Freelancing SOS: How To Take Yourself Seriously

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Everybody has the odd expectation that every freelancer works from their bed in their best pajamas. Media have made the unfair PJs cliché popular, creating a world in which freelancers have a relaxed and somewhat lazy approach to life. It’s fair to say that for anybody who’s considering starting an independent career, it will take a lot of time and effort to convince your audience that you’re a professional and respectable expert. 

However, you are your biggest enemy. In a world where freelancing equals PJs work and invisible flexibility, the first person you need to convince that you mean business is yourself. Indeed, the image of freelancing, as advertised by the media, might be compelling at first, but it lacks guidance in terms of how to make the most of your time. When you don’t know anything about how to organize your day and plan your work routine as a solo expert, it’s easy to fall in the trap of the media and believe that working from home makes you lazy. But you need to learn to take yourself seriously first if you want others to follow.

You need a network which believes in you 

If you’re not the most self-confident individual, you are likely to struggle at first to establish yourself as an expert. When you are on your own, it can be daunting to approach the market and introduce yourself as the new professional in town. But you can smooth out self-esteem obstacles by surrounding yourself with people who believe in your skills. Every home-based business needs a reliable network that serves any of the following purposes: advising, cheering, and exchanging. If you happen to find a mentor, you can benefit from their wisdom for guidance. Your close friends and relatives can keep you motivated. Finally, your local business network is the perfect place to share and exchange skills and strategies.

You need a real workplace

Let’s get real; just because the media claim that freelancers work from their bedroom doesn’t mean you have to use your bed as a primary workplace. You need to create for yourself a workstation that encourages you to stay productive. Create a quiet clutter-free nook at home where you can keep your laptop and a desk. Remember to add a few plants for good measure; they boost your concentration by 15%! If home isn’t the place to work, what’s stopping you from using desk share services?  There are plenty of cozy office spaces that rent out desks with all the facilities you need. 

Your brand becomes your identity 

Companies use their unique brand and business culture to define who they are. Solo experts, on the other hand, find it a little more complicated to hide behind a logo. However, determining what your brand is will greatly affect how others perceive your expertise. In a world where there is no shortage of talented creative, your personal brand is a powerful differentiator that conveys your business personality. Creating a brand stops you from being that freelancer in a PJs and lets you become a respectable professional. 

If you’ve worked all of your life in an office environment, taking your first step as an independent professional can be daunting. But you need to build the necessary structure to be taken seriously, firstly by yourself and then by the market.

The Pros And Cons Of Working From Home

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These days, there are some big changes being made in the world of work. A lot of companies, especially modern startups are now turning their backs on the traditional nine-to-five working day. Lots of firms now let their workers work from home at least one day a week as they find that it can help them boost their motivation and productivity. Not only that, though, but some companies are also starting to offer flexible working hours to allow their staff to work parts of their days at home.

Do you think that this sounds like your preferred way to work? As most companies are now open to giving their staff more flexibility, your employer might let you if you ask them. Here are the pros and cons that you will need to weigh up to make sure you make the right decision for you.

Pros

  • You Won’t Have To Deal With A Commute Again. One of the main things that people hate about their job is the commute to and from their office. Most people will live about a thirty-minute drive away, and they will have to sit in long rush-hour  traffic jams which can really increase their commuting time. Plus, trains and buses are often extremely busy during the rush hour. Thankfully, you won’t have to deal with that on the days you work from home.
  • It’s Great For Those With Disabilities Or Long-Term Conditions. Some people who have long-term health conditions might struggle getting to the office every day. Working from their own home will be their perfect solution. Plus, it means they won’t have to worry about going to their doctor or physiotherapy appointments as they can fit them around their own schedule at home.

Cons

  • It Can Be Isolating. Of course, when you are working from your own home you won’t have any colleagues around you. Even if you do chat to them regularly over email or Slack, you could still find this to be fairly isolating. In order to combat this, some people spend part of their days working from a co-working space or their local coffeeshop.
  • It Can Be Hard To Know When To Stop. Some people find that when they work from home, it can be very difficult knowing when to call it quits for the day. They simply keep on working through the evening to try and get as much done as possible. Obviously, this isn’t going to do your wellbeing any good as you will need to take a rest and ensure you get plenty of sleep.
  • Some Find It’s Too Easy To Procrastinate. A lot of people also find that it can be very tempting to procrastinate at home. After all, there will certainly be a lot more distractions compared to in the office!

