commitments, life commitments, and lots of other things have a way of getting in the way. This is where the focus comes in. It’s also where your voice comes in. Hint: You need to get comfortable saying no.
Even if you don’t get to decide what you work on, and to some extent, when you work on something it is still up to you to decide when and how you will work on it.
Putting Work Harder Not Smarter to Work
Set the goal… not the steps to get there.
U.S. Army General George S Patton was famous for providing the goal but not providing how to get there.
Just as in the military where campaign success and results matter more than the methodology used to get there the same is true for business and in life. Learning how to decipher where to spend your time as well as deciding WHAT get’s your focus is a task that can be daunting and fraught with challenges. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks to help you evaluate where you get the most value for your time. And, ultimately, time is your most precious asset. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Using The Four Quadrants do Decide
The four quadrants are a tried and true methodology that can help you decide what to focus on, what to drop, and what to prioritize. Again, you don’t always get to decide every factor here. But, oftentimes you do have a lot more control that you might think. Stephen Covey summarized the four quadrants quite nicely in his time management grid. See the table on page 2 of this USGS training document.
There is a table that shows four quadrants of importance. Quadrants I and II are where you should be spending your time. Quadrants III and IV are areas you should seek to avoid or at least minimize.
There are books and courses available that go into depth on the time management grid. I’ll save that as an exercise for you, the reader.
Putting it all Together
When you learn to use The Four Quadrants and Learn to Say No Like a Pro you’ll be well on your way to Working Smarter and Not Harder … Today!