So, what do you think about working from home now that you have seen some of the pros and cons? You will have to think long and hard before deciding whether this is the best way for you to work.

Self-Motivation Secrets That All Entrepreneurs Should Know

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If you’re a self-made entrepreneur then you’ll know the value of being able to motivate yourself. Without a doubt, self-motivation is one of the most important concepts to master if you’re going to do it yourself and become your own boss. However, reaching a stage where you can simply have an internal dialogue and get back to work is extremely difficult, which is why we’re going to impart some self-motivation secrets to help you become more successful with your business ventures.

  1. Work how you want to

Self-motivation is a lot about having control over what you do. As seen in this article at https://growingforward.net/2016/01/21/how-working-remotely-benefits-your-health/, there are even health benefits to working the way you want to. Having more control over your work situation will make you realize that you’re in a more powerful position than you think, leading to some strong self-motivational realizations which will benefit you greatly.

  1. Having a purpose in life

Having a purpose is arguably one of the most powerful ways to self-motivate yourself. A lot of people that work in offices and for employers will realize that they’re not motivated because they’re often doing something that they don’t believe in. Whether it’s the message that their company is trying to get across or the poor company culture, having a lack of a connection with your office can be detrimental to your motivation. This is why having a purpose with your business can be such a strong motivational push for your entrepreneurial career.

  1. Dress like the entrepreneur you want to be

Outward appearances can become a huge motivational factor. For instance, having your own set of work-related accessories from https://commonfibers.com/ can drastically improve your business appearance and will help you separate work-related things with your personal life. Another example is being able to dress smartly for business meetings so that you can appear more suitable for your position as an entrepreneur. First impressions mean a lot in the world of business and having the confidence to dress appropriately is incredibly important for your self-motivation.

  1. Self-motivation relies on your own set of rules

Discipline is important when it comes to self-motivating yourself, but being able to create your own rules and sticking to them can add a much bigger impact. Self-made entrepreneurs all have rules of life that they stick to; whether it’s the way you interact with others, the time you sleep at night or the number of hobbies you can have at once, having a strict set of rules that you abide by can help you muster up the motivation and courage to take your business venture far.

Self-motivation is certainly one of the most powerful things to learn when it comes to growing your business, but it’s difficult to attain unless you’re disciplined and have a general direction of where you want to take your life. Without something to guide you, it’s virtually impossible to become a self-motivated individual with a drive for success.

Working Remotely? Here’s How to Get to Know Your Clients

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If you are a Millennial, you might be enjoying the lifestyle of a remote freelancer, even run a company using workers from all over the world. Being an entrepreneur requires a clear direction and a plan. If you are clear about what you want to achieve, what you offer, and who your ideal clients are, you can develop your business into something big. Below you will find a few tips on how to get to know your ideal clients.

Market Research

The first thing you will have to do before you position your brand in the marketplace is your market research. Find out what people are looking for. If you work online most of the time, you can utilize social media research and join related groups to find out what the most painful problems of your audience are. The good news is that you don’t even have to invest in industry reports; most of the data you need is freely available.

Finding Your USP

If you are working remotely, you will need to find a way to create personal connections and communicate your unique selling proposition. One of the things you should do is compare your brand and offers with the competition, so you can identify what makes you stand out. Once you are clear about this, you can create a social media strategy or a sales funnel built around your USP.

Identifying Your Ideal Client

One of the most challenging tasks you will have to complete is identifying your ideal customers. When you start a business, you might think that you have to please everyone. This is not the case. You don’t have the budget for marketing trial and error, so it is best to focus on the people who are the most likely to buy from you.

Branding

When building a brand online, your main challenge will be to get people to stop and listen. There is simply too much white noise and distraction, so your brand has to be interesting, engaging, and unique. On social media, for example, your main job is to get people to stop scrolling past your posts. Consistency is also crucial, so your prospects can recognize your brand on every platform.

Asking Qualifying Questions

If you want to stop wasting time chasing after cold or dead leads, you have to find a way to get to know your customers. Asking qualifying questions before you arrange an interview or follow them up will save you a lot of time and resources. There are some great business intelligence software solutions out there designed for remote workers, like you. Click here to visit this website to find out more about the benefits of getting to know your customers and asking the right questions.

Remote workers and companies face a lot of challenges when it comes to branding and getting to know their ideal clients. To stand out from the crowd, you will need to have a clear direction and a strong USP.

Freelancing, Yes, But Without The Worries

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There is no denying that working has become an increasingly dangerous activity, regardless of your career choice. Indeed, while some industry sectors are famous for high risks of accidents and injuries on site, such as the building sector, no professional is genuinely safe.

Indeed, the first killer in the workplace is not poor H&S regulations or careless managers; but it is stress. Stress can silently eat its way into your heart, your mind and your lifestyle. As a result, it claims numerous victims every day, from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, depression and even PTSD disorders. Stress is everywhere and can affect anyone. While employees can choose to quit their job and look for a friendlier employment option, for freelancers stress is a day-to-day challenge.

Indeed, when you’re on your own, you worry a lot about a lot of things. First of all, your financial stability is always at stake. Your ability to remain relevant in an evolving market is crucial, and there is no guarantee that the skills of today will make the success of tomorrow. And finally, freelancers are often lonely; and loneliness is your worst enemy. How can you, as a freelance professional, maintain your sanity and enjoy your career?

It’s simple. You need a growth plan that focuses on your core weaknesses: Finances, self-development and networking.

Understand how to maximize your revenues

When you spend all your waking hours working to keep your business afloat, it can be difficult to build effective money-generating strategies. With barely enough time to think, most freelancers are stuck in a loop of deadlines and administrative tasks. But give yourself some relief by looking into helpful materials, such as this podcast which is worth listening to if you want to find out how to multiply your service business revenues by 10 (or more). Ultimately, you need to understand that you get to set the rules of your business; instead of letting your clients decide. When you begin by establishing the standards for your ideal customer, you can drive huge benefits from your core product or service.

No more boss to give you petty jobs

Of course, there’s no better feeling than not having to deal with your grumpy boss in the morning. You decide what you do, and you don’t have to worry about management issue. In a sense, removing the boss obstacle can be a source of stress, as it leaves you uncertain of what to do and whom to please. But you can keep the uncertainty at bay by dedicating your free time to learning new skills and practices. You can explore trends while leaving menial tasks to an outsourcing facility.

Alone but never lonely

Freelancers often struggle with isolation. Working from home might be exciting, but you sometimes need human input to test your idea or just feel connected to others. But where can you find a friend in your home office? Co-working spaces offer the perfect combination of a collaborative environment with plenty of positive interactions and boundaries to protect your work and your peace. For freelancers, this is the occasion of exchanging ideas, developing a professional mindset and being surrounded by same-minded people.

In conclusion, freelancers have to deal with new forms of stress that relates to their financial, professional and emotional stability. To make the most of your creative freedom, you have to start your independent journey with a solid self-growth strategy.

4 Basic But Great Perks of Freelancing

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“I’m a freelancer”. It is something you are likely to hear more and more as you meet people. In the last few years, it isn’t just the ‘starving artists’ that is a free spirit, you’ll find a free-spirited account, assistant and graphic designers. There is a lot of flexibility with freelancing and home businesses, and it doesn’t work for everyone. But there are plenty of basic, and great perks. If you aren’t already freelance, maybe these are something for you to consider.

No Commute

Ahhh the joy of waking up and rushing to grab a train that is heaving with people, then run from that platform to a bus stop – said no one, ever. Many freelancers never have to leave their home, unless they choose to meet up with local clients. Stilling bumper to bumper during rush hour is said to raise your blood sugar and increase your cholesterol levels.

Zero commute = 100% satisfaction. Not entirely separate is that if you choose to travel, it can be anywhere. Peak season, off-peak, far away, backpacking… the list goes on. If you have a wifi connection, you can work, heard of the digital nomad? It’s not as uncommon as you think.

Be The Boss

This one seems to be the big winner when it comes to freelancing. Don’t like a client? Then you can terminate the contract. Don’t want a particular type of work? Then you simply don’t have to do it. Working with a terrible boss will have a negative impact on how you see what you do and your value in the company.

Forever Learning

When you first that the chances are you will need some help, getting things like your hardware, software, social media, appointments, and even some of the work that you chose to take on. While you are learning to be a human swiss army knife, you can also hire in companies on a long term basis that can help you tackle specific tasks. Appearing as a more prominent firm is simple when you have the right people in place. Managed IT services from Safebit, a good virtual assistant, and some automated customer services applications can help you manage your enterprise while you learn how to calculate your taxes, and work in and on your business.

Mental Health

When you work for yourself, if you feel that you are going to burn out, or that you can’t effectively perform your duties, the chances are you can take the day to yourself to rest, reset and recharge. In an office, there are often policies and procedures in place, but that might not be enough. You can control your workload down to the last minute during the week and only take more when you want to.

Taking short breaks during the day, when you feel you need one, not just because that is the scheduled break time is beneficial to both you and your work. Taking a proper time out for lunch, and even a nap can get your rested and refreshed ready to take on the rest of your work.

How Can The Right Tech Save A Failing Business?

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When you’re growing your business, you can throw everything within your financial remit at it to ensure the company flies, but this isn’t necessarily going to work. When your business begins to make its inevitable descent, either due to poor planning, insufficient action, or both, thoughts turn to how to save a failing business. Believe it or not, the one main component that could encourage your company to grow again is the tech. How can it do this?

It Saves Your Business Money

It’s a great way for you to streamline certain processes. When you’re looking to cut corners, but without compromising the integrity of the company, technology is a godsend in this respect. Going digital can reduce the amount of paper you use of course, but it can reduce your equipment needs, and if you have the means necessary, you can encourage your workers to stay at home and work remotely, therefore minimizing your need or a physical office.

It Protects You

These days, data breaches are more common regardless of how big or small the company is. If you are insufficiently prepared for a data breach, you could lose so much information, not to mention trust from your customers. It’s vital you have an appropriate infrastructure plan in place, and Ntiva’s strategic IT consulting services is one of many that can help you re-evaluate your framework. We have to ensure that our company’s needs are met, and it’s not just in relation to the technology we have, but also in making sure that our staff know the best practices so that the technology is put to good use.

It helps automation

From social media to Customer Relationship Management systems, automation is one of the best approaches any company can take advantage of. Automating a handful of processes can save you time and money. This leaves your staff open to working on other areas of the company. If you are struggling to keep yourself going, automating so many processes that work out, financially speaking, as the equivalent of one member of staff means you can save quite a significant amount of money. Automation is a process that can make life easier for businesses, but not so the workers become complacent. Automation is one of those things that can encourage your workers to perform better in other areas so they don’t make themselves expendable. As this is a very handy by-product of implementing automation; if your workers perform better, you will directly see this in the results.

The right technology can save a failing business, but it can sufficiently protect it as well. As any company will attest, the right piece of tech is a godsend. And when your business struggles to keep itself going, technology might not be the first thing you would turn to, but as technology can fulfill so many different roles, you need to give it the attention it deserves. Technology is fast becoming the most essential business component, but even the smallest system can turn a business around in a short space of time.

Three Things That Make Remote Work An Exceptional Choice

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We are living in a time where the traditional working methods are consistently being challenged. For some people, they challenge this by changing the times that their working day begins and ends in their company. Others choose to adopt a four-day week policy, with paid long weekends. Companies are finally clicking that the way their staff work is going to define how well they do. It’s a simple solution: happy staff equals high levels of productivity which equals more profit. If all a company have to do is make their employees happy, you’d think that more people would be working on doing this. Barriers between managers and underlings (well, staff!) are being broken down and people are working better when they are treated like equals in the workplace. Trust is what makes companies successful, and one of the ways that many are requesting to work nowadays is from home. With the right amount of trust between manager and employee, there can be magic made.

People want freedom from the suit-wearing nine-to-five model of work and they’re getting it. As more companies realise that the attracting of top talent means relaxing with the working day, more is getting done and said talent is being retained. There are obvious advantages for the company, too, because you no longer have an office to pay for and very little in the way of overheads compared to needing to have an office for over twenty people working for you. Long commutes get ditched and this makes everyone happier, less stressed. Parents who are trying to find a balance between family time and work are more relaxed and taking less time off work, which then leads to higher productivity and more families staying together. Do you really need any more benefits listed for you? At this point, I hope not!

The bottom line is that allowing for remote work can be revolutionary for your business. Hopping on board with this idea is going to transform the way in which you do business. Remote working is more than just employee satisfaction, though. There has to be trust between employers and their staff and as with any model of working, remote work has its challenges. Here are some of them:

Technology

We have unrivalled access to technology now compared to thirty years ago, but when you’re having staff working from home, you need to be ensuring that your company software can manage the workload remotely from multiple computers in multiple locations. Agile testing metrics can help here, as you can catch bugs and issues with your software before your remote workers are affected. You also need to have security software of the best quality. Everything being remote makes the technical side of things harder, as people aren’t in house to see what the issues are. Internet outages and technology hiccups are common, but they are annoying! Always ensure your staff have a back-up laptop or plan to keep working, especially if there are deadlines to be met.

Communication

You may not have an office, but Skype training on the ways to communicate while working remotely is so important. Many companies have online platforms like Trello to work with so that project work and information can be shared. There are also community chats like Google Hangouts and work sharing programmes that can be used so that teams can stay teams – even when they’re not elbow to elbow. Remote work requires extra communication and you shouldn’t discount the need for a friendly emoji when things feel tense.

Lack Of Interaction

Being able to interpret how people will feel working remotely is difficult. Without the social camaraderie of the office, people can get pretty lonely! You can help your staff to nip cabin fever in the bud by making suggestions to work from cafes, the park – as long as they have an internet connection, they can work from anywhere. You could also put together socials for local staff so that they’re not alone. Weekly video meetings so you can use a voice and not type a message can also help.

Remote working is the future of most modern businesses now. It’s becoming more and more popular, and people are requesting the flexibility that remotely working can bring them. Do thorough research for your business before you agree to it, though, because you want to ensure that you’ve made the right choices for your staff, not the wrong ones. Do your homework and roll it out gently; you’ll see the positive difference it could make.

How To Make Good Money From Home

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We are constantly trying to think of new ways that we can earn more money, because as much as we may not want to admit it, it’s what the world revolves around. If you want to live a life without ever having to worry about being able to afford things, or feeling guilting because you know you don’t have that kind of money to spend freely, then you’re just going to have to make a darn good income that provides you with that financial freedom that everyone strives for. Yes, it’s easier said than done, because if it were that simple then everyone would already be a millionaire and the whole dynamics of the world would change.

There are many different ventures that you can go down that have the possibility of making you money, but before you get to that stage, it starts very young. Working hard in school and getting the good grades will definitely make life a little easier for you once you reach a certain age. Having said that, if you didn’t do too well in school, you shouldn’t let that hold you back either because it isn’t all about what grades you have, but it does help boost you a little further.

A lot of it comes down to the type of person you are. If you have goals and ambition and dreams, as well as being a hard worker with drive and discipline, then you’re already halfway there. Let’s face it, you could have all the best credentials you could wish for, but if you lack passion and determination you will find yourself stuck in front of many obstacles that you aren’t equipped to tackle.

When looking for a job, a lot of people will find it rather appealing to the idea of working from home. They assume that it will be easy as you can just sit back on your sofa with your feet up, a cup of coffee in hand, and the work will just come to you. But this isn’t how it works at all. If anything, working from home is even harder than working in an office with other individuals because you don’t have that stimulation of targets being forced into you because you’re alone at home, and so you have to try and do that all by yourself, but there are so many other distractions around you like the tv and the food, that it can be very hard to keep work as your only focus. This is why it isn’t for everyone, and you have to be a certain type of person to manage these conditions. Self-motivation is the absolute key, and if you haven’t got that, then remote work just isn’t going to be for you.

Now you know what it requires, you can think about the different options of work you have.

Here are just a few to give you some ideas.

Become a blogger

Starting up as a blogger is pretty easy, the hard part is getting an audience and making money. It’s even harder nowadays because there are already so many bloggers out there that are doing really well, so it’s more of a challenge to find a gap that you can fill. You can talk about anything you wish, but the more areas you cover, the more opportunities you make for yourself to create a decent income. There are many ways, both big and small. You can earn a few extra bucks here and there by allowing adverts to be shown on your site. The better money is by offering your writing services to promote brands and companies that are out there. So for example, if you were writing about the hottest new fashions trends and have a very influential say with a big following behind you, then a clothing brand may contact you and ask you to mention them, essentially sending people their way.

Become a trader

Trading is essentially a buying and selling process of finances such as stocks and bonds. You can do as much or as little as you wish, and the outcome will always vary, this is why if you’re just starting out, it may not be the best thing to rely on as sometimes you may lose a lot and not make any money for a while, but once you get the hang of it, you could really create yourself an income that gives you a lot of freedom. You will need to do as much research as you can before you start to dabble in this industry, as it can be a very confusing place to begin with. There are many sites and companies out there like emini futures that will give you some great tips and advice that will increase your chances of success quicker. Absorb in as much information as you can like a sponge, and the benefits will soon pay off, both figuratively and metaphorically.

Become a seller   

With sites like eBay and Amazon, as well as all the different platforms on social media, it has never been easier to sell things, be it your clothes, your electronics, or even things that you have created, like art or furniture. If you’re a creative one of sorts and love to make beauty out of your craft, then why not make money from your talent and skill? It can be a little scary at first because you’re putting yourself out there, but you may be surprised at how people react to what you do. It will be slow in the beginning, but you can use the likes of social media to accumulate a following. The more people that begin watching what you do and appreciating it – the more chance you have of making sales. It’s like climbing up a ladder, and the higher you go, the more opportunities you’re going to have because people are really listening and watching you thrive.

Now you have a few ideas, get thinking about what skills you have and what you are able to offer.

Cutting Costs When You Work from Home

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When we make the decision to work from home, one thing that we often forget to consider is the how this will affect our household bills. Sure, we’ll save money on a uniform and the commute to work. But, you’ll be at home, all of the time. You’ll spend more on food and drinks as you eat at home more. You’ll be using your own electricity to power computers and other tech. In the winter, you’ll need to heat your home for longer periods, so that you are able to work in comfort. If you hold meetings at home, or invite clients, customers and suppliers into your house you may even have to spend more on cleaning supplies or staff to keep it looking its best. While you may be able to claim some of these costs back as tax-deductible expenses, it’s probably fair to say your costs will still be higher than you are used to.

But, just like there are ways to save money on traveling to and eating at work, there are ways to save money on running your household when you are working from it. Let’s take a look at some of the best.

Heating

Over winter time, heating our home is essential. Especially if you work in it during the day. You shouldn’t have to try and type with freezing fingers or go out to meet clients as your house is too cold. But, you won’t want to spend too much either.

Firstly, look at how you work. Can you stick to one room during the day to reduce heating needs? Make sure you are wrapped up warm and have plenty of hot drinks. You can also use a hot water bottle and add a draught excluder to keep cooler air out of your workspace.

Then, look at how you heat your home. Gas Oil is often much cheaper to use as the tax is lower, just make sure your boiler is able to use it to heat your home. Generally, over the winter time, you might find it cheaper to keep your heating on all of the time, with the thermostat at a steady temperature, than turning it on and off all of the time. Consider adding a smart meter to monitor your usage.

Food

In theory, eating at home should be much cheaper than buying lunches at work every day. But, this isn’t always the case. When you are at home, with no set break times, it can be tempting to graze all day. Many home workers find this leads to greater food bills and weight gain. Try preparing lunches and snacks in advance and sticking to a food plan, to help you avoid overeating and cut your food bills.

Electricity

Electricity is probably the one thing that you can’t work without. But, try to when you can. Switch off when you aren’t working or working on paper. Use energy saving bulbs and try to get the most out of your laptop batteries. If you’ve got solar panels, and free electricity during daylight hours, make sure you use that time to charge and get more done